Our First Plant-Based/Whole Food Holiday

“I feel like a professional chef,” my husband said after our Thanksgiving morning pow-wow.

Want the real story on our first plant-based, whole foods/veganish holiday? Here’s how it went down:

Whole Foods Thanksgiving 2017 - Weegee SachtjenOne Week Til Thanksgiving
I decided to approach my husband to have “the talk,” also known more commonly as “the break-up.” We’ve had the discussion before when we decided to break-up with tradition and ditch Christmas presents three years ago.

This break-up was going to be tougher. I was going to ask my Idahoan farm boy husband to part with the tradition of a holiday bird with all the fixings and go more . . . veggie.

The conversation went something like this:

“Any thoughts on Thanksgiving? It’s just the two of us this year and I am pretty sure that we will be doing meat and sides at Christmas.”

Cue the raised eyebrow from my husband. He’s astute enough to know where my thought train was headed before the tracks were laid out.

“So, vegan?”

Whole Foods Thanksgiving 2017 - Weegee SachtjenNext Three Days
We poured over websites, cookbooks and Pinterest boards looking for what vegans eat for Thanksgiving. Most looked like side dishes to the nth degree. Where the green bean casserole morphs into an intricate dish with more complex ingredients . . . but in the end is still just green bean casserole.

The two of us decided we just needed to find something that was outside of our normal cooking repetitore. That’s when we settled on a main dish we had tried once before but failed in execution: ravioli.

Our Thanksgiving menu was set — homemade sweet potato ravoilis with a mushroom ragout and a beet salad.

The Day Before
While I was at work, the hubster took over the kitchen and prepped the sweet potato filling and mushroom ragout. Individually, the filling and topping were awesome. However, when it came down to tasting the prepped ingredients in tandem, there was an unexpected issue. The sweet potato filling was a bit heavy on the sweet side while the mushroom ragout fell into the overly savoury category.

In short, the two were not playing nice on the tongue.

Plant Based Thanksgiving - Weegee SachtjenThe Morning Of
Like spaghetti and chili, the hubster and I were hoping that the flavours would alter or change with the overnight stay in the fridge. They did, but not towards a complimentary middle.

What to do? Well, if we used the mushroom ragout, we needed a different filling. Here’s were we almost fell into a past habit trap. Typically, a cheesy interior would be a nice rounder of flavour.

My hubster vetoed this path. In his words, “it wouldn’t be vegan. So, let’s get creative.”

Spinach? Maybe. Chickpea mixture? Possibly. What about using the ragout as the center and dusting the tops with sage, walnuts and lemon zest? Winner.

This where my husband uttered, “I feel like a professional chef.”

The Takeaway
Changing up our lifestyle takes commitment from both of us. This was the first time we were challenged by more than what to make for dinner. We were up against tradition . . . and an unsuccessful flavour combination.

We are still learning and encountering obstacles in our lifestyle shift. But after our teamwork for Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for my supportive, creative “professional chef” sidekick!