How to have a PLANT-RICH Thanksgiving

How to have a PLANT-RICH Thanksgiving

What is your favorite thing about the Holidays? Mine is sharing wonderful, home-cooked food with the people I love. This fills the house with the best of the seasonal, fall-fresh aromas and fills up the bellies with wholesome, nourishing foods. Cooking in this way altogether with friends and family fills up the soul!

Thanksgiving doesn't have to revolve around a turkey or even a highly processed, previously frozen tofurkey on the table. Instead, focus on the fresh fall flavors of seasonal produce: pumpkins, butternut squash (triple score if you can find the heirloom varieties like Honey Nut Butternuts of Butterkins), pomegranates, pears, apples, Brussel sprouts, root vegetables, persimmons...

Celebrating the diversity of plants as well as using a few easy substitutions (aka upgrades) to turn any "traditional" dish plant-based, is the key to a revamped, invigorating Thanksgiving meal you WANT to share. Here's a list of some of my favorite plant-based, fall-themed recipes.

Make ONE or ALL of these plant-rich recipes to cover your holiday table in a feel-good, nutrient-dense, fall-tinted rainbow. Share the love of real, wholesome foods with your friends and family, you will never feel more grateful (without sacrificing any holiday indulgence)!

Plant-Rich Thanksgiving Recipes:

Roasted Roots: Beets, Sweets (potatoes), Onion, Rainbow Carrots, Parsnips

  • Chop your favorite root vegetables such as red & golden beets, sweet potatoes, red onion, garlic cloves and perhaps (rainbow carrots and parsnips!) into bite-size pieces and spread out onto a large baking tray. Sprinkle generously with sea salt, black pepper, rosemary (1/4-1/2 tsp each) and drizzle with olive oil (about 2 tbs per full tray). Toss vegetables to fully coat and roast for 30 minutes at 425degrees, stirring at least once.

All the Fall-Feels Salad: Dino Kale, Persimmon, Celery with Roasted Tempeh, Apple, and Walnuts

  • Chop one block of organic tempeh into cubes and spread out on baking sheet along with one chopped apple and 1/3 cup walnuts. Drizzle with 1 tbs balsamic vinegar and 1 tbs olive oil plus a dash of both ginger and garlic powder, toss to coat. Bake for 20 minutes at 425. Meanwhile prepare rest of salad: chop 1 bundle of rinsed, destemmed Lacinato Kale into a salad bowl. Chop 2 celery sticks and one Fuyu Persimmon (smaller and flatter variety). For the dressing add a spoonful of dijon mustard, a spoonful of raw honey, and 2 spoonfuls apple cider vinegar. Add baked goodies when done and toss!

Spiced Sweet Potato Rounds 

  • Slice sweet potatoes into thin rounds and spread out on baking sheet (2-3 potatoes per sheet). Sprinkle some generous shakes of cumin, turmeric, black pepper, and a little cayenne. Add fresh sage leaves as an extra bonus. Drizzle with olive or avocado oil, coat all rounds with hands, bake at 425 for 30 minutes.
    Shredded Brussel Sprout Salad
      • Cut bottom stems off Brussel sprouts (1 pound) and cut into very thin slices with a knife or cut in half and pulse in a food processor for easier shreds. Place in salad bowl and add a handful of dried cranberries or pomegranate seeds, ½ sliced pear or apple, 2 handfuls walnuts (bonus for toasting them briefly in the oven or on a skillet), and 2 crushed garlic cloves. Toss with 1 spoonful dijon or honey mustard, 1 spoonful thick raw honey, 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar, and ½ sliced avocado.

      Magical Purple Mashed Potatoes

      • Chop up (and peel if desired) 4-5 purple sweet potatoes. Bring to boil then simmer in a pot of water that just covers potatoes for 20 minutes, until soft. Drain water, add 1 tsp pink Himalayan salt, 1/2 cup nondairy milk, and 1 heaping tbs coconut or olive oil. Mash and mix. Make savory by spicing with garlic powder to taste. Make sweet with a dash of maple syrup and cinnamon. Enjoy delightful as is plus a few grinds of black pepper.
      Butternut and Kale 1 Pot (Brown or Forbidden) Rice Risotto
        • Soak 2 cups brown or black (aka Forbidden) rice in water for a couple of hours during the day to improve digestibility and nutrient availability (optional). Heat 1 tbs of olive oil in a pot and caramelize one chopped onion and 3 cloves of garlic. Add (drained) rice and ½ chopped butternut squash. Add ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp black pepper, ½ tsp cumin, and ½ tsp ginger powder. Add 4 cups of water, bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in one bundle of chopped kale. The steam will cook the kale on its own and squeeze in the juice of half a lemon. Taste test for spices before serving and top with chopped fresh mint leaves.

        Roasted Squash Sushi: pumpkin, mushroom, tofu, bell pepper, avocado

        • Cook 1.5 cups sushi rice (or brown rice) in 3 cups of water in a pressure cooker or stovetop with lid. Add 4 tbs of rice vinegar after cooking and a pinch of salt. Prepare sushi fillings: ex. roasted fall squash (butternut or acorn, chop into cubes, lightly coat with olive oil, roast for 20 minutes at 425) or roasted sweet potato (slice into strips, same cooking directions); red pepper strips; avocado; sauteed mushrooms; tofu (cut into strips); carrot strips. On a large cutting board layout a nori sheet and wet lightly with warm water (keep in a bowl nearby) with hands. Spread a few spoonfuls of sticky sushi rice over nori sheet in 1/4-1/2 inch smooth layer, saving the top and bottom. In the middle of the rice layer desired ingredients. Roll bottom of nori sheet over filling and keep rolling to make perfect sushi burrito. Use warm water to seal top nori flap to roll. Slice lengthwise into bite-size sushi pieces.

