Vegetarian Thanksgiving White Bean Cassoulet
If the time has come to decide what you’re going to prepare as a main dish this Turkey Day, and if you do not partake in actual turkey, let’s get creative. What comes to mind when you think of a vegetarian Thanksgiving recipe? Tofurkey and veggie sides. Well, forego the Tofurkey this year and step outside the box for a vegetarian Thanksgiving recipe. Most popular Thanksgiving side dishes are adequately vegetarian. There’s no meat, after all, in mashed potatoes, roasted yams, chestnut stuffing, or even green bean casserole. Instead of serving a table full of side dishes, though, or cooking up another vegetarian lasagna for Thanksgiving, we thought of another creative main dish to serve at your table.
We love this white bean cassoulet recipe for a lot of reasons. It’s hearty. It’s easy to scale up or down. It’s unusual. It’s unexpected. Also: it will fill your house with similar aromatics to a big bird, and give your guests a great serving experience when you set it in the middle of the table.
Cassoulet is a very traditional French dish. It is rich and hearty and normally includes duck sausage and a lot of duck fat. In this dish, we swap out the sausage for marinated portabella mushrooms and we finish it up in the oven to give it that hearty appeal.
- 3 cans white (cannellini) beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 celery ribs, chopped
- Three carrots, diced
- Three to four thyme sprigs
- Three to four rosemary sprigs
- 1/4 bunch of sage
- 1 medium white onion, chopped
- 3-4 cups vegetarian broth
- Olive Oil
- 1 cup plain bread crumbs
- Three garlic cloves
- Salt and Pepper (to taste)
- 3 large portabella mushrooms
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and Pepper (to taste)
- Remove stems from portabella mushrooms. Coarsely chop into 1/2-inch pieces. Whisk together garlic, salt, paprika and fennel seeds until combined. Mix in mushrooms gently. Marinate several hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Tie the herbs together in a bouquet garni with kitchen string or place inside a garni bag.
- Heat a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Melt two tablespoons butter and one tablespoon olive oil.
- Stir in one chopped garlic clove, celery, carrot and onion until onion is translucent.
- Drain mushrooms from marinade (you don’t have to rinse)
- Add mushrooms and turn until they start to release their liquid, keeping the pan hot.
- Add 2 cups broth, garni and white beans. Reduce heat. Simmer until liquid reduces by about a third, roughly 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Discard garni.
- Salt and pepper to taste. (NOTE: the mushrooms will be salty so wait until the cassoulet has simmered a while before seasoning.)
- Melt two tablespoons butter in a saucepan and brown breadcrumbs over medium heat until golden.
- In a large Dutch oven or a deep roasting pan, pour the mixture from the pan. If you want this to be on the rich side, cube 2-3 tablespoons of butter and drop throughout. Take a ricer or a potato masher and gently crush the beans slightly (don’t mash them all the way!)
- If the mixture looks dry (the liquid will evaporate) add more broth 1/2 cup at a time until the bean mixture is almost completely submerged (you don’t want it to be too soup-like). Top with the breadcrumbs.
- Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Serve this vegetarian Thanksgiving recipe center table with crusty baguette, or try our gluten and dairy free 7-grain bread recipe for sopping up all the delicious juices. Enjoy!