Tag Archives: vegan Thanksgiving

Pumpkin Pie (or why I married my husband)


Every family has their own holiday traditions. Some traditions are very specific, others are broadly accepted and personalized by everyone. Pumpkin pie is one of the latter for sure. Everyone has a memory of pumpkin pie, right?

Nathaniel’s family, most of whom are in Tennessee, have this wonderful tradition of pies. His grandmother gave him pumpkin pie and home made crust recipes when he was in high school.  It became the dish everyone asked him to bring for the holidays. His secret to heavily requested pumpkin pie: using fresh pumpkin.  There was a 3-acre pumpkin patch on his  family’s farm, so he started using fresh pumpkin.  Not the canned stuff you buy at the grocery. But real, fresh pumpkin.

I think this is one of the reasons I married Nathaniel. His off-the-hook pumpkin pie. No joke! A million years ago, he walked into the college photo lab carrying a homemade pumpkin pie he baked himself. Schwing! And I mean seriously homemade ~ the crust was hand-rolled; the pumpkin was grown at home and baked to the perfect sweetness. Nathaniel’s pies are the real deal. Until you have a real homemade pie with non-canned pumpkin, you just haven’t lived a full life.

As I type this, Nathaniel is in the kitchen right now toiling over his annual batch of Thanksgiving pumpkin pies. In addition to the ones he makes for us, he now has to make several for my grandmother. She adores his pies. She starts asking for them in August, except she calls them “punkin.”

So for the first time ever, here is Nathaniel’s pumpkin pie recipe. It is not difficult, but it is time-consuming. And worth every second! Makes two pie fillings. Recipe is gluten-free and there are gluten-free pie crust recipes listed below.

pumpkin pie

Nathaniel’s Pumpkin Pie

4 cups fresh cooked pumpkin**(see notes below on cooking pumpkin)

9 tsp. Egg Replacer in 3 Tbs. warm water (we used Ener-G – equivilent of 8 eggs)

1 cup sugar (we use Florida Crystals)

1 pint vegan vanilla creamer (soy, almond, coconut)

2 Tbs. arrowroot starch

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
pinch ground cloves
pinch ground nutmeg

2 pre-baked vegan pie crusts (**suggestions below)

Mix egg replacer and warm water. Combine pumpkin, sugar and non-dairy creamer in a large bowl. Add all dry ingredients and mixed egg replacer. Mix together in a blender, with a mixer or by hand, and pour into pie crusts. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Turn oven to 350 and bake for an additional 30-35 minutes, until crust is golden brown. Sprinkle cinnamon on top and chill before serving!  It sets up best if you chill 8 hours or overnight.

The Dirty Hippie reminds me to tell you all that it’s also good with crushed & toasted almonds on top or the coconut whipped “cream.” Or to mix things up, add a handful of chocolate chips into the batter before baking. If you can’t find pumpkins to bake, you can also use butternut squash or sweet potatoes in the same ratios for this recipe.

**How to Cook Fresh Pumpkin: For two pies, you will need 3 sugar pumpkins or a large baking pumpkin, such as a cinderella or cheese pumpkin. Scoop out the innards of the pumpkin and slice flesh into palm size chunks. Place flesh side down in baking dish half full of water. Bake in the oven for 60 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool, then peel off the skin or scrape out flesh with a spoon. You are ready to make pie or you can freeze the pumpkin and use it later! We use freezer bags with 4 cups each. Leftover cooked pumpkin is great in soups, curries and smoothies. Oh – and don’t forget to save and roast your pumpkin seeds! They’re a great source of protein, fiber, calcium and magnesium.

**Vