“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
― Albert Einstein
Posted in 2015
I love this circle of compassion quote from Albert Einstein.
It was in response to a rabbi who asked him how to explain to his daughter her sister's death. I think Einstein was reminding us that our personal preoccupation with our lives and sorrow will cheat us of the connection with the universe.
Einstein was also a big believer in a vegetarian diet for the survival of all life on earth.
I have had my challenges along the way but I am so happy to say that this is my fifth compassionate vegan Thanksgiving.
I don't experience any struggles with the holidays anymore because I know I can have the same delicious holiday meal as everyone else, minus the meat and dairy. It is all about the flavors, not the protein.
This year I am attending a potluck, and I am bringing all the food for a majority of carnivore guests.
I am convinced that once people taste these yummy vegan recipes, they will start adding more plant-based foods to their diets and eventually go the distance.
This vegan Thanksgiving will be a lot of work, but I am on a grassroots mission to educate the world about the health benefits of plant-based cooking.
Not only is a vegan diet great for your health, it is also about widening your circle of compassion to include all living things.
So here it is my complete vegan Thanksgiving dinner menu. Hope you enjoy it. Happy holidays everyone!
Vegan Thanksgiving – Tricolor Chakra Salad with Arugula, Pomegranates and Shaved Persimmons
There is always room for a bright, tangy and light salad on the Thanksgiving table. This salad is easy to throw together and has a hint of sweetness and a good crunch factor. Here is the link to the recipe.
Next up: Side Dishes:
Side dishes are where the cook gets to play and introduce bold flavors, textures and exciting combinations of ingredients. I decided I was going to throw out all the old standards, and have fun with it this year. This is what I came up with.
ps I always like to include a couple of simple, crisply cooked unadultered vegetables that taste wonderful, even with nothing on them just like those beautiful carrots and green beans in the photograph.
Vegan Thanksgiving – Recipes For A Complete Holiday Dinner
Side Dish 1
Vegan Thanksgiving – Sweet Potato Gratin with Coconut Milk
Rich, delicious and the chile in adobo sauce gives it a nice little kick.
- 3 pounds sweet potatoes (about 6 medium), peeled and sliced into ¼ inch rounds
- 1 15-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degress F
- Mix together sweet potatoes, coconut milk, chipotle chile, lime juice, salt, maple syrup, pepper and garlic in a medium bowl.
- Transfer mixture to a baking dish (7 by 11). Cover, then bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the sweet potatoes are just tender.
- Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes until the tops are browned.
Side Dish 2
Vegan Thanksgiving – Stuffed Butternut Squash with Rice, Squash, Cranberries and Raisins
There are so many different ways to stuff squash, but this is one of my favorites.
I posted it last week and it is a meal in itself, but also a yummy side dish. Here is the recipe link. The squash pictured was stuffed with sauteed kale, shallots and mushrooms and mixed with some left-over rice. Trust me, anything goes when you are stuffing a squash.
Side Dish 3
Vegan Thanksgiving – Brussels Sprouts and Chestnuts in Mustard Sauce
Every year I make the same brussels sprout recipe, but this year I decided to try something new. I choose these ingredients because I love the idea of crunchy chestnuts being served alongside brussels sprouts.
The mustard sauce adds a nice zest , and this dish is a good reminder of how delicious chestnuts can be.
I did feel like it needed a little more bite, so next time I will add a little horseradish mustard instead of the grainy mustard.
- 2 lemons, juiced
- ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil (start with ½ cup and add more if needed)
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- ½ pound fresh chestnuts
- 20 ounces fresh Brussels Sprouts, trimmed
- 8 tablespoons vegan butter (use less if you desire) Sometimes I add some veggie broth instead of butter
- With a paring knife, cut an X in the flat side of each chesnut shell. In a sucepan, cover chestnuts with water and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain. When cool enough to handle, peel chestnuts
- Add cleaned brussels sprouts to a large pot of boiling salted water. Cook until tender but a tiny bit firm, about 5-6 minutes. Drain and run under cold water.
- In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add peeled chestnuts and sprouts. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, turning occasionally until vegetables are browned, 10-15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove vegetables to a large serving platter.
