Say Goodbye to a Boring Thanksgiving Dinner
Thanksgiving is a holiday widely celebrated by many Americans with its extravagantly- assembled dinner spread. While the origins of the holiday do get a little muddy, most use the holiday as a way to bring family together to eat over several different meals—turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, etc…
Although, all these foods are savory and give some of us something to look forward to every November—none of these quintessential dishes are vegan-friendly.
Whether you want to accommodate your own or other dietary restrictions, or you’re just looking to switch things up from the traditional dishes; Here are some highlighted recipes to curate the perfect vegan thanksgiving!
Photo by @Kerstin Werba on Unsplash
The centerpiece of every traditional Thanksgiving dinner is the turkey. However, turkey is not remotely vegan. Do not fret! There are other vegan substitutes that you can attempt to serve up this upcoming holiday. Plus, some people find that this bird can be a little… dry.
If you love tofu, you’ll love this dish! It is a burmese tofu (chickpea flour tofu) over some rice, noodles. This recipe states that you can dress it up with whatever you’d like, “vegan gravy, cranberry sauce, dairy-free mashed potatoes,” or rice.
The recipe is made by Sarah Jampel and it goes a little something like this:
1 1/2 cups (175 grams) chickpea flour (or besan)
7 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon coconut oil or ghee
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric (optional)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
How to Make
In a very large bowl, stir together the chickpea flour and the water until no dry spots remain. Cover with a kitchen towel and leave undisturbed for 8 to 12 hours.
By this point, the mixture will have separated and you'll have a fair amount of cloudy water on top. Use a ladle to remove 6 cups of that water from the top of the bowl. Line an 8- by 8-inch baking pan with cheesecloth or a dish towel you don't care about staining.
In a medium saucepan, melt the oil or ghee over medium heat. Pour the remaining liquid from the top of the bowl into the pan (it's okay if you have to leave a little of it behind) and add the salt, turmeric, and garlic powder and whisk to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 20 to 25 minutes, until the mixture simmers and thickens.
Now pour in the chickpea sludge. The mixture will start to thicken instantly. Whisk for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture is very thick and starting to pull away from the pan.
Pour the thickened chickpea mixture into the pan and smooth out the top. Fold the edges of the cheesecloth or towel over top and let sit at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours.
Flip the pan onto a cutting board, pull away the cloth, and slice into cubes or strips. Store in the fridge for up to 1 week.
I pan-fried pieces in a non-stick pan in a bit of hot olive oil, which made them crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside, but the tofu is good as-is, too. (I had a bit of trouble pan-frying the tofu in pans that were not non-stick.)
Moving on to my personal least favorite dish of the Thanksgiving holiday—stuffing. While it’s not my favorite, many hold this Thanksgiving traditional dish in high regard and deem it one of the best components of the dinner. Although stuffing seems like it’s completely animal-free, stuffing is usually cooked with chicken broth, chicken fat, milk, and even eggs to hold everything together. So again if you’re a vegan this is not an ideal meal…
Well, the MinamlistBaker has just the recipe:
1 large loaf whole-grain bread* (cubed & set out to dry overnight // 1 large loaf yields ~9 cups loosely packed cubes)
3/4 cup uncooked green lentils
3 Tbsp olive oil or vegan butter (I used a mix of both)
1/2 cup white onions (diced)
3/4 cup celery (diced)
Salt & pepper
3 – 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth (plus more for cooking lentils
1 Tbsp flaxseed meal (to make flax egg)
2 ½ Tbsp water (to make flax egg)
3/4 tsp dried sage*
How to Make
The night before, cube your bread and set it in a large bowl to dry out – you want it to be the texture of day old bread – noticeably dry but not rock hard.
The day of, if you haven’t already cooked your lentils, do so now by thoroughly rinsing 3/4 cup lentils in cold water, then adding to a small saucepan with 1 1/2 cups veggie broth or water (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size).
Cook over medium-high heat until a low boil is achieved, and then lower to a simmer and continue cooking uncovered for 20-30 minutes. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and line a 9×13 pan (or comparable sized dish // as the original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) with foil or spray with nonstick spray. Also prepare flax egg by mixing flaxseed meal and water and set aside.
