A Very Vegan Thanksgiving: Your 4-Step Guide for a Plant-Based Table from the Chefs at Vedge
According to our vegan chef partners, Richard Landau and Kate Jacoby (co-owners of the vegan restaurant Vedge), you don’t need a turkey on the table to have a bountiful Thanksgiving.
“Our guests are often surprised by how much they don’t miss it,” Richard says. “Vegetable dishes can be showstopping, too.”
The married couple has recently received national buzz for their collection of plant-based Philadelphia eateries (Vedge, a fine-dining restaurant, and V Street, a street food bar), so we tapped them for these four tips on making sure your vegan Thanksgiving doesn’t miss out on flavor.
1. Make vegetables the heart of the meal.
Create a pièce de résistance for those who won’t be eating turkey. Take a whole butternut squash, large kabocha or an acorn squash, open it up, hollow out the seeds and roast. Fill it with stuffing and finish in the oven just before serving. Then, set it out on a really big platter as a beautiful centerpiece.
2. Precook to minimize stress and maximize taste.
Make stuffing and gravy the night before — these dishes taste best after spices and flavors have time to mingle. We’re also a big fan of roasting vegetables ahead of time. As they cool, they tighten to an incredible texture. You can warm everything up right before serving.
3. Get full-bodied flavor with umami.
Add a little dab of miso, a dash of tamari and a bit of kombu — but not enough to change the direction of the dish. A hint of umami in the background of savory sauces, gravies and stuffing brings out something special from the other ingredients.
4. You can't go wrong with fresh ingredients and simple prep.
We’re known for our ridiculously good roasted mushrooms. Take the freshest mushrooms you can find — black trumpets and chanterelles are our favorites this time of year — and toss them with shallot and garlic in olive oil, white wine, a little sherry vinegar, salt, pepper and thyme, then roast on high heat to lock in their juices. That’s it. Well, you could finish them with a little vegan butter.
Don't Want to Cook? Order a Vegan Meal.
We also tapped Richard and Kate for some signature vegan holiday dishes:
- Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Sage Mustard Sauce is a beautiful whole cauliflower dish that you can actually carve.
- Mushroom and Lentil Stuffing has a decadent, earthy flavor.
- Rutabaga Mashed Potatoes relies on a dab of miso to make it taste cheesy and rich.
- Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Sauerkraut Vinaigrette and Caraway has flavors that hint at a Reuben.
- Chocolate Toffee Mini Cake finishes off the meal with spiced cake and butternut-squash-sweetened icing.
Husband-and-wife team Richard Landau and Kate Jacoby are Philadelphia natives and the chefs and co-owners of Vedge, the widely acclaimed vegan restaurant that offers an elegant dining experience with a bold approach to cooking. The menus at Vedge are globally inspired, using locally sourced ingredients that closely follow the Northeastern seasons.