For many years, my youngest sister, Allison was the only vegan in the family. However, for the last two years, we have been lucky enough to celebrate cruelty-free as a family. I thought I would share our recipes for a tasty, cruelty-free Thanksgiving.
Moist Stuffing with Quinoa
This is a very simple stuffing recipe, with a little interesting addition of quinoa. I love stuffing this way, with a little vegan gravy. Some people may be interested in making a from-scratch stuffing (it’s certainly healthier that way), but as you may know, I’m more of a semi-homemade cook. My mom also made a drier, from scratch stuffing for those in our family who prefer it that way.
- 1 Box of Mrs. Cubbison’s Classic Dressing (I found this brand at Ralphs, but any vegan box stuffing will work)
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 3/4 cup (1 and a half sticks) of Earth Balance butter (the recipe calls for 1 cup, or 2 full sticks, but that felt like too much and this tasted perfectly fine)
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 2 tablespoons vegan chicken flavored boullion
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth for the quinoa
- 1 tablespoon vegan chicken flavored boullion for the quinoa
We are going to make the quinoa first. I think the instructions found here make the best quinoa, I have just made a couple of changes below, based on what I did.
- Cover the one cup of uncooked quinoa with cold water, enough to wash it thoroughly.
- Then drain through a fine mesh strainer. Allow to dry for 20 minutes to remove all the water (I just propped the strainer up over the sink to drain). Don’t skip this step because it will come out mushy.
- Toast clean, dry quinoa in a dry pan until you can smell the nutty flavor that has now been brought out in your quinoa, about 5 minutes. This also removes any additional water that may have been left behind by the rinse. This is a good time to start the stuffing if you want to be time-efficient (instructions below).
- Remove quinoa from the pan, set aside. Add 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth and 1 tablespoon of vegan chicken flavored boullion to the pan. Stir until the boullion dissolves. Bring broth to a rapid boil.
- Add toasted quinoa to the broth and cover, leaving the lid at a slight angle to vent steam. Reduce your heat to medium-low and maintain a strong simmer.
- Cook for 16 minutes or until all the broth is done. Remove from heat and remove the lid.
- Allow to cook and rest for ten minutes and then fluff with a fork.
Next up, stuffing.
- In a large pot, melt vegan Earth Balance butter on medium heat. Add chopped onion and celery and saute until translucent.
- Gradually stir 2 cups of vegetable broth and 2 tablespoons of vegan chicken flavored boullion into the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Cover and reduce heat to simmer for 3 minutes.
- Turn off heat, add both bags of stuffing mix and blend lightly. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
- Blend in the quinoa and fluff the stuffing with a fork.
I have never made gravy myself and didn’t want to attempt it this year. I got a 24 ounce tub of Shallot & Thyme vegan gravy at Whole Foods for $5.99 and felt it was worth it to not have to make it myself. It tasted great, but if you are interested in making your own, this recipe from Our Veggie Kitchen looks good and relatively easy.
Creamy Butternut Squash Risotto
This recipe can be found in The Vegan Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester. It is made in a slow cooker, making it great for multi-tasking in the kitchen, but I also found it helpful to have something that could be warmed up and served in a slow cooker rather than on the crowded range or in the oven once we got to my parents’ house.
My only complaint was that the risotto came out a bit bland. I think some more (and fresh!) seasoning would have helped.
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
- 1 can (15 ounces) cooked butternut squash or 1 1/2 cups pureed cooked fresh
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Add the water, rice, squash, nutritional yeast, thyme, sage, and rosemary to the slow cooker. Cook on high for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours (I cooked for 2 hours, checked it, then added half an hour), until the rice is cooked through but still al dente. Stir every 20 to 30 minutes, adding extra water if needed. Season with salt and pepper and taste and adjust the herbs. This makes 6 servings, so I doubled it to make plenty for Thanksgiving.
String Beans with Vegan Garlic Butter Sauce
- About 1 1/2 pounds of fresh green beans, cleaned, with the stems cut off
- About a handful of wax beans (yellow string beans), cleaned, with the stems cut off
- 3 tablespoons of unsalted vegan butter, I used Earth Balance
- 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
- A dash of salt
- In a saucepan, heat minced garlic and butter until butter is melted. Let it sit while you cook the beans, making the flavors meld completely.
- Fill a large, separate pot about halfway, add a dash of salt, and bring to a boil.
- Put cleaned beans into the boiling water and cover, cooking for 5 to 7 minutes.
- Drain beans, toss them in the butter sauce, and add a little more salt to taste.
Vegan Crescent Rolls
This is pretty self-explanatory, but Pillsbury Crescent rolls are vegan, so I just made a batch of those.
Mini Alfredo Pot Pies
My mom made mini pot pies using Beyond Meat chicken-free strips, Victoria Vegan alfredo sauce, puff pastry, and fresh veggies typically found in pot pies. They were really cute and tasted great. However, I always feel like Beyond Meat strips are huge, so they probably would have been better had she cut those smaller or removed them altogether, because the pot pies would have tasted great, even without meat replacement!
Purple Mashed Potatoes
Rather than the same old, predictable mashed potatoes, just veganized, my sister Samantha made purple mashed potatoes! It certainly helps the overwhelmingly brownish/beige plate trend that you usually see at Thanksgiving. There’s no specific recipe that she follows, but here are the general directions.
Wash and peel purple potatoes. Boil until fork tender, then process in food processor until creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste.
In an effort to have a dinner full of variety, Samantha also mashed parsnips. Again, no real recipe here, but general directions are below.
Wash and peel parsnips. Boil until fork tender. Roast fennel and garlic, then place in food processor with parsnips. Process until creamy, then add some dill, black pepper, and sea salt.
Maple Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Candied Pecans
Samantha introduced me to brussels sprouts this year! They were pretty good actually, I thought they had a flavor like broccoli. I’m already thinking that a balsamic vinaigrette brussels sprout dish would be great.
Wash sprouts and remove any loose or wilted leaves. Cut them in half and toss in olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, then toss in maple syrup and roast in the oven for another 10 minutes.
Sweet Potato Soup with Ginger & Vanilla
Allison used this recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Post Punk Kitchen. It was very flavorful and was a nice, little addition to the meal, again, adding variety.
Orange Cranberry Sauce
Allison made this special version of cranberry sauce.
- 12 ounce bag of fresh cranberries
- 1/3 cup agave syrup
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
- Zest from an orange, to taste
- Place cranberries in a saucepan with water and cover. Bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, remove from heat.
- Mix in agave and oj and let sit for 5 mins.
- Garnish with zest.
Lastly, Allison made a tasty pumpkin pie using this recipe, again from Post Punk Kitchen.
Give these and other cruelty-free recipes a try this Thanksgiving! The animals and your guests will thank you!