Hard to believe but the countdown is on to Thanksgiving...(a very Canadian Thanksgiving that is!).
In less than four days families across Canada will be gathering this weekend to enjoy their annual holiday feast (or two!) as well as embrace all things that come with Fall - perhaps that's apple picking, Fall hikes, or searching for the perfect Jack-O'-Lantern for Halloween!
This year, I decided to take the reins on Thanksgiving dinner, a task that I am both excited for and slightly regretting (just kidding - maybe).
To ensure I absolutely crush this feast (before it crushes me), I've decided to lay it all out in the form of a blog post, with hopes that it will keep me organized as well as inspire others on what to prepare for this Thanksgiving weekend.
The 2022 Plant-Based Thanksgiving Menu
This past weekend, my partner, Thomas, and I went apple picking, and let me tell you, half a bushel of apples may not seem like not a lot in theory, but when you are hauling those suckers back to pay for them, that's almost 20lbs of apples. Needless to say, I have a lot of apples to work through. Thank goodness we have Thanksgiving!
The Main Course
Last Christmas, I made Liv B's Holiday Lentil Mushroom Loaf in Puff Pastry recipe and it sure was a hit with everyone! It made for a hearty main course dish, that was simple to make with the help of Tenderflake Canada's puff pastry, which is accidentally vegan. Sometimes I think people who do not follow a plant-based, vegetarian, or vegan diet stumble at the thought of what to make as the main course for their plant-based pals or vegan friends. Although turkey has traditionally been the main focus of Thanksgiving meals, I challenge you to make this Lentil Mushroom Loaf that's packed with flavours and looks absolutely stunning. This Thanksgiving, I'll be mixing things up and trying Bianca Zapatka's Mushroom Wellington (Vegan Roast Recipe) by adding lentils to boost the protein!
Preparing gravy for a holiday meal sometimes feels like the last leg of a very long race. It's an integral part of the holiday meal (have you ever showed up to a holiday dinner to NOT find gravy??) but at that point, you're exhausted. Just the thought of standing over a toasty stovetop, whisking the heck out of the gravy, hoping it all turns out okay, sounds dreadful.
Thankfully I stumbled across It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken's Quick Vegan Onion Gravy last Christmas, and it was a game changer! It was the perfect pairing to Liv B's Lentil Loaf. Super quick to make (as the name implies) and ready on the table in 20 minutes.
How does one elevate their Green Beans? By adding almonds, garlic, shallots, and a zest of lemon to it! I love A Beautiful Plate's Green Beans Almondine. This recipe provides a great blend of flavours, healthy fats, and some protein. My favourite part about this recipe is that it includes make-ahead instructions and tips, which are perfect for multitasking chefs who are preparing a Thanksgiving feast.
Note: I'll be subbing the unsalted butter for either vegan margarine or vegetable oil to make it plant-based.
Not gonna lie - when I saw this recipe, I thought: "This dish screams Fall!" From the seasonal veggies to the vibrant Fall-like colours, Julia's Album's Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cinnamon Butternut Squash with Pecans and Cranberries recipe looks absolutely delicious. I think a key part of putting together a holiday meal are the set-it-and-forget-it sheet pan recipes! On top of that, cutting up the veggies the day before makes life so much easier, especially when you can throw it in the oven and prepare other dishes in the meantime.
Another set-it-and-forget-it recipe that I'll be making this Thanksgiving is Damn Delicious's Garlic Roasted Carrots. You can't have a holiday meal without carrots!! With the addition of garlic and herbs, this recipe turns carrots into a superstar side dish.
My Mom's Delicious Stuffing!
At this time, I'm so disappointed that I don't have a photo of My Mom's Delicious Stuffing! This stuffing is an apple cranberry stuffing with herbs like thyme and parsley, crusty sourdough bread, and of course apple and cranberries. This recipe typically uses butter and eggs, but my family has made it before using vegan margarine and flaxseed eggs and it made no difference to the amazing flavour, taste, and texture.
Hopefully, I'll be able to take a picture amongst all the chaos of Thanksgiving dinner to share with everyone. In the meantime, here's the recipe:
No Thanksgiving meal is complete until there are mashed potatoes on the table! I'll be sticking to our family's classic mashed potato recipe of yellow Yukon potatoes, dairy-free milk, and vegan margarine, but I am sure there are plenty of delicious and fancy mashed potato recipes out there that incorporate olive oil or garlic.
Luckily I'll be able to prepare this pie a day in advance to avoid the craziness of the day of cooking affair. Unfortunately, I am not well versed in making pie crusts, and will likely be searching for some vegan pie crusts this week (recommendations are welcomed!!).
The Grocery List
And after reviewing the recipes, here are the groceries that will need to be purchased:
3 medium apples
2 large zucchinis
750g or 2 small cartons of mushrooms
13 garlic cloves (~2-3 garlic bulbs)
Bag of spinach
2 medium shallots
Bag of large carrots
1-2 bags of Brussels sprouts
1 Butternut squash
Bag of potatoes
Breads & Grains
Vegan whipped cream
Herbs & Spices
1 can of lentils
1 can of pumpkin puree
4 cartons of vegetable broth
Vegan pie crust
Luckily, I think a lot of these items, namely the spices and pantry items, can be found in everyone's kitchen as staple items, which slashes the number of items that need to be purchased (our wallets will thank us!).