Vegetarian Thanksgiving Menu

Hosting holidays is something I enjoy. While some people find it stressful, I think for me it is laid-back and just plain fun. I try to not make anything too complicated or fussy and generally tend to have a balanced plate, snacks for peckish people, and a crowd-pleasing dessert. In my opinion, it is best to keep it simple and focus on doing just a few things, but doing them well.

Thanksgiving can be an especially difficult holiday for vegetarians and vegans, as many of the traditional offerings are heavy in animal products. The same flavors are definitely still possible without meat, so whether you are making a dish for a vegetarian guest, or plan on hosting a fully cruelty-free Thanksgiving, I’ve included a sample menu to get you started 🙂

I would include a red wine, IPA, and sparkling water for guests to drink (of course more options if you desire, but I try to keep it simple). Mixed salted nuts and dried cherries are a great snack to have out on tables, as well as soft cheese with baguette. For dessert, apple crisp is easy to make vegan by simply using vegan butter and pairing with vegan ice cream (SO Delicious Vanilla Cashewmilk is my personal recommendation for vegan vanilla). Of course most desserts are already vegetarian, so no need to plan too much for that ;p

Mixed Green Cranberry Walnut Salad

Serves 6

Ingredients:

Large container spring greens (around 8 cups)

Brianna’s Blush Wine vinaigrette

3/4 cup red onion, very thinly sliced

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

4-6 oz. goat cheese crumbles (leave out if making vegan)

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Toss all ingredients together!

Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Serves 6

Ingredients:

4 medium sweet potatoes, washed well

3/4 cup Maple Syrup

4 Tablespoons butter (or earth balance)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400º F.

Slice potatoes lengthwise, then chop into pieces about 1/2 inch thick. In skillet melt butter on med-high heat. Add potatoes.

Add maple syrup, toss to coat, then bring to a boil. Place potatoes in oven, stirring every 5 minutes, until done (they should able to be pierced by a fork). This should take about 20 minutes.

Beyond Beef Pot Pies

Serves 6

Ingredients:

I lb. Beyond Beef (or other meatless ground)

1 medium yellow onion

4 cloves minced garlic

2 carrots, chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

2 cups frozen peas

3 Tablespoons olive oil (1-2 additional Tablespoons to brown the Beyond Beef)

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup AP flour

4 cups vegetable broth

1 cup wine (I use a red wine to bring out a richer flavor, but white whine is fine if you prefer)

1 package puff pastry (if you prefer homemade, see my post Vegan Puff Pastry)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425º F.

In large skillet or saucepan, heat the 3 Tablespoons olive oil on med-high. Add onion and garlic and cook 4-5 minutes, until soft.

Add carrots, celery, and peas. Cook a few more minutes.

Add herbs, salt, and flour. Stir to disperse flour and avoid clumps. Add wine and broth slowly, stirring well. Turn heat down to low and let simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In separate pan, use a bit of olive oil to brown the beyond meat (this should only take a few minutes, so be careful not to over cook it).

Add the beyond meat to the rest of the filling and remove from heat. Assemble pot pies by filling in ideal ramekins with about 1 cup of filling each (if you don’t have ramekins, simply use a pie dish or a 9×9 baking dish). Top with puff pastry.

Bake until crust is done (about 20 minutes). Garnish with fresh parsley or rosemary sprigs.

Pumpkin Bread

I know we are bombarded with an abundance of “pumpkin spice” this time of year, yet many pumpkin treats seem to neglect the star ingredient! My absolute favorite way to enjoy pumpkin is via pumpkin bread and this recipe contains a healthy portion of pumpkin to ensure maximum pumpkin flavor 🙂

I also add some maple syrup to help bring out the flavor of the spices and pumpkin. Oh! And it’s vegan, so it is a great option to bring to Thanksgiving or other potlucks for a vegan option. The icing is optional, but makes it more decadent (although I may actually prefer it without as a hearty snack cake with some tea).

