Saturday, January 30, 2010

Vegan Thanksgiving Celebration 2009

I have heard that many people dislike Durham, NC for one reason or another. I, on the other hand, am enamored with this city. It has 64 parks, awesome local restaurants, a bountiful farmers market, open-minded people, a large diverse population, and one awesome vegetarian society. I did not know before moving to Durham, but it has a very active and committed population of vegetarians. I always thought I had to move to California to find this.

Nope, it is right here in Durham.
I feel like one of the luckiest veggies in the country because Durham is home to the largest vegan Thanksgiving celebration in the country. I would suspect, even the largest in the world. John and I were able to attend the 2009 vegan feast as one of 784 guests from 41 cities. Some of the guests traveled from Florida, Maryland, Illinois, South Carolina, and Virginia. We were fortunate to sit at the "Davis" table with some of our vegetarian friends during the 2009 celebration. As usual, the company and the food were amazing.

(Top row- left to right: Beth, Missy, Jody, John.
Bottom Row- left to right: John, Me, and Christine)

Many people think that one couldn't possibly have a fulfilling Thanksgiving meal that is vegan. They would be wrong. There were so many delicious choices that I had to severely limit myself. I went away feeling full and satisfied. I enjoyed everything on my plate. My favorites included the mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy and the raspberry-cranberry relish. While both of those dishes are traditional North American Thanksgiving fare, these were the best versions I had ever had. The relish was the perfect mix of sweet and tart and was a perfect accompaniment to the savory delights on my plate. The mushroom gravy was nothing short of heavenly. As for the non-traditional dishes, the lime-marinated seitan with a peppercorn fig glaze kept me wanting, and going back for more.

If all of that was not enough, we were also presented with sweets. There were pies, cookies, truffles, cobblers, and mini bite-sized heavenly desserts. There was no way for me to pick a favorite. I delighted in every bit of sweetness that my taste buds experienced.

Overall, the menu included dishes high in protein, vegetables, vitamins, and TASTE!

The menu included:


  • Lentil-brown/wild rice cakes with lemon tahini
  • Quinoa salad with olives, shallots, pine nuts, sundried tomatoes, and garlic
  • Breads, crustinis & pita with Egyptian red lentil and artichoke-spinach hummu, baba ganouj, and Brussels sprout "pâté"
  • Marinated olives, spiced pecans, roasted chestnuts
Main Courses
  • Lime-marinated seared seitan with peppercorns and fig glaze
  • Roasted garlic olive oil mashed potatoes with chives, mushroom gravy, apple-pecan stuffing, and fresh raspberry-cranberry relish
  • Dilip's macadamia nut blackened Cajun tempeh
  • Wild mushroom and French green lentil risotto with seared tempeh
  • Pesto-drizzled polenta layered with crispy seitan, eggplant, wild mushroom, and spinach
  • Turkish rice pilaf with almonds
  • Braised green beans with ginger curry and coconut milk au gratin
  • Porcini-lentil cannelloni
  • Fall squashes cubed and roasted with yellow beet chunks, cranberry, chestnuts, and dill weed
  • Braised garlicky greens
  • Organic Conchiglie pasta with vegan Bolognese sauce (Merlot wine, sauteed peppers and onions, olive chunks, sliced garlic, and oregano)
  • Mixed mushroom-Napa Valley Cabbage with Greek olive oil, lemon, and garlic (raw dish)
  • Oyster mushroom tempura
  • Steamed Heirloom fall vegetables
  • Carpaccio vegetale - very thinly sliced vegetables as a raw "pasta" (raw dish)
  • Corn and mild green chili bisque
  • Sweet and savory pumpkin leek velouté (thickened soup)
  • Fresh seasonal fruits
  • Phyllo cookies
  • Pumpkin pie with pomegranate glaze
  • Ginger-apple pie with frozen coconut cream
  • Pear crisp
I am certain when I say that nothing was missing from this meal. I recommend it to anyone- meat-eater or vegetarian. I loved everything on my plate.


Jim Penny said...

Durham was better when it had colour, if it ever had color. The tobacco buildings now apartments could attract me, but I wonder if there is food in Durham. So far the evidence says there is not.

All this in the face of a coming ice age?

VeggieAmanda said...

It is obvious that you have not been to Durham in a while. It has lots of color/colour and great food. Durham has some of the best places to eat in the triangle.

I see a visit in your future.

affectioknit said...

Wow! That sounds so awesome - I think I'd be a society of one here...