BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Stick With It!

20 Comments

Less than a week’s time separates today from the Great National Food Coma, otherwise known as Thanksgiving. More hotly anticipated than any splashy movie premier, most plans for this year’s grand event have long since been laid, solidified, and are now gradually shifting into gear. Menus are set, tasks have been doled out to eager participants, and non-perishables have been procured; no detail, neither big nor small, shall be left unattended.  Only the actual cooking remains for the particularly well organized and industrious few. Knowing just how much work goes into such a grand production, I wouldn’t dream of waltzing in here and suggesting that you turn your carefully crafted game plan completely upside-down with crazy new dishes, not yet passed the test of time. You’ve already got the raw components for the typical fixings, right? I’m merely imploring you to consider them from a new perspective.

All the classic accoutrements threaded neatly onto portion-controlled, hand-held, and highly dippable little packages, Thanksgiving kebabs are the answer to menu malaise. Stick with tradition, keep the Brussels sprouts and “turkey,” but present them in a whole new light. Consider this concept with an open mind for the greatest degree of success, since all the ingredients can be effortlessly swapped with your own holiday favorites, or tweaked to achieve ideal proportions and flavors. Consider adding cubes of sourdough or sturdy cornbread to evoke stuffing; pumpkin or sweet potato could be excellent understudies for butternut; trimmed green beans can comfortably slip into any empty spaces; these kebabs are limited only by a lack of imagination.

Small skewers could be fun teasers for guest to enjoy while awaiting the full spread, but more generous cuts fit perfect on the dinner plate for the main event, too. Send out a heaping platter of kebabs nestled cozily atop a bed of creamy mashed potatoes, gravy for dipping on the side, and you could be on the cusp of a whole new annual tradition, with all the familiar flavors comfortably intact.

Thanksgiving Kebabs

Amounts will vary depending on how many people you plan to serve and which vegetables/add-ins you choose, but the concept remains the same. What follows is largely a reflection of what is pictured above, but the formula is entirely open to interpretation.

Seitan, Tempeh, or Vegan “Turkey,” Cubed
Peeled, Gutted, and Cubed Butternut Squash
Small Brussels Sprouts, Cleaned and Trimmed
Large Fresh Cranberries*

Marinade:

2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons Grade B Maple Syrup
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Tamari
2 Teaspoons Dijon Mustard
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 – 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
Pinch Rubbed Sage

To Serve:

Mashed Potatoes (Optional)
Gravy, for Dipping (NOT Optional!)

*When selecting cranberries, be sure to use particularly large berries and skewer them precisely in the center, as they have a tendency to wither and/or split while baking.

Before you start prepping vegetables or turning on the heat, submerge your wooden skewers for at least 20 minutes to prevent them from burning (or worse, catching fire) while in the oven. If using metal skewers, go ahead and skip this precaution.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease a shallow baking dish that can accommodate the full length of your skewers.

Thread individual vegetables and “meat” on the skewers in any pattern or proportion you like. There’s no right or wrong answers here, just do what’s easiest, looks good, and tastes good. Just make sure that all your components are roughly the same size so that they cook evenly. Place the finished skewers in a single layer in your prepared baking dish. If you’re making enough for a big party, you may need to consider a second vessel.

Whisk together the ingredients for the marinade and brush it generously over the skewered “meat” and veggies. If you have any leftover, reserve it to baste the skewers once more halfway through the cook time. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes, depending on the size of your vegetables, flipping after 10 and basting if desired. The vegetables should be nicely browned and tender when done.

Serve immediately over hot mashed potatoes with a small bowl of gravy for dipping on the side.

Printable Recipe

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Author: Hannah Kaminsky

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

20 thoughts on “Stick With It!

  1. What a fun idea! I’d probably skip the mashed potatoes and just do the gravy – no need for the extra for me :) I like this dip idea, will be trying with the niece.

  2. It’s a good thing the GNFC comes along at this time of year…it’s like a giant happy hibernation just when chilly weather is rolling in. :)
    I love kebabby things! This looks so yumful, though I might sub in dried figs for the cranberries which aren’t a favorite in my family. Many thanks for the recipe…Cheers!

    • Such great thinking! Figs are brilliant, and I bet they’d be lest finicky when it comes to skewering and cooking, aside from the incredible flavor they’d add. Now I need to revisit this idea and try it your way next time.

  3. Such a cute idea! Love the portion control and gravy dipping!

  4. This is so creative Hannah and so much more fun than the typical presentation. I think I’m going to have to make an extra special meal next Thursday (or at least a mini pie!) so I don’t feel like I’m missing out not having Thanksgiving here.

  5. These look amazing! Love the whole dish!!!

  6. Those skewers look fantastic, grilled to perfection and that marinade? Magnificent :)

    Cheers
    CCU

    P.S I have recently lost around 1000 subscribers and I have no idea how, so if it is not too much trouble, if you were subscribed before, could you please resubscribe? Thank you!

  7. Such a great idea – the only problem I could see is that it would end up being self defeating: if we had Thanksgiving over here, I’d make these so I wouldn’t eat too much, then I’d think ‘well, they’re only small’, so I’d have another, and another… yum!

  8. Great idea and beautiful photos (as always), Hannah. We do small things, too–homemade ravioli with a walnut sauce. :-) Have to make them this weekend since we’re traveling to Philly for the weekend.

    Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

    janet

  9. What a great idea, Hannah! Perfect for all the leftovers too. And you’re so right – gravy is absolutely not optional!

  10. Well said, dear Hannah, hahaha. 😀😀 I love your alternative special vegan kebabs a lot too,…..!!…

  11. I’m not a big Thanksgiving flavors person anymore, but that is definitely something I could handle on my plate.

  12. These skewers looks fantastic :)

  13. What a great idea, Hannah!

  14. What a healthy and lovely kebab!
    great photographed too……

  15. Love the idea of using these cubed veggies & “meat alternative” as skewers, what a perfect party platter, thank you, Hannah! I <3 gravies and mashed potatoes!

  16. Thanksgiving on a stick – such a great idea! :-)

  17. I love it that you offer a vegan option too.

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