My Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dinner

A year has gone by without me posting anything on this site… A lot has happened. I’ve been busy writing and shooting for my new city guide The 500 Hidden Secrets of the Hague, I started working as a freelance photographer for Ekoplaza, Netherlands’ largest organic grocery chain, and I’ve become fully vegetarian (Thus, from now on, you’ll only find vegetarian recipes on my kitchen table.)

Food photography masterclasses

Frankly, I had my doubts about continuing blogging. As we all know it’s time consuming. Very time consuming. However, several weeks ago I’ve been approached by Mischa de Muynck from Heel Holland Fotografeert and he asked if I was interested in setting up food photography workshops which he would promote on his site. Mischa knows everything there is to know about photography. He is also known as the ‘Lightroom Doctor’ and came to the rescue several times when I got stuck with this indispensable editing service .

If everything works out well, I will be giving food photography masterclasses together with my talented sister-in-law, Femke de Winter, this Spring. Femke works at the Veldkeuken, an old estate near Utrecht, and made the Veldkeuken cookbook, which has been rewarded ‘best cookbook’ in 2015. I’m thrilled that the workshops will be held in the gorgeous organic bakery of De Veldkeuken.

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dinner

Somehow it feels incomplete not having an-up-to-date food site while giving food photography Materclasses. Hence, from now on I’ll regularly post about my food experiences again, starting with this simple but elegant vegetarian stuffed pumpkins which I’m going to prepare for Thanksgiving. This recipe of mine was also featured in the Dutch culinary magazine ELLE Eten (ELLE Food) last month. Together with a crisp salad with red cabbage, beets, cavolo nero, and pecans, it’s certain to beat the traditional Turkey Dinner in our house.



4 small orange pumpkins (about 500-600 grams/1.5 lb each)
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra
1 onion, minced
250 g/ 9 oz chestnut mushrooms, sliced
16-20 sage leaves

150 g/ 5 oz (day-old) baguette, cut into small cubes
150 g/ 5 oz Gruyère cheese, coarsely grated
2 cloves of garlic, finely grated
150 ml/ 2/3 cup vegetable broth
150 ml/ 2/3 cup whipping or heavy cream

Extra: baking sheet covered with parchment paper
, paper towel

  1. Preheat the oven to 175 C/ 350 F. With a sharp knife, cut a ‘lid’ out of the top of the pumpkins and clear away the seeds and strings from the inside with a spoon. Season the inside of the pumpkins with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the oil in a skillet and cook the onion for 1-2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes, until soft. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
  3. Chop half of the sage leaves finely. In a bowl, mix the mushrooms with the baguette, cheese, garlic, chopped sage, and some freshly ground black pepper. Pack the mixture into the pumpkins.
  4. In a jar, mix the broth with the cream. Pour the mixture into the pumpkins. Put the lids back on top. Place the pumpkins onto the baking sheet and bake them for 45 minutes. Remove the lids (and put them next to the pumpkins) and bake for 15-20 minutes more, until the top of the stuffing is golden brown.
  5. Meanwhile, heat a thin layer of oil in a small skillet. Add the sage leaves and fry them for about 30 seconds until crisp. Transfer with a fork to paper towels.
  6. Garnish the stuffed pumpkins with the fried sage leaves. Brush the outsides of the pumpkins with some oil. Serve with a mixed salad. Scoop out the flesh and stuffing of the pumpkin and leave the skin.

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4 Comments on My Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dinner

  1. Maren
    November 27, 2019 at 1:48 am (4 years ago)

    Tal! What a wonderful recipe — I have been doing this as a fall dinner centerpiece for a few years. Some variation from your version, but the basic idea. It is the perfect main for a vegetarian special dinner. How beautiful!

    For environmental reasons, we are eating vegetarian 3-4 nights a week, with at least one night vegan. I look forward to your blog for ideas and thoughts about plant-based elevated dining.

    Much love, Maren

  2. Tal Maes
    November 28, 2019 at 10:19 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi Maren, thank you so much for your kind comment, my most loyal follower! I was thinking of you while posting this recipe. Thanksgiving, your family, and the lovely dinners we spent at your house will always be remembered! Hope you’re having a beautiful Thanksgiving right now with all your loved ones! Wish we were there to celebrate it with you! Warmly, Tal

  3. Marjolein
    December 2, 2019 at 11:57 am (3 years ago)

    Hi Tal! Wonderful to read that you’ve now become a full time vegetarian too! I’m looking forward to many more of your vegetarian recipes. Your pumpkin with gruyère recipe from the Kitchen Table Food cookbook has been a favourite winter dish here for a few years now, but I will definitely try this one as an alternative version.

  4. Tal Maes
    December 3, 2019 at 10:11 pm (3 years ago)

    Hi Marjolein, thank you! Yes, last year I decided to totally skip meat and fish from my diet. I must say, I do not miss it at all! My new challenge will be to eat less cheese, milk, eggs…;)

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