This is a stellar plant-based dish for Thanksgiving: a lightened-up and super-easy main that can be prepared outdoors on the grill.

We call it Roast Beast. What we came up with was a giant and flavorful stack of meaty vegetables with a presentation that bests the turkey or ham or whatever it is everybody else is eating. Now vegans and vegetarians can have an impressive main dish of their own this November.

Roast Beast is a giant and flavorful stack of eggplant portobello mushrooms, roasted red peppers, onions

Many thanks to The Washington Post + Voraciously for highlighting this classic Chubby Vegetarian recipe this month in the piece “Thanksgiving Vegetarian and Vegan Mains that May Eclipse that Turkey”. And thank you Joe Yonan for adapting our recipe here and highlighting the steps to prepare in this this video.

You can also find the recipe on p. 110 of our second cookbook, The Chubby Vegetarian.

Roast Beast


2 large red bell peppers (roasted and peeled)

1/2 cup olive oil

1 head garlic, peeled, about 10 cloves, smashed

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

2 cups parsley, about one bunch

1/4 cup champagne vinegar

4 large portobello mushrooms

1 medium eggplant, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds

1 large onion

4 slices vegan provolone cheese slices

1 1/2 cups cooked orzo or cous cous

Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling

Rosemary sprigs, for garnish

Serves 4-6


> Special equipment needed: 3 large metal skewers

1. Preheat your outdoor grill to high. Prepare the roasted red peppers by charring the skins, letting them rest, then peeling and seeding them. Set aside until ready to assemble the dish.

2. In a small frying pan over the grill grates or on your side burner, heat the olive oil and add the smashed garlic. Cook until just browned.

3. Into the work bowl of your food processor add the olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, parsley, and vinegar. To make the pesto, process ingredients until well-incorporated, but still a little chunky.

4. In a large bowl, toss the portobello and eggplant in with the pesto until well-coated. Reserve the pesto left in the bottom of the bowl.

5. Add salt and pepper to taste to all ingredients.

6. Thread the vegetables onto a skewer: start with a mushroom and then add a slice of eggplant, half of a roasted red pepper, a slice of provolone, and a slice of onion. (You basically will be making a giant kabob.) Repeat this pattern four times. Press the stack tightly together and pierce it at an angle with the two other skewers.

7. Grill on a rack positioned slightly above the grill grates for 40 minutes and turn the beast every 10 minutes. Some of the cheese will drip out, but that’s fine. Much of it will melt into the vegetables and add a ton of flavor.

8. Remove the Roast Beast and allow it to rest for 10 minutes while tented in foil.

9. Serve on top of a bed of orzo or cous cous. Drizzle with the leftover pesto and some balsamic vinegar. Garnish with fresh rosemary.