Cooking for the holiday season shouldn’t be an additional stressor if you’re working around food allergies or specific diets.
With the increased availability of meatless and plant-based alternatives, cooking a completely vegan meal, from the entrees and sides to the beloved desserts, is no longer a feat.
The News-Leader has compiled a list of five different vegan dishes to try this year, including a vegan take on the classic turkey roast and several fan-favorite sides.
Whip up a cashew-based cream of mushroom soup for green bean casserole
Jake Herren, owner of Jake’s Burgers, said one of his go-to vegan dishes for Thanksgiving is green bean casserole made with a cashew-based cream of mushroom soup. He said his family actually prefers this alternative to the classic Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup. Through Jake’s Burgers, Herren makes and sells vegan meat alternatives.
Bon Appétit’s recipe for creamy cashew mushroom soup takes less than half an hour to whip up:
To start, heat 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil in a Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat. Arrange 12 ounces of mixed mushrooms, like crimini, shiitake, oyster or maitake, in a single layer and cook until brown on the bottom. Stir occasionally and cook until golden brown all over. Then, transfer the browned mushrooms to a plate.
In the pot with the remaining oil, add one finely-chopped onion and two finely-chopped shallots and season with salt. Stir often for about eight to 10 minutes. Add four thinly-sliced garlic cloves, cooking until soft and fragrant. Add 1/3 cup of dry white wine until nearly all is evaporated. Then add five cups of water and the mushrooms back to the pot. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
Next, transfer two cups of the soup mixture, including some of the mushrooms, into a blender. Add 1/4 cup of raw cashews and one tablespoon of red or white miso. Puree until smooth and stir back into the soup. Simmer and stir occasionally for 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Once cooked, this can be used in your favorite green bean casserole recipe.
The complete recipe is available on the Bon Appétit website at bonappetit.com/recipe/creamy-ish-of-mushroom-soup.
Use Better Than Bouillon paste for a homemade gravy
Herren also enjoys using Better Than Bouillon Beef Paste, which can be purchased at most grocery stores, to make a homemade gravy for mashed potatoes.
The Better Than Bouillon’s “Need Gravy in a Snap” recipe takes about 10 minutes to prepare and 15 minutes to cook, making four servings.
In a large saucepan, bring four cups of water to a boil. Add 2.5 tablespoons of whichever Better Than Bouillon base you’d like (Herren’s recommendation is Beef Paste) and whisk to combine. Reduce the heat to medium.
Whisk 1/3 cup of cornstarch and 1/2 cup of cold water in a small bowl. Slowly add this slurry mixture to the saucepan and stir evenly until the gravy thickens. This should take about two minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
The complete recipe is available on the Better Than Bouillon website at betterthanbouillon.com/recipes/need-gravy-in-a-snap/.
Support local with Jake’s Burgers’ Italian Sausage for stuffing
Herren’s final vegan recommendation was a self plug for his Jake’s Burgers’ Italian Sausage, which he recommends for Thanksgiving stuffing.
Jake’s Burgers’ products are available at Springfield Mama Jean’s Natural Market and Hy-Vee, along with the Price Cutters in Nixa and at 1260 E. St. Louis St., 3260 E. Battlefield Road and 2021 W. Republic Road.
Still want a “turkey”? Make your own or buy one ahead of time
If you still want to satisfy that turkey fix without eating any poultry, there are plenty of vegan options.
Plant-based brand Gardein offers both a Turk’y Roast and Savory Stuffed Turk’y, available on the Gardein website and in health food stores. Grocery stores with a health market aisle may also carry Gardein products.
If you’re interested in cooking your own vegan turkey for the holidays, there are plenty of online resources that provide different recipes.
It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken, a vegan recipe blog, has a recipe for a vegan turkey roast that utilizes tofu as the base.
To start, you’ll need to make the seitan, which is a common plant-based substitute that mimics the texture of real meat.
To do this, add one 14-ounce package of firm tofu, three tablespoons of nutritional yeast, two tablespoons of water, one tablespoon of white miso paste, two teaspoons of onion powder, two teaspoons of vegetable broth powder, one teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme leaves and 1/4 teaspoon of ground sage into a food processor. Use an S-blade to blend the mixture until smooth. Then add 1 1/2 cups of white gluten and blend until a ball forms. The It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken recipe states that this shouldn’t take too long.
If you don’t have a food processor, use a blender of immersion blender to mix all the ingredients, minus the gluten, until smooth. Then in a large bowl use a spatula or wooden spoon to mix the gluten in until a ball forms. Make sure to not knead the dough, as this will make it tough.
Place the ball on a sheet of aluminum foil and shape it as you’d like. To mimic a real turkey, shape it into an oval shape. Wrap the ball in the foil.
Next, fill a large pot with a steamer basket with several inches of water and bring to a boil. Place the foil-wrapped seitan into the steamer basket, cover and steam for one hour or until the internal temperature reaches at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Once steamed, remove and allow to cool. For the best texture, The It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken recipe recommends cooling overnight in the fridge, for at least eight hours. You can store the seitan in the fridge for up to three days.
To finish the recipe, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a bowl, mix together 1/4 cup melted vegan butter, four cloves of garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons of soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme leaves and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper.
Remove the seitan from the foil and place on a baking tray. Generously brush the garlic butter mixture all over.
Run one piece of rice paper under water, letting it sit out to soften for about 30 seconds. Then place the rice paper over the roast, brushing more of the garlic butter mixture on top.
Bake the roast for 15 minutes. Brush the remainder of the garlic butter mixture on top and return to the oven for another 15 to 25 minutes, or until the outside of golden brown. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before slicing. This recipe feeds between four and six people.
The complete recipe is available on the It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken website at itdoesnttastelikechicken.com/best-vegan-turkey-roast-perfect-for-thanksgiving/#recipe.
Make a pumpkin pie with just nine ingredients
The It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken blog also offers a recipe for vegan pumpkin pie recipe.
To start, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and have a nine-inch vegan pie crust ready. The blog offers a separate recipe for vegan pie crusts, or you can purchase one.
To make the filling, mix 1 3/4 cups of pumpkin puree, 3/4 cup of full-fat coconut milk, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/4 cup of cornstarch, 1/4 cup of maple syrup, one teaspoon of vanilla extract, 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a bowl. Pour the mixture into the pie crust and use a spatula to spread it smooth.
Bake the pie for one hour. Let the pie cool and then chill overnight for a minimum of four hours.
The complete recipe is available on the It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken website at itdoesnttastelikechicken.com/easy-vegan-pumpkin-pie/#recipe.
Greta Cross is the trending topics reporter for the Springfield News-Leader. Follow her on X and Instagram @gretacrossphoto. Story idea? Email her email@example.com.