Canadian thanksgiving (vegan)

Amazing Thanksgiving dinner

Here in Canada, Thanksgiving is some 6-7 weeks earlier than in the US. This year it occurred on Oct 9th (as opposed to Nov 23rd in the US). We celebrated together with Moah’s family who are currently visiting. For this occasion, we served pastry wrapped seitan with typical sides (which we, admittedly, have mostly picked up from American (read US) TV and friends, rather than Canadian traditions).

From what we’ve gathered, Thanksgiving in Canada is very similar to the more well known US Thanksgiving traditions but without football. Also, it doesn’t seem to be as widespread/large as the US counterpart which sometimes seems to overshadow Christmas. This is our first Thanksgiving since we moved to Canada and as luck would have it, we have family visiting from Sweden so we decided to make them a nice dinner (which they of course had to help with since they are here).

Making vegan sides is very straight forward, just replace the different dairy products with oil and nut based vegan versions. The main question is, what to replace the ever present turkey with. Tofurkey seems popular but we decided to make our own star of the meal instead of buying and heating a piece of weirdly shaped tofu. After some searching, we found an interesting recipe for pastry wrapped seitan which we altered somewhat, as described here. To accompany this very nice dish, we made a series of sides which all turned out great. The whole meal was very nice indeed.

Full thanksgiving spread. No decorative centerpiece, sorry.

Puff pastry rolled seitan

This year we created a puff pastry baked seitan roll, modified from a German Christmas recipe by Purple Avocado. The recipe was much easier to execute than we thought when we first read it. It even appears to have been Purple Avocado’s first attempt at seitan, so don’t be deterred from trying it yourself.

One log, ca 4 servings

Oven set to 175C, bake

Dry ingredients:

  • 175 g gluten flour
    • Note: not gluten free flour but he opposite, flour which is ~70% gluten. Can often be found in health stores. In Canada it is carried by bulk barn
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1 tsp thyme, dried
  • 1 tsp sage, dried
  • 1 tsp vegetable stock powder

Wet ingredients:

  • 70 mL soy sauce / tamari
  • 125 mL water or vegetable stock (if not using powder in dry ingredients)
  • 1 tbsp tomato puré

Filling:

  • One onion

Crust:

  • Puff pastry, 200g (packet said 12×12”)
    • (quite easy to locate unintentionally vegan brands)

Instructions

  1. Thaw puff pastry as per instructions (e.g. overnight in fridge)
  2. Slice the onion, fry it at medium heat until it is nice and brown. 20-30 min
  3. While onions are frying, combine dry ingredients for seitan in a bowl
  4. Combine wet ingredients for seitan separately
  5. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients. The gluten is great at absorbing liquid. The final dough will be both a bit crumbly and a bit moist
  6. Set aside while onions finish browning
  7. Working on a parchment paper: roll out puff pastry to large rectangle, ca 15×30 cm, 1 mm thick
  8. Roll out seitan dough on puff pastry. We used a combination of rolling pin and stretching by hand. This was not at all as hard as we imagined from reading the original recipe. Leave some puff pastry at all four edges for sealing later
  9. Spread thin layer of the onions on top
  10. Roll up carefully, along the long edge. Stretch the thin puff pastry ‘lip’ and press onto the puff pastry to seal the roll. You might need to add some water here (between the pastry layers)
  11. Seal the ends by folding in, stretching and pressing gently
  12. Turn seitan log so seal is facing down (on the parchment paper). Transfer to baking tray
  13. Brush with oil
  14. Bake in oven 60 min at 175C. At the end, will be light brown on top, nice brown underneath. Note, we only used heat from below (bake)
  15. Turn on grill at end to get some nice colour on top as well

Notes

Oven setting bake: only heat from below (no other option in our kitchen). In Sweden, ovens can be set to heat from below and/or above at controllable temperatures. Not so here in Canada. The original recipe calls for 190C (lower/upper heat) or 170C (convection). We were afraid of overcooking from below and set a lower temp.

Nutritional yeast: Popular vegan ingredient. Small flakes which look a bit like fish food. Good source of B12. Has a flavor reminiscent of fried butter.

Seitan seasoning: A nice thing with making seitan is that you can mix up the seasoning however you want. As long as you stick to an ok gluten flour-to-liquid ratio, the seasoning doesn’t matter. Here we used thyme and sage because we will use this in the gravy and stuffing as well, creating a theme in the menu. Most other times we make seitan (usually for stir fry), we only use garlic and nutritional yeast and boil the seitan patties in soy/stock/ginger before slicing and frying.

Side dishes

Picking the correct sides is an art form. Here we combine creamy mash with savoury stuffing and gravy, sweet creamed corn, bitter brussel sprouts and acidic kale salad. The cranberry sauce is both sweet and a bit sour, filling a  role similar to Swedish lingon berry jam. To create a sense of cohesion, we limited the flavour profile by using few spices throughout the different dishes: thyme, sage, vegetable stock and tamari (and some selleri inn the stuffing).

Mashed potatoes

Boil potatoes and mash them with (vegan) margarine/butter and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Creamy and filling, a must in a Thanksgiving spread.

Creamed corn

Fry thawed, frozen corn (ca 400g) in oil until it gets some colour, add 1 tbsp butter and flour (ca 2 tbsp). Mix until corn is evenly coated in butter and flour.  Add almond milk (ca 1 cup). Let cook until it gets thick, ca 20 min. Pure ~1/3 of the corn with an immersion blender. Pureing some makes the creamed corn more creamy and releases sugars from the corn, making it sweeter.

Roasted brussel sprouts

Halve brussels, coat with oil and salt. bake in oven at 230C ca 20-30 min, until cooked through and coloured nicely.

Gravy with roasted onions and marsala wine, from What would Cathy eat?  Very savoury. Roasted onion and garlic the day before to save time.

Stuffing from Savvy Vegetarian . Super tasty, gooey and crunchy.

Kale salad from Cookie+Kate. Great side, adding freshness to the whole meal. Roasted pecans were great.

Cranberry sauce from the discount brand No Name, served in can for extra style.

2 Replies to “Canadian thanksgiving (vegan)”

  1. Awww, I’m glad you liked my recipe and how you transformed it to your taste 🙂
    Your Thanksgiving dinner looks amazing!
    I celebrated it once, when I was living abroad in Vancouver and we had such a good time.

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