Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Vegan Thanksgiving

I'm so excited that it is Thanksgiving tomorrow! Thanksgiving may be based in some questionable mythology but I believe in family and friends and I believe in taking the time to appreciate and give thanks for what we have.

Boyfriend's family is coming to visit us and I've never hosted a Thanksgiving dinner before. I honestly had no idea how much works goes into preparing for this special holiday (Thanks Aana, Mom and Aunt Ellen!!!) I wanted to celebrate with the traditional foods but a lot of these are not vegan friendly so I hunted for a new delicious and cruelty-free menu for all the staples. Here's what I'll be making today and tomorrow.


slightly altered via The Spunky Coconut
  • 1.5 cups coconut milk (not coconut “beverage”)
  • 1.5 cups pumpkin puree
  • 3/8 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 to 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp pectin
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch (dissolved in 2 Tbsp water)
  1. Add all of the ingredients, except the pectin and cornstarch to a pot and bring to a simmer.
  2. Whisk in the pectin while simmering. Continue whisking for about one minute.
  3. If your mixture looks runny after you whisked your pectin for a minute, then add another half a teaspoon of pectin. It should look a little thick after whisking for a minute or so.
  4. Pour over crust (frozen vegan pie crust or pre-made graham cracker crust or homemade)
  5. Refrigerate till solid. Store in the fridge.

Cashew Gravy

via Food.
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups cashews ( raw or roasted unsalted)
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed ( or more)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • salt and pepper
  1. Saute onion in oil until soft and slightly brown. (you can also let onions cook longer and get browner for an even richer flavor).
  2. (If you are using raw cashews, add them at this step and let them cook for several minutes to "toast" them).
  3. Add garlic and cook another minute longer to slightly brown the garlic.
  4. Add flour and stir it around over the heat for a minute.
  5. Add 1-2 cups of water a half cup at a time and stir to blend in the flour and thicken. Add more water as it becomes thick.
  6. (if you are using roasted cashews add them here).
  7. Add more water (another 1-2 cups) so that the broth is soup like and the cashews are completely in the water.
  8. Add soy sauce, pepper and salt (if desired) or any additional desired flavorings.
  9. Cook until cashews are soft and flavors have melded. I always let this simmer away for about 30 minutes and add more water and soy or spices as needed, but remember that the flavor will change when cashews are blended. When done cooking, you'll want it to be a thin gravy consistency. The cashews will thicken it up when you blend it.

Mashed Potatoes

  • 6-8 medium yukon gold potatoes (if large, cut in half)*
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 5-6 cloves 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
  1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan or pot and cover with water. Bring to a light boil over medium-high heat, add 1 tsp of sea salt, cover and cook for 25-30 minutes or until very tender. They should effortlessly slide off a knife when pierced with a knife.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, chop up your chives and measure your butter.
  3. Once tender, drain your potatoes and place them back in the hot pot off the heat for 1 minute to evaporate any additional water. Then transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Mash your potatoes using either a potato masher or a hand mixer until fluffy. Note: Be careful using a hand mixer as you can overmix the potatoes and they can become gluey. It’s personally the method I prefer as I don’t own a potato masher. I just make sure not to overmix.
  5. Add in butter, garlic, salt, black pepper and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  6. Lastly top with chives, stir and serve as is or your favorite gravy (or mushroom gravy). Leftovers will keep in the fridge covered for up to a few days.
  • Use organic potatoes if possible, especially since you leave the skin on.
  • To roast a head of garlic, simply cup the top off to expose tips, rub with olive oil, wrap in foil and bake for 50 minutes – 1 hour in a 400 degree oven directly on the rack. Cloves should squeeze out easily once cooled. Discard skins/peel.

Roasted Carrots with Sweet Tahini Drizzle

  • 12 large carrots, whole and tops removed
  • 3 tablespoons of tahini
  • 3 tablespoons of filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper (to taste)
  • juice of a fresh lemon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Cut the tops off the whole carrots, wash, dry, and place on a lined baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle melted coconut oil onto the carrots and stir with your hands to make sure the carrots are evenly coated.
  4. Add fresh black pepper, dash of cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon sea salt.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes or until tender (you have a lot of options here, I personally like to keep the carrots a little al dente meaning with a crunch in the center. If you like a softer carrots, bake longer).
Tahini Drizzle
  1. In a small mixing bowl combine tahini, maple syrup, ½ teaspoon of sea salt, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and water until thick and creamy.

Apple Cranberry Fruit Salad

slightly altered via Tastes Better from Scratch
  • 1 (12 oz package) fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 red apples, chopped
  • 1 yellow or green apple, chopped
  • 1 (15oz) can Mandarin oranges, drained
  • 2 large banana, sliced
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • CocoWhip, for topping (non-dairy whipped cream, so yummy)
  1. In a medium saucepan combine the water and sugar. Add cranberries and cook on medium high, until you start to hear the cranberries pop. Cook for 1 more minute. Remove from heat. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  2. In a large bowl toss apples, mandarin oranges, and banana together. Add a little bit of lemon juice to keep the fruit from browning. Drain most of the juice from the cranberries. Add them to mixture. Toss to combine. Dollop with CocoWhip, if desired.

Quinoa, Sweet Potato and Dried Cranberry Stuffing

slightly altered via With Style and Grace
  • 1 cup red quinoa
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 [or 1] tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup pecans, toasted
  • 3 tablespoons of parsley, chopped
  • salt + pepper to taste

  1. In a medium saucepan, add 1 + 1/2 cups water, quinoa, season with salt and bring to a boil. 
  2. Reduce heat, cover and simmer about 15 minutes, until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let cool. 
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
  4. Cover baking sheet with foil, spray with non-stick, add sweet potatoes and onions - season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until soft.
  5. Combine sweet potatoes and onions with cooked quinoa. Drizzle with olive oil. Stir in cumin, cranberries, toasted pecans and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. 

There will also be dinner rolls. I bought these pre-made, brown and serve. And a salad of the Olive Garden copycat persuasion (but vegan obvi).

Happy Thanksgiving! What are you eating tomorrow?