Thankful for nutritional yeast, starchy veg, and edible flowers.

This Thanksgiving, I was blessed to have my incredibly gorgeous, positive, and hilarious aunt from the UK join me for a truly unforgettable long weekend.

Apparently, Thanksgiving is not a thing in England. "We're not that bothered about being thankful I suppose", was the remark I received when asked - ha!

Regardless of the fact that I've never really felt like a "true Canadian", as both my parents are European immigrants, I decided to embrace the Thanksgiving tradition this time around (well...kinda) and celebrate with a festive (vegan!) feast.

Yes, we attended classic Turkey-filled events hosted by other members of our friends and family respectively. But for the quiet evening I had set aside with my dear aunt and lovely mother, I wanted to prepare something hearty but healthy - that would please my mum's relatively picky pallet, but also not make me feel good about what she's eating. I'm a health-nut control freak after all...

Here's what I came up with:

1. A fennel and spring mix salad, with a light dressing of lime, ACV, and a bit of EVOO. Topped with a few nasturtiums, to add a pop of colour and to keep things exciting. 

2. A creamy tofu + autumn veggie quiche. This was the real winner folks. Nutritional yeast - I owe it all to you...

This dish was surprisingly easy to prepare - the only thing I suggest you add some extra diligence and elbow grease to is the quinoa crust. I think I over-did it and it was more like a quinoa base...next time I'll probably use three quarters of the amount of crust ingredients and pre-bake it for a bit longer - to get a real "crust" taste and texture.

Regardless, this is comfort food at its finest, and I enjoyed a slice the next morning for breakfast too.

3. Mini buttercup squash tarts. This was inspired by a dessert I had at a yoga retreat a few weeks back. ButterCUP (not butterNUT) squash is literally a dessert all in itself. Cook it for about 45 minutes (depending on the size) and scoop out the seeds. Blend with a bit of almond milk and warming spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and ginger. That paste of "carby" (yet "PALEO") deliciousness goes straight into gluten-free vegan pie tarts (just to be extra swanky)...and consider your sweet ending officially Thanksgiving-esque (it's basically a few dozen steps up from pumpkin pie).

Once "slaving away" in the kitchen was over, I had the pleasure of a peaceful go-the-flow weekend escape in the country (okay, Kitchener-Waterloo area) with my aunt. Vintage antiquing and conservation trekking galore...

I still don't feel overly "Canadian", but I certainly had a Thanksgiving to remember.

Kiki AthanassouliasComment