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November 21, 2016

Vegan Thanksgiving Ideas: Recipes for a Plant-Based Holiday

Creamy carrot avocado soup

If you’re vegan, attending Thanksgiving dinner with family or friends can be precarious. Of course, there’s the obvious turkey centerpiece. Then there are the familiar sides: baked goods crafted with butter and eggs, the sweet potatoes laden with cream, the chicken-stock soup and the broccoli casserole loaded with cheese and ham. Even if you’re the one hosting, you might meet a little resistance if you suggest eschewing these traditional dishes this year.

But with a little creative interpretation of seasonal flavors, what you bring along to dinner (or share with your guests) will be gratefully received. Here are a few unbelievably delicious vegan Thanksgiving ideas to get you started.

Get more menu ideas (and get your time-saving grocery list) on PlateJoy!

Starters

Butternut squash soup

Capitalize on beautifully in-season squash by blending roasted butternut with coconut milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and a pinch of salt. Top with toasted hazelnuts and serve before the main course to whet everyone’s appetites.

Lentil “stuffing” tapenade

Combine cooked brown lentils, chopped apricot, a pinch of sage and a dash of pepper and serve with cranberry-oat crackers.

Side Dishes

“Cheesy” roasted Brussels sprouts

Consider this your swap for broccoli casserole: Roast sprouts in a mixture of olive oil, nutritional yeast and a touch of salt and pepper. The nutritional yeast offers a nice crunchy cheesy texture.

Simple seasonal greens with garlic and white wine

Take advantage of the harvest and pick up some local in-season greens (tat soi, kale or chard are great late autumn options). Sautee in a little olive oil and white wine with finely minced garlic.

Stuffing

Many traditional stuffing recipes are naturally vegan (as long as you don’t put the stuffing in the turkey!). Bake a tray of sautéed onions, peppers and torn-up day-old bread with sage, rosemary and thyme. Instead of coating it in butter, use a mild coconut oil, safflower or sunflower oil.

Entrees

Stuffed vegetables

Hollow out one small acorn squash or a large Portobello mushroom per guest, filling with a mixture of beans, rice, corn and peppers. Bake on a baking sheet until fork-tender. Sprinkle with vegan cheese and bake a few minutes longer until cheese melts, if desired.

Sweet potato pizza

A little untraditional, but a seasonally inspired crust topped with cashew cheese, kale, caramelized onions and roasted sweet potato can be the highlight on the table!

Tofurky 2.0

No one wants processed meat-substitutes on a holiday. Whip up an improved version using medium-firm tofu blended with miso paste, a touch of tamari and roasted garlic. Bake in a cake pan for about an hour, then top with a hearty vegan mushroom gravy to serve. We promise: no one will miss the turkey.

Desserts

Almost raw pumpkin pie

Blend coconut cream, canned pumpkin, agave, cinnamon, nutmeg and enough dates to keep the mixture firm to create a deliciously healthy filling. Process walnuts and dates until they form a sticky mixture. Press this “crust” into the bottom of a pie plate and top with your pumpkin mixture. Chill for at least an hour before serving.

Vegan buckeye cookies

Blend peanut butter, brown rice syrup, almond flour and vanilla until it forms a thick dough. Roll into balls, then dip into melted dark chocolate. Allow these to sit on a piece of parchment paper in the fridge until set. Just like Grandma’s… but maybe better? (We won’t tell her.)

Get more menu ideas (and get your time-saving grocery list) on PlateJoy!

- Amy Height

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