A Very Vegan Turkey Day: Hold the Meat!


Turkey and ham are staples of Thanksgiving dinner, but if there’s a vegetarian or vegan guest, what’s there to gobble down? Rather than relying on veggies and dreary dairy-free dishes – here are some ways to make a milk- and meat-free meal marvelous:

Appetizer: Yellow Squash Soup
Squash the idea of heavy, cream based soups. The American Heart Association has crafted a recipe that serves four and is completely fat free. By replacing honey* with agave, the dish easily evolves from vegetarian to vegan.

4 cups water
2 medium yellow squash, chopped
1 small onion
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp agave*
1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
¼ tsp garlic powder
½ teaspoon black powder

1. In a medium pot, bring water to a boil.
2. Add squash, onion, salt and honey.
3. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, add cucumbers and mash into a paste.
5. Return past to pot, add garlic and pepper and simmer over medium heat for 10-15 minutes.

Main Dish – Option 1: Sage and Pumpkin Seed Encrusted Gardein with Cranberry Cabernet Sauce
Tofu, step aside. With a combined prep and cook time of 60 minutes, make mouths water and meat-eaters envious. Twelve Gardein Chick’n Scallopini (2 packages frozen) serve six.

Cranberry Cabernet Sauce Ingredients
3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large shallot
4 sprigs of thyme
¼ dried cranberries
1 cup cabernet
1 cup faux chicken stock or vegetable broth
1 tbsp arrowroot
2 tbsp water
3 tbsp ‘earth balance’ butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Cranberry Cabernet Sauce Instructions
1. Heat the oil in a sauté pan.
2. Add the shallots and sauté for 3 minutes.
3. Add the thyme and cranberries and sauté for 2 minutes.
4. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Add the cabernet and scrape the bottom of the pan, then reduce the liquid by half.
6. Add the stock and reduce by half.
7. Mix the arrowroot with the water and add to the pan.
8. Stir well and continue to cook for 2 minutes.
9. Turn heat off and whisk in the vegan butter 1 tbsp at a time.
10. Remove thyme stems.

Cutlet Ingredients
1 tbsp minced fresh sage
1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (without shells)
1 tsp paprika
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
unbleached white flour
2 cups unsweetened soy milk
Olive oil for sautéing
Salt and pepper to taste

Cutlet Instructions
1. In a food processor, process the sage, seeds, paprika, breadcrumbs, yeast, salt, and pepper until well incorporated.
2. Thaw the frozen Gardein scaloppini
3. Dredge each gardein™ cutlet in flour, then dip into the soy milk and then into the panko breadcrumbs
4. Sauté on each side until browned and crisp.

For something even more festive, Gardein offers a Holiday Roast, which takes about 70 minutes to cook.

Main Dish – Option 2: Nate’s Meatless Meatballs
For the vegan and vegetarian little ones that prefer something a little simpler, a bowl of spaghetti paired with Nate’s Meatless Meatballs is nearly effortless. In savory mushroom, zesty Italian and classic flavors, they take a minute in the microwave to heat. With 100 calories or less per serving, the adults may join the kids’ table for the flavorful food.

Side Dish – Sweet Potato Pancakes
Hanukkah doesn’t start until December 8, but the HUNGRY YouTube channel created a recipe that outdoes the traditional Turkey Day staple of mashed potatoes. Sweeter than the average spud, the batter bakes a batch of 12 to 14 pancakes.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 ¼ cup soy, almond or rice milk
¾ cup mashed cooked sweet potato, cooled (about 1 small sweet potato)
½ cup mini chocolate chips, dairy free
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
Canola oil, for pan

1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
2. In a separate small bowl, whisk together nondairy milk, sweet potato puree, and maple syrup. Add the liquid to the flour mixture and whisk until just combined. Do not over mix; the batter should have some lumps.
3. Lightly oil a large nonstick skillet or griddle and heat over medium heat.
4. Pour ¼ cup of batter onto the skillet.
5. Let cook for about 2 minutes until bubbles appear in the center of the pancake.
6. Flip, and let cook on the other side until lightly browned and cooked through, about 3 more minutes.
7. These pancakes will need to cook slightly longer than your average pancake since the sweet potato adds extra moisture.
8. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil to the skillet as needed.
9. If the batter becomes too thick, add a little more nondairy milk, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Side Dish – Pears Baked in Red Wine alla Piemontese
Trek back to yester-year with a retro recipe fit for the men of Madison Avenue. The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook features food and drink ideas that date back to the 1960s, with a guide to New York’s restaurants, bars and kitchens. This item first appeared on the Barbetta (321 West 46th Street) menu in 1962 and would have been the perfect pick for Don’s date with Bethany Van Nuys (if she had any dietary restrictions).

6 ripe Bose pears
2 cups red wine
¼ cup sugar
6 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
¼ cup lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Wash and dry pears.
3. Place pears in a baking pan that accommodates 6 pears (lay them flat).
4. In a small bowl, pour the red wine and add sugar, cloves, cinnamon stick and lemon juice.
5. Stir until sugar dissolves
6. Pour mixture into the baking pan and place in oven.
7. Turn pears after 5 minutes and brush with liquid in pan.
8. Bake for about 1 hour (depending on size and ripeness of pears), continuing to brush the pears every 10 minutes. Pears should be slightly crinkly.
9. Remove pan from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
10. Serve with extra red wine sauce.

Dessert – Pumpkin Spice Panna Cotta
For vegetarians – or vegans taking a day off – a Pumpkin Spice Panna Cotta is as sweet treat sans meat.

7 grams agar powder
3 tbsp ice cold water
1 cup Seasonal Coffee-mate Sugar Free Pumpkin Spice
1 cup whipping cream
½ cup pure pumpkin
Orange slices (optional)
Crushed gingersnap cookies (optional)

1. Spray six 4-ounce ramekins or custard cups with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
2. Sprinkle agar powder over water in a small bowl; let stand for about 5 minutes or until softened.
3.Whisk Coffee-mate, cream and pumpkin in a 2-quart saucepan; cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until warm.
4. When warm, add the agar powder mixture to Coffee-mate mixture and whisk until gelatin is completely dissolved
5. Pour mixture into prepared ramekins or custard cups. Refrigerate for four to five hours.
6. Serve in ramekins topped with orange slices and crushed cookies, or to unmold, run a small knife around inside each ramekin, then dip ramekin bottoms in hot water for about 15 seconds and pat dry. Place dessert plates over ramekins; invert and shake gently to loosen.