Pulling off a last minute Thanksgiving feast is possible! If I can do it, so can you!..
Some of us don't have heaps of time to shop and plan - and sometimes our plans fall through - so even if you haven't done a speck of planning for your Thanksgiving Feast tomorrow - don't fret. I'm here to get you through it!
..because ordering Thanksgiving take-out would be quite the festive buzz-kill.
Last Minute Shoppers. I know who you are, I've been there. Frazzled at the grocery store on Thanksgiving Eve. Rolling your eyes at the shopper standing in line holding nothing more than a bag of 'last minute cranberries and dinner rolls'. Your cart is piled high with - a jumbled mish-mash of Thanksgiving foods. Well this year, I won't be frazzled, but I will be in line at the grocery store tonight - to pull off a last minute, plans-changed feast. My plan (operation: vegan thanksgiving) and a new recipe!..
(Marilu was Right!) Last year I did a huge Thanksgiving feast down in Washington DC - in a real kitchen (not my NYC, make-it-work, shoebox kitchen). Eight guests total, I did all the cooking myself. It was fun and fabulous. But this year, MrHHL and I are back in NYC and I really wanted to chill on Thanksgiving. So MrHHL and I got reservations at one of our favorite vegan restaurants for dinner - along with family. Well, plans changed - as they do in life. Like Marilu Henner says,
“The key to your life is how you deal with Plan B." -Marilu in her VGP interview
2009 - Last Year's Thanksgiving Vegan Feast..
So, long story short, this year MrHHL and I decided (last night) to go ahead and do Thanksgiving at home. Kitty and all. Onto Plan B!...
Last-Minute Thanksgiving. Lets do this together guys. And even if you are not cooking last-minute this year, and have a stunning Thanksgiving planned and set, read on, because you might pick up a few last minute tips and recipes.
The Basics. If you are doing any last minute recipes or feast prep, you want to make sure to cover the holiday basics. To me, those are:
1- cranberry sauce
3- sweet potatoes
5- pumpkin pie
6- festive bevies
7- an elegant appetizer
8- veggie sides
10- something traditional to your family
Alright, lets go!
1. Cranberry Sauce.
Easy as... well, cranberry sauce! Pick up a bag of fresh cranberries, some oranges or tangerines and you should be set. Follow one of my recipes here.
Stuffing is easier than you think. You'll need a bag of day-old bread - but really, fresh stuff will work too. You'll need to chop up some celery, onions and carrots - and other custom ingredients. Think chestnuts, tempeh, mushrooms, etc. You'll also need vegan buttery spread. Stuffing is easy to make same-day you serve it. I always make my stuffing on the stove top then finsh it in the oven - covered with foil. You can also stuff it inside a baked squash. Looks pretty. Follow my stuffing 101 here.
3. Sweet Potatoes.
My favorite food: sweet potatoes! So they must grace my Thanksgiving table. Sweet potatoes require nothing more than time to roast. Scrub, slice into rounds, add a few dollops of vegan buttery spread, cinnamon and maple syrup - maybe even a few dandies vegan marshmallows if you need them, and done. Healthy, melt-in-your-mouth potatoes done. Or you can follow my SP mash recipe here. I will be making both - since I'll need mash for my pockets (see #10).
4. Entree. (new recipe below!)
Tofurky or not, you really do want a fun entree for your vegan feast. I am in love with Field Roast's Celebration Loaf. As well as their 'Meatloaf'. 100% vegan - so yummy! Here is an easy way to spruce up your vegan entree protein (you can do this for the meatloaf, a Tofurky or anything similar)..
Currant-Maple Citrus loaf
1/4 cup dried currants
1/4 cup maple or agave syrup
1 tsp salt
1 tangerine, zested (1-2 tsp zest)
1 cup tangerine or satsuma slices
1/4 cup orange or tangerine juice
dash of cinnamon (op'tl)
1-2 tsp EVOO
Smother your protein in the above ingredients. Soak all sides. Top with currents and zest. Wrap in foil, with a vent and roast for required time until heated. Broil top layer for five minutes until sticky-sweet and caramelized. Serve sliced and hot! Gravy optional.
More vegan protein entrees.
5. Pumpkin Pie.
If you've been reading my blog, you know my 5-ingredient vegan Pumpkin Pie couldn't be easier! Just be sure to soak some raw cashews at least 4-6 hours before starting your pie. But yes, you can start this pie tonight and have it perfect for tomorrow! Also see my from scratch pumpkin pie if you are really ambitious and serious about your desserts! More desserts. If you get too busy for dessert, buy some Tempt or Coconut Bliss Vanilla Vegan Cream and topped with fresh raspberry sauce.
Jordan Wine, grapes and Dr Cow vegan cheese..
6. Festive Bevies.
I love a little champagne with some added fresh pomegranate juice. I simply hand squeeze a ripe pomegranate into a strainer to strain the seeds. Or if you have a manual citrus press - even easier. Top off a glass of champagne with your juice and you have a pom-spritzer. You can do this with grape or cranberry juice too. More bevies here.
Plus I am so thrilled to have a bottle of Jordan Wine for my feast! I won the first ever Jordan Wine Photography contest a few weeks ago and so I will be serving a delicious Jordan Cab Sav at Thanksgiving. I already tried the Chardonnay and it was amazing! Made me miss my home-state of California. So if you are one of those "what wine do I buy?!" type of people - and see Jordan, buy it. Everything they make is fantastic. Including their buttery EV Olive Oil.
7. Elegant Appetizer.
I'm doing my Citrus Bold Butternut Squash Dip. I made this last month and fell in love with the flavors. Incredibly easy too. I'll also have a round of DrCow raw vegan cheese and crackers on hand. No better way to start a party (for many, or two!)
8. Veggie Side Dish.
I love this fall salad recipe: Maple Nut Snap Pea Salad. And it's easy, so that's what I'll be making. I will also roast some broccoli with nutritional yeast - simply because I love it. I may throw in a few green beans to roast too. But since MrHHL hates green beans, I won't make too many. A nice tahini carrot salad will be a vibrant small side dish too. More veg/potato side dish ideas here.
9. Breads and Rolls.
I will whip up some biscuits. They are easier than you think! Since I'll be roasting potatoes anyways, sweet potato biscuits or cracked pepper biscuits will be a lovely touch. I think I'll add in some rosemary to make herbed pepper biscuits this year. Plus the rosemary will make the whole apartment smell like a dream.
10. Family Tradition Dish!
I started making my Sweet & Sassy Sweet Potato Pockets about six years ago. They became an immediate classic. I'd bring them to non-vegan family feasts, office parties and I even make them today at each and every Thanksgiving celebration. I used to hand out the recipe with a promised vow of secrecy. But not anymore! Free for all to enjoy. It feels good to have a few family originals at my table. I will also serve some vegan gravy at my table - not really because I like gravy - but just because my mom always had it on our Thanksgiving day table. It reminds me of home to have a sweet little gravy boat perched next to my.. seitan :)
Good Luck with your feast everyone! Happy Thanksgiving!!
Oh, and watch this animal lovers. This will make you very proud of your turkey-free feast!..