On My Plate: Thanksgiving Menu

Chris and I hosting Thanksgiving for our families for 3 years now.  It’s taken some time, but I think I finally have my go-to recipes down! The first year I was so excited to make every possible holiday dish that I took on WAY more than I could handle and we ended up eating two hours late and with a TON of food — sorry not sorry? Last year I narrowed it down to fewer recipes and got tons of positive reviews so this year I refined and actually wrote down the recipes so that I could share them with people.

I wish I could say that I make everything from scratch and make it up as a I go, but I don’t. I draw from various cookbooks and food bloggers for recipes and inspiration and adjust as I see fit.  My Thanksgiving menu is paleo-ish. Dairy-free and gluten-free, but not free of grains completely.  New Cascadia makes awesome gluten-free bread without really simple ingredients that I use in the stuffing recipe.  I also use coconut sugar or maple syrup in place of regular sugar in all of the dinner and dessert recipes.  

I know some might moan and groan about no dairy being that the holidays are known for being heavy handed on the butter, but I’m a firm believer that if you don’t tell people that it’s dairy-free, then they will have no preconceived misconceptions and have no idea when they taste it.  For Thanksgiving specifically, I use Miyoko’s Vegan Butter for the turkey and mashed potatoes. In my opinion, it’s one of the cleaner vegan butter’s on the market and doesn’t contain canola or palm oil.   

Below is a round up of what has become my Thanksgiving Menu.  Tried, tested and approved by my New England born and raised father.  The best thing about these recipes is that they are not just for Thanksgiving! I just made the Brussel sprouts for a work party last night and they were a hit! 

I scored big when I found this turkey recipe 3 years ago and have used it ever since.  IT IS AWESOME, and I kid you not, outside of the the herb + “butter” rub under the skin, is the easiest and lowest maintenance turkey recipe I’ve ever encountered. 

Herbed Roast Turkey and Gravy – I scored big when I found this turkey recipe 3 years ago and have used it ever since.  IT IS AWESOME, and I kid you not, outside of the the herb + “butter” rub under the skin, is the easiest and lowest maintenance turkey recipe I’ve ever encountered. 

Gravy – I’ve had issues with this in the past. I always get a free-range organic turkey, but, because they are so lean, they do not produce a lot of drippings so the first year I made the turkey it was difficult to make the gravy. This year I added a whole jar of EPIC’s turkey bone broth to the roasting pan halfway through the turkey cooking time and followed the gravy directions from the turkey recipe. I also made this backup gravy, which, was actually quiet delicious! I don’t think we officially voted on which was better, but it was definitely a toss up. 

Caramelized Onion and Apple Stuffing –  I found this in a 2017 Thanksgiving issue of Eating Well and have loved it ever since. The caramelized onions are a pain.  I make it two days ahead of time so the house has enough time to air out.  I’m not going to sugar coat it – they take forever and stink up the house, BUT, its makes the stuff oh so delicious. 

Mashed Potatoes – I use The Minimalist Baker’s recipe for The Best Vegan Mashed Potatoes and sub half of the potatoes for steamed cauliflower. This year I made a batch for 10 people and did 9 potatoes and whole head of cauliflower.  Simply steam the cauliflower and mash it with the potatoes. 

Brussel Sprouts with Pickled Carrots, Dukkah, and Tahini – I created this recipe based on a recipe in Joshua McFadden’s Six Seasons cookbook.  For 10 people I roasted roughly 4 lbs of brussel sprouts. We definitely had leftovers, but I kind of feel like that’s the point…

Spiced Cranberry Sauce with Star Orange and Star Anise – I grew up with a cranberry relish that had orange and ginger it. This one reminds me of it and is a bit more refreshing that some of the more traditional cranberry sauces. I sub the white sugar for coconut sugar and typically use a large 1/2 cup vs. the full 3/4 cup. It still tastes great!

Radicchio and Fennel Salad with Pomegranate, Toasted Pistachios, and Citrus Vinaigrette – I try to keep the salad super light to balance out the rest of the dishes. I love the Citrus Vinaigrette because it lasts for several weeks in the fridge. 

Pumpkin Pie – I follow the recipe that I posted earlier this year! We always make two pumpkin pies, because, why not?

Gluten-Free Vegan Apple Crisp – Another Minimalist Baker recipe. I use coconut sugar in the filling and the topping vs. white sugar and brown sugar. I’ve double the recipe for the topping because I love the crumble topping. Best tip is to put this in when you sit down for dinner so it had plenty of time to cook and cool. I serve it with my homemade vegan vanilla ice cream – recipe coming soon! 

Happy Holidays!