Pumpkin Bread

2 cups A.P. Flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

2 pinches cloves

1 pinch salt

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tablespoons maple syrup

1/3 cup canola oil

1/3 cup almond milk

1 can pumpkin purée

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional: 1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger (for when you want some extra spice and zing)

Icing

Almond milk (a few Tablespoons, depending on preferred viscosity)

Confectioner’s sugar (1/2 – 3/4 cup)

Vanilla extract (about 1 teaspoon)

Directions:

Heat oven to 350º F.

In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt. Set aside.

In large bowl, whisk together sugar, maple syrup, canola oil, almond milk, pumpkin purée, and vanilla extract.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in 3 parts, whisking to combine. Use a spatula to scrape sides of bowl between additions.

Spray loaf pan (lining with parchment should also work). Fill with batter, smooth, and bake for about 55 minutes. You can test using a toothpick or cake tester and if it comes out clean, it’s done!

Hopefully you enjoy!

To see exactly how to make it, I’ve included a video:

A Break

Hi! I didn’t really discuss this because it just sort of happened, but I took a break from blogging for the past few months. It was not necessarily a conscious decision, there were just other things going on that made it difficult to apply myself to hobbies.

I was going through a lot of changes and they were all negative changes, so I was feeling pretty down. Getting through that I’m back on the upswing, with lots of positive changes following that slump (new job that I’m enjoying, classes, and rejuvenation in my goals). It’s a good reminder for me that life is constantly ebbing and flowing.

Anyway, I’m back to (hopefully) posting somewhat regularly.

Apple Cinnamon Rolls

Since apple season is in full force, I decided to make my cinnamon roll recipe with an apple butter filling (to fully embrace autumnal vibes).

It turned out even better than anticipated (I immediately consumed two rolls), so I thought I’d share.

I used the same base recipe for cinnamon rolls found here but used a different filling.

Apple Cinnamon Rolls

Filling:

1/2 cup apple butter (the kind without added sweeteners or sugar)

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

I made the dough as usual, but spread this instead of the usual filling and it turned out well! These do seem to be a bit more gentle than typical cinnamon rolls when placing them into the dish for their proof, so treat them gently.

If you want to see the process of how to make these Apple Cinnamon Rolls, watch the video to see the steps in action.

Peach Crisp

Crisp is a great way to showcase summer fruits, so I truly love both making and eating it. Additionally, it is easy to transport and can be served either warm or room temp (preferably with ice cream), so it’s a great choice for summer cookouts, barbecues, and picnics.

To make things even better, this is a vegan version of the dessert! So if you are vegan or plant-based, this can be a great way to bring something that is both vegan and familiar.

Peach Crisp

Filling:

3 pounds peaches

Juice of 1 lemon

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 Tablespoons corn starch

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

Topping:

3/4 cup flour

3/4 cup old-fashioned oats

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup refined coconut oil, melted

1/4 cup canola oil

Directions:

Core and slice peaches into 1/4 inch slices (about 8 slices per peach should be good).

In a large bowl, toss peaches in lemon juice, granulated sugar, corn starch, salt, and vanilla until well coated. Set aside.

For the topping, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the melted coconut oil and canola oil, then continue to mix using a fork, wooden spoon, or spatula. This mix should be sort of crumbly, yet moist.

Take the topping and chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes. This will help the oils firm up before baking.

While the topping is chilling, preheat the oven to 350º Fahrenheit.

Prepare an 8″ square baking dish by spraying it with nonstick spray (or lightly oiling the sides). Then fill with the peach mixture, pressing down firmly.

Add the topping, covering the peaches. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the topping begins to brown and the peach mixture is bubbling.

This recipe is simple, delicious, and great for summer. I made a video to show how to make it, so each step can be seen below.

Rustic French Bread

This recipe is super simple and produces a loaf that is versatile enough to become a regulator bread recipe. Because the starter is really more of a poolish, it does not take a lot of planning.

