Ah, Thanksgiving dinner. For most, this meal consists of succulent turkey, zesty sausage stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes, jelled cranberry sauce and buttered veggies. But what does Thanksgiving dinner look like for vegans? Unlike vegetarians, who refrain from eating meat or using some animal products, vegans do not eat or use any animal products.
Many people follow a vegan lifestyle for moral, ethical and health reasons, but you do not need to be a vegan to enjoy vegan dishes. According to Holy Cross sophomore and vegan advocate, Will Peters, consuming a plant-based diet has helped him to feel better physically and have fun with food. Every meal is an opportunity to try new, tasty combinations of fruits and vegetables.
Whether you are looking for recipes to accommodate a vegan guest this Thanksgiving or interested in sprucing up your traditional Thanksgiving dinner with some healthier options, here are some vegan recipes that will surely leave everyone at your table thankful for a delicious meal.
VEGETABLE LENTIL LOAF:
1 cup dry lentils
2½ cups water or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil for sautéing
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, finely diced
1 small bell pepper, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced or grated
1 celery stalk, finely diced
¾ cup oats
½ cup oat flour or finely ground oats (any flour of choice will work here too)
1 heaping teaspoon dried thyme
½ heaping teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon each garlic powder & onion powder
¼-½ teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
Cracked pepper & sea salt to taste
3 tablespoons organic ketchup
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Rinse lentils. In large pot add 2½ cups water with lentils. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once done, remove lid and set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
In small bowl combine flaxseed meal and 1/3 cup water, set aside in refrigerator for about 10 minutes.
Prepare vegetables. In a sauté pan, heat oil or water over medium heat. Sauté garlic, onion, bell pepper, carrots and celery for about 5 minutes. Add spices, mixing well to incorporate. Set aside to cool.
Using a blender or food processor, blend ¾ of the lentil mixture. Combine sautéed vegetables with the lentils, oats, oat flour and flax egg, and mix well. Salt and pepper to taste. 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.
Prepare your glaze by combining all ingredients in a small bowl, mixing until incorporated. Spread over top of loaf and bake in oven for about 45-50 minutes. Let cool before slicing.
ONION, CELERY, AND MUSHROOM STUFFING:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons vegan butter
1 large onion, chopped
4 ribs celery, chopped
8 ounces button or Cremini mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried rosemary
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
8 cups gluten-free bread cubes
4-5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a large skillet, heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat until melted. Add in the onion and celery and let cook until softened, but not brown, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and let cook until softened and browned, about 5 minutes. Mix in the garlic and the seasonings.
Add the parsley and the bread cubes to the skillet. Mix well. Moisten the cubes with broth until it is soft but not wet. Remove the bay leaf and let the mixture cool.
Transfer the stuffing to a large casserole dish that has been brushed with some oil or cooking spray. Bake until the stuffing is set and crisp, about 15 minutes. Then turn the casserole dish around and cook 5 more minutes until browned to your liking.
QUINOA, CRANBERRY, AND PISTACHIO STUFFED WINTER SQUASH:
2 large or 3 small acorn or delicata squash
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
1¾ cup water
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup pistachios
2 tablespoons finely minced shallot (optional)
Mineral salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
Juice of 1 lemon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Wash and dry squash. Slice each squash in half lengthwise, remove seeds. The seeds should come out easily by scraping the inside of the squash with a spoon. Lightly brush the inside of each squash with a little oil and/or maple syrup. Sprinkle with mineral salt. Place on baking sheet cut side up. Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes, or until squash is tender and pierces easily with a fork.
While squash is cooking add 1¾ cup water and 1 cup quinoa to a medium size pot. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove lid and let set 15 minutes. Add pistachios, cranberries, shallots, salt, juice of lemon and any other optional ingredients. Toss to combine.
Scoop quinoa into squash halves, place back in the oven for 10 minutes to warm, and serve.