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Monday, November 24, 2014

A Most Delightful Vegan & Gluten-Free Thanksgiving



Saturday night, my good friend Karissa, the blogger behind Vegan à la Mode, and I hosted a small Thanksgiving feast for a few friends. We decided on the menu together, went grocery shopping for all of the ingredients and then cooked everything together, too! It was one of the most fun things I've done. A lot of work, yes, but a labor of love, truly. Cooking and baking are so much more enjoyable when done with a friend.

I wanted to share our spread with you guys because for one, I'm really proud of it, and two, I wanted to give you all some ideas for a Thanksgiving without using animal products and without the bloat. Seriously, you could go back for seconds and sure, you'll feel full, but you won't feel sick or like you're about to fall into a food coma for hours. Everyone at our table absolutely loved the meal and dessert. Some even went back for seconds, which is always the best indication of a fantastic meal. I was so grateful that Karissa hosted it at her place because she truly was an incredible hostess. Her table was beautifully decorated with the cutest plates and pumpkins. After filling up with food, we played Apples to Apples and Scattergories. I hadn't laughed so hard in so long! Games are really the best post-Thanksgiving activity. Do you guys have any favorite family games I should know about?

Now, onto the good stuff...











From top left to bottom right...

Lentil Loaf (vegan meatloaf) with a Balsamic Glaze by The Simple Veganista: The glaze was the star of our entrée! It is tangy, sweet, only 3 ingredients, and to die for. The sauce could also be drizzled on any of the side dishes below for an extra special punch.

Green Bean Casserole by Detoxinista: This one was time-consuming but certainly worth the time and effort. It is the healthiest green bean casserole I've come across, but the savory sauce is so creamy and delicious that it is more than satisfying. The extra sauce could also be used as gravy. In fact, I used it as gravy on my leftovers today. :-D

Mashed Potatoes by Minimalist Baker: Karissa made these and they were impeccably prepared and seasoned. Mashed inside is vegan butter, roasted garlic, chives, sea salt, and black pepper. Dreamy!

Roasted Butternut Squash by me & Roasted Brussels Sprouts: Again, so simple, but absolutely necessary and scrumptious. In the blog post I linked here, I give you a step-by-step tutorial on how to peel, cut and roast the butternut squash. Peel the Brussels sprouts, chop off the hard end, cut them in half then add them to the bowl of chopped squash.

Pumpkin Pie by Oh She Glows: Karissa and I had both made this pie before so we knew it was going to turn out great. It's oh so nice to have those reliable recipes. It tastes just like traditional pumpkin pie. I especially love the gluten-free crust made of pecans and brown rice syrup. I bought the So Delicious Dairy-Free CocoWhip (whipped cream) to add atop the pie. We all couldn't believe how incredible it tasted and how much it looked like traditional whipped cream. It tasted much better, in my opinion, and there were no cows harmed in the making, most importantly! Yay! Just a heads up, it has to be stored in the freezer and thawed out for 4 hours in the fridge before serving.

We also had a side of black olives, one of my personal favorites. I hadn't even intended to eat them with the lentil loaf but an olive made its way into a bite with the loaf and it was so good  that I couldn't stop eating it with the olives from then on. They make most everything better.

Lastly, my beautiful plate full of nourishing and tasty goodness! And yes, a lot of it mixed together while I was nom'ing. I love when everything merges together into its own special creation. It's a delightful thing. Are y'all like that too or do you prefer keeping everything separate?

A few other recipes of mine that would be crowd-pleasers for Thanksgiving...









Top left to right...

Sweet Potato & Kale Soup and Roasted Vegetable & White Bean Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette

Bottom left to right...

Pumpkin Banana Bread, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies and Whipped Coconut Cream

I highly recommend every dish shared with you on this post. They are all winners. I hesitate saying what I am about to say because the incredible women in my family have always cooked insanely wonderful-tasting meals, but last night's feast beat out any Thanksgiving meal I've had in the past. I just think it's super rad how you can enjoy spectacular food without harming or killing any innocent animals. You won't even be thinking about missing turkey with a spread this good. Save a turkey this year! Just because it's tradition, doesn't make it right. Food for thought, that's all. :-)

I hope this gives you some inspiration if you're having your own vegan Thanksgiving or if you're a bit stuck and not sure of what to bring to a gathering. Happy Thanksgiving! <3

"I like to stuff myself at Thanksgiving, not turkeys. Save a life this Thanksgiving and adopt a turkey instead of eating one." Kevin Nealon
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