What Do You Cook for a Vegan Thanksgiving?

November 23, 2011 § 4 Comments

Vegan or not, if you’re like me, you’re still going through the cookbooks figuring out what to cook for tomorrow. Luckily we are going to my mom and dad’s house for Thanksgiving – so I only need to narrow it down to one item to bring. My mom has promised me that all items on the menu will be vegan – except for the turkey of course.

My family has jumped on the healthy bandwagon and have come along way…it’s crazy for me to think back and realize I’ve been on this journey for five months now. Since my 30 day vegan challenge, I’ve stayed vegan, my husband eats mostly vegan, my mom has given up all dairy (her joints thank her) and meat and has just been eating the occasional piece of fish, my dad has cut out all dairy, and my sister who thinks life doesn’t exist without cheese has decided to start with red meat. You know what, I’ll take it! Friends have even jumped onboard much to the chagrin of their husbands.

So, with all these recent changes the question of what to cook for Thanksgiving was bound to come up. The debate started some several weeks ago when I made my stand for a turkeyless thanksgiving. I might as well have said I was wanted everyone to stop eating good food altogether and eat cardboard the rest of their lives. I was met with sad eyes, I’m pretty sure a few tears, and exclamations of “No turkey? On thanksgiving? What?!?!?!?”

I lost that battle, and a pretty bird will be sitting on our table whether I like it or not. It really got me thinking about food and emotions. It’s not that my family loves turkey – sure they like it – but I think it is more the emotion and representation of what the turkey means. Turkey was only served in my house on Thanksgiving and Christmas. My mom would spend about 6 hours total in prep and cook time – it was a big deal – and always a big turkey to ensure plenty of leftovers. That juicy bird adorned with fruit and plumped up with butter meant celebration. It’s hard to change those traditions – or dare even mess with them.

I will not be eating the turkey, and my mom I’m pretty sure is a bit sad at that thought. To be fair, I never loved the turkey. I just ate it to be kind. So I’m not a turkey fanatic like some of you. But, in my quest to search for the perfect side item to bring – I came across so many delicious recipes that the turkey still seems unnecessary. Who needs turkey when you can have items like these?

Here’s some of the recipes I’ve found as well as some of my own that stand out and look worthy enough to take center stage. Note that these don’t include tofu options like tofurkey as I’m not a big tofu fan – but there are plenty of good options out there if that’s your thing. Whether you’re looking fore recipes for tomorrow, or possibly considering adding more veggies at your table next year, I hope these will inspire you as well.

Note that some blogs are more lenient than others in allowing re-posting of pictures which is why only a few are shown here. I strongly encourage you to link through to all of them because they all look amazing!

Itty Bitty Garlic Pumpkin Knots from Oh She Glows
Garlicky, buttery, pumpkiny bread. Need I say more?

Stuffed Shells with Butternut Squash and Toasted Walnuts
Some additional options include switching out sweet potato for the squash, pecans instead of walnuts, adding sauteed or roasted mushrooms, and topping with a drizzle of truffle oil.

Carrot Osso Bucco by Richard Blais, found on Food & Wine
I love Richard Blais and was just giddy when I stumbled across this recipe. Carrots are simmered in dark red wine and an earthy mushroom broth. Can be served over celery root puree as suggested or what I’ll likely do – mashed potatoes.

Photo Credit: Lucy Schaeffer

Hazelnut & Chard Ravioli Salad from 101 Cookbooks
This dish looks hearty and fresh – bursting with flavor. The crunch of toasted hazelnuts against delicate squash, pasta, and vibrant greens sounds amazing. Heidi offers tips on how to make this vegan in her post.

Root Vegetable Tagine with Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Turnips, and Spice-Roasted Chickpeas from Bon Appetit
This slightly spicy vegetable medley could also be served over wild rice.

Butternut Squash and Mushroom Quinoa Risotto
Again, a drizzle of truffle oil further dresses up this dish. Consider using arborio rice for a truly rich and decadent risotto.
You won’t even believe you’re not eating pasta – such a healthy dish full of flavor!

Maple Glazed Brussel Sprouts
There are many tasty options on this post but the maple glazed brussel sprouts stood out to me.

Chocolate-Pumpkin Bread Pudding from Chef Chloe
This chocolate-pumpkin bread pudding sounds amazing! I’d add a little liqueur to give it a kick – perhaps bourbon?

No-Bake Chocolate Pumpkin Pie from Sweet Beet and Green Bean
No-bake, chocolate, and pumpkin. Those three sound pretty good to me! Looks all creamy and delicious too. This is my first visit to this blog and with a recipe like this, will not be my last.

Photo Credit: Sweet Beet & Green Bean

Update: See what we ate for our Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner and Vegan Christmas Dinner.


Stuffed Shells with Butternut Squash and Toasted Walnuts

November 19, 2011 § 2 Comments

I love butternut squash ravioli and had been thinking about it for several weeks. One Sunday night, we were at the grocery store picking up items for the week, and with half a cooked squash in the fridge ready to roll, I thought it was as good a time as any to whip up some ravioli. I had made some sweet potato ravioli last Christmas using the wonton wrappers in the refrigerated section of the grocery story. They were pretty easy despite assembly and thought they’d be perfect for this. However, I forgot wontons have egg, so that was out. But then I thought, why not make stuffed shells? Traditionally stuffed shells are full of cheese and the like but why not stuff with sweet butternut squash?

So that’s just what I did and it really couldn’t have been easier. I took the squash I already had prepared, mashed it up, and heated it on the stove. I added a bit more salt, pepper, and nutmeg as it was heating it up just to make sure it had tons of flavor.

Meanwhile as my shells cooked in boiling salted water, I toasted the walnuts for a few minutes on the stove and set aside. Once the shells are cooked al dente, I added them to a pan with some olive oil, dried sage, pepper, and a little vegan butter to create a sauce. This takes just a few minutes and creates a little “sauce” and balances out the sweetness of the squash.

To assemble, simply remove the shells and place in a serving dish or plate. Open them and fill with the squash mixture, top with some walnuts and voila! This was so easy to make and would even serve as a fantastic appetizer for the holidays. I don’t think I’ll be messing with the hassle of ravioli again after this!

Stuffed Shells with Butternut Squash and Toasted Walnuts
Yields 12 stuffed shells


  • 12 jumbo pasta shells
  • Half a butternut squash, roasted
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Earth Balance vegan butter
  • 1/4 tsp dried sage
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
  1. Boil shells in salted water until al dente.
  2. Mash up cooked squash and re-heat over medium heat. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg as needed.
  3. Heat oil and vegan butter in pan with sage and pepper. Add cooked shells and toss.
  4. To assemble shells, remove from pan, stuff with squash, and top with walnuts.

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