Thanks, Giving

Here is a Thanksgiving menu that I’ve been refining the last three years. It’s low-fat whole-food plant-based vegan. We’ve found that when you reduce the oil to near-zero you can move around after the dinner rather than lumber with groans over to the TV room.

First is the “meat” or the protein-focused entree. It’s a veggie Neat Loaf. Most years I stuff a pie pumpkin or another winter squash with a favorite veggie dressing, but you can skip the gourd and just bake the stuffing. I have a great cranberry sauce but my family likes canned; if you find canned cranberry sauce without high fructose corn syrup let me know. The leftovers from these are pretty obvious, but if you have an unused can of pumpkin puree, here’s November Chili for the long weekend.

Otherwise, take a look at Scratch Green Bean Casserole, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, and Yammy Rolls.

Scratch Green Bean Casserole

This takes a little time to assemble but it’s so much tastier than the ol’ food label recipe. Serves 4-6. Adapted from Forks Over Knives’ Best Vegan Green Bean Casserole

  • 2 medium to large onions, divided use
  • 1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 16-24 oz. frozen green beans
  • 16 oz. fresh mushrooms, any kind
  • 4-6 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup flour, any kind
  • 2 cups low-salt vegetable broth
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian herb blend
  • 2 Tablespoons sliced or slivered almonds
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil 2-3 quart casserole.
  2. For crispy onion topping: Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Thinly slice 1 onion (1 heaping cup). In medium bowl mix together flaxseed, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper then add in onions to coat and let rest 5 minutes to absorb. Gently spread onions on cookie sheet and bake 15 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Steam green beans in saucepan or microwave according to package directions. Do not overcook. Drain (consider using liquid elsewhere) and place beans in casserole.
  4. For sauce: dice remaining onion (1 heaping cup), cut mushrooms thickly and mince garlic. Heat large saucepan on medium-low to medium. Add these vegetables, cover and cook 7 minutes, stir occasionally. Liquid coming from mushrooms will keep these from sticking. Meanwhile, pour broth and vinegar into medium bowl and stir in flour, Italian herbs, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Pour into medium to large saucepan and cook 3-5 minutes, stirring often, until gravy thickens. Puree half of the mix in a food processor or blender and puree, then stir that back into saucepan.
  5. Pour gravy over green beans in the baking dish. Scatter the baked onions then almonds over the top. Bake uncovered 20 minutes.

Mashed Potatoes with Brown Gravy

As part of a holiday meal, this serves 4-6 people. The gravy of course can be used for other items at the table. Potatoes adapted from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Gravy adapted from Forks Over Knives’ Creamy Mushroom Gravy.

  • 2 cups low-salt vegetable broth or water
  • 2 pounds potatoes – white Russet, yellow/gold or red
  • Up to 2 cups plant milk
  • 2-4 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • Salt and ground black pepper

  • 1 medium onion, large dice (1-1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 carrot, thickly sliced
  • 1 rib celery, thickly sliced
  • 6-8 oz. fresh mushrooms
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Potato cooking liquid
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 2 Tablespoons cashew butter

Illustration of wire potato masher
  1. For potatoes: Add broth to large saucepan and bring to boil. Cut potatoes, either peeled or unpeeled, into 1-2 inch cubes and add to pot. Return to boil, reduce to medium-low and cook 20 minutes. Drain potatoes, reserving the liquid to make the gravy. Return potatoes to the pot, add 1 cup plant milk, nutritional yeast, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and mash with masher or fork. Add more plant milk, gradually, until desired smoothness. Turn into medium microwave-safe serving piece (for reheating if needed).
    Optional garnishes: fresh or dried chives, sweet or smoked paprika.
  2. For gravy: Heat large nonstick skillet on medium. Braise starting with 1/4 cup water the onion, carrot and celery 3 minutes. Add 1/4 cup more water and mushrooms and garlic and braise 2 minutes. In large measuring cup, add warm water to reserved potato water to make 2 cups then stir in poultry seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Puree vegetables with cashew butter in a food processor or blender using some of the seasoned liquid as needed. Return the puree to the skillet and add remaining liquid. Heat through 2-5 minutes, add a little warm water for desired consistency. Serve warm.

Yammy Rolls

These are so good I’ve made them several times after Thanksgiving. Adapted from Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Portuguese-style Sweet Potato Rolls. Similar recipes online call them Bolo de Caco. They look a bit like yellow-ish, chubby English muffins.

  • 12 oz. sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks OR 12 oz cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 411 grams flour (3 cups), whole wheat, unbleached bread or a combination, plus extra flour for dusting
  • 1 packet yeast, or 2 teaspoons
  1. Heat water in medium saucepan on medium-high with potatoes and salt to boiling. Reduce to low heat, cover and cook 30 minutes, until potatoes very soft. Let cool 30 minutes. (Skip if yams already cooked.)
  2. Food processor method: Turn cooked sweet potatoes and remaining cooking liquid into processor bowl, Add flour and yeast. Process until a smooth dough forms, less than 5 minutes. Turn into a lightly greased bowl.
    Bowl method: Turn potatoes and cooking liquid into lightly greased, large mixing bowl. Stir in flour and yeast, by spoon or by hand, continue mixing then kneading until flour is absorbed and a smooth dough forms, 5-10 minutes altogether.
  3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until dough doubles, about 1 hour.
  4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Sprinkle flour on a large board or a clean and dry counter. Turn dough onto floured surface and divide into 8 pieces. Form each piece into a ball, place on the paper-lined cookie sheet and flatten to 4 inches wide. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise about 45 minutes.
  6. Heat a large (12-inch) nonstick skillet on medium heat 4 minutes. Place 4 rolls in pan and cook 2-3 minutes. Turn gently with spatula and cook 1-2 minutes, about 5 minutes total. Return those gently to cookie sheet and cook the remaining 4 rolls the same way.
  7. Place sheet with 8 rolls in oven and bake 14 minutes. Place rolls on wire rack and cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

November Chili

This satisfying vegan chili has a surprising ingredient that smooths out the flavors and surprisingly no sweetness. It has lots of ingredients, but it comes together fast. Adapted from Thug Kitchen’s Pumpkin Chili.

  • 1 large onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon mild chili powder or taco seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian herb blend OR just dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin
  • 1 10 oz. can diced tomatoes with green peppers, mild (Rotel or similar)

  • 1 15 oz. can pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 cans beans, such as 1 black and 1 red kidney
  • 2 cups low-salt vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup bulgur wheat (optional)
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Red pepper flakes, chipotle powder OR hot sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon lime or lemon juice
  • Toppings such as cilantro, chips, vegan sour cream
  1. Dice onion, carrot and bell pepper bean size. Heat large nonstick saucepan on medium. Open the canned items so they’re ready. Add oil then the diced veggies and sauté 5 minutes. Add garlic, soy sauce and spices and sauté just 30 seconds then tomatoes to stop the frying. Add pumpkin and beans. Add broth, using some broth to swish out any foods left in the cans then all that is poured in the pot. Add optional liquid smoke. Add optional bulgur (resembles ground meat when cooked).
  2. Stir thoroughly as pot returns to boil. Reduce to simmer and cover.
  3. Cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add around 1 cup of hot water if needed for proper consistency, especially if using bulgur.
  4. Start seasoning with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and taste. Add more S or P, and any of the red peppers to the heat level of your most sensitive guest (other diners can add more to their own).
  5. Take pot off heat source. Stir in lime juice. Have the usual toppings at the table. Serves 4-6.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.