Thanksgiving… the holiday celebrating togetherness, thankfulness, and gorging yourself with tons of FOOD. It’s everywhere! Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, peas, gravy, etc., etc. and very little of that makes the vegan cut. This has been what we’ve eaten every year on Thanksgiving for my entire life. SInce we started this veganish diet in June, this is the first holiday season going meatless and it’s been giving me anxiety. There will be meat everywhere! There is dairy in almost everything, especially in all of the pies and cookies and scrumptious things that I usually stuff my face with for a month straight. What will we be able to eat during the holidays? Will I have to sit there hungry while I watch my family eat? Will we be so tempted to eat our traditional non-vegan foods that we cheat?
Well Thanksgiving came and went and it wasn’t near as hard as I thought. I decided I would cook a vegan Thanksgiving meal for Josh and I on Wednesday to save and eat when we got home from his Yiayia’s the next day, so I started searching and planning weeks before. One thing I will say is being vegan does take a lot more thinking and prep work. On Wednesday I cooked and baked and cooked some more until my kitchen looked like a bomb went off, but it made me excited to be able to still eat some of our traditional foods, just adjusted to fit our new diet.
On Thanksgiving, we drove to his Yiayia’s (my husband’s family is very Greek) so the spread was equally traditional Thanksgiving food and traditional Greek food: Greek potatoes, Greek salad, moussaka, brussel sprouts with pomegranate seeds, turkey, ham, bread, spanakopita, chicken dressing, pecan pie, oreo pie, etc. Luckily his cousin is vegetarian and brought a meatless loaf so we had that with our brussel sprouts, salad, and bread for meal #1. I made a vegan slab pie that his family loved and they were surprised it was vegan!
Once we got home and took a power nap we were read for meal #2. I set our table with our fancy plates and napkin rings that we haven’t used since we received them for our wedding, and we had a private feast! Ignore my tacky fake candles and paper napkins… I guess at 27 I should invest in some real tableware? The food was delicious and was a success!
Now here’s to planning what to have on Christmas…
Our Thanksgiving Meal-
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes– Recipe Here
These were delicious! I added a splash of unsweetened almond milk to make them a little creamier. They were rich, fluffy, and the roasted garlic made them a little more decadent than the average mash.
Grandpa’s Traditional Stuffing- I lost my Grandpa in May and I’m so glad I asked him for this recipe a few years ago. We used to make it together every Thanksgiving, so I’m glad I could alter it to continue the tradition. It tastes like Thanksgiving for me, even though it’s really simple.
1 loaf of English toasting bread, cubed
½ yellow onion, diced
½ head of celery, diced or celery salt
1 c. water or vegetable stock
¼ c of vegan butter
poultry seasoning and dried sage
Salt and pepper
Cut bread into cubes the night before and leave on cookie sheets to dry overnight. If still not dry, bake in oven at low heat with oven door open to let moisture escape. Cut onion and dice celery if using it. Fill a saucepan with about 1 c of water and butter, add the onions and celery and let onions cook until translucent over medium/low heat. Put bread into large mixing bowl, add a decent amount of poultry seasoning and sage and mix. Use slotted spoon to get the onions out of the pan and into the mixing bowl. Pour water/butter on bread slowly while mixing until moist. Wrap in foil and cook on 350* until warm in the center.
Roasted Maple Dijon Brussel Sprouts and Butternut Squash with craisins and pecans-
This was one I created to try to get some veggies mixed in our with carb overload and it tasted just like fall. So yummy!
-1 bag of fresh brussel sprouts, cleaned and halved
-1 bag of diced butternut squash
-1 tbsp dijon mustard
-1/2 tsp dried sage
-2 tsp maple syrup
-1 tbsp olive oil
-salt and pepper to taste
-3 tbsp craisins
-2 tbsp pecan pieces
Preheat oven to 400*. Mix the brussel sprouts, squash, mustard, olive oil, syrup, sage and salt/pepper and then spread out on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes until crispy and golden, then take out and add the craisins and pecans. Mix to combine for a tasty side!
Canned Peas and Cranberry Sauce– because it’s Thanksgiving…
Gravy- I don’t know if I added too much poultry seasoning, but this gravy did NOT taste like my Grandma’s… fail. Recipe here
Apple, Cherry, and Raspberry Slab Pie– Have you ever yelled at pie dough before? Well I did after the 15th break while trying to roll it out for this pie. I finally had success and the tartness of the filling was the perfect ending to a rich meal. Here’s the recipe I used- I just changed the cranberries to frozen cherries, and I added more frozen raspberries after I took it off the heat because they basically disintegrated into sauce. I used Granny Smith’s, but because it was so tart I’ll probably use a sweeter apple next time. I had to add another few teaspoons of sugar to sweeten it up a little bit more because the pucker was too real. Also, I didn’t use the almond milk to brush the leaves because it was making my pretty red filling have milky streaks after a few strokes. No thanks!