Planning for Thanksgiving?
Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated in Canada and the United States. It was originally celebrated as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. Several other places around the world observe similar celebrations. Although Thanksgiving has historical roots in religious and cultural traditions, it has long been celebrated in a secular manner as well.(source)
Holidays can be a stressful time for many people, especially for the chefs responsible for cooking meals for their loved ones, and for those with dietary restrictions, like myself, for whom eating at another’s home often presents unique challenges. On the other hand, cooking for others can be really fun, particularly if you’re using a recipe that’s easy to follow. I love cooking, but I tend to take the more simple route by choosing recipes that can be prepared quickly. I also love cooking for other people because it gives me the opportunity to show people how delicious plant-based food can be!
With that, I’ve pulled together some of my favourite vegan Thanksgiving-spirited recipes to share with CE readers. Please note that the following recipes are 100% vegan and some are gluten-free (GF) and soy-free (SF) as well.
Appetizers and Snacks:
Spinach Dip (GF, SF)
Spinach dip is easily my favourite “comfort food.” It’s a dish that most people adore and can be served as a snack or an appetizer. I usually serve it with raw vegetables such as carrots and cauliflower as well as GMO-free corn chips. I’ll occasionally add artichokes to the recipe as well! Click here for the recipe.
Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad with Lemon Maple Dressing and Raw Parmesan (GF, SF)
I love vegan cheese, so I’m always looking for new recipes to make raw cheese instead of purchasing conventional vegan cheeses. This dish includes a recipe for parmesan made from pumpkin seeds and hemp, and works well as either an appetizer or a side dish. For the recipe, click here.
Herb and Cheese Biscuits (SF)
One thing’s for sure: You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy these biscuits. One of my favourite vegan food bloggers, Angela Liddon of Oh She Glows, crafted this mouth-watering dish, which can be served as an appetizer or accompany a main dish. Check out the recipe here.
Shepherd’s Pie (GF, SF)
Traditional shepherd’s pie was a staple in my house during my childhood. Although I’d never tell my mother, this cruelty-free version is much better! Swapping out the potatoes for sweet potatoes and the meat for a variety of beans, this dish makes an excellent main course. While the recipe is not strictly gluten free, the traditional breadcrumbs could easily be replaced with your favourite gluten free brand. Here’s the recipe.
Lentil Walnut Apple No-Meat Loaf (GF, SF)
This was one of the first vegan recipes I ever cooked; I made it for an old boyfriend of mine who loved it, despite not being vegan himself. It makes an awesome main dish or can even be sprinkled on top of spaghetti or vegetables, or stuffed into a sandwich. Check out the Oh She Glows recipe here.
Eggplant Tofu Tower (GF)
This recipe can easily be made in 15 minutes or less, requires minimal ingredients, and makes a great main course. Check out the recipe here.
Tofu and Vegetable Pot Pie
A vegan take on the classic holiday comfort food dish, this recipe requires more time to prepare than the others, but it will be well worth the effort. Here’s the recipe.
Doug McNish’s Cranberry Sauce, Creamy Mashed Potatoes, and Roasted Veggies (GF, SF)
Doug McNish is an award-winning (and rightly so) chef based in Toronto, Ontario, whose dishes never disappoint. This trio works well served together or you could simply make one of these recipes and enjoy it as a side dish. Check out Doug’s three Thanksgiving-inspired recipes here.
The great thing about gravy is that it can be served on just about anything. Whether that be on one of the main dishes mentioned above or perhaps on some sort of organic soy product (tofu, seitan, etc.), vegetables, or mashed potatoes, this mushroom gravy is guaranteed to be a hit. Get the recipehere.
Pumpkin Cheesecake (GF, SF)
If you’ve never tried vegan cheesecake, I would highly recommend making one. It’s simple yet decadent and delicious. Refined-sugar free and made mostly from nuts, this dessert is a healthy (and yummy) alternative to conventional cheesecake. Check out the recipe here.
Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Pudding Cake (GF, SF)
Pudding cake is generally at all of my family functions, so I was super excited when I first came across this recipe! I’ve made an equally delicious variation of this cake without the pumpkin as well; just sub the pumpkin purée for unsweetened apple sauce and omit the cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg (“pumpkin spice”). Check out the recipe here.
Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte (GF, SF)
A much healthier version of the Starbucks “PSL,” this beverage can be served with dessert or even as a dessert itself with some coconut whip on top. Click here for the recipe.
Apple crisp is quite possibly the easiest and cheapest dessert to make, but you wouldn’t know by the taste. It’s a recipe I often make because I can whip it up really quickly, without even having to consult a recipe. Plus, it’s healthy enough that you can serve it as dessert and eat the leftovers for breakfast! Get the recipe here. (I typically add a bit of organic brown sugar to the topping as well and sometimes serve it with coconut whip or dairy-free vanilla ice cream.)
In an ideal world, we would purchase exclusively organic ingredients, but I know the cost of such products makes this impossible for many people. I want to specifically stress the importance of purchasing organic tofu and sugar, however. Conventional soy products are almost always genetically modified and heavily sprayed with pesticides, and non-organic sugar is often not vegan-friendly because it contains animal bone.
If you decide to make any of these recipes, please send me a note and let me know how it goes. Much love and happy holidays!
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