You can please people some of the time, but you can’t please people all of the time…or so they say. Thanksgiving is a time of year filled with grateful memories that wrap you in warmth and delicious aromas that awaken the senses. However, for some individuals who abstain from the traditional season ingredients there’s hope for our vegan and vegetarian guests to feel welcomed this holiday season.
When hosting guests who embrace an animal-free lifestyle, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to prepare a holiday feast with a variety of festive foods. Moreover, many of the ingredients you would use might already be found in your home, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, potatoes, pasta, and greens. So how do we turn these wonderful ingredients into delectable delights for the whole family? With a few alternative recipes and a heart full of Thanksgiving cheer.
So let’s get started!
Turkey, the all-American tradition for Thanksgiving. Perhaps the most difficult dish at the table to replace with a vegan or vegetarian option but it’s doable with this delicious vegetarian thanksgiving main dish awaiting your guests:
When approaching side dishes take a look at your menu and see what vegan and vegetarian dishes may already be in your plan. You may be pleasantly surprised. Not only will you satisfy the vegan in your life but satisfy everyone else while lessening their waist band. If you’re itching for a creative challenge to brighten the festive mood and surprise your guests, then try this delicious morsel:
- 5 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed
- 4 bananas, unpeeled
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup honey Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup all-purpose ﬂour
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork, put them in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes. Toss the bananas into the pan and continue roasting for 10 to 15 minutes, until both the bananas and potatoes are very soft. Remove the pan from the oven but don’t turn the oven off.
- When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop out the ﬂesh into a large mixing bowl. Peel the bananas and add them to the bowl along with 1 stick of butter, and the honey. Season with salt and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until everything’s well combined and the mixture is ﬂuffy. Spoon into an oven-proof serving bowl and smooth the top.
- In a separate mixing bowl, use your ﬁngers to rub together the remaining stick of butter, brown sugar, ﬂour, and pecans until the mixture is the consistency of coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the sweet potatoes and return to the oven. Cook for about 20 minutes, until the crumbs are golden. Serve hot.
No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without a spread of sweet delicious treats to enjoy while watching the big game or gathering with family and reminiscing about the good old days. There are many alternatives to desserts you could make for your guests. To keep with tradition and satisfy the palate of your vegan and vegetarian guests, try this inspiring idea:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose ﬂour, plus more for rolling
- 1 tablespoon vegan granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar Fine salt
- 1/2 cup unreﬁned virgin or extra-virgin coconut oil (packed)
- 4 to 6 tablespoons ice water
- One 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree
- 8 ounces silken tofu
- 2/3 cup vegan granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Fine salt
- For the crust: Put the ﬂour, sugar, vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor, and pulse to combine. Add the coconut oil in small spoonfuls, and pulse until the largest pieces are pea-sized. Add 4 tablespoons ice water, and pulse until evenly combined. Squeeze a handful of dough together; it should just hold its shape. If the mixture is too powdery, pulse in an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons ice water. Turn the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap, pat into a 1/2-inch-thick disc and chill for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
- To make rolling easier, let the dough soften up a bit-it should be slightly soft when pressed-at room temperature (this may take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes depending on the temperature of your kitchen). Roll the disc into a 12-inch round on a lightly ﬂoured surface or between two pieces of ﬂoured parchment paper. If the dough gets too warm, refrigerate it to ﬁrm it up. Ease the crust into a 9-inch pie plate. Fold the overhanging dough under itself, and crimp the edge as desired. Chill for 30 minutes.
- Position an oven rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line the chilled pie crust with a large coffee ﬁlter or foil, and ﬁll with pie weights. Bake until the edges are lightly golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the coffee ﬁlter or foil and weights, and continue baking until the crust is lightly golden all over, 15 to 20 minutes more. Transfer to a rack, and let cool completely.
- For the ﬁlling: Process the pumpkin puree, tofu, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor until completely smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Pour the ﬁlling into the parbaked pie shell, and bake until ﬁrm and set, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack. Chill for at least 2 hours up to overnight. Slice and serve.
As the evening draws to an end and the fire crackles softly in the hearth, you and your guests embrace the gratitude of a joyous day. To round out your day, gift your guests with a sensual holiday beverage that will lift their souls and warm their hearts as they journey towards a new year. Let the following recipe be your inspiration:
- 4 cups apple cider
- 1 apple, (cut into slices)
- 1 orange, (cut into slices)
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 2 slices fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon whole allspice
Add all the ingredients into a large pot. Bring to a simmer, and cover. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Serve. Without compromising too much, Thanksgiving dinner is not only a success for your family but for all your guests. By simply modifying a few ingredients you not only accommodate the diet of your dear friends with gourmet vegetarian thanksgiving recipes like these, but you also introduce a different way to eat that benefits everyone. While you may not be able to please everyone, you will surely make your mark on Thanksgiving. And don’t forget to have your home cleaned by professionals before you even start on the dinner preparations!