Thanksgiving is almost here. Time for family gatherings, reflection and gratitude. However, every time Thanksgiving approaches I can’t help but feel a tiny bit of sadness. You see, I’m a vegan. I’m a vegan not just because I feel it is healthier for my body and the planet, but because I love animals too much to eat them. Many people who normally don’t eat meat will sometimes make an exception during the holidays out of respect for whomever is cooking in the kitchen. I completely understand this point of view. I never want to burden my host, forcing them to come up with alternatives to the typical holiday favorites like Turkey. I will admit, I have had plenty of turkey, pork and beef in the past, however, for the last few years I have decided to gratefully decline meat and stick to vegetarian and vegan sides.
Over the past several years, I have had the absolute pleasure to spend Thanksgiving with some dear friends of my in-laws. The amount of food on their table is enough to feed a small army! Most of the food, as delicious as it looks and smells, I unfortunately do not eat because of my dietary restrictions. Luckily, they have all been open to me bringing some vegan sides to add to the feast. I am sure they were a bit apprehensive at first. They probably expected the food I brought to taste like cardboard. They were, however, pleasantly surprised with how flavorful and satisfying my vegan dishes were. They have even sought me out, asking for the recipes! Go figure! I guess vegan food tastes pretty good after all!
This year, I am planning on staying home with my husband for Thanksgiving. This will be the first time that I will be in charge of making the entire feast…..and it is going to be 100% vegan. My husband, who eats meat regularly, is looking forward to enjoying what I come up with. My plan is to create beautiful and seasonal Thanksgiving dishes with a vegan twist. Below are some recipes that I plan on making this year……..please feel free to try them out as well. Happy Thanksvegan everyone! (note, these recipes are NOT gluten-free or nut free, but they are 100% vegan)
Kale, Cranberry and Breadcrumb Salad
- 1 bunch of kale (about 6 cups)
- ¼ cup slivered toasted almonds
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 1 slice whole grain bread
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
Remove the tough inner ribs on the kale, slice into ribbons and place in a large bowl. In a food processor or blender tear the bread into small pieces and process until fine crumbs form. Heat the teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat, add the breadcrumbs and cook for 3-5 minutes until the breadcrumbs are toasted and start to brown. Set aside to cool. In a small bowl, grate the garlic using a micro plane grater. Alternatively you can smash the garlic with the back of a knife, add a sprinkle of salt and crush the garlic until a smooth paste forms. Add the vinegar and lemon juice to the garlic and then slowly whisk in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. To dress the salad, pour the dressing over the kale and using your fingers work the dressing into the leaves making sure that everything is well coated. Add the cranberries, almonds and ¾ of the breadcrumbs to the mixture and toss to combine. Garnish the salad with the remaining breadcrumbs when you are ready to serve.
Spiced Red Wine Cranberry Sauce
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup dry red wine
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp all spice
- 1 12oz package fresh cranberries
Combine all ingredients except cranberries in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Add cranberries; simmer 12 minutes or until cranberries pop and mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat; cool to room temperature. Cover and chill (mixture will thicken as it chills). *You can make this the day before and let it chill on the fridge to save time 🙂
Wasabi Cauliflower Mash
- 1 large cauliflower head, in pieces
- ¼ cup warm vegetable broth
- salt & pepper, to taste
- olive oil
- chives, chopped
- tbsp Earth Balance Butter (optional)
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
- 1 tbsp wasabi paste
Place the cauliflower in a large pot and steam it until very soft. Place in a blender and add broth (or add broth to pot and use an immersion blender). Mix in butter, nutritional yeast and wasabi paste. Process until smooth and season with salt and pepper. Place in a bowl and drizzle with some olive oil and chives.
Roast Tofurkey with Balsamic Caramalized Onions and Dried Cherries, Stuffed with Walnuts, Dried Cranberries, and Mushrooms
- 2kg extra firm tofu, crumbled or pulsed in food processor
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, sliced very thin
- 1 cup dried sour cherries
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 4 tablespoons apple cider
- 1/2 large onion, chopped
- 1 rib celery, chopped
- 4 ounces mushrooms, sliced or chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
- generous grinding of pepper
- 3 ounces fresh whole wheat bread (about 2 slices), cut into small cubes (make sure to check the ingredients in the bread, gluten-free bread uses egg whites)
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 teaspoon whole chia seeds or ground flax-seed
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 cup water (more as needed)
Line a round medium sized colander with cheesecloth or a clean tea towel. Place the crumbled tofu in the colander. Place another towel or sheet of cheesecloth over the tofu and place a heavy weight on top. Store in fridge overnight.
Make the Stuffing: Sauté the onion and celery in a non-stick skillet until onion is becoming translucent. Add the mushrooms, thyme, sage, and a generous grating of black pepper and cover. Cook until mushrooms exude their juices, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients along with enough water to moisten the stuffing but not make it soaking wet. Remove from heat and keep covered.
Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Grease a baking tray.
Make the Glaze: In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add onion, cherries, brown sugar and vinegar and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft. Stir in mustard and apple cider, and simmer for two more minutes. Turn off heat and cover.
Remove the weight from the tofu and discard the liquid. Hollow out the tofu so there is 2.5cm of tofu still lining the colander. Place the scooped out tofu in a separate bowl. Spoon the stuffing into the center of the tofu case. Place the scooped out tofu on top of the stuffing and press down firmly. Turn the stuffed tofu out on to the baking tray and gently press the sides to form a more oval shape. Brush the tofu with half the glaze liquid. Place the rosemary sprigs on top and cover with foil. Bake for one hour, then remove the tofu from the oven and discard the foil. Brush the tofu with the remaining glaze (reserving 4 tablespoons), then return to the oven and bake another hour, or until the tofu-turkey is golden brown. Place on a serving platter, brush with the remaining glaze mixture and serve hot.
Mushroom Gravy with Thyme and Sage
- 12oz fresh mushrooms (a mix of white, crimini, shiitake, chanterelle etc)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 large sage leaves, chopped
- 3 splashes sherry or red wine
- ½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons flour
- Salt & pepper
Clean the mushrooms using a paper towel. Then slice them into even sized pieces. If using shiitake, remember to remove and discard the stems. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onions and cook on medium-low. When onions are soft, add garlic, thyme and sage. Stir for 30 seconds. Add chopped mushrooms. Increase heat to high and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the sherry or wine and continue cooking another minute or till the alcohol evaporates. Whisk together all the gravy ingredients (balsamic vinegar through salt and pepper). Make sure there are no lumps. Pour this mixture over the mushrooms. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar if needed.
Baked Blackberry and Blueberry Crumble
- 2 cups blueberries
- 2 cups blackberries
- ½ tsp ground vanilla
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 5 tbsp almond flour/meal (or ground almonds)
- a pinch sea salt
- ½ tsp ground vanilla
- 5 tbsp maple syrup or honey
- 5 tbsp cold-pressed coconut oil, room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Rinse all berries. Place in a baking dish and toss with vanilla, lemon juice and maple syrup. Prepare the crumble in a separate bowl. Start by mixing oats, almond flour, salt and vanilla. Then add maple syrup and coconut oil. Use your hands to mix until combined. Pour the crumble filling evenly over the berries. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until the fruit juices are bubbling around the edges and the crumble is firm and lightly browned. Serve as it is or with a dollop of vegan ice cream on top.
Keeps for 3-5 days in the fridge. Freezes and reheats well.