It’s here! The 2016 vegan Thanksgiving menu. You guys are honestly going to LOVE this one. These dishes were so perfectly balanced in flavors and left my family and me feeling full and content without being in a full blown food coma. Oh, the wonders of plant-based, whole foods!
This is always a special post for me each year – two years ago, my first blog post ever was my first Thanksgiving menu! I’ll leave the links here for 2014 and 2015‘s menus if you are in need of any more recipes beyond the ones you find here. Please let me know in the comments how you end up liking these recipes and be sure to tag me in your photos on Instagram so that I can see your recreations!
Now for the food!
LENTIL SHEPHERD’S PIE
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup chopped celery (about 3 stalks)
1 cup chopped carrot
2 bay leaves
1 tsp fresh rosemary
1 tsp fresh sage
salt & pepper
2 cups lentils, uncooked, rinsed
4 cups veggie broth
Recipe for garlic Rosemary mashed potatoes from my 2015 Thanksgiving menu
2 tbsp Earth Balance vegan butter
1/3 cup Follow Your Heart vegan parmesan
- Scrub and cut your potatoes, place them in a large pot of boiling water until fork tender, about 25 minutes.
- While your potatoes are boiling, heat olive oil on low heat in a large pan. Add garlic and onion and sauté until fragrant, about 4 minutes.
- Add the celery and carrot and sauté for another 8 minutes, stirring periodically.
- Now add in the lentils, bay leaf, sage, rosemary, salt and pepper, and cover with veggie broth. Reduce the heat to medium low and cover with a lid to allow the lentils to cook – about 30 minutes. Try not to open the lid throughout this time to allow the lentils to absorb maximum moisture.
- While your pie filling is cooking, drain your potatoes and return them back to the same pot you cooked them in. Add the rest of the ingredients from the mashed potato recipe and mash to combine all. Set aside once complete. Tip: Do not use an immersion blender! The starches break apart too much and you’re left with gluey potatoes. In the case of a shepherd’s pie gluey potatoes aren’t too much of a catastrophe, but either way, fluffier potatoes are always best!
- After 30 minutes check on your lentil mixture. The lentils should be soft and all the moisture should be absorbed without the mixture sticking to the bottom of the pan. If the lentils are still al dente, add more veggie stock 1/3 cup at a time and cook until absorbed. 4 cups of stock was perfect for me, I didn’t need to add any more liquid.
- Once your mixture is complete, transfer to a large baking dish and spread evenly to create the bottom layer.
- Top with the mashed potatoes and spread evenly. Drizzle with melted Earth Balance and sprinkle a handful of follow Your Heart vegan Parmesan over top.
- Bake for about 15 minutes until cheese is melted and potatoes are golden.
EGGPLANT BACON WRAPPED DATES
1 large eggplant, peeled
1/2 cup tamari
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp chipotle chili flakes or powder (I was able to find some at Whole Foods in the spice section by 365 brand)
1 tsp smoked paprika
sprinkle of salt
1 package Treeline treenut cheese (also found at Whole Foods)
- Combine tamari, maple syrup, chipotle chili flakes, paprika, and salt into a dish. Stir to combine.
- Take your peeled eggplant, and with a peeler, start peeling long thin slices of the eggplant. The part with the seeds may give you a bit of an issue, but a whole eggplant should give you more than enough “bacon” slices to wrap your dates. The goal is to get them as long as you can, but half slices (or smaller) work just fine, too!
- Once the eggplant is fully peeled into slices, place the eggplant slices into the marinade. Stir gently to make sure all pieces are coated in the mixture. Set aside for at least 1 hour, the longer the better!
- In the meantime, prep your dates. Rinse and remove all of the date pits gently. I used a chopstick to get the pits out without destroying the rest of the date. You want to keep their shape as best you can since we are going to stuff them.
- Once all pits are removed, place your cheese stuffing into a piping bag with a medium tip. Pipe cheese stuffing into the center of each date.
- Once all dates are stuffed and the eggplant is fully marinated, wrap each stuffed date in 1 layer of eggplant bacon. Place wrapped dates onto a cookie sheet line with parchment paper.
- Bake until “bacon” is crispy, about 25 minutes.
- Place a toothpick in each for easy picking & enjoy!
The eggplant bacon marinade was adapted from this recipe by HOT FOR FOOD!! I purposely chose not to use liquid smoke in the marinade after doing some research and discovering the possibility of liquid smoke being carcinogenic. I subbed for chipotle chili flakes instead, and these gave the bacon the yummiest smoky flavor and hint of spice without having to worry about the uncertainty surrounding liquid smoke. Perfect substitution!!
TWICE BAKED SWEET POTATOES
4 large purple sweet potatoes, scrubbed and rinsed
4 large orange sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup cashew cream (1/2 cup of soaked cashews blended with a few splashes of water until thick and creamy)
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup chopped pecans + more for topping
1/2 cup vegan marshmallows (I used Dandies) + more for topping
- Place purple sweet potatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and pierce with a fork for even cooking. Place in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes until just soft enough to pierce fully with a fork but not entirely cooked.
- In the meantime, place your cubed & peeled orange sweet potatoes in a pot of boiling water. Boil until fork tender, about 25 minutes.
- Remove the orange potatoes from the heat, drain, and return them to the original pot they cooked in.
- Add the cashew cream & maple syrup, and sprinkle of cinnamon & salt/pepper into the potatoes. Whisk or blend lightly until creamy. Fold in 1/2 cup each of marshmallows and pecans into the sweet potatoes and set aside.
- Remove your purple potatoes from the oven and let cool completely.
- Once cooled, slice each potato down the middle and scoop out as much of the center as you can while still leaving a nice shell of purple potato to keep the color and shape. Save the inside scoops for another dish throughout the week.
- Fill potato shells with the mashed sweet potato mixture, top with more marshmallows and pecans, and pop into the oven on 350 for another 15 minutes or so until the marshmallows are nice and toasty and the purple potato is fully cooked through.
STRING BEAN CASSEROLE
1 lb. string beans
1 large yellow onion
1 lb. cremini mushrooms
2 tbsp gluten free all purpose flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
1 tbsp rosemary
1-1/2 cups veggie stock
1 tbsp tamari
Follow Your Heart Vegan Cheddar, block, grated
Raw Food Central Onion Ring Chips
- With a damp towel, lightly clean the mushrooms. Don’t rinse! Then slice them up and set aside.
- In a saucepan, heat olive oil and lightly sauté the chopped onion until translucent.
- Add in the mushrooms and sauté for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- When the mushroom liquid has cooked off, add in the flour and stir until the mushrooms are evenly coated.
- Add in the vegetable stock and tamari and cook further until thickened to your liking.
- Once finished, remove from heat. Add in the shredded vegan cheese & crushed onion chips into the gravy and stir to combine.
- Transfer the string beans to a casserole dish and fold in the gravy mixture to coat all of the string beans evenly. Top with extra onion chips and shredded cheese for presentation, and pop into a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted to your liking.
Mushroom gravy recipe adapted from the OH SHE GLOWS COOKBOOK. Soooo delcious. I highly reccommend this cookbook as a necessary staple in your kitchen. So many go to recipes!
This is a new tradition I have started in recent years to help contribute to keeping the turkeys alive and well instead of contributing to the mass slaughter that goes on for Thanksgiving (and all year round). I’ve gotten the pleasure to visit Woodstock to see how amazing these beautiful creatures are treated. Click here to sponsor a turkey for yourself! You will get a postcard in the mail with a picture of your turkey and his or her rescue story. <3 Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Lots of vegan love,