A vegan thanksgiving: recipes and tips
A vegan thanksgiving. What?! No Turkey? How is it even Thanksgiving without the Turkey? Well as long as there are mashed potatoes and gravy, it can be thanksgiving anyday. There are other ways to get protein (how else would the vegan world survive??) and these are the best of sides, and desserts, to keep you filled to the brim for your healthy Thanksgiving meal. The great plus about making Thanksgiving vegan is there isn't as much of a food hangover, so more food can fit!
As long as candles are lit, wine and cocktails are flowing with abundance, friends and family are filling the house with laughter and conversation, and the food is healthy and cooked with love, it can be Thanksgiving anytime of the year. No Turkey necessary.
PLANNING! Planning is necessary. when there are so many things to cook and usually one oven to make everything in/on, a plan is essential for timing of the food. Multitasking does not come second nature for a lot of people, so writing out an 'itinerary' of what and when to make things, may come to your benefit. Yes, I said itinerary. Meaning when you are going to start cooking, what you are going to cook first (i.e., what takes the longest in the oven, what needs the most prep, etc) to make your cooking the least stressful. Stress and cooking should not go hand in hand. At this point, you may want to recruit someone to be your dishwasher...enter your BFF or significant other....Grab some booze (you need some for recipes anyways, and only you know if its 10am and you're drinking champagne), put on your favorite playlist, and preheat that oven! Let's get cooking!
Recipes, in no particular order:
Brussel sprout and kale salad
Maple Dijon vinaigrette
Time: 25 minutes Servings: 15
3 lbs brussel sprouts
1 bunch kale (or bag of precut, prewashed kale)
2 sweet potatoes
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup finely chopped red onion
3 tbsp pure maple syrup (not that fake kind!)
3 tbsp Dijon mustard (can be course grain)
1 cup EVOO
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1. Boil a pot of water, with a splash of salt. Peel and dice sweet potatoes into ½ inch cubes. Boil sweet potatoes until soft. Drain sweet potatoes, rinse with cold water to stop cooking process. Place in fridge until needed.
2. Cut and discard bottoms of brussel sprouts. Using a food processor and slicing blade, slice all the raw brussel sprouts. Add to serving bowl
3. Chop raw kale. Toss with brussel sprouts.
4. Add cranberries, cooked and cold sweet potatoes, and chopped onion to salad.
5. Whisk together all ingredients for dressing in a separate container.
Dressing can be added just before serving, or within a few hours before. Toss salad with dressing. Store in fridge until ready to serve.
Blistered green beans
Time: 15 minutes Servings: 10
3-5 lbs of fresh green beans (ends snipped and rinsed)
5-6 sprigs of green spring onions
¾ - 1 cup raw, unblanched, unsalted almonds, chopped
olive oil (option to substitute for coconut, avocado, or grapeseed oil)
In a deep sauté pan, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high heat. A cast iron skillet works best for blistering, but also heats differently, so adjust your temperature accordingly.
Drop raw, fresh green beans into oil. Toss to coat. Place a lid on for 4-5 minutes, or until green beans begin to turn a deeper green. The oil will be very hot and will look like it is burning. This IS the process of blistering, don’t turn down the heat!
After a few minutes with the lid on, remove the lid and allow the liquid to burn off while the green beans become browned. Toss every 1-2 minutes as the bottom beans begin to blister.
As most of the beans are blistered, add the green onion and almonds. Toss with tongs. Heat should still be on medium-high. This will also release the almond oil to give depth of flavor.
Remove from heat once almost all beans are blistered brown and onions look cooked. Keep warm until ready to serve! Can put back into a broiler on low heat quickly to warm back up and retain blister texture.
Squashed wild rice with onions, mushrooms and pecans
Time: 45 -60 minutes Servings: 10-12 Preheat: 415 degrees
3 cups uncooked wild rice blend (you can also make your own blend with brown, white, black, jade, or himalyan rice)
1 large butternut squash
1 medium red onion, chopped into quarter slices
1 package baby bella mushrooms, stems removed, sliced
1 cup raw pecans, roughly chopped
1 tbsp garlic powder
Cook rice blend in boiled water, following its own directions.
Peel, deseed butternut squash. Cut into 1 inch cubes. Toss in coconut oil, salt and pepper. Place a flat layer on a baking sheet. Cook for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. Until browned and soft.
In a medium sauté pan, heat a tbsp. coconut oil on medium heat. Add sliced onion and mushroom. Cover for 3-5 minutes. Remove lid and cook mushroom until soft and onions are translucent.
Combine Rice, cooked squash, onion and mushroom, and pecans together. Mix until evenly combined. Add a little coconut oil if rice is too sticky. Toss with garlic powder, Salt and pepper to taste.
Balsamic glazed carrots with fresh sage
Time: 45 minutes Servings: 8 Preheat: 415 degrees
1 bunch or bag of carrots (about 1-2 lbs)
salt and pepper
fresh chopped sage
1. cut off ends of carrots and wash thoroughly. If carrots are uneven in size, cut length wise to make long sticks of similar size. Important for even roasting.
2. Toss carrots with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and course ground salt.
3. Roast carrots in oven for 30-45 minutes, depending on your desired 'crunch'. Rotating the pan and tossing every 15-ish minutes.
