Thanksgiving cooking is both a delight and a challenge. When you are cooking for individuals with particular diet needs (vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free) or trying to offer some more healthy foods than the traditional fare, it can be even more complex. What follows are some recipes from elephant journal readers and writers to make your Thanksgiving delicious.
Home-made Tooforkey (Vegan) ~ From Lorin A.
Store bought tofu roasts can be a little pricey for their size. This home recipe takes some time (in fact, I suggest cooking the day before and then heating so it doesn’t tie up your oven), but it’s delicious and big! This recipe was adapted from one by Bryanna Clark Grogan, over a few years of use and switching out items or adjusting amounts.
2 c. vital wheat gluten
1/2 c. soy or chickpea flour
3/4 c. nutritional yeast flakes
1 t pepper
1 onion diced finely
4 cloves garlic, minced finely
1 container of firm or extra firm tofu
3.5 c. water
3 t. vegetable broth powder (you can use the non-chicken chicken flavored type)
3 T. soy sauce
3 T. olive oil
1 t. liquid smoke
1 package vegan gravy, if desired
Blend tofu, 1 1/2 cups of water, 2 T soy sauce, liquid smoke, 1 T of the olive oil until smooth. Once in a while, I will get a block of tofu that has been frozen at some point and it will not mix smoothly. This is not preferable, but it’s not a tragedy. Just do what you can. Add the finely chopped onion and 1/2 of the minced garlic.
Mix the gluten, flour, yeast, and pepper in a separate bowl.
Combine the two. This will be much much easier if you have a dough hook and a stand mixer, but it can be done by hand. If it is too wet to form a dough ball, add bits of soy or garbanzo flour until it is (this can happen if the tofu has more water in it due to prior freezing, if your measurements are a bit off, etc.). Knead for about 10 minutes. Cover the bowl with a warm towel and let it sit for about an hour. It will rise some. Knead again for about 10 more minutes.
Line a baking pan with parchment. Shape the dough into a loaf, try to make it not too “deep” – 2-3 inches tall is preferable. Mix the remaining water, veg broth powder, soy sauce, olive oil, and liquid smoke. Pour this broth over the loaf and place in oven at 325*. Bake for about 3.5 hours, turning it over half way through (I’ve forgotten to turn it and it wasn’t a problem). Most of the broth will be gone when it’s done (if m0st of the broth has gone when you turn it, mix up and add another cup of broth). Remove from oven and allow to “settle” for a while before serving.
I recommend cooking this ahead of time. The next day, place the loaf back into a baking pan, mix your vegan gravy, and pour over it and cover with foil. Put it back in the oven and heat at 325* until warmed through.
Vegan Mushroom Onion Gravy ~ From Lorin A.
3/4 cup white or portobello mushrooms, chopped finely
1 small sweet onion, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup flour
2 1/2 cups broth – either vegetable or faux chicken
2 T soy sauce
1 t liquid smoke
salt and pepper to taste
Place 2 T. olive oil in frying pan and saute mushrooms and onions until the onions begin to carmelize. Set aside. Mix soy sauce and liquid smoke into broth and set aside. In a large pan, add remaining oil and begin to heat. Add flour and stir, forming a roux. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Begin adding broth mixture slowly, stirring constantly to prevent any lumping. Once fully mixed, add mushrooms and onions. Continue to stir gently while bringing gravy to a low boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir regularly until gravy thickens. Salt/pepper to taste and serve over tofurkey or potatoes.
Vegan Dressing/Stuffing/Filling ~ From Lorin A.
Growing up in southern Indiana, we always had a bread based dish on Thanksgiving that we called “dressing.” After I became an adult and was exposed to the horror of Stovetop stuffing, I discovered that some people cooked it inside of the bird (eww) and called it “stuffing.” Then, I had friends whose families call it “filling.” So, in my house, we now call it dressing-stuffing-filling. Those of us who like it REALLY like it, and will eat it for days after, for any meal or snack. I made the non-vegan version for years, but after I became vegetarian and then vegan, I came up with this one.
1 large loaf of stale bread ripped into bite sized pieces**
1 large onion, diced small
4 stalks celery, sliced thin
2 cups soy milk
2 cups vegetable broth
4 T vegan butter, softened
2 T white vinegar
4 T flour or starch (soy, potato, chickpea, corn)
3 t sage
2 t thyme
2 t black pepper
1 t salt
** You can use white, wheat, or a combination of breads. Bread can be “staled” by either leaving in oven for a day or two prior or baking on a low temp until dry
Place ripped bread in large mixing pan. Add spices, onions, and celery, and flour and toss gently. In a separate pan, mix softened butter with soy milk and vinegar. It should take on the consistency of oily buttermilk (sorry). Add vegetable broth and stir. Add liquid to dry ingredients and fold in. If you like your loaf to be really dense and not have bread pieces still visible, stir more briskly for longer to break up the bread more. If you prefer the bread bits, fold in gently. Spoon mix into shallow baking pan, cover with foil, and cook at 350* until warmed through. If it gets too dry as you cook, add a little more veggie broth. After thoroughly warm, remove foil and continue cooking until top browns, visible liquid evaporates, and stuffing “sets.” Time depends on what else you have going in the oven. I would expect at least 30 minutes covered and another 15-20 uncovered.
Roasted Vegetables (Vegan and Gluten-Free) ~ From Lorin A.
2 large potatoes
1 yellow squash
2 bunches broccoli
1 pepper (green, red, or orange)
11/2 cup sundried tomatoes
1/3 cup olive oil
Chop all veggies to bite sized (remove skin if desired). You can add in others if they are handy and sound good. Mix in oil and seasoning. Pour onto a large baking sheets (I like cooking this in a stone pans) and place in oven at 450* and cook for 35 minutes (turn veggies in pan every 10 minutes or so for even roasting). If needed, add foil over pan and cook and additional 10 minutes or until done.
Vibrant Tasty Green Bean Recipe ~ From Susan S.
The following recipe is best made just before serving time. You can make/prep this ahead of time by cooking the leeks and dill first and setting them aside.
Instead of cooking the green beans in the skillet, blanch them in a pot of boiling, well-salted water for about a minute. Drain the beans and dunk them in a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and place the beans in a bag or bowl in the refrigerator until ready to use. When ready, combine the components – you can do it at room temperature, or heated quickly in a skillet or pan.
4 leeks, well washed, root end and tops trimmed, sliced lengthwise into quarters and then chopped into 1/2-inch segments (see photo in main post)
1/3 cup fresh dill, well chopped
3/4 pound green beans, tops and tails trimmed and cut into 1-inch segments
extra-virgin olive oil
fine-grain sea salt
In a large thick-bottomed skillet of medium-high heat add a generous splash of olive oil, a generous pinch of salt and the leeks. Stir until the leeks are coated and glossy. Cook, stirring regularly until a lot of the leeks are golden and crispy. Stir every minute or two in the beginning, and more often as they brown using a metal spatula. At this point stir in the dill, and then stir in the green beans. Cook for a couple more minutes – just until the the beans brighten up and lose that raw bite. Turn out into a bowl or onto a platter and serve immediately.
Braised Butternut Squash (Vegan and Gluten-Free) ~ From Kate B.
This is really basic and easy, but also delicious. Adding a little bit of fat to the recipe via the olive oil and walnuts helps for maximum absorption of the beta carotene in the butternut squash. Helps for maximum yumminess too!
3 lbs. butternut squash peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes
2 tbsp. light extra virgin olive oil (or other mild tasting oil)
1 1/2 c. apple cider
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup walnuts, finely diced (garnish, optional)
Warm the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the squash to oil and brown slightly. Add the cider and pumpkin pie spice and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low, cover and simmer until squash is tender. Garnish with walnuts before serving. (Recipe can easily be halved for a smaller group.)
Roasted Sweets and Beets (Vegan and Gluten-Free)~ From Toula C.
This is a recipe from modified from an original on allrecipes.com
6 medium beets, peeled and cut into chunks
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon garlic powder (we use 1-2 cloves of fresh garlic minced)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 medium sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
1 large sweet onion, chopped (I use Spanish)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). In a bowl, toss the beets with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to coat. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and sugar in a large resealable plastic bag. Place the sweet potatoes and onion in the bag. Seal bag, and shake to coat vegetables with the oil mixture. Bake beets 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Mix sweet potato mixture with the beets on the baking sheet. Continue baking 45 minutes, stirring after 20 minutes, until all vegetables are tender.
“Creamed” Spinach (Vegan and Gluten-Free) ~ From Kate B.
3 tablespoons of Earth Balance
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. brown rice flour
1/2 cup of unsweetened plain almond milk
1/2 cup of Tofutti Sour Supreme
2 6oz. packages of baby spinach.
Salt, pepper, and smoked paprika (optional)
In a large saucepan, melt Earth Balance and saute onion slowly over medium heat. Add minced garlic and 2 tbsps. of flour and continue stirring to thicken the mixture and keep the garlic from burning. As the mixture thickens, gradually add almond milk and continue stirring. Reduce heat to low and add spinach and “sour cream.” Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste and about 1/8 tsp. of smoked paprika (or to taste.) Transfer to 9 x 9 casserole to serve or to keep warm in the oven until serving.
Garlicky Kale (Vegan and Gluten-Free) ~ From Toula C.
1 bunch of Kale ( I pull leaves off stems)
1 tblsp Water (optional dependent on need)
2 tblsp Nutritional yeast
2 cloves Garlic
1 tblsp Shoyu
1 tblsp Cider vinegar
1/2 of Lemon juice
2 tblsp olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper
Rip kale into bite sized pieces. Whisk other ingredients together. Toss with kale. Let sit for a bit and then serve. You can also add tahini for thickening and taste
Irish Potato Colcannon ~ From Lorin A.
This old Irish recipe traditionally contains cabbage, but here kale is substituted and it’s extremely yummy. This makes a great comfort food side dish with a little nutrition wrapped in! Even my greens haters will eat it.
5 lb chopped potatoes (peeled or not)
5 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
4 T 0live oil
8 cups roughly chopped kale
3 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp liquid smoke
2 T nutritional yeast (optional)
4 T soy milk or creamer
Salt and pepper to taste
Chop potatoes (skins on or off) and put on to boil. Put olive oil and garlic in a large pan and sauté the garlic until fragrant. Add kale, soy sauce, and liquid smoke and toss to coat. Cook kale at medium high until tender. When potatoes are tender, drain. While potatoes are draining, add milk to kale mix to warm. Then combine ingredients and mash by hand or with an electric mixer. I leave these a little more solid than I would mashed potatoes, since the kale is in there. Salt and pepper to taste.
Vegan Creamy Macaroni and Cheese ~ From Toula C.
8 ounces gluten-free or regular pasta, any shape
3-4 cups Daiya style Shreds (any flavor you like)
3 tablespoons vegan butter (we use buttery earth balance)
2 cups unsweetened (soy / rice) milk product (we use regular almond milk)
1-1/2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup gluten-free bread crumbs
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ cup vegan parmesan cheese (optional)
Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain thoroughly when done. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare the cheese sauce while oven is warming. In a small pot melt the butter. When melted, add the pepper and nutritional yeast. Stir in the milk or crème product. Add the cheddar, and cook over low/medium heat for about 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Stir in the macaroni and mix together. Sometimes I stop here and serve or you can bake it.. Transfer to an 8×8 casserole dish. Top with the bread crumbs(we use left over vegan garlic bread) and paprika. Bake for 15 minutes uncovered, or until the cheese is bubbling and top is starting to brown. Remove from oven and top with the parmesan just before serving.
You will need to adjust for type of pasta used.. I found through trial and error that shells and twists need less cheese sauce than bowties or penne.. Go figure. Also if you want the sauce thicker you can use tapioca starch. This really is delicious so ENJOY!
Roasted Veggie Vegan Cornbread Stuffing ~ From Toula C.
6 corn muffins or 6 egg-free and dairy-free corn muffins or 1 9×9 Gluten free corn bread toasted
1 yellow squash, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 red pepper, diced
2 stalks celery w leaves chopped well (optional)
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon basil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 quart vegetable stock or more as needed
1/2 cup olive oil
2 green Green apples diced (optional)
Small dice squash, zucchini, red pepper, celery, and apples. Toss veggies with olive oil, herbs and salt and pepper. Put in 350 degree oven in one layer, and roast for approximately 25 minutes, or until soft. Sauté garlic in oil, combine herbs and add to garlic. Crumble in the corn muffins. Toss and combine with veggies. Spread in large casserole dish. Pour stock over corn muffin and vegetable mixture and bake for 15 minutes. Garnish with chopped scallion and serve.
Baking Soda Biscuits ~ From Lorin A.
My mother used to make these simple biscuits all the time – though not typically in a vegan fashion. I’ve adapted them to my own use. They are also excellent for some biscuit and gravy action!
