Vegan Menu for a Gentle Thanksgiving

by Gentle World on November 21, 2010

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Gathering with family and friends around a magnificent holiday meal can be a warm, wonderful experience. When the holiday fare is vegan, it adds a whole new level of enjoyment to the sharing of food, and provides a profound foundation for the celebration.

For a truly delicious vegan Thanksgiving meal, it’s easy to replicate traditional dishes. There’s also great enjoyment to be found in incorporating non-traditional, festive holiday recipes to add some originality to the Thanksgiving table.

Many people know that it’s now possible to buy a ready-made vegan substitute to imitate the traditional Thanksgiving turkey. But with a little imagination, there are many other ways to leave the turkey alone, and create a delicious centerpiece using fresh, seasonal ingredients.

Thanksgiving Stuffing
serves 5-6

1 loaf of bread, cut into small cubes
2 onions, diced
3 cloves garlic
3 celery stalks
1 Tbsp. oil
a dash of tamari
1/4-1/2 cup. vegetable stock
3 Tbsp. tahini
1/4 cup. oil
1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. oregano
1/2 Tbsp. onion powder
4 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
3 Tbsp. tamari or substitute
a sprinkle of paprika

1. Cut bread into small cubes, the size of croutons.
2. Saute the onions, garlic and celery in one tablespoon of oil and a dash of tamari, until soft, on medium-low heat.
3. Mix the remaining seasonings and liquids and pour over bread cubes. Mix. Spread on a tray and toast in oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Stir the vegetable saute into the toasted bread mixture (stuffing). Press into the bottom of an oiled long baking dish.
5. Sprinkle with paprika and bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Serve with Holiday Mushroom Gravy (see below).

Holiday Stuffed Butternut Squash
serves 4

2 butternut squash
2 cups brown rice (cooked)
1 cup onions, chopped
1/2 cup celery & 1/2 cup bell pepper, chopped
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. herb seasoning
1/2 tsp. cumin powder
2 Tbsp. tamari or substitute
1/2 tsp. each, garlic powder & onion powder
1 cup walnuts & 1/2 C. pecans, chopped
3 Tbsp. tahini
3 slices of toast

1. Slice butternuts in half and scoop out the seeds. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until tender. Remove from oven and let cool.
2. Carefully scoop out insides without breaking shells. Mix squash with rice. Save shells.
3. Saute vegetables then add them to this mixture. Add seasonings, nuts and tahini.
4. Slice the toast into small squares like croutons and add to mix.
5. Stuff mixture into hollowed squash shells.
6. Bake for another 20 minutes and serve with Holiday Mushroom Gravy.

Next: Herb Roasted Vegetables and Holiday Mushroom Gravy

Herb Roasted Vegetables
serves 4-6

8 small red potatoes
12 small zucchini & 12 small carrots
1 bunch small beets
3-4 small red onions
1/2 lb. button mushrooms
2 red bell peppers
1/4 cup each: olive oil, tamari, balsamic vinegar, sweetener
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
3 Tbsp. fresh herbs, chopped

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Scrub potatoes, zucchini, carrots and beets. Peel the onions and leave whole. Wipe mushrooms clean with a damp towel. Core and seed the bell peppers and cut into strips. Place all the vegetables together in a large mixing bowl.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients to make a topping.
3. Pour topping over the vegetables. Stir to coat evenly. Pour vegetables into a roasting pan and roast until they become tender, (about an hour) turning them over and brushing on more topping from the roasting pan, every 15 minutes.
4. Serve immediately.

Holiday Mushroom Gravy
yields 2 1/2 cups

2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 cups water
1/3 cup tahini
2/3 cup nutritional yeast
2 tsp. herb seasoning (page 3)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. each garlic powder & onion powder
2 tsp. liquid vegetable bouillon
4 tsp. arrowroot powder
1/8 tsp. black pepper

In a little oil or water, saute mushrooms in a small pot until soft. In a blender, blend remaining ingredients and add to the pot. Simmer on low and stir until thickened. Do not boil.

Holiday Candied Yams
serves 4-6

5 medium-large yams (or sweet potatoes), sliced
1 Tbsp. tamari or substitute
3-4 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp. sweetener
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1/8 cup. oil

1. Peel and slice the yams. Steam in a pot until softened, about 20-30 minutes.
2. In a blender, blend the remaining ingredients.
3. Place the yams in a casserole and pour blender mixture over it. Be sure to scrape the sides of the blender with a rubber spatula. Spread evenly on the yams and bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees. Stir occasionally and continue baking for about half an hour.
4. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Pumpkin Pie
yields 2 pies

Crust
1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup soy powder or pastry flour
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. sweetener

1. Sift flour and soy powder into a bowl. Remove any bran.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk wet ingredients together, including sweetener.
3. Mix dry ingredients into the wet. Dough should be wet enough to hold together and dry enough not to stick to your fingers. It is best to use this dough immediately for easy rolling. (Or chill sealed until ready to use.)
4. Split dough in half, leaving one half slightly larger. Roll each half between two pieces of wax paper, (dampen a flat surface and place wax paper on it, flattening to remove bubbles) or use flour to keep dough from sticking. Roll from the center outward, until even, about 1/8″ thick. Place the larger rolled dough in a pie plate and gently press it into the plate, covering the sides and bottom.

Filling
1 (29 oz.) can pumpkin
1 3/4 cup tofu, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup oil
3 tsp. egg replacer (dry)
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/4 cup dry sweetener
1 tsp. sea salt
1-1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. ground cloves/all spice (optional)

1. In a food processor, blend all filling ingredients together, using the “S” shaped blade.
2. Pour into pre-baked pie shells and smooth down. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes.
3. Let cool and chill for at least four hours before serving.

These recipes have been reproduced from Incredibly Delicious: Recipes for a New Paradigm, which includes all sorts of tips to help make the transition to veganism easy and delicious.

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