Since we were so busy shopping and prepping, our first meal needed to be quick and easy. We enjoyed herb salad with pecans and vinaigrette dressing, plus roasted veggies (squash, blue fingerling potatoes, carrots, brussel sprouts, and sweet onions). This provided so much food that it piled high, like a mountain, on a large plate. It was unexpectedly filling!
In a quest to make a gluten-free vegan version of Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie, I tested tofu as a pie ingredient. And the leftover tofu made exquisite plant-based scrambled "eggs." By some miracle, we accidentally figured out the correct seasoning. I'm literally salivating again, just looking at this photo. The veggies were so beautiful.
Always longing for my grandma's and my mom's amazing Thanksgiving food—especially their stuffing—I tried to make it, but without the two animal ingredients and without gluten. I could tell those ingredients were missing, but it was still delicious. Even though I chose gluten-free bread that was too dry to use for this recipe. Even though I added too much veggie broth. But now I know what to keep practicing, because nobody makes stuffing like theirs!
On Thanksgiving day itself, we were so lucky to be invited to a meal that had hearty veggie and gluten-free dishes—a feast! Roasted root veggies, green beans, brussel sprouts, rice/quinoa, amazing mushroom gravy, and mashed potatoes. I made the cranberry sauce (no white sugar), and we brought (Kite Hill "cream cheese") stuffed celery, baby snack carrots, sparkling apple cider, and pumpkin pie (that I didn't make =).
For those who eat gluten, but not meat, there was a vegan holiday "turkey," with stuffing in its center. It was so sweet to see meat eaters curious to taste it—and then watch them love the taste of it! How exciting that they were such fun and adventurous eaters!
In the quest to make a gluten-free vegan version of Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie, I made six pies. And guess what? Not one of them tasted similar enough to Libby's for me to feel confident enough to bring them to Thanksgiving dinner. (My taste buds really miss Libby's!)
However, I'm so grateful to have had this opportunity to learn more about ingredient substitutions. The flax eggs worked perfectly. Sweetened condensed coconut milk created a candied flavor. Agave and date sugar were missing the texture and flavor I was seeking. My homemade plant-based condensed milk did not behave like animal condensed milk. Libby's official Vegan Pumpkin Pie recipe even had a final consistency closer to pudding. What an experience!
TO ADD HUMOR TO THIS ADVENTURE
Even though I was making all those pumpkin pies, I actually bought a gluten-free vegan pumpkin pie, as a foolproof backup, to take to Thanksgiving dinner. What could go wrong?!
Humorously, it was also missing a sweet pumpkin taste (poor thing, tasted a bit more like cardboard). Fortunately, one person at Thanksgiving dinner had not been raised on Libby's recipe, so he thought it was great. =)
But it was all great. Because this wasn't anything a little vegan whipped cream couldn't fix. (And who doesn't want six pumpkin pies Thanksgiving week?!)
Even better, instead of missing my favorite Thanksgiving food, I now look forward making them a whole lot more often, until I get their plant-based and gluten-free version just right.