The Ultimate Thanksgiving Vegetarian Dish

For those of you not familiar with the Vegducken, it’s the vegetarian take on a Turducken, made by stuffing a zucchini into an eggplant into a butternut squash. I should have realized after watching the video that it was quite a process, but I figured if the meat version gets a place at the table, why not spend some hours to please the vegetarians? Here’s a breakdown of what went wrong, and the few things that went right.

Frieda Projansky


Where I Failed

  • The recipe’s biggest flaw was underestimating how hard it would be to gut the butternut squash. Through advice of reviewers, I baked my squash first for 20 minutes. Although a bit softer, the carving was time consuming and difficult. I came close to quitting with every half piece of squash (I tripled the recipe, so there were six I was supposed to conquer, and I gave up after four).
  • I used a blender instead of a food processor on the stuffing mixture. So, I added a bit of liquid (vegetable stock) to break the pieces down. I also heated the mix before blending it instead of the recipe’s opposite method, because softening the vegetables was easier on my blender.
  • I changed the layers and so the squash skin didn’t cook enough. But what can I say, my eggplant was actually bigger than my squash.
  • The entire thing ended up looking….brown.
Before cooking

Where I Killed it*

  • The stuffing turned out to be amazing! It was nice to not waste anything—the insides of zucchini, eggplant and squash—and with the addition of some pecans, breadcrumbs, parsley, and parmesan, it was a masterpiece.
  • I had so much leftover stuffing that I cooked it separately in a baking pan until golden. The flavors there were pretty incredible. Honestly, I should have just served that.
  • I didn’t even tie the vegducken halves up with twine to bake, as the recipe had instructed. I felt too defeated and knew they’d fall apart. So I kept them halved, drowned every layer in the maple butter syrup, loaded them with stuffing, topped with pecans, and decorated them with one scallion each.
  • The vegduckens did keep their shape. Plus, my attempt was an interesting conversation starter.


After cooking

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