Alibi V.16 No.45 • Nov 8-14, 2007 

Holiday Grub

The Vegetarian Thanksgiving

Don’t invite Tofurky this year

When it comes to food, tradition can often take precedent over individual concerns, leaving the lowly vegetarian gnawing on rolls and corn at a holiday dinner. But it doesn't have to be that way if you don't want it to (and if you're willing to take a little guff from grandma). Meet Yashoda Naidoo, lifelong vegetarian, owner and head chef of Annapurna Ayurvedic Cuisine and Chai House, which serves vegetarian and vegan foods cooked in the ancient Indian ayurvedic tradition. "If you look very deep inside, you will see that it all comes back to, 'I choose to go down this path, I don't have to go through deprivation on Thanksgiving dinner when everyone else is enjoying the turkey.' You can have a dish that is totally contrary to what's on the table and still be connected and giving thanks. It's really what you make of it," she says.

Naidoo, who has hosted Thanksgiving dinners at Annapurna for the past several years, is a passionate vegetarian who doesn't eat the highly processed imitation meats often associated with vegetarianism. Instead, she prefers to create all fruit- and vegetable-based concoctions. While Annapurna will not be having their popular Thanksgiving dinner this year, Naidoo's food can be purchased in family-sized portions the day before Thanksgiving. Or you can give one of her recipes a spin yourself. "It's very earthy and very real, not foreign-tasting, like the Tofurky," she says.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Ridged and dark green with orange splotches, the acorn squash is a winter variety containing a slightly sweet orange flesh.
Makes 4 servings


2 acorn squashes, washed, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed
1/4 cup water
4 scallions, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 cup diced seasonal veggies
2 cups cooked brown rice
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, roasted
Bragg Liquid Aminos to taste
Crystallized ginger for garnish (optional)


1) Preheat oven to 350°F. Place squashes cut side down on a baking sheet with high sides. Add the 1/4 cup of water the pan and bake for 30 minutes.

2) Steam the veggies until tender. Combine cooked rice, steamed veggies, sunflower seeds and Bragg Liquid Aminos.

3) Remove squash and fill the cavity with the prepared filling. If desired, garnish with crystallized ginger.


Stuffed acorn squash

Spinach-potato-mushroom casserole

Mashed potatoes and parsnips

Mushroom gravy

Fresh cranberry sauce

Pecan pie