4. While the carrots are roasting, prepare the balsamic glaze. 1 cup of balsamic vinegar in a small pot, with 2 tbsp sugar. Bring to a boil while occasionally whisking. Glaze is ready when it becomes thicker and coats the back of a metal spoon.
5. Remove carrots, drizzle balsamic glaze. Sprinkle with coarse ground salt and chopped sage.
Vegan Caramelized Onion Gravy
Time: 30 minutes Servings: 10-15 (depending on the gravy hogs!)
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 stick earth balance vegan butter, unsalted (or other vegan alternative butter)
2-3 cups of vegetable broth
1 tbsp cornstarch or tapioca starch
3 tbsp oat flour (or some other gluten free flour)
Salt and pepper
Now, this gravy is a little more temperamental because it is vegan, so it does not like to solidify or have as much salt in it as regular, animal fat gravy. Adjust seasonings accordingly, which is why I have not included how much whiskey, salt and pepper, or garlic to add. I suggest this is the last thing to be made before dinner as it will need to be stirred occasionally, and kept hot to stay well combined.
In a deep sauté pan, melt vegan butter on a medium heat. Add diced onion and make sure to coat well. This may look like A LOT of butter, but this process is how caramelization happens. Once butter is melted. Reduce heat to LOW and allow onions to cook for 15-20 minutes. It is a slow, but well worth the process. The onions will become very translucent.
Once onions are translucent, add flour and starch to butter/onion mixture and whisk well. Whisking will eliminate clumpy gravy. Let cook for 1 minute to cook off flour flavor. Add a splash of white wine and whiskey, the steam will cook off the alcohol.
Turn heat back up to medium-high heat. Add one cup of warmed broth, continuously whisking. As it begins to thicken, slowly add more vegetable broth. Let the gravy boil continuously as you whisk, allowing it to thicken.
WATCH carefully, allowing to boil, and adding more broth if necessary. Add until desired thickness is obtained.
Season with salt and pepper, dash of garlic powder, to taste.
Thanksgiving stuffing ‘Fall’-afel fritters
Time: 1-2 hours cooking, 1 day prep Servings: 6-8
This recipe can be multiplied to make more servings, the ingredients list is what will appropriately fit in a food processor. Falafel is also a quirky thing to make if you have never made it before!
2 cups chick peas (DRIED chick peas that have been soaking in water for 24 hours. RINSE well and lay flat on a baking sheet with paper towels to FULLY dry) If all you have time for is canned chick peas, you may be better off using a different recipe!
1 medium chopped yellow onion
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped carrots
½ cup fresh chopped parsley
½ cup fresh chopped sage
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp salt (unless your chickpeas were canned)
3-4 cloves of garlic
dash maple syrup
1-2 tbsp oat flour
Vegetable oil, or grapeseed oil to fry
DRY your chickpeas! If you have drained and rinsed them, make sure they are dry BEFORE you begin. If you do not have them dry, you will end up with water in your mixture and will have to allow your mixture to sit in a strainer longer, or add more flour.
Place all ingredients, except for the flour, into the food processor. Pulse until combined, occasionally scraping down sides.
Place into a strainer (a small wire one works best). Put strainer on top of a bowl, and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour. This process will allow the mixture to drain any excess water it may contain, and also the mixture to form better while cold.
Transfer to a bowl, add flour and mix until combined. It may not LOOK like the mixture is going to hold together, it will not be sticky, but can form small balls.
Using a spoon or portion scooper, divide out balls onto wax paper on a cookie sheet. Smoosh balls down into little discs/fritters. About an inch wide. Place the cookie sheet into the freezer for a few minutes to allow them to cool, which will help with them keeping together during the frying stage.
While waiting for fritters to freeze, heat a few tbsp. of oil in your frying pan, creating a layer of oil throughout the bottom of the pan. Cast iron also works best for this, just watch your heat!
Remove from freezer, once oil it hot, place fritters in oil and let fry for a few minutes on each side. You will begin to see the fritters absorb oil and cook. Once the move easily on the bottom of the pan and are browned, they are cooked on one side. Flip and continue to fry.
Remove from heat and keep warm to serve!
Vegan and gluten free pumpkin pie
Time: 2-3 hours (does not include soaking cashew time) Servings: 1 pie
Preheat 350 degrees
1 small pie pumpkin, halved and deseeded
1 1/2 cups dried, raw cashews
¾ cup maple syrup
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 cup almonds
1 cup GF oats
5 pitted dates
4 tbsp melted coconut oil
In food processor, pulse amonds, oats until shredded. Add dates, pulse until combined. Turn on and slowly add oil. Should be combined and little sticky.
Press into pie pan, all the way up the sides.
Bake in oven for 10 min to help solidfy.
Soak cashews in boiling water for AT LEAST 1 hour, to overnight.
Bake pumpkin halves, inside face down and skin up, for 1 hour at a 350 degree oven, or until a fork can penetrate and squash is soft.
Once pumpkin is cooked, and cashews are soaked, place 1 cup of pumpkin and the cashews into the food processor. Add remaining ingredients. Pulse to blend, scraping sides occasionally. Keep food processor on high until completely smooth.
Add to pie crust, bake 1 hour until top begins to crack.
Let cool before serving!