This year marks our fifth hosting a strictly vegetarian Thanksgiving meal. Starting out it was difficult to find replacements, but years later we find that we look forward to these specials meals because of the new dishes we try mixed with converted family recipes.
With the holidays around the corner, I figured I share my three favorite recipes for festive family meals.
Ultimate Vegan Lentil Walnut Loaf (Oh She Glows)
Yield: 8 thick slices
- 1 cup dry lentils
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 3 TBS ground flax seed
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup sweet onion, diced
- 1 celery stalk or green onion, chopped finely (optional)
- 1 medium carrot, grated
- 1/3 of an apple, peeled, grated (makes 1/3 cup grated apple)
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 3/4 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 cup regular oats, ground into a flour (use GF oats for gluten-free option)
- 1 tbsp ground flax seed
- 3/4 cup breadcrumbs (I used 2 slices of Ezekiel bread, lightly toasted, and processed in food processor) Use GF breadcrumbs for gluten-free
- 2 Tbsp ketchup
- 1 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp apple butter (I’ve used apple juice when in a pinch)
Cook green lentils: In a medium sized pot, add 3 cups of water and a vegetable bouillon cube and boil water until cube is dissolved. Alternatively, you can also use already prepared veggie stock. Rinse lentils and pick over being sure to remove any small pebbles that may be in the mix. Add lentils, bring to boil, and reduce heat to low and simmer until liquid is absorbed and lentils are tender (about 40 minutes). Be sure to stir the lentils frequently so they do not stick to the bottom of the pot. Once the lentils are cooked, remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 350 F and line a loaf pan with parchment so that parchment paper hangs over the edges by 2 inches.
Walnuts: Toast 3/4 cup of walnuts at 350F for about 6 minutes and then set aside to cool.
Flax egg: Mix 3 tbsp of ground flax with 1/2 cup warm water and stir well. Set aside for at least 5-10 minutes so it can gel up.
Prepare vegetable mixture: In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté onion and minced garlic for about 5 minutes on low-medium heat, being careful not to burn. After the onions are tender, add carrot and sauté for 2-3 minutes over low heat. Add grated apple, raisins, and chopped walnuts and sauté another minute or two. Add thyme, salt, and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.
Breadcrumbs: I took 2 slices of Ezekiel bread and lightly toasted them. Then I ripped up the slices and placed into my food processor and processed until small breadcrumbs were left. Alternatively, you can use store bought breadcrumbs too.
Process 75% of lentils and Mix everything together: Once the lentils are cooled, take 75% of the lentils and place into food processor. Process until mostly smooth (some small lentils will remain!). Now take the processed lentils and scoop into a large bowl. Add in the remaining 25% of non-processed lentils and place into bowl. Add the breadcrumbs, flax egg, veggie mixture, oat flour, and ground flax seed. Stir well with a spoon and then remove the spoon and mix well with your hands, pressing it through your fingers. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Dump the mixture into your loaf pan and spread out with a spoon. Now take your hands and press the mixture firmly and evenly into the pan.
Preparing Glaze: In small bowl combine all glaze ingredients. Spread evenly over loaf and bake, uncovered 45 minutes at 350F.
Cool for about 10-15 minutes and serve. Serves about 8 thick slices.
We’ve had plenty of omnivores over for holiday meals and I’ve never had someone ask about an animal protein when lentil loaf is on the table. I love it so much for this time of year that I shared this recipe in the Holiday Guide!
Traditional Southern Cornbread Dressing (Cathy Cole-Matson)
- 1 can vegetable stock
- 1 batch of cornbread
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- salt & pepper
- splash of orange juice
- dab of sage
- chia or flax egg
This is a pretty simple recipe. First, bake your cornbread. I personally like spicing mine up with onions and jalapeños; just throw them in the batter before baking.
When your cornbread is cool, crumble it into a large mixing bowl and add the bread crumbs. Then add the celery, salt & pepper, sage, chia/flax egg, vegetable stock, and splash of orange juice. Mix it together and place it in a greased dish (we use an 8×8 glass dish). My mother-in-law’s directions are exact (see: “dab” of sage) as my recipe card reads “Bake until crusty on top”. We find it’s usually around 40 minutes in our gas oven.
This is a traditional recipe that makes our home smell like the South, and with every bite we are transported to our grandmothers’ dinner tables.
Beet Salad (Crumptown Farm, Richmond, VA)
- 3-4 red or gold beets
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 1 bunch kale
- 1 small onion diced (I prefer red)
- the juice of one orange
- 2 tsp honey (or agave)
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2-3 cups of extra virgin olive oil (I use about 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 cup toasted pecans
Preheat oven to 400F. Wash beets, then place in a roasting pan with wine, a splash of water, and garlic. Roast for 35 minutes. Take out and peel while still relatively hot. If you wait too long for the beets to cool they will not peel easily. Cut the beets to the preferred size. Dice and brown onions over medium heat (I’m a weirdo who loves raw red onions, so we keep them raw). When browning onions add kale (chard also works, and I’ve even used the beet’s greens) and wilt. Make the dressing by whisking orange juice, honey, thyme, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil. Toss all the ingredients with the dressing in a large bowl, and add pecans. You can serve right away if you’d like, but I prefer it all to marinate in the fridge overnight, adding the freshly wilted greens immediately before serving.
We acquired this recipe from a CSA we joined while living in Richmond. This dish is great anytime of year and is a perfect addition to the holiday table.
With these delicious holiday recipes in your arsenal I doubt you’ll even think about a turkey!