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.

Valentine’s Day Pizza

This post is a little late since Valentine’s Day was last week, but we celebrated by making a homemade heart pizza!

The dough recipe is from a friend of mine and I use it every time I make pizza. Sometimes I make the sauce as well, but this time I tried Cucina Antica La Pizza sauce which was super delicious!

Normally I skip the cheese, but I added vegan mozzarella this time and I have to say I prefer it without. If you eat cheese, however, feel free to add it vegan or otherwise.

Homemade Pizza

Serves: Realistically, 2-3

Time: 1.5-2 hours, including dough rise

Ingredients:

1.5 Tablespoons Yeast

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 cup lukewarm water

2 3/4 cups flour

Pinch salt

2-3 teaspoons olive oil

Pizza sauce (homemade or otherwise)

Desired toppings (such as olives, veggies, cheese, etc.)

Directions:

1. Make the dough. Combine lukewarm water, yeast, and sugar. Stir and let sit until bubbling (a few minutes).

2. Place flour and salt in mixer with yeast mixture. Using the dough hook, mix on low-med until combined. Once combined, oil the sides of the mixing bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Let rise for about an hour or until at least doubled.

3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll out dough and toss/shape to form pizza.

4. Add sauce and toppings, then bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-30 minutes (until desired doneness)

Hopefully you enjoy this! It can take some trial and error when making homemade pizza, but this dough recipe has always produced great results for me 🍕

Sesame-Ginger Kale Salad

This recipe has been one of my favorites lately. I’m a bit obsessed with both ginger and kale! It’s easy to throw together for lunch or dinner and can be easily adjusted to feed more people.

I learned recently that your are supposed to massage kale before you use it in a salad (apparently this makes it easier to digest), so I recommend giving it a little massage.

This salad is packed with nutrients and it really does taste good, in my opinion.

Sesame-Ginger Kale Salad

Serves: 2

Prep time: 20 minutes

Salad Ingredients:

7-8 stalks of kale

1 bell pepper (I use red)

1 carrot, shredded with a peeler

1 avocado, cubed

1/3 cup red onion, finely chopped

Cilantro

Sesame seeds

1 cup edamame

Salt

Dressing Ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil

Juice of 1 lime

1 Tbls rice wine vinegar

1 Tbls honey or agave

Small piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

Dash red pepper flakes

Dash sesame oil

Directions:

1. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a food processor and purée until relatively smooth (I often leave some bigger bits of ginger and garlic because I prefer that).

2. Rip kale from the thick stem and rinse. Chop into 1-2 inch pieces and massage with salt (with clean hands).

3. After massaging the kale, add the pepper, carrot, edamame, onion, and cilantro. Toss with dressing until well-coated.

4. Add avocado, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve.

*If using frozen edamame, simply thaw separately in the microwave for 30-60 seconds.

Hopefully you enjoy this! I always feel really nourished after eating. If trying to make a more substantial meal, you could always serve with some cilantro-lime rice, or even some sweet potato wedges!

Stir Fry with Chickpeas

This recipe is a regular in my household and tends to show up on the dinner menu about once a week. Not only is it really easy to throw together, it is also healthy and adaptable. It is easy to substitute any of the veggies with whatever is in your fridge.

Stir Fry with Chickpeas

Serves 2-3 (depends how hungry you are :p)

Ingredients:

1 Bell Pepper (any color)

2 Carrots

Purple onion

1 cup Broccoli florets

1 Can Garbanzo Beans/Chickpeas, rinsed well

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3-4 Tablespoons Soy Sauce

2 teaspoons brown sugar

Few squirts Chili Sauce

teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon ginger (either powdered or fresh)

2 cups cooked rice (brown or white)

teaspoon oil

Directions:

1. Slice carrots, onion, bell pepper, and broccoli (if from a whole head).

2. Heat a pan on medium-high, add 1 teaspoon of any oil (I use olive oil), then add onion slices. Cook for a few minutes, until beginning to color.

3. Once onion gets color, add the remaining veggies and a splash of water.

4. While veggies are cooking, whisk together soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, chili sauce, ginger, and garlic.

5. Once vegetables have cooked for 5-6 minutes and begun to soften, add the sauce and garbanzo beans. Stir well to coat evenly and continue to cook for a few minutes.

6. Once the stir fry mixture is done, serve over rice (I typically am lazy and use Seeds of Change microwaveable rice packets).

Basically you cook on medium-high the entire time, so this recipe is super easy and it is usually done in like 15 minutes. I often substitute the chickpeas with cashews and that is really delicious!

This also tastes great with snow peas instead of the broccoli, so it is very adaptable.

Tandoori Squash Bowl with Lentils

Ok, so my oven definitely is not as hot as a tandoor, but I still really like the flavor of the spices as the squash roasts at a high temperature.

With my husband out of town lately, I’ve been eating this a lot because it is really easy to make for just one person. It is easy to adapt for more, as well, and it is super simple for a nutritious weeknight dinner that keeps you full.

Tandoori Squash Bowl

I would say it takes about 30 minutes, though it just depends on how long the squash takes to roast. I usually use butternut squash, but when I last made this all I had was acorn, so choose whichever you like.

Tandoori Squash with Lentils

Serves 2 (but can easily be halved or doubled)

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked rice (brown or white is fine)

1/4 cup dry lentils (I prefer green)

1 cup water (for the lentils)

1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1/2 purple onion, cut into 1/4 in slices

2 tsp olive oil

1 small acorn squash or 1/2 butternut squash

1-2 tsp Tandoori seasoning (I use Penzy’s, but it is simple a blend of coriander, cumin, paprika, garlic, ginger, cardamom, and saffron)

Few pinches salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. While oven is preheating, prepare the squash by slicing it in half, rubbing the inside with olive oil, and sprinkling with Tandoori seasoning. If only using half the squash, cover the other half and refrigerate.

2. Place squash in oven and let roast until the flesh can be easily pierced with a fork. For my oven, this takes 25-30 minutes.

3. While squash is cooking, put the garlic and lentils in a pan with 1 cup water. Bring water and lentils to a boil, covered, then immediately reduce to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until water is completely absorbed. Once done, add salt.

4. Once done with lentils, begin sautéing onion in a pan with about 1 teaspoon olive oil. After 1-2 minutes, add broccoli, a splash of water, and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes, then remove cover and continue to cook until the onions are soft and have some color.

5. Make the rice. I use pre-made rice packets for this because they are the perfect amount for 1-2 people, so I just cook it in the microwave. My favorite brand is Seeds of Change, which has tons of great rice selections.

6. Once the squash is ready, remove from oven and (once cooled enough), cut into desired sizes. I prefer about 1-inch cubes.

7. Assemble the bowls! Put in rice, then lentils, broccoli mixture, and squash. Sprinkle with more salt, if desired.

Hopefully you like this as much as I do! It is really nutritious and not terribly difficult to make. It is especially nice in the winter, when squash is abundant and warm food is comforting.