Friday, November 15, 2013

Simple Plant Based Thanksgiving Ideas 2013

I have been spending a lot of time thinking about Thankgsiving lately. It seems that this is going to be one of the holidays that becomes "my holiday" in our family. Do you know what I am talking about? If you are lucky enough to live in the same town or region as a lot of your extended family, then everyone has holidays that become "their holiday," which means they host the festivities year after year for said holiday. So it seems that for me this is happening with Thanksgiving.

Which is pretty ironic, considering that even the thought of turkey these days repulses me.

So sorry to put that out there in a post about delicious food, but it's the truth.

My daughter Maya is campaigning for a "Turkey Free Thanksgiving." God bless her heart.

I'm not making a turkey for Thanksgiving. Heavens no! But I feel funny asking the members of our family who don't share my beliefs to forgo their turkey, so it looks like my in-laws will be handling this chore.

But enough depressing talk! Let's focus on all of the amazing and wonderful plant based deliciousness that will be filling up our plates this Thanksgiving. Here's the Healthy Girl's Kitchen official line up for 2013:

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
An old favorite of ours at just about every family gathering for a holiday that I can think of. We just can't get enough Roasted Brussels Sprouts.

I have tried making these with no fat (ie no olive oil, no Earth Balance, etc.) and I have to say that for a special occasion, I would just rather have my roasted Brussels Sprouts with a little fat and salt on 'em. But just a little. Check out this link for a really old blog posting of mine (before I cooked only Vegan food--hence the reference to "butter") explaining my Roasted Brussels Sprouts method and some really sad photos that I took back in my early days of blogging. Feel free to laugh and make fun of me.

Date Kissed Sweet Potato Casserole
I adapted this recipe from a recipe by Susan Voisen of Fat Free Vegan. It tastes great and is just about the healthiest Vegan Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Casserole around.

Mashed Potatoes
I haven't made these in years. I'm not sure a recipe is required! I'll use almond milk and some salt free seasonings and see what happens. If you know of a great, healthy Mashed Potato recipe and you want to share a link or description with us, PLEASE DO.

Dreena Burton's No Fu Love Loaf
My review of the recipe, along with a link to the recipe, is in the link above. I can't decide if I will be making that recipe again (it's wonderful)


Dr. Fuhrman's Super Lentil Loaf (if anyone has made this and can post a review in the comments section, please do!)
reprinted with permission by Dr. Fuhrman
Serves: 6
Preparation Time: 45 minutes

1/2 cup onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups mushrooms, finely chopped
1/4 cup diced celery
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 1/2 cups cooked lentils or 1 (15 ounce) can lentils, no salt added or low sodium, rinsed and drained
6 frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and mashed
1/3 cup raw pecans, chopped finely
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup tomato paste (+ extra reserved for top of loaf)
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder (or whole wheat flour)
2 tablespoons MatoZest
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a saute pan, heat one tablespoon of water or vegetable broth.
3. Add onion and garlic and saute for 5 minutes.
4. Add mushrooms, cover and cook until mushrooms are tender.
5. Add celery, parsley and poultry seasoning.
6. Saute another 5 minutes, adding more water if needed to prevent sticking.
7. Place the sauteed vegetables in a bowl and add the lentils, mashed artichokes, pecans, rolled oats, tomato paste, arrowroot powder, MatoZest and black pepper.
8. Stir well to combine.
9. Lightly rub a loaf pan with minimal amount of oil.
10. Fill the loaf pan with lentil mixture and press down evenly.
11. Spread a 1/8 inch layer of reserved tomato paste over top.
12. Bake for 1 hour.
13. Remove from oven and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

Cranberry Apple Chutney
adapted from a recipe in Clean Food by Terry Walter's
This is so good, you'll want to eat it throughout the year, not just on Thanksgiving. If you like to have this kind of stuff around after Thanksgiving, you can double batch it and freeze it in smaller containers, because it freezes well. It also makes a lovely holiday gift.

Makes 7 cups

2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup date sugar (or other "alternative sugar like succanat, coconut sugar)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup water
1 small onion, chopped
3 medium apples, cored and chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Combine cranberries, raisins, date sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and water in Dutch oven. Place over medium heat and cook 15 minutes. Stir in onion, apples and celery and cook 15 minutes more. Remove from heat, fold in lemon peel, and serve.

Chutney can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container in the freezer.

Susan Voisen's Fat Free Vegan Green Bean Casserole
I made this for two years in a row we absolutely love it each time! Here are my notes from the recipe: "The recipe is perfect as is but you can make 1 1/2 times as much and it will still fit into a 9x13" casserole (and it's that good, so you will want to make this much), but keep the topping quantity as is."

I'm not making the stuffing, but I do love me some stuffing! Here are some recipes that I would look to if I were making it. Maybe it will make it into my rotation for next year's event.

Gena from Choosing Raw's Crowd Pleasing Vegan Thanksgiving Stuffing
Susan from Fat Free Vegan's Southern-Style Cornbread Dressing

Healthy Girl's Date-Kissed Pumpkin Pie with Cashew Cream
I make pumpkin pies all year round. This version is the best that I have come up with so far, meaning it's got the least offensive quantity of refined sugar in it of all of the pies that I have made. Now, the crust that I buy is simply used out of convenience. I get them at Whole Foods and they are Vegan and have some whole grains in them, but they are not particularly healthy in any way. They are a treat, which I am fine with on special occasions, especially like Thanksgiving.

Tell us about your Thanksgiving plans for this year. What will you be making?

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