Quick & easy whole food vegan Thanksgiving

Off the bat, I’ll confess my idea of an easy meal isn’t everyone’s. I mean easy on the celebratory made-from-scratch scale, where it gets a 9/10. If I had to rate it as just plain easy, hmmm… maybe 6.5/10. That’s counting dessert, so still pretty good for a big, guest-worthy holiday meal!

For dinner:

Festive Chickpea Tart from Let Them Eat Vegan by Dreena Burton

http://viveleveganrecipes.blogspot.ca/2010/11/festive-chickpea-tart.html

Festive chickpea tart

I’m a pretty compulsive recipe sampler, so it’s a real tribute to this tart that I made it again this year. As I picked a rich desert, I baked it without the crust and the slices still held their shape perfectly.

Caulipots from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=1637526

Who knew cauliflower is the trick to super delicious, beautifully creamy mashed potatoes!

Roasted fall veggies from the market

I loved this mix of brussels sprouts, yam and parsnips. All of these vegetables really invoke fall for me, they make for a pretty colour combination, and they taste great together. I just added a bit of olive oil and a good sprinkling of pepper, but I imagine some maple syrup would work nicely if you want to go a bit sweeter.

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Quick Gravy from Happy Herbivore: Light & Lean by Lindsay Nixon

http://happyherbivore.com/2009/07/vegan-brown-gravy/

Last year, I opted for a sage-flavoured gravy, but the spice profile of the chickpea tart is so nicely balanced I wanted to try something more neutral this time – and I also wanted something fast.

Lindsay Nixon is a self-proclaimed gravy addict, and so has a whole list of recipes you can choose from (all fat-free). It’s hard to pick a favourite, but this is definitely the one I make the most often. It truly is quick, and toasting the flour and nutritional yeast first gives an extra richness that I find kind of addictive. Being Thanksgiving, I jazzed it up with a couple of splashes of port at the end.

Traditional Cranberry Sauce from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan by Dreena Burton

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2008/11/dreenas-traditional-cranberry-sauce-recipe.html

Super easy + so good = Dreena is absolutely right to claim you’ll never buy another store-bought cranberry sauce after trying it.

To drink:

Local-brewed “Coeur à Tout” crackling apple cider

http://www.micheljodoin.ca/en/our-ciders/crackling-ciders/coeur-a-tout/

I love apple cider as an accompaniment to fall meals. So seasonal and a nice balance of sweet and sharp flavours. Available in a large bottle (as opposed to the more casual feel of a 6-pack), it’s also an economical way to add the elegance of bubbles to your table.

For dessert:

Pumpkin Cheesecake (gingersnap crust option) from Vegan Pie in the Sky by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero

http://www.theppk.com/2011/11/pumpkin-cheesecake-with-pecan-crunch-topping/

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OMG!!!

The day before:

Made sure I had all the pantry ingredients on hand:

Chickpeas
Tamari/soy sauce
Walnuts
Rolled oats
Frozen spinach
Dried cranberries
Veggie broth
Nutritional yeast
Whole-wheat flour
Maple syrup
Balsamic vinegar
Cashews
Silken tofu
White & brown sugar (it’s a special occasion!)
Coconut oil
Corn/arrowroot starch
Pumpkin puree
Pecans
Spices

The night before:

Left cashews and chickpeas soaking.

The morning of:

Cooked the chickpeas in the pressure cooker (or use tinned to be even quicker).

Made the Traditional Cranberry Sauce.

Made the Pumpkin Cheesecake (it needs to chill a minimum of 3 hours).

Easy afternoon:

Leisurely trip to the market for produce:

Onions
Celery
Lemons
Parsley
Potatoes
Cauliflower
Brussels sprouts (on the stock!)
Yams
Parsnips
Cranberries

Thank you Thanksgiving for making sure I squeezed in a trip while all the harvest goods are out!

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And there was still time for a walk in the park before starting with the rest of dinner prep!

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Final prep:

Assemble the chickpea tart & prepare the tray of roasted veggies while the oven heats, then stick both in at the same time.

While they’re baking…

Boil the potatoes and cauliflower for Caulipots (in the same pot = wash-up friendly!).

Make the gravy. If you turn off the heat before it gets too thick, you can just leave it sitting on the stove until you’re ready to heat it up for the table.

Take the tart out of the oven and let it sit 5-10 minutes.

Mix and mash the Caulipots and turn the gravy back on.

Take the veggies out of the oven.

That’s it! Delicious and decadent, but won’t leave you feeling sluggish and heavy, dinner ready to go.

 

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