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Veggieducken: Why I Invented This Vegetarian Thanksgiving Centerpiece Masterpiece

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Cooking Channel
Cooking Channel


I love Thanksgiving. And I love turkey. So while my vegetarian friends insist that they aren't missing out, I have a hard time believing them. It's not that you have to eat meat to enjoy the holiday. I understand the sides are delicious too. But the sides aren't special.

Roasting a whole turkey is a day-long happening. It's something you only do a couple of times a year (at most). The turkey's preparation and revelation are events, and the bird is the centerpiece of the table.

Vegetarians never had that...until now. As I explain in the Thanksgiving episode of my podcast and blog The Sporkful, I invented the Veggieducken so that my vegetarian friends could have that same experience -- spending the day in the kitchen (hopefully drinking), cooking a food so large and complicated that you'd only do it on special occasions, and ending up with a dish worthy of your Thanksgiving table's centerpiece. (Video here and recipe here.)

The Veggieducken is a vegetarian dish inspired by the turducken, which is a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey, with stuffing between each layer. A Veggieducken is yams inside leeks inside a banana squash, with vegetarian stuffing between each layer.

At the first Thanksgiving, two very different groups of people sat down together to break bread. Let's extend this tradition to the Thanksgiving table itself, by placing the Veggieducken on the table, right next to the turkey. You're welcome, America.