Alright, it’s GAME ON! Time to get focussed and spring into action because your relatives will be here in T minus 3 hours. Are you ready? Set? Go!
…that’s how it feels for me when Thanksgiving rolls around each year. I’m the designated food-maker in my family so I put a lot of pressure on myself to make something not only delicious, but healthy, gluten free and now vegetarian. I used to have mini panic attacks about it but I’ve done some personal development this past year and I’m excited to say that today did not feel suffocating at all 😀
So here’s what I made and how I managed to do it in less than 3 hours while staying happy and excited for my family to arrive:
To start, preheat your oven to 375C, make sure you have 2 frying pans and a large pot.
Parsnip and Yam Mash:
4 large parsnips (cut into medium sized chunks)
8 small yams (whole, skin on)
3 Tbsp Earth Balance (butter alternative)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1) Line a pan with tin foil or parchment, place your yams on it and put them in the oven. These will take about 30 minutes depending on how small they are. The skin will puff up and some syrup will ooze out when they’re done. You can check them with a sharp knife too (they’ll feel like a ripe banana when you cut into them).
2) Take your biggest pot (minimum 2 litres) and fill it 3/4 full of water. Bring it to a boil on the stove (I actually boil my water in an electric kettle and pour it in the pot since that’s much faster, but you can do it however you prefer). Add the parsnips. These take about 20 minutes to cook but test them by piercing them with a fork – you want them soft like a cooked carrot.
3) Carefully scoop the yam out of the skin (they’ll be super hot, so I usually cut them in half length-wise and let them cool a bit first).
4) Add the parsnips, yam and Earth Balance into a bowl and mash them up until smooth (I used my KitchenAide Mixer, but you can do it by hand too with a potato masher). Add salt and pepper to taste.
Corn on the Cob:
This is really simple but I’m putting it in because I used to be unsure of how to cook corn on the cob, so I assume other people are in the same boat I was.
4 ears of corn, peeled and cut in half (so you now have 8 small corns)
1) Add the corn into the pot you are already boiling the parsnips in (2 birds, 1 stone lol).
2) My corn took about 15 minutes to cook but test them as you go by pricking a kernel and seeing if it sprays at you – that means it’s done. That’s it. Now take it out of the water.
Mixed Veggie Reduction with an Asian flare:
1 onion, finely diced (if you want to make the stuffing recipe below, use a really big onion and save some)
1 red cabbage (chopped into small pieces)
1 red pepper (chopped into small pieces)
1 Tbsp rice wine
2 Tbsp Braggs
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
Directions: (I usually serve this with rice or quinoa so make some if you want to do that)
1) Melt about a Tablespoon of coconut oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Add the onion first, 5 minutes later add the cabbage, 5 minutes later add the red pepper.
2) Next you’ll add the liquids. Put a lid on and let it all steam up for a couple minutes. Give it a taste and add some salt or pepper if you think it needs it. I like things spicy so you can add some chilli flakes now if you want or some hot sauce. Keep stirring it around until the liquid has mostly evaporated.
3) Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with rice/quinoa, or just on it’s own.
Since I was going Turkey-Free for the first time, I wanted to make sure we still had all the yummy things that accompany a turkey. This worked out really well and the recipe can be doubled or tripled easily if you have a big family.
1 loaf of GF bread, hand torn into 1 inch cubes (I bought mine freshly baked from Panne Rizo in Kits).
1/2 white onion, finely diced
1/4 cup fresh herbs, finely diced (I used rosemary, thyme and parsley; you can add whatever you want)
1 cup vegetable broth (or water from making the parsnips and corn + an onion bullion cube)
1) Saute the onion in a large pan with coconut oil or Earth Balance for about 5 mins on medium heat. Add in the herbs and bread very briefly (just coating it all).
2) Using an oven safe dish, tip out the contents of the frying pan and drizzle the cup of broth over the whole thing. Pop it in the oven for about 40 minutes (375C should still be fine). Taste it at the end (should be a bit crisp and also moist).
Eggplant and Zucchini Thins:
2 medium Japanese eggplants (as straight as you can find)
2 medium zucchinis (again, the straighter the better this will look)
1/2 cup vegan cheese spread (like Daiya Havarti wedge at room temp) or goats cheese
optional chilli flakes to taste.
1) Slice the eggplants and zucchinis lengthwise so you make 4 thin strips out of each zucchini.
2) Spread your cheese of choice on one side of each strip. Sprinkle with chilli flakes if you want.
3) Arrange them side by side (not overlapping) on a foil-lined cookie sheet and put them in the oven (375C should work for this one too). Keep an eye on them because they will only take about 10 minutes to cook.
So there you have it – our family feast. Delicious, meatless and gluten free 🙂 We bought a couple boxes or organic butternut squash soup to start us off and I made a green salad so we had some raw food in there too. For dessert we had Banana Ice Cream, Healthy Vegan Chocolate Pudding and Vegan Chocolate Cake.