So yes, the Thanksgiving holiday and feasting are over, which is why I am currently bundled up in my bed with my food baby from Vinh Loi‘s vegan turkey. The chaos and consumerism of Black Friday are upon us, which serve as two VERY significant reasons for me to STAY bundled up in my bed with my vegan turkey food baby. However, I don’t think it would be at all justified for me to skip some REALLY memorable events of Thanksgiving-related festivities and feasting prior to the actual holiday!
A few weeks ago, my Thai-Vietnamese club announced that it would be hosting a Thanksgiving banquet in downtown SLO! The event would also feature an awards ceremony, an all-you-can-eat potluck feast and cooking competition! As members, we all have to whip up a giant dish that would serve 7-8 people. How could I NOT pass the opportunity to concoct a vegan recipe that would wow the crowd?
For this dinner celebration, I was inspired by a really easy vegan dahl recipe I discovered on High Carb Hannah’s channel and website. My “Big” (club term for mentor) and I spent a couple of hours preparing, tweaking and cooking the dahl, and we were so excited about how delicious the result was, given that my Big doesn’t cook a lot and that I have never made this recipe before. Also, since I predicted that the majority of the other foods being served would be Chinese, Thai or Vietnamese, then it would be nice to share something of a different cuisine. Besides, who doesn’t love Indian food?
As for changing the recipe, we used a jar of curry paste instead of the listed spices, as well as adding a summer squash for volume. For the full video demonstration of the recipe, click the link here.
- 2 cups red lentils
- 2 small/medium summer squashes (approximately 4 cups, cubed)
- 1 large red bell pepper (approximately 1 cup, diced)
- 1 small red onion (approximately 1/2 cup, diced)
- 1 small jar of curry paste (approximately 5 heaping tablespoons)
- 6 cups of water (for more flavor and thickness, sub two cups of water for tomato sauce or coconut milk)
- Opt: seasonings and other vegetables
- Set a large pot on medium heat and bring the six cups of water to a boil.
- While the water heats up, cut the vegetables evenly.
- Boil the vegetables in the water, stirring until they become slightly soft.
- Decrease the heat to low and thoroughly mix the lentils and curry paste into the pot.
- Bring the dahl to a simmer until the lentils completely thicken.
Unfortunately, prior to the banquet, I was told that aside from the dahl, vegan options would be VERY scarce. I ended up having to bring some leftover edamame spaghetti for myself to add more sustenance into my dinner, which was totally fine with me. Aside from that, I rushed to the banquet center and was still stoked to see everybody dressed up so nicely, enjoying really positive vibes with one another.
The diverse platter of food on the buffet table looked absolutely brilliant as well! Even though very few dishes were vegan-friendly, I ended up trying three different curries: a Japanese vegetable curry, a Thai green curry (which I was THRILLED to find), and the Indian vegan dahl. My Big also brought forbidden rice to serve everything with!
For dinner, I ended up noshing on the edamame spaghetti and all three curries. Despite the Japanese and Thai curries tasting absolutely amazing, I remained somewhat biased and enjoyed my dahl the most. Seriously, my Big and I NAILED the consistency of it. On the other hand, the Japanese and Thai curries easily spilled from my flimsy paper plate. Sadly, there were no bowls to properly eat them!
Even though the judge of the food content did not end up picking the dahl as the winning dish, the rest of the club members seemed to really enjoy it. It made me so happy to see that vegan food indeed tastes wonderful and is exciting, contrary to popular belief. Food doesn’t have to be the ONLY component of celebration. If anything, love, friendship and positive communal connection are way more valuable than that. As cliche as it sounds, they truly are important.
Speaking of friendship, the banquet was concluded with a mini not-so-official-but-absolutely-indeed-official awards ceremony. Me and another club member took home the Loyalty Award because we were the members that spent the most time with the Thai-Vietnamese club out of everybody else! Being in a club with like-minded people who embrace my ethnic culture is more than enough already, but it brought so much gratitude and joy to my heart that others thought of me as a valued member of this community.
Though I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving on such a level that is emotionally and physically compatible with that of the rest of society (you can read why at this link), this event was one of many that drew me to embrace many aspects of my life that I have. In particular, this banquet emphasizes my appreciation for my Thai-Vietnamese club and how amazing everyone is; secondly, my privilege of having an education that holds strong quality and potential; lastly, for the opportunities for making new friends and exchanging positivity in my environment.
I hope that you enjoyed this somewhat different post encompassing one part of my college life! Please check out the original recipe AND try out the recipe for the dahl, as well as commenting below on what you did for Thanksgiving (if you celebrate it), what you ate (aka what’s in your food baby) and what you are thankful for. Don’t forget to also address what you would like to see on my blog in the future! ❤
Do you have non-traditional Thanksgiving dishes? If you celebrate Thanksgiving, what did you eat and what are you grateful for?