- Whisk dressing - juice from lemons, dijon mustard, grain mustard, olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Pour a small amount over vegetables. Add more slowly being careful not to overdress. It should take about a ¼ cup of dressing.
Side Dish 4
Vegan Thanksgiving – Mashed Potatoes with Nutritional Yeast
In my opinion, you don't have to do much to make delicious mashed potatoes. I like to use small gold potatoes and leave the skin on. I mash them with warmed, unsweetened almond milk and a couple of dashes of nutritional yeast, salt and pepper. Delicious!
Side Dish 5
Vegan Thanksgiving – Cranberry Sauce with Tangerines
I love my cranberries paired with a bit of tangy citrus, and there is nothing better than tangerine juice.
- 2 tangerines, and 1 tsp zest from tangerines and 1 strip
- ¾ pound fresh cranberries
- 1 teaspoon grated peeled ginger
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- Remove a 4 by 1 inch strip of zest from 1 tangerine, then scrape off any white pith from strip.
- Zest one tangerine for approximately 1 tsp of zest.
- Squeeze ½ cup juice from tangerines, removing seeds.
- Bring juice, zest strip, and remaining ingredients to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then simmer uncovered, until berries have burst, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and cool completely. Discard zest strip. Refrigerate until serving.
- Serve with 1 teaspoon fresh tangerine zest on top.
Vegan Thanksgiving – Rich & Delicious Mushroom Gravy
I have been making this mushroom gravy for a couple of years, and it can't be beat. Rich, flavorful and absolutely delicious on your main course, mashed potatoes and stuffing. Here the recipe link
Vegan Thanksgiving – Bread Stuffing with Tempeh Bacon, Mushrooms, Cranberries, Pistachios and Jalapeno
I posted this recipe last week. So yummy. Here is the link to the recipe. Since my main dish is pretty rich, I decided to put my stuffing into individual phyllo (aka fillo) cups for a smaller and very sweet presentation. Buy prepared vegan phyllo cups, fill with cooked stuffing and cook until stuffing is hot. Or you can make your own with vegan phyllo dough pastry ususally found in the frozen food section.
Vegan Thanksgiving Nut Loaf
Even with all the side dishes, I always like to make sure there is a front and center dish to replace the turkey.
This year I made this savory, meatless, nut loaf with all the flavors of Thanksgiving. It was delicious smothered in vegan gravy.
- 3 tablespoons vegan butter
- ½ ounce dried porcini mushrooms
- 1½ cups walnuts
- ½ cup cashews
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 3 ounces shitake or white mushrooms, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
- 1½ cups cooked brown rice
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram
- 3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons fresh chopped sage leaves, plus more for garnish
- 4 ground flaxseed eggs (4 tbsp ground flaxseed whisked with 10 tbsp water in a small bowl - leave in refrigerator for 10 minutes to emulsify)
- 1 cup of extra-firm tofu, crumbled
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 by 4 loaf pan with vegan butter, line with parchment paper. The butter helps it adhere.
- Make flaxseed eggs
- Place dried porcini in a small bowl and add boiling water to cover. Let soak for 20 minutes, drain, finely chop, and set aside.
- Toast walnuts and cashews on a baking sheet until lightly browned and fragrant, about 10 minutes, careful not to burn. Finely chop with a knife or in a food processor, set aside.
- Increase oven to 375 degrees.
- Melt butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and celery and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes Add garlic and mushrooms. Cook, stirring constantly until the mushrooms are golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Stir in rice, nuts, parsley, marjoram, thyme, sage, flax seed eggs, tofu, salt and pepper.
- Form mixture into a loaf and place into prepared pan. Bake until golden brown, about 50 minutes.
- Let cool in pan approximately 10 minutes then transfer loaf in parchment paper to a serving plate. Trim the parchment paper for a nice presentation. The parchment paper helps keep it's shape.
- Garnish with sage leaves.
Thanks for stopping by. Sending you lots of vegan love and compassion! Please make sure you sign up so you don't miss any delicious plant-based recipes!