1/2 c. vegan butter
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. soy milk
1.5 t vinegarWhisk vinegar into soy milk so that it slightly curdles (like buttermilk). Mix together the dry ingredients. Cut in the vegan butter until like coarse meal. Make well in center of flour mixture. Add the faux “buttermilk” and stir to create a dough. Knead for a minute or so on a floured board. Pat or roll out (aim for between 1/2 and 2/3 inches deep). Cut with a cutter or a lightly buttered cup top. Place on an unoiled baking pan and bake at 450* for 10-12 minutes or lightly brown.
Pressure Cooker Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup (Vegan and Gluten-Free) ~ From Lorin A.
My friend Karla sent me this recipe. I adapted it a little to my family’s tastes and adjusted for pressure cooker preparation. It’s quite rich and delicious.
1 large butternut squash (just over 2lbs), peeled, seeded, cubed
1 small-medium onion diced very small
1 inch ginger finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
3 cups faux chicken or vegetable broth
1 can coconut milk
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 ½ tsp curry powder
½ tsp turmeric
2 T olive oil
Peel and chop as needed. I find it easiest to slice the squash into rings and then peel. Place olive oil, onion, garlic, and ginger in the bottom of the pressure cooker and cook on medium heat until soft and fragrant. Add remaining ingredients, except lemon juice, and bring to high pressure. Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes and allow to depressurize naturally. Using an immersion blender, blend soup, add lemon juice, and serve.
Vegan Broccoli Salad (Gluten-Free) ~ From Lorin A.
3 cups chopped broccoli stems (throw in a few crowns if desired)
1 large onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 large carrots, shredded
1/2 cup vegan mayo
1 t apple cider vinegar
2 T raw sugar
1/3 cup raisins or dried cranberries
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix, and chill. If desired, add vegan bacon bits immediately before serving.
Vegan Spinach Dip (Vegan and Gluten-Free) ~ From Lorin A.
1/2 cup vegan mayo
1 cup vegan sour cream
1 lb spinach, chopped (either fresh or use 1 10 oz package frozen spinach, thaw, and squeeze out water)
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 small can water chestnuts, diced (optional)
2 t dill
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 t turmeric
Mix and chill overnight. Serve with bread or pita points.
Vegan Hot Artichoke and Spinach Dip (Gluten-Free) ~ From Lorin A.
I seriously miss cheesy spinach artichoke dip, so I came up with this one last winter. I won’t say it’s good for you, but it’s certainly good!
1 lb frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 can artichoke hearts
1 tub Tofutti sour cream
1 tub Tofutti cream cheese
1/2 cup vegan mayo
1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
salt and pepper to taste
grated vegan parmesan (optional)
Pulse artichokes in food processor until diced but not pureed. Place in large bowl. Put spinach in strainer and remove by handfuls, squeezing out all water. Add to bowl. In separate bowl, blend vegan cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, and yeast. Pour over spinach and artichoke and fold in. Salt and pepper to taste. Spoon mixture into baking pan (a pie pan does nicely). Sprinkle with parmesan as desired. Bake at 350* for 30 minutes (or until mixture is heated through and slightly browning on top). Serve with crackers, crisps, celery sticks, or good bread.
Cranberry Relish (Vegan and Gluten-Free) ~ From Lorin A.
1 lb fresh cranberries
2 naval oranges
1/2 cup raw sugar
Place cranberries in a food processor and chop until fairly fine. Add oranges and pulse until shredded and mixed. Stir in sugar. Chill and serve!
Vegan Pumpkin Muffins ~ From Lorin A.
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups raw sugar
1 T baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t ginger
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins, walnuts, pecans, or other dried fruit
1 cup pureed pumpkin or canned pumpkin
1 T molasses
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
(or 1/4 cup vegetable oil and 1/4 cup applesauce)
Mix dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients. Combine. Fill muffin tins 2/3 to 3/4 full and bake at 400* for 20 minutes. Keep an eye on them after 15 and test for doneness every couple of minutes.
Vegan Chocolate Cake ~ From Lorin A.
My mom taught me to make this cake and she most certainly was not a vegan, but the cake is! My daughter (who is 11) often makes it for us now, because it is that easy. She likes to make it in cupcake form. The cake is so moist that it does not need icing, but a peanut butter / vegan cream cheese / vegan confectioners sugar mix does make a rocking icing for it as well. So, here you go.
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon vinegar
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup cold water
In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, soda and salt. Make three wells in the flour mixture. In one put vanilla; in another the vinegar, and in the third the oil. Pour the cold water over the mixture and stir until moistened. Pour into 8 x 8-inch pan. Bake at 350°F. oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it springs back when touched lightly.