Looking for something new to prepare this Thanksgiving? Want to get your family involved in the cooking? Watch as Andy Shallal, B.S. 1975, P ’19, the founder and owner of Busboys & Poets, prepares a vegan vegetable curry that he says “hugs you from inside.”

“Thanksgiving has always been one of the most special holidays in my life. My father had a business when we were growing up, and the only day he was closed was Thanksgiving Day. That was the day that nobody had to think about the business. … We were all home together.”

Shallal, who also shares his Catholic University story during the video, immigrated to the U.S. from Iraq when he was 10. He said while his family cooked some traditional Thanksgiving dishes, they would also incorporate Middle Eastern foods like hummus and kebabs.

Inspired by an Indian recipe, the side dish he prepares with one of the chefs at the Brookland Busboys & Poets location is an ideal one for a family to make together.

“I love people all working together in the kitchen,” Shallal said. “It’s velvety, it’s delicious. During the winter time, you need that internal hug. I think it beats any turkey any day.”

Recipe: Busboys and Poets Vegetable Curry


Sauce ingredients

  • 2 tbsp white onions
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped garlic
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 oz olive oil

Sauce instructions

  1. Heat saucepan on medium-high heat.
  2. Add 1 oz olive oil to the saucepan.
  3. Add onions and garlic. Roast for 1 minute or until brown.
  4. Add all spices and tomato paste.
  5. Saute for 30 seconds.
  6. Add coconut milk.
  7. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  8. Salt to taste.


Vegetable ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chopped cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped fingerling potatoes
  • 1/3 cup garbanzo beans
  • 1/3 cup green peas
  • 1/4 cup diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1 oz olive oil

Vegetable instructions

  1. Heat frying pan, then add 1 oz olive oil.
  2. Add cauliflower and carrots. Sauté for 2 minutes.
  3. Add garlic. Sauté for 2 minutes.
  4. Add garbanzo beans, green peas, tomatoes, and fingerling potatoes. Sauté for 1 minute.
  5. Add sauce. Warm for about 2 minutes.
  6. Serve over basmati rice.