Letting the starter rest for a few hours does help develop depth of flavor without having to fully feed it for several days.

Rustic French Bread

Yields: 1 loaf

Prep Time: 4 hours (more if you let your starter rest longer)

Bake Time: about 30 minutes

Ingredients

For the poolish/starter:

1/4 cup rye flour

1/2 cup AP or bread flour

1/4 teaspoon yeast

1/2 cup lukewarm water

For the dough:

1/2 teaspoon yeast

1/2 Tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups flour (bread is preferable, but AP works)

1/2 cup lukewarm water

All of the starter

Directions:

Combine the ingredients for the starter/poolish. Stir and cover tightly or place in air- tight container (I use a large jar with a screw-on lid). Let sit, covered, for at least 2 hours. This can sit as long as overnight.

Combine the starter/poolish, yeast, sugar, salt, flour, and water. Mix until combined. Place in a lightly-oiled bowl and cover with a clean towel. Let rise for about an hour, until the dough is almost doubled in size.

Once the dough has risen, remove from the bowl. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Gently cover with a lightly oiled wrap (such as plastic wrap or a reusable wrap). Let rise another 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 475º F. After the dough has had its second rise, gently remove the wrap and slash the dough with a sharp knife. Bake at 475º for about 15 minutes, then lower temperature to 425º F and bake for another 15 minutes.

*To get a harder crust on your bread, use a spray bottle filled with water to occasionally spritz during the bake (this mimics a steam oven to get a harder crust).

Hopefully this recipe makes sense!

Cinnamon Rolls

These cinnamon rolls are easy, delicious, and vegan. The nutmeg in the dough can easily be replaced with cardamom for a more Scandinavian flavor, as well. They can be iced or plain and are delicious either way.

Cinnamon Rolls

Yield: around 10 rolls

Prep Time: around 2 hours

Bake Time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cup AP flour

1/8 cup granulated sugar

Pinch salt

1 teaspoons grated nutmeg

1.75 ounces vegan butter

3/4 cup almond milk

1 teaspoon yeast

For the Filling:

1.75 ounces vegan butter, softened

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Wash:

1/4 cup almond milk

1 Tablespoon maple syrup

Directions:

In large bowl combine flour, sugar, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In medium saucepan heat butter and milk on medium heat, until butter is melted and mixture is warm to the touch. Remove from heat.

In small bowl, combine yeast and a few Tablespoons of the milk mixture. Stir and let sit until bubbling.

Once yeast is activated and bubbling, add to the flour mixture. Then add the remaining milk mixture and stir to combine.

Once it is too difficult to use the spoon or spatula, switch to using your hands to bring the dough together.

Turn out onto a clean surface and knead until smooth. You can test the dough by slicing with a sharp knife and, if it is full of air bubbles, it is ready and you can stop kneading.

Place the dough into a large bowl and cover with a clean towel. Let rise for one hour.

Towards the end of the rise time, begin making the filling by creaming together the butter, sugar, and cinnamon.

Once dough has risen, roll out into 11″ by 17″ rectangle. Spread filling evenly over rectangle.

Using the long end, begin rolling the dough to form a log.

Slice into equal pieces using a sharp knife or plain floss. Depending on how the dough roll is and the size of the pieces, this will yield 10-12 buns. Place the buns into a parchment-lined baking dish.

Cover with a clean towel and let rise again, for about 45 minutes to an hour.

Preheat oven to 425º F. Brush rolls with wash mixture (almond milk and maple syrup).

Bake rolls at 425º F for about 20-25 minutes, until lightly golden all over the outside.

These rolls are super simple to make and taste so, so good. They are great for holiday brunches and cinnamon rolls are just the best.

*Optional Icing: whisk confectioner’s sugar, almond milk, and vanilla until desired consistency. Top cinnamon rolls for even more sugary goodness!