Sauté onion and celery in the olive oil or vegan butter and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Cook until fragrant and translucent – about 5 minutes. Set aside.
To the bowl of bread, pour most of the broth then add the remaining ingredients (sage, cooked veggies, flax egg, and lentils) and mix with a wooden spoon. The key is to make sure it is about the consistency of a meatloaf: Moist but not soggy. It should hold its shape if formed into a shape but liquid shouldn’t squeeze out of it. Too dry and it will be really dry after cooking. Too wet and it will be soggy and never get any crisp texture. If too dry, add more broth and mix again. If it’s gotten too wet, add more bread.
Transfer to the prepared pan and cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Then remove the top layer of foil so the top can brown. Increase heat to 400 degrees F (204 C) and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the top is well browned and crisp.
Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving. Leftovers reheat well in the microwave or oven, though best when fresh.
This dish would be awesome with vegan mashed potatoes and my vegan mushroom gravy!
Onto the next main proponent of a proper Thanksgiving dinner is mashed potatoes. A personal favorite of mine, this creamy, fluffy side dish can vary on how it's made. Most use non-vegan ingredients to make this dish—using some variation of butter and milk.
Luckily, Minimalistbaker has your back once again with another vegan, gluten-free recipe:
6-8 medium yukon gold potatoes (if large, cut in half)*
1 tsp sea salt (divided)
Water to cover
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
5-6 cloves raw or roasted garlic (or sub minced garlic sautéed for 3 minutes in olive oil)*
3-4 Tbsp vegan butter (such as Earth Balance // melted/softened)
1/4 cup fresh chives (for topping // optional)
How to Make
For creamier mashed potatoes, peel your potatoes at this time. Otherwise, just halve your potatoes and place in a large saucepan or pot and cover with water by ~1 inch.
Bring to a light boil over high heat and add 1 tsp of sea salt (as original recipe is written, adjust if altering batch size), and cook for 25-30 minutes or until very tender. They should effortlessly slide off a knife when pierced with a knife.
While the potatoes are cooking, chop up your chives (optional) and measure your vegan butter.
Once tender, drain your potatoes and place them back in the hot pot off the heat for 1 minute to evaporate any additional water.
Mash your potatoes using a potato masher until fluffy.
Add in vegan butter, garlic, salt, and black pepper and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Lastly top with chives (optional, stir and serve as is or with your favorite gravy (or mushroom gravy). Leftovers will keep in the fridge covered for up to a few days. Not freezer friendly.
Finally the dish that tops your-now stomach full of food—pumpkin pie. Pumpkin almost makes the cut for being all-vegan, however, eggs are used in the typical recipe when blend the pulp of the pumpkin.
From Nora Cooks, she offers the best pumpkin pie to give your Thanksgiving meal a satisfying end:
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup coconut cream*
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 recipe Easy Vegan Pie Crust
How to Make
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a pie crust in a pie plate.
Add the canned pumpkin, coconut cream, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt and cornstarch to a blender and blend until very smooth. You may also simply whisk it together in a bowl until smooth.
Pour the mixture into a 9-inch pan lined with a pie crust. May use a vegan store bought vegan pie crust, my Easy Vegan Pie Crust, or this Gluten Free Pie Crust. I don't pre-cook the pie crust. Spread the mixture evenly with a spatula.
Bake for 1 hour. If the crust starts to burn, cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil or a pie shield after about 30 minutes of baking. The middle will still look jiggly; that's normal. Let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then cover and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Slice and serve with Vegan Whipped Cream or store bought non-dairy whipped topping, if desired. Enjoy!
For the Pie Crust Leaves: These are totally optional for decoration. Make or buy an extra pie crust, and roll out the dough about 1/8th inch thick. Using leaf cookie cutters, cut into shapes. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F.
With all these ever-so savory Thanksgiving vegan meal supplements, we hope that you can accommodate all your guests! As well as, enjoy a guilt-free Thanksgiving.