Somehow it’s here again – Thanksgiving! This year we’ll be taking our food on the road to my large family Thanksgiving. My goal for this year is simplicity. I plan on making just three things. That’s enough to fill out a plate on its own, while knowing that at least one or two people at the gathering will have some things that are on-purpose or accidentally vegan. (My sister-in-law usually brings a terrific cranberry sauce, and my mom makes the best mashed potatoes using Earth Balance instead of animal-based butter.)
Even if I’m not able to hit all of my Thanksgiving-favorites, I remind myself that I can make any of the other dishes on another day of the year. There’s no reason that one plate has to fit every Thankgiving favorite ever created.
Whether you’ll be keeping your holiday small or going all out, here are some options for my North American readers celebrating Thanksgiving one week from today!
As people wander in with their dishes or warm something that they made at home, it’s nice to have a few nibblies for sating the appetite until dinner begins.
Some of my favorite appetizers are hot and gooey Spinach & Artichoke Dip with tortilla chips, Olive & Artichoke Pâté with crusty bread and carrot sticks for dipping, Loaded Potato Slices with Cashew Cream and Bacony Bits, and Seitan Bacon Wrapped Dates. They can be prepped ahead of time, just requiring a light frying before serving.
Salads & Sides:
I could happily make a meal of salads & sides at Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving salad options include Massaged Kale Salad with Roasted Chickpeas and Baked Tofu and Roasted Delicata Squash and Persimmon Salad with Caramelized Onions.
Kristy from Keepin’ It Kind just posted this recipe for green bean casserole with onion rings that’s calling my name. There’s also a recipe for green bean casserole in Vegan Casseroles that looks fabulous. Will I have to make green bean casserole twice this month? Signs point to yes.
My favorite cranberry sauce is the Traditional Cranberry Sauce from Dreena Burton’s Eat, Drink & Be Vegan. (She offers the option of adding balsamic vinegar, which I definitely recommend. It gives balance and makes a wonderful combination of tangy, sweet, and sour.)
At our family Thanksgiving, we break up the day with a big outdoor flag football game. Since the temperatures are forecasted to be in the thirties that day, something warming afterwards would be welcome. Having a pot of soup on the ready is a convenient way to keep everyone well fed and happy.
I am partial to Double Lentil Mushroom Barley, Homestyle Split Pea, and Melted Snowman Soup. This year I’ve also fallen for the Cream of Tomato Soup with roasted Italian chickpea croutons from The Oh She Glows Cookbook. For something new, Roasted Garlic & Delicata Squash Soup from Bobbie at The Vegan Crew sounds like everything I love but in a bowl.
For the main course, there are a seemingly endless array of options. This will be my tenth meatless Thanksgiving, and over the years I’ve had all kinds of different main courses.
For something sliceable and homey that’s delicious with gravy, I’m partial to the Chicken-style Seitan Roast from Vegan Diner. The seitan can be made ahead of time, as it freezes beautifully. Just put it in the refrigerator the day before to thaw. I dare say that freezing it makes the seitan even more moist and delicious.
In the past I’ve also made Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomicon. They have a wonderful chewiness and the flavors of lemon & thyme. They aren’t too heavy, and they fit along nicely with mashed potatoes and gravy. Not just for Thanksgiving, I enjoy chickpea cutlets all year around. I’ve served them many times to non-vegans, and they’re always a hit.
There’s a link to the recipe here, but the baking directions aren’t included. I always bake them, and I use half the amount of oil listed with no adverse effects. To bake, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, lightly oil each side of the cutlets, and bake at 375 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes, flip the cutlets, and then bake for 8-10 more until golden brown.
Another tasty option is the Festive Chickpea Tart from Dreena Burton’s Let Them Eat Vegan. As a big plus, you can make two tarts and freeze one for the Christmas holidays. The tarts freeze and thaw beautifully.
Frozen Main Courses:
This year I’m thinking about opting for one of the prepared and frozen main courses. They are easy, tasty, and so handy for a traveling Thanksgiving. We can just heat and eat.
I haven’t tried every frozen holiday entrée out there, but my favorite thus far is the Hazelnut Cranberry Roast en Croute from Field Roast. (After the holidays are over, I try to pick one up when they’re on sale to save for an easy dinner gathering later in the winter.) The roast is made with their flavorful grain meat and stuffed with Field Roast sausages, cranberries, and apples. It’s then wrapped in a puff pastry. This roast ranges from $18-26 depending on location.
Another option since there will only be two vegans at our Thanksgiving table is the Gardein Savory Stuffed Turk’y. It comes with come two roasts and gravy. It is a toothsome dish filled with stuffing and cranberries; although, the gravy is a bit on the watery side. Gardein also has a larger Holiday Roast, which I’ve never tried, that serves 8.
For dessert, David is planning on making one of his cherry pies using recipes from Vegan Pie in the Sky. It’s delicious with a generous scoop of homemade Pistachio Ice cream from Sarah at My Darling Vegan.
I’m also tempted to make a batch of Double Doozies. Any excuse, right?
What vegan items will be gracing your table this year?
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