        Wild Blueberry Orange Zest Scones: incredible with morning coffee!

          • Combine ⅔ c millet grain, 1 ⅓ oats, and ½ c almonds (or walnuts) in a blender and grind to a flour-like texture. Add ⅓ c oats, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp salt, 2 tbs coconut oil, 1-2 tbs raw honey, the zest of 3 oranges, the juice of 1 orange, 2 farm fresh eggs and mix all together. Add in ⅔ c organic blueberries, fresh or frozen. Spread out dough into disc shape onto a greased cookie sheet, 1 inch thick. Cut 6-8 slices like a pizza, bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 375. Remove, recut slices and transfer to wire cooling rack. *Adapted from Dr. Hymans “FOOD: What the Heck Should I Cook”

            Butternut Squash No-Bake Pie

              • Make a delectable gluten-free pie crust in the food processor by grinding 2 cup oats, then add 1 c walnuts, 1/4 c coconut shreds, 2 tbs raw honey/maple syrup, 1 tbs chia seeds soaked in 4 tbs nondairy milk, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg (A few shakes or 1/2 tsp each). Grind all together and spread into the base of a greased pie pan. It should stick together well! Roast butternut squash, cut in half and face down in the oven for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. In a blender add 2 c soft squash flesh, 3/4 c coconut butter/manna, 1/4 c honey/maple syrup, 2 tbs coconut sugar, 1/4 nondairy milk, 1-2 inch chunk of fresh ginger root, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla (1 tsp each), and 1/2 tsp sea salt. Blend. Taste test. Spread over crust, shake some extra cinnamon on top, refrigerate at least 4 hours. Slice and top with coconut milk ice cream.

              Decadent Chocolate Avocado Mousse pie

                • Make a gluten-free crust by combining ¾ c oats, ½ c raw walnuts, ¼ c raw almonds, 1 tbs coconut or olive oil, 2 tbs raw honey or maple syrup, ¼ tsp salt in a food processor and spread out onto greased pie pan with slightly greased fingers. Bake 15 minutes at 350degrees. In a blender combine 2 ripe avocados, 1 large frozen banana (or 3/4 c frozen blueberries), 1/3 c cocoa powder, 1/4 c nondairy milk, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 c raw honey/maple syrup. Blend until super smooth, helping it along with a spoon if needed. Taste test! Add some melted dark chocolate chips if extra decadence is desired. Slice a banana onto cooled crust, spread avocado mousse over, drizzle with melted dark chocolate and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

                  Comforting, Cozy Pumpkin Bread 

                  • In a large bowl combine 1/4 cup coconut or olive oil, 1/4 c raw honey or maple syrup, 2 farm fresh eggs (or a ripe mashed banana), 1 1/4 c pumpkin puree, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla, 2 tbs warm water, and 1 tsp apple cider vinegar. Grind 2 cups of oats into flour with a blender/food processor with 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ginger powder, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp ground cloves, 1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt, and 1 tsp baking soda. Add dry mixture to wet, stir fully to combine. Add 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips if desired. Pour into the greased bread pan, bake at 325 for 1 hour. Let cool for at least 30 mins for ideal slices and devour with an extra slab of butter or smear of coconut oil.

                  Heirloom Salad: a mix of dark leafy greens, heirloom tomato, pumpkin seeds, pomegranate seeds, carrot, pinto beans, ancient grains

                    • Rinse and chop up an array of beautiful salad greens such as rainbow swiss chard, dinosaur kale, red Russian kale, arugula, plus fresh basil and mint leaves. Add a chopped heirloom tomato or halved cherry tomatoes, 1 grated carrot, pomegranate seeds, and pumpkin seeds (toast them briefly in a cast-iron skillet for major flavor bonus). Add ½ cup of rinsed pinto beans and ½ cup cooked quinoa, millet, or amaranth grain. Grate 1 inch of fresh turmeric root and grind fresh black pepper over salad. Finally, lightly sprinkle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar plus a shake of garlic powder. Toss!
                    Roasted Beet Hummus
                      • Chop up a beautiful red beet or two and roast in the oven, lightly coated in oil, on 425 for 15 minutes. Add to a food processor: 1 can rinsed garbanzo beans, 1 heaping tbs tahini, 1 tbs olive oil, ½ tsp sea salt, 1 tsp cumin, a few grinds black pepper, 2-3 cloves fresh garlic, juice of half a lemon, and ¼ c hot water. Blend together and then re-blend with chopped, roasted beet.

                      Pumpkin Pie Nice Cream: Pumpkin, Banana, Spice, and Everything Nice

                      • In a high power blender, combine 2/3 cup pumpkin puree (important its on the bottom close to the blade) 4 chopped frozen, ripe bananas, 1 inch knob fresh ginger root, 1/4-1/3 c nondairy milk or yogurt (less will make thicker ice cream but more may be needed for blender), 2 Medjool dates, 1/2 tsp dash of vanilla, and 1/2 tsp both ground cloves and cinnamon. Blend until smooth, ideally with a tamper stick, turning off and mixing with a spoon if necessary to help it along. Scoop into large bowl and place in freezer for 30 minutes or serve immediately into glasses or and sprinkle with spiced, roasted nuts and toasted coconut flakes.