It's always a challenge to find a vegan centerpiece for special occasions like Thanksgiving or Christmas. The spectacle of a turkey is such a traditional experience for most of us that replacing it requires a truly magnificent dish. Lasagna just won't cut it.
When I first became vegetarian, it was the subscription to Vegetarian Times that kept me supplied with original ideas for the holiday centerpiece. Every year they supplied in their November and December issues a couple of holiday main dishes, and, since there was no internet to speak of then, these options were welcome.
Our family's favorite over the years has been this seitan and stuffing loaf, covered with puff pastry, that appeared in the 1995 holiday edition of Vegetarian Times. Ironically, it was one of the first main dishes I made for our newly vegetarian holiday table, but it's still my family's most requested dish.
But when I was asked to make it this year, I knew it needed a bit of updating. Back in the nineties I'd never heard of tarragon, or even imagined that I could make my own seitan, nor did my pantry contain a magical ingredient called "liquid smoke."
I've updated the recipe, included an easy recipe for seitan, and upped the herb quotient considerably.
It's a pretty inpressive centerpiece, and I guarantee your family won't miss the turkey or the ham if you put this in front of them.
Keep reading for the recipe, and click here for a printable version.