The American day of Thanksgiving is almost here and, if you are from the States and in charge of this day’s dish-heavy meal, no doubt you have your menu planned, with perhaps some dishes stashed in the freezer to make life easier on the day itself.
Thanksgiving is always the last Thursday in November, so is a normal working day for other countries. But there is no reason in the world not to take elements of this family-oriented holiday of giving thanks and bring them into your home. Why wait until Christmas, when the presents and hype take over? In fact, because Thanksgiving is a secular holiday, it is celebrated more widely than Christmas. And is just as delicious and plentiful.
Typically the dining table is rammed with loads of seasonal dishes, with many of them either vegetarian or easily vegetarian (bacon is commonly added to loads of otherwise vegetarian dishes). Here is a great Pinterest page with loads of links to fabulous-looking vegetarian Thanksgiving Day recipes. I will try and put together my own compendium tomorrow for you. And, if you fancy turning a ho-hum dining table into a rustic-chic masterpiece, this page is brimming with stylish and inexpensive ideas.
As for today’s recipe, it is an incredibly easy – and naturally vegan – nod to my North American roots. Deliciously sweet, these maple-roasted rainbow carrots can be made ahead and blasted in a hot oven with your roast potatoes – if you are making these for a holiday meal. Or, if you’ve nothing better to do (that’s a joke, btw), cook from scratch on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day itself. As for any leftovers (as with cranberry sauce, always make more than you need), whiz them up with some crème fraiche or cashew cream (see my Creamed Kale recipe) for a yummy, colourful mash.
Although I’ve used fancy-pants rainbow carrots, of course use any carrots that you like.
Whether you are celebrating the official US Thanksgiving Day, or giving thanks in your own time and fashion, make it special. We have so much for which to be thankful.
Maple-Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Fennel Seeds
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
1. Drop carrots into boiling water and bring back to the boil, and fast simmer for five minutes. Steam dry in a colander, then pop into a wide shallow bowl (or on the baking tray) and toss with the oil until well coated. Roast on a baking tray for 15 minutes at 200C (400F).
2. Pull the tray from the oven and drizzle over the maple syrup with a teaspoon then gently shake the tray a little to get the carrots well covered in syrup. Scatter over the fennel seeds. Roast in the oven for a further five minutes, until the syrup starts to bubble but not burn. Serve warm as a side dish.
Leftovers? Blitz with creme fraiche for a lovely puree, or chop and add to either a grain salad with other tasty bits, or dropped into a quiche mixture with some poached salmon perhaps.