Preparing a Thanksgiving meal takes time, attention, love, and care, but what about throwing a plant-based, gluten-free, and vegan Thanksgiving for those who primarily eat a vegetable diet? As you probably already know, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, but since becoming plant-based, I’ve had to get a bit more creative with how I prepare my meals, especially with how I prepare my Thanksgiving dinner!
Although my family will most definitely be slow-roasting a 20 pound turkey this year, we’re also going to have an array of gluten-free, vegan, and dairy-free sides available. I may be plant-based, but that doesn’t mean I can’t allow a little lean protein here and there…especially if it’s my Mom’s Thanksgiving turkey.
Wondering how to throw a plant-based, gluten-free, and veg an Thanksgiving, sans bread stuffing and heavy creamed potatoes and pumpkin pie? Simple! With a little inspiration and creative thinking, this task can easily be accomplished — plus, your guests will love your creations and they may not even know that you’ve duped them into eating planted based…which is always a bonus. Below, see how to throw a plant-based Thanksgiving that’s gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, and oh-so tasty! There’s something for everybody 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving!
How To Throw A Plant-Based Thanksgiving
1. Cornbread Muffins (gluten-free; vegan)
Makes enough mix for 1 muffin pan
- 1 c. almond or coconut milk
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 2 c. cornmeal
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 c. evaporated cane juice or sugar (optional)
- 1 and 1/2 packets stevia (or 2 more tbsp sugar)
- 11 oz can corn, drained (do not use unsalted)
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/4 cup applesauce
Mix the vinegar with the milk and set aside. Combine dry ingredients and mix very well. In a separate bowl, combine the oil, applesauce, corn, and milk-vinegar. Next, pour the wet into dry and mix until just mixed. Pour mixture into a greased muffin tin pan and cook at 420 F (preheated) for 20- 25 minutes. Carefully Remove from the pan and let cool on a wire rack for 10 – 15 minutes.
2. Roasted Acorn Squash w/ Maple and Red Pepper Flakes (vegan; gluten-free)
Serves 3 as a side dish
- 1 medium acorn squash, cored and cut into wedges
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup (scant) maple syrup
- pinch salt
- red pepper flakes (to your desired spiciness; I like a good hit)
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Toss the squash wedges in a large bowl with olive oil and maple syrup.
- Spread into one layer on a baking sheet, and then sprinkle with salt and red pepper flakes. Roast for 40 to 50 minutes or until squash is cooked through
3. Holiday Kale Salad (Vegan; Gluten-Free)
- 1/2 cup cubed kabocha, butternut, or other winter squash
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 bunch kale (preferably lacinato or dinosaur kale), ribs removed and finely sliced, about 2 1/2 cups
- 1/4 cup almonds, cut roughly in half
- 1/4 cup crumbled or finely chopped Cabot clothbound cheddar (if you can’t find aged cheddar, use Parmesan — if making vegan, do not use cheese)
- Fresh lemon juice
- Pecorino or other hard cheese, for shaving (if making vegan recipe, do not use cheese)
- Heat oven to 425° F. Toss squash cubes in just enough olive oil to coat, and season with salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet (lined with parchment for easier cleanup), leaving space between the cubes. Roast in the oven until tender and caramelized, about 40 minutes, tossing with a spatula every 10-15 minutes. Toast the almonds on a baking sheet in the same oven until they start to smell nutty, tossing once, about 10 minutes. Let cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss the kale with the almonds, cheddar and squash. Season to taste with lemon juice and olive oil (approximately 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Divide salad between two plates or shallow bowls. Garnish with shaved pecorino cheese, if desired, and serve.
- 12 small to medium Brussels Sprouts
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2-1 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2-1 teaspoons cracked black pepper
- 1/2-1 teaspoons onion powder
- 1/2-1 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1/2-1 teaspoons celery salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
- 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese grated or shredded (optional, but you can make recipe vegan by not adding cheese)
- First, clean the sprouts. Trim the cut ends back without interfering with the leaves, and peel any withered leaves off the bulb. Score the bottoms; one cut will suffice.
- Then place the sprouts in boiling, salted water for no more than five minutes. NO MORE!
- Drain, drizzle with oil and toss in a bowl with the salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and celery salt.
- When the sprouts are nice and coated, place on a hot grill (but keep the bowl handy), turning every four minutes for a total of twelve minutes.
- Remove from the grill back to the seasoning bowl and toss to coat with any remaining seasoning.
- If desired, add any or all of the remaining three ingredients (bacon, lemon zest, Parmesan cheese)
5. Roasted Pumpkin, Sesame, and Coconut Bisque (vegan; gluten-free)
Coconut Sesame Paste Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup fresh, frozen grated coconut
- 1 tablespoon Split dehusked Urad Dal
- 1 tablespoon split garbanzo beans (chana dal)
- 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 1-2 dried arbol chile
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon plain uncooked rice grains
Roasted Pumpkin Soup Ingredients:
- 2 cups unsweetened pumpkin puree from a roasted pumpkin
- 1/2-1 teaspoons tamarind extract
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1-2 cups water
- Salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 1 sprig curry leaves or red chili flakes
- To obtain the pumpkin puree, cut wedges of pumpkin removing the seeds & the central ‘webbing’ , brush with olive oil & bake in a 400 F oven for about 45 minutes to 1 hr. Allow to cool & scoop out the required amount (2 cups) of pumpkin.
- In a skillet on low heat, toast the coconut till it turns a reddish brown. Set aside.
- Using the same pan, dry roast all the lentils, rice & the fenugreek till they turn a light brown color, add these to the coconut & repeat the process for the sesame & arbol chiles (cut the chiles into pieces to facilitate browning). Toast the sesame till the seeds begin popping.
- Combine all the ingredients together and grind to a smooth paste using as little water as possible. Set aside
- In a crock pot, combine the pumpkin puree, tamarind extract, turmeric, salt and water and cook on medium heat till the flavors combine (~ 15 min)
- Add the sesame & coconut spice blend to the pumpkin mix and simmer on a low heat for about 15 minutes, adding extra water if the mix is too thick. The predominating aroma will be that of the toasted sesame.
- Remove from heat, allow to cool. Process in a blender till smooth & strain (the toasted dals & coconut will otherwise add a gritty component to the texture.). Simmer on low heat to maintain the level of warmth you prefer.
- Heat the ghee on low heat, add the curry leaves and allow to fry till they’re crisp (but still retain their green color)
- Serve warm and garnished with the crisp curry leaves or red chili flakes
6. Creamy Mashed Potatoes (vegan; gluten-free)
- 1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes – unpeeled and cut into equal sized pieces
- 2 cloves garlic – minced
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and add your potatoes. Keep boiling and cook these for about 30 minutes. They’re going to be so soft your fork will just slide into them.
- Drain the potatoes.
- Warm your vegetable broth.
- In potato pot, add minced garlic, vegetable broth, olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Mash until smooth and creamy.
7. Pumpkin Pie (vegan; gluten-free)
Pie Filling Ingredients:
- 2 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
- 1 cup cashews, soaked 3+ hours and drained of soaking water
- 3/4 cup demerara, brown, or cane sugar
- 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
- 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- pinches cloves
Pie Crust Ingredients:
- 1/3 cup sorghum flour
- 1/3 cup millet flour
- 1/3 cup arrowroot starch
- 1/4 cup brown rice flour
- 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup cold palm shortening
- 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 3-5 tablespoons cold water
Pie Filling Directions:
- Roll the crust out to 1/4 inch thickness and line a greased and floured pie pan. Pinch edges decoratively.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Blend all pie filling ingredients in a food processor till super smooth. The mixture should be quite thick, but if it’s too thick you can thin it with a tablespoon or two of water or non dairy milk. Spoon into the crust, smooth over, and bake until the edges of the crust are golden brown and the filling is dark (35 to 40 minutes). Let cool for a while before serving.
Pie Crust Directions:
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sorghum flour, millet flour, arrowroot starch, brown rice flour, xantham gum, and sea salt.
- Cut in the palm shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Add the apple cider vinegar and water, and stir gently until the mixture comes together to form a dough. Place the ball of dough inside of a large zip lock bag and use your hands to flatten it into a disk. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- To roll the dough, lay a piece of parchment paper on a work surface and lightly sprinkle with flour. Place the disk of dough in the middle of the parchment paper, sprinkle the disk with flour, and roll the dough into an 11-12 inch round starting from the middle and working out towards the edges. Keep sprinkling the dough with flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin.
- Using your rolling pin (as pictured above) to aid in moving the dough, carefully ease the crust into a 9 inch pie plate. Or use the bottom layer of parchment paper to invert the entire pie crust over the top of the pie plate (say a little prayer) and gently peel off the parchment paper. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of the pie pan (if there are any tears in the crust, simply wet your fingers and try to smooth them out as best as you can).
- Trim down the edges of the pie crust leaving about 1/2 an inch of excess dough. Fold the excess dough underneath and crimp the edges.
- Fill and bake as desired.