Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving (7 organic and vegan recipes for you to enjoy)
Every year we celebrate and give thanks on the fourth Thursday in November. Why we celebrate is highly debated, while some may believe that it was the first holiday in which Pilgrims and Natives shared a huge meal, others see it as a religious holiday to thank God for a good harvest. Whatever your family’s reason is, it’s never wrong to have a reminder of being grateful for what you have. Full of traditional meals and maybe your family’s favorite Thanksgiving is also the day you gather your loved ones to share that special meal with. Maybe you want to try something beyond your traditions or introduce your family to a delicious and healthy alternative? Before you try to browse the internet for new and healthy recipes try out the ones we found. They are organic, healthy and filling.
1. Vegan and Organic Turkey
The main course that almost anyone builds their dinner around - Turkey. However, if you’re not the biggest fan of meat or preparing it, then this is the perfect recipe for you. Another alternative that is listed here and suitable for people with soy allergies, is stuffed pumpkin or squash.
What you’ll need:
- 5 (16 ounce) packages organic extra firm tofu
- 2 tablespoons organic sesame oil
- 1 organic red onion, finely diced
- 1 1/3 cups diced organic celery
- 1 cup organic chopped mushrooms
- 2 cloves organic garlic, minced
- 1/8 cup dried sage
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
- 1/4 cup tamari
- 3 cups organic prepared herb stuffing
- 1/2 cup sesame oil
- 1/4 cup tamari
- 2 tablespoons miso paste
- 5 tablespoons organic orange juice
- 1 teaspoon organic honey mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon organic orange zest
- 3 sprigs fresh organic rosemary
- Line a medium sized, round colander with a cheese cloth or a clean dish towel. Place the crumbled tofu in the colander. Place another cheese cloth over the top of the tofu. Place the colander over the top of a bowl to catch the liquid. Place a heavy weight on top of tofu. Refrigerate the colander, tofu and weight for 2 to 3 hours.
- Make the stuffing: In a large frying pan sauté onion, celery and mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil until tender. Add the garlic, sage, thyme, salt and pepper, rosemary and 1/4 cup of the tamari. Stir well; cook for 5 minutes. Add prepared herb stuffing and mix well. Remove from heat.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a cookie sheet.
- Combine 1/2 cup sesame oil, 1/4 cup tamari, miso, orange juice, mustard and orange zest in a small bowl; mix well.
- Remove the weight from the tofu. Hollow out the tofu so that there is one inch of tofu still lining the colander. Place the scooped-out tofu in a separate bowl. Brush the tofu lining with a small amount of the miso seasoning. Scoop the stuffing into the center of the tofu shell. Place the leftover tofu on top of the stuffing and press down firmly. Turn the stuffed tofu onto the prepared cookie sheet. Putting the leftover tofu side of the "turkey" (the flat side) down. Gently press on the sides of the "turkey" to form a more oval shape. Brush the tofu turkey with 1/2 of the oil-tamari mixture. Place the sprigs of rosemary on top of the tofu. Cover the "turkey" with foil.
- Bake for one hour. After one hour, remove "turkey" from the oven and remove the foil. Baste the "turkey" with the remaining tamari-oil sauce (reserving 4 tablespoons of sauce). Return "turkey" to oven and bake another hour or until the tofu turkey is golden brown. Place the tofu turkey on a serving platter, brush with the remaining tamari-oil mixture and serve hot.
2. Vegan and Organic Avocado & Quinoa stuffed Acorn Squash
This is another main dish you can try out. It suits anyone who prefers vegetables, can be made vegan and is even without soy.
What you’ll need:t
- 3-4 small organic acorn squash, sliced in half
- 2 tablespoons organic olive oil
- 1 medium organic onion
- 2-3 cloves of organic garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 4-oz. can of green chiles
- 1.5 cups cooked organic quinoa
- 1 can organic black beans, drained and rinsed
- ¼ cup chopped organic scallions
- ¼ cup toasted organic pepitas
- ¼ cup feta cheese (leave out for vegan-friendly dish)
- 2 avocados, diced
- a few squeezes of lime
- salt & pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cut acorn squash in half and scoop out the insides. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast cut side up for about 35-50 minutes or until your squash is tender in the middle and browned around the edges. The timing will depend on your squash. If it’s taking too long to become tender, flip it upside down for a portion of the roasting time.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Cook the onion until translucent, then add the garlic, cumin, coriander and stir. Add the green chiles and stir again, then add the quinoa, black beans, scallions, pepitas, feta cheese, a squeeze of lime and a more salt and pepper, to taste. (Suggestion: you can make the quinoa pilaf up to two days in advance and store it in the fridge).
- Remove skillet from the heat, let it cool, then stir in the diced avocado (Wait to add the avocado until ready to stuff & serve). Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Scoop the filling into the acorn squashes halves. If you’re not scooping the filling into the squashes right away, scoop the mixture out of the pan and into a bowl and set aside.
3. Vegan and Organic Mashed Cauliflower
Instead of mashing potatoes you can change the all-time classic with mashed cauliflower. This dish has in comparison to potatoes no starches and less carbohydrates, which in return might make you feel light even after a big meal.
What you’ll need:
- Medium-sized head of organic cauliflower, chopped into florets (about 1 1/2 lbs.)
- 3 roasted organic garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon fresh organic thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon fresh organic chives, chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Fill a large saucepan with about an inch of water, and insert a steamer basket. Bring the water to a boil, and add the cauliflower florets. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover, allowing the cauliflower to steam for 6-8 minutes, or until fork tender. Alternatively cook the cauliflower for 2-4 minutes in
- Drain the steamed cauliflower, and transfer to the bowl of a large food processor. Add in the seasonings, and process to your desired texture.
- If additional liquid is needed to facilitate blending, feel free to add a splash of almond milk or water, and adjust the seasonings to your taste. Each batch may vary, so be sure to start with less than you think you need, and add more as you go.
- Serve warm and enjoy!
4. Roasted Vegetables (vegan and organic)
This side dish is healthy, easy and very variable. If you prefer certain vegetables over others, simply chose those; seasonings, oil and vinegar fit on almost any veggie. We picked something that fits well into Thanksgiving.
What you’ll need:
- 3/4 lb. organic brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
- 2 large organic carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2” pieces
- organic extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp. chopped organic rosemary leaves
- 1 tsp. chopped organic thyme leaves
- 1/2 c. toasted organic pecans
- 1/2 c. dried organic cranberries
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Scatter vegetables on a large sheet pan. Toss with enough olive oil to coat each piece, then toss with balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Scatter herbs around the pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the vegetables are tender, shaking the pan halfway through. Alternatively: put all ingredients (except for pecans and cranberries) into a bowl, mix and then spread on a baking pan.
- Before serving, toss roasted vegetables with pecan and cranberries.
5. Vegan and Organic Wild Mushroom Gravy
Mushrooms are a great source of vitamin D, and this recipe accompanies the mashed cauliflower well. Instead of instant gravy, this will have no added nonsense like corn sugar or artificial flavors.
What you’ll need:
- 1 tbsp. organic olive oil
- 1/2 c. chopped organic onion
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 8 oz. organic oyster mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 c. dry sherry
- 3 c. organic mushroom stock or vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 tbsp. spelt flour (alternatively all-purpose flour will do)
- 2 tbsp. water
- 2 tbsp. butter (or Earth Balance)
- 1/8 tsp. black pepper
- Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for a minute. Add thyme, salt, and mushrooms and sauté about 8 minutes, or until mushrooms are browned. Add sherry and cook until liquid evaporates. Stir in broth. Bring to a boil and cook until gravy is reduced to about 2 cups (about 14 minutes).
- Whisk together flour and water in a small bowl. Add mixture to skillet; return to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in butter 1 tablespoon at a time and pepper.
6. Vegan and Organic Spicy Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad Bowl
Big fan of sweet potatoes? This recipe is a great twist on a traditional thanksgiving dish and like any good salad, it’s filling without making you full.
What you'll need:
- 1 cup organic quinoa, uncooked
- 2 cups organic vegetable broth or water (make sure your vegetable broth is gluten-free if needed)
- 1 organic sweet potato, baked and diced
- 1 organic red bell pepper, diced
- 2 tbsp organic olive oil
- 1/4 tsp organic cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp organic lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- Simmer the quinoa in the vegetable broth for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until water is gone and quinoa is light and fluffy when stirred. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Toss together the quinoa, sweet potato and bell pepper in a large bowl.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil and cayenne pepper.
- Gently toss this dressing with the quinoa.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sea salt or kosher salt and fresh ground pepper will give the best flavor in simple dishes such as this.
7. Vegan and Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie (organic)
Usually pumpkin pie is made with sweetened condensed milk, which is tasty, but also heavy and full of sugar. This is why we wanted to choose a vegan and gluten free alternative. This pie will fulfill your pumpkin pie needs without filling you up and your belly sticking out. If this recipe is too time-consuming you can always replace the crust with ready-made piecrust.
What you’ll need:
- 6 Tbsp cold vegan butter (or chilled coconut oil with varied results)
- 1 1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free Flour *
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4-6 Tbsp ice cold water
- 1 3/4 cups (1, 14 oz can) organic pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 3/4 cup organic full-fat coconut milk (the kind in a can, shaken well before measuring)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice (alternatively mix ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Vegan Coconut Whipped Cream (optional)
- To prepare crust, add gluten-free flour and salt to a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Slice or dollop the cold butter in and work gently with a fork or pastry cutter to cut it in. Don’t overwork, just get it incorporated.
- Next add ice cold water a little at a time and use a wooden spoon to stir. Only add as much water as you need to help it come together.
- Once a loose dough is formed, transfer to a piece of plastic wrap and work gently with your hands to form a 1/2-inch-thick disc. Wrap firmly and refrigerate for a minimum 30 minutes, up to 2 days. Just let it warm back up a little before using. You don’t want it too warm or it can get too soft to handle.
- Once your dough is chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and prepare pie filling.
- Add the pumpkin, coconut milk, brown sugar, cornstarch, maple syrup, vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and salt to a blender or a large bowl. Mix well and set aside.
- To roll out the crust, unwrap the disc and place it between two sizable layers of wax paper. Use a rolling pin to gently roll it into the shape of your pie pan. If it cracks, don’t stress - you can reform it with your hands once you get it in the pan. But try and be gentle.
- To transfer the crust, remove the top layer of wax paper and gently lay the pie dish face down on top of the crust and use the support of the wax paper to quickly but carefully invert it.
- Once you get the crust inverted, gently use your hands to form it into the pan, working the crust up along the sides. It can be a little tricky but it bakes beautifully, so it’s worth the effort! Just try not to overwork the dough in the process - it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to perfect the shape. Any holes or cracks can be mended with a little excess dough and the heat of your hand. (TIP: Try not to be fancy and do any elaborate design with the crust, so just get the crust in, get a flat edge and go)
- Pour the pumpkin mixture into the pie crust. Use a spatula to spread the pumpkin evenly. Bake for 60 minutes. When you remove it from the oven, the edges might be slightly cracked and the middle will still look wobbly. Let cool, and then chill in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight until set.
We hope that you can find a few useful dishes to try out on your Thanksgiving. You don’t have to turn your family and friends into vegans to be healthy or eco-friendly, simply using less meat, shopping local and organic, and using less plastic can equally be good for your body and the environment.
Let your light shine!