I will never forget Thanksgiving of 2016…it is one of the most heart warming experiences I have ever had. There were 12 of us who got together to share laughs, love, and lots of food! It was a vegan Thanksgiving all around which is the second time we have experienced such a thing. Up until Thanksgiving of 2015, we celebrated with friends and loved ones who made the “traditional” turkey a part of their day.
As vegans for the last few years, my husband and I never necessarily felt alienated. But let’s face it… when you are dealing with a holiday that is filled with animal laden fare, it can be hard to get away from. So we would usually end up bringing along a big salad and plenty of pasta to go around so that we could be sure to have something to eat other than the veggies (without the ranch or cheesy spinach dip of course). We love pasta so it never felt like we were sacrificing during Thanksgiving dinner.
On Thanksgiving of 2015 we spent a wonderful day with our grown son, and had an entirely vegan feast. It was a quiet yet special day that I will always hold dear to my heart. We talked, played Monopoly, and expressed our gratitude to one another. What special memories!
But the truth of the matter is that I never expected to spend a Thanksgiving Day as we did this year. We met up with 11 other beautiful souls who reside here on the BigIsland and had one of the most relaxing and heart fulfilling Thanksgivings ever. Not only did we get to enjoy the company of others who share some of the same outlooks as we do here on planet Earth, but we got to explore the depths of what really makes a day like Thanksgiving special.
It is not about the food or the entertainment. It does not have anything to do with the death and consumption of millions of poor turkeys. The day is all about remembering all of the things we have to be thankful for every single day. It’s a day we set aside each year to specifically relish in our gratitude for everything this planet has to offer us from the green grass and fresh air, to the warmth of the sun on our faces and the vegetation that has the ability to feed us all.
With that said, food seems to always play a role in Thanksgiving and there is certainly nothing wrong with that! If you haven’t noticed already, I really LOVE to eat. So does hubby. In fact, I’m pretty sure that eating is a huge reason we are so compatible J
So when I saw all of the delectable offerings in our friends’ beautiful kitchen, I just about fell on the floor. There were so many colors and smells overwhelming me I could barely contain my excitement! I couldn’t possibly remember everything that made its presence on the table!
There were mounds of mashed potatoes (I thought about them for a couple of days afterward, lol) and boat loads of some of the best stuffing I have ever had. There was fresh fruit galore. There were stuffed mushrooms and peppers, Thai noodles and pumpkin breads, and of course plenty of pumpkin pie. The raw vegan chocolate coconut ice cream cake (with strawberries!) was to die for, and was almost as beautiful as my friend who made it.
There were also several types of salads, one of which I was responsible for bringing… which ended up being a butternut squash salad. I already had a squash and wanted to do something different with it that is not normally seen. They seem to typically be roasted or grilled, and I actually wanted to keep mine raw. So I decided to try my hand at a butternut squash salad recipe!
This butternut squash salad recipe includes lots of ingredients you would expect to see during the fall, so it’s perfect for end of the year holidays. I think it could easily be made into a dessert by omitting the greens and tossing the salad in a combination of sweetener and cinnamon instead of the dressing that was used in this recipe. It was really easy to make and turned out really well, so I thought I would share! Here is what you will need for this butternut squash salad recipe:
(Serves 2 As a Main Dish or More as a Side)
For the Salad:
- 1 Butternut Squash (cut in half and de-seeded)
- 2 Medium Carrots (peel the top layer for a brighter color in your salad)
- 4 Cups Shredded Chard (or your favorite greens… spinach, kale, etc.)
- .25 Cup Dried Currants (or raisins)
For the Dressing:
- 2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar (you can use apple cider vinegar instead)
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- Juice of .5 Orange (optional)
- 1-2 Cloves Diced Garlic (depending on your taste buds )
Grate the squash and the carrots with your shredding blade on the food processor or with a traditional “cheese” grater (I chose the latter method for fun, which it did NOT end up being…) and combine the squash and carrots with your shredded greens in a big bowl. Throw your currants or raisins in the bowl and toss everything together, then set aside.
Using a personal blender or a small bowl and a fork, mix the dressing until it is completely combined. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir, then let it sit for about 20 minutes to marinade. Then it’s ready to eat! This salad is great on its own, but it can lend beautifully to both savory and sweet dishes.