Growing up with digestive issues, holidays were a notorious struggle for me. I loved the social experience of coming together to cook and share a feast around the table, but the food invariably left me feeling less than great. I would loathe the questions about why I wasn’t eating meat or couldn’t do the gravy on the mashed potatoes. One Thanksgiving, my sweet mother announced I could plan the menu for that year. Together, we scoured old-school vegetarian cookbooks at the library and came up with several dishes to share. I remember purple potatoes au gratin with a “cheesy” nutritional yeast-based sauce and a soy sausage stuffing…you know, the kind of early vegan experiences where you try to fake a lot of traditional dishes with alternative look-alike products. As the years went on and I became more adept in the kitchen, my menus became a little more refined, focusing on combining classic holiday flavors, like all the savory herbs, with well-prepared whole food ingredients. Simple. But flavorful.
These Thanksgiving Guides were born out of that idea that plant-based cooking can be an experience in and of itself. That by highlighting seasonal produce and using traditional cooking methods, nothing has to be mimicked or faked for it to be satisfying. This year’s menu guide (the 4th annual! Catch 2013, 2014 & 2015 here!) is a curated list of veggie-friendly recipes from fellow food bloggers and favorites from my own recipe box, aimed to help you design a conscious holiday menu that leaves everyone feeling good.
THANKSGIVING MENU GUIDE
Chestnut Farro & Porcini Soup / Hortus Cuisine
Chantarelle & Lentil Soup / Green Kitchen Stories
Creamy Classic Mushroom Soup / Will Frolic for Food
Winter Rainbow Panzanella / My New Roots
Roasted Delicata Squash Salad / 101 Cookbooks
Shredded Brussels Sprouts & Apple Salad / 101 Cookbooks
Celeriac Parsnip Mash with Crispy Sage / Golubka
Pomelo Green Beans / 101 Cookbooks
Fennel Roasted Carrot Salad with Shaved Apples / Dolly & Oatmeal
Wild Rice Stuffing / Whole Hearted Eats
Lentils with Wine-Glazed Vegetables / 101 Cookbooks
Vegan Gluten-Free Gravy / The Full Helping
Warm Spicy Apple Carrot Drink / Green Kitchen Stories
Pear Cranberry Chai / Golubka
Amaranth Cream with Roasted Pears / In the Making by Belén
Pumpkin White Chocolate Cups / Will Frolic for Food
Maple Glazed Pumpkin Donuts / Vidya Living
Butternut Squash Squares with Chocolate Drizzle / Dolly & Oatmeal
Pumpkin Spice Cake with Roasted Hazelnuts / My New Roots
Chai Chocolate Pear Cake / Vidya Living
Chocolate Pecan Pie / The First Mess
Apple Pecan Pie with Salted Pumpkin Caramel / Golubka
Kabocha Squash & Pumpkin Pie / Vidya Living (see recipe below!)
KABOCHA SQUASH & PUMPKIN PIE
In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, and sugar until well combined. Using clean hands, add butter and toss until just coated. Rub butter between thumb and forefingers to incorporate into flour mixture until butter is in lima bean-sized pieces and comes together in quarter-sized clumps when squeezed in palm, about 2 minutes. Drizzle in half ice water and rake through mixture with fingers until just moistened. Drizzle in remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time and comb through mixture with fingers to moisten. Dough is moist but not wet, avoid overworking the dough or it will become tough. While rotating the bowl with 1 hand, push dough between other palm and side of bowl to gather into a ball. Turn dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, press it into a flat disk, then close in wrap. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before rolling out and forming into a crust.
Grease a 10-inch pie pan with butter, ghee or coconut oil. Lay the rolled out dough over top the pan and gently work it into form, using your fingers to pinch and form the crust. I used a fork to create artful indentations into the crust once formed. Place in the freezer to set while making the puree.
*Recipe modified from Aida Mollenkamp’s Perfectly Flaky Pie Crust
1 ½ cups fresh pumpkin puree (1 small sugar pie pumpkin)
1 ½ cups fresh kabocha squash puree (1 small kabocha squash)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 ½ tbsp arrowroot powder (or 2 eggs)
1 ½ tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground clove
¼ tsp sea salt
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Rinse the pumpkin and squash. Slice both into halves, remove stems and clean out the seeds. Place the sliced pumpkin and squash together in a large pot with just enough water to steam. Boil for about 30 minutes or until both the flesh is tender. Remove from the water and allow to cool. Using a spoon, scoop the flesh out and discard the skins. Transfer the flesh to a blender and puree both pumpkin and squash together. Measure out 3 cups total of the puree and set aside. Store any remaining puree in the fridge.
Rinse the blender out. In the clean blender pitcher, add the 3 cups of puree and remaining filling ingredients. Blend lightly until well combined. Remove the pie crust from the freezer and pour the filling overtop, using a spatula to spread evenly. Place on top of a baking sheet and set in the oven to bake for 45-50 minutes. Depending on your altitude, the baking time may vary. Check occasionally and reduce heat if the crust is cooking too quickly. You want a golden crust and well set center of the pie. Once done, remove from oven and allow to cool before serving. It pairs great with a dallop of coconut whipped cream or sprinkling of cinnamon over top.
Makes one 10-inch pie