Vegan Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is Yesterday was Thanksgiving and we totally rocked it! This has always been my favorite of the holiday holy trinity (Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter). Holidays, to me, have always been about family and love. Just being around the people you call home. The picture and cast of characters has evolved over the years but it still means the same thing to me.

Growing up I was lucky enough to live close enough to spend holidays with all of my grandparents and great grandparents. That meant eating several times on Thanksgiving depending who was hosting who. My favorite meal was at my granny’s. She always made homemade mac-n-cheese and collard greens. My mom would make the dressing (a recipe she got from her grandmother) and broccoli casserole that was out of this world delicious. My Aunt K would make a chocolate delight (aka Fat Man’s Pie) which I could still eat even when I had no room left! It was definitely the high holiday of eating! I would spend the rest of the day picking out my favorites at whoever else’s dinner we crashed. My grandma usually made red velvet cake so that was a must…and her coleslaw. Of course, all of the eating was great! But the laughter and togetherness is what made the day special. I can see the smiles on their faces and hear my Uncle G laughing hysterically while he and my mom harassed my Uncle R. There was also no family drama or fighting so you could call our holiday gatherings idyllic. I am thankful for those holiday memories.

My all grown up Thanksgiving looks different but the feeling is the same (plus more football than ever). A few years ago Lisa and I started spending Thanksgiving here in Virginia with our friends who are also from South Carolina (by way of Michigan). This year my in-laws are able to join us along with another friend of ours (we’re going to need a bigger table)! I love that the house is full of some of the people we love. I am thankful for this new tradition. Preparing Thanksgiving dinner for my growing family makes my heart burst with love! Even though our Thanksgiving meal is completely vegan, we have not abandoned our Southern culinary roots. The first year we had our vegan Thanksgiving, we had no idea what we were doing but we found amazing recipes that have become our new holiday musts! So here are some of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes you can try (next year)! Or why wait? Who says green bean casserole is a once a year dish!

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Main Course:

We tried Tofurky and the Trader Joe’s Stuffed Roast but that just was not for us. We started making a lentil loaf each year instead.

The Ultimate Vegetable Lentil Loaf – Recipe by: The Simple Veganista

Ingredients:

Loaf

  • 1 cup dry lentils (use green/brown)
  • 2 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons flaxseed meal (ground flaxseeds)
  • 1/3 cup water (6 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil for sauteing or steam saute using 1/4 cup water
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced or grated
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup oat flour or finely ground oats (any flour of choice will work here too)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 heaping teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon each garlic powder & onion powder…for good measure!
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper, optional
  • cracked pepper & sea salt to taste

Glaze

  • 3 tablespoons organic ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Rinse lentils. In large pot add 2 1/2 cups water with lentils. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. It’s ok if they get mushy, we are going to roughly puree 3/4 of the mixture when cooled. Once done, remove lid and set aside to cool (do not drain), they will thicken a bit upon standing, about 15 minutes is good.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. In small bowl combine flaxseed meal and 1/3 cup water, set aside for at least 10 minutes, preferably in the refrigerator. This will act as a binder and will thicken nicely upon sitting.
  4. Prepare vegetables. In saute pan heat oil or water over medium heat. Saute garlic, onion, bell pepper, carrots and celery for about 5 minutes. Add spices mixing well to incorporate. Set aside to cool.
  5. Using an immersion blender or food processor, blend 3/4 of the lentil mixture. For me this was an important part, I tried it other ways and this worked to help as a binder. If using an immersion blender, tilt your pot slightly to the side for easier blending. Alternately, you can mash the lentils with a potato masher or fork.
  6. Combine sauteed vegetables with the lentils, oats, oat flour and flax egg, mix well. Taste, adding salt and pepper as needed, or any other herb or spice you might like. Place mixture into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper, leaving it overlapping for easy removal later. Press down firmly filling in along the edges too.
  7. Prepare your glaze by combining all ingredients in a small bowl, mix until incorporated. I recommend making each tablespoon heaping so you have plenty of this great sauce on top. Spread over top of loaf and bake in oven for about 45 – 50 minutes. Let cool a bit before slicing.

I did not make the glaze this year. I used a homemade BBQ sauce instead as my glaze and made enough for adding extra at meal time!

Sides:

Vegan Green Bean Casserole – Recipe by: Fat Free Vegan Kitchen 

Ingredients:

Beans

  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 tablespoon table salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces

Sauce

  • 10 ounces mushrooms
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • generous pinch cayenne pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry (I’ve always skipped the step)
  • 3/4 cup soy creamer (or try full-fat unsweetened soymilk)

Topping

  • 1 1/2 slices whole grain bread
  • 1 tablespoon vegan margarine
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/16 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 3-ounce can of French fried onions

Directions:

  1. Beans: Bring the water to boil in a large pot. While it’s heating, cut up the beans. Add the salt and beans to the boiling water. Cover and cook for 6 minutes. Drain beans in a colander, and then spray for a minute with cold water to stop the cooking. Let them drain in the colander, shaking every now and then to get off all the water.
  2. Sauce: Trim and discard the mushroom stems and chop the mushrooms into pieces. Spray a non-stick pan with canola oil and heat it. Add the mushrooms, garlic, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Cook until mushrooms are very soft and exude their juices. Whisk the flour into the vegetable broth and add to the mushrooms along with the sherry. Simmer, stirring, until mixture thickens. Add the soy creamer and simmer until thick, about 5 to 10 minutes. Adjust the seasonings and stir in the beans.
  3. Topping: Put the bread, margarine, salt, and pepper into a food processor and pulse until crumbly. Pour into a bowl and add the onions. Stir to combine.
  4. To assemble: Put the green beans into an oiled casserole dish and top with the onion mixture. Bake at 425 F for about 15 minutes.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s) | Cooking time: 30 minute(s)

Totally forgot the cayenne pepper for this dish…but no one even knew!

This Ain’t Grandma’s Sweet Potato Casserole (Vegan) – Recipe by: Oh She Glows! adapted from Fat Free Vegan 

Ingredients:

  • 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cooked
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Topping:

  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance
  • 1/2 cup Sucanat (or brown sugar)
  • 1/3 cup white or spelt flour (or gluten-free)
  • 3/4 cups chopped pecans (I didn’t have- optional)

 

I made my own brown sugar so my topping is a bit dark but not burnt!

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and lightly grease a 2 quart casserole dish with canola oil. I wipe a bit on with a paper towel.
  2. Peel and then boil sweet potatoes until tender.
  3. Mash the sweet potatoes with the margarine until smooth.
  4. Add the vanilla, maple syrup, sea salt, nutmeg and cinnamon.
  5. Pour into casserole dish.
  6. Next, mix the topping ingredients together until well-combined.
  7. Sprinkle topping mixture over the casserole and bake for approx. 50 minutes, checking it every so often. (I also add vegan marshmallows to the top.)

Desserts:

Healthy Pumpkin Pie – Recipe by: Chocolate Covered Katie

Lisa is obsessed with this pie! The flavor is amazing. You must follow the directions to ensure it sets.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15oz) pumpkin or sweet potato puree
  • 1 (13.5oz) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats (20g)
  • 2 tbsp ground flax
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • pinch pure stevia, or 2 tbsp extra brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Blend all ingredients together until smooth, then pour into a prepared pie crust in a 10-inch round pan.
  3. Bake 27 minutes
  4. Let cool, then refrigerate at least 5 hours uncovered for the pie to thicken and “set.”
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Lisa must eat desserts with a plastic utensil…It’s a thing.

 

I made this pie earlier in the week so it was gone by Thanksgiving but the recipe is worth noting!

These recipes aren’t the whole of our dinner – There was also an amazing macaroni casserole packing a lot of heat made by our friend Angel…Collards perfectly making their first appearance prepared by my MIL…And delicious pecan pies (best pecan pie EVAH!), pumpkin pies and fudge made by Kelly! That’s right, pies for days. OH, and mashed potatoes for the lentil loaf, of course! I will have to include those recipes in another post.

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My plate with a bit of everything!!!

We are not the kind of people who go around saying what we’re thankful for before we eat and I’m extremely grateful for that BUT we are thankful and yes, even blessed. Happy Thanksgiving! Be careful out there Black Friday shopping…People like my wonderful wife work their butts off on this unholiest of shopping days. I’m not making any judgements because I am totally meeting my friend Bill for shopping in like two hours!

Cannot wait to put our little one in this festive turkey beanie! Soooooo stinking cute!

That is totally a vegan drumette!

That is totally a vegan drumette!

To my Canadian (you know who you are) and other followers abroad…Yesterday, was American Thanksgiving which is followed by Black Friday (a totally made up shopping holiday). 

 

4 thoughts on “Vegan Thanksgiving

  1. It’s my favorite too! My siblings and I all get together at my parents (and take our family Christmas card picture) before heading out to my uncles for dinner with my 50 or so extended family members! As long as I can remember, it’s been my favorite, AND it kicks off the holiday season and the warmth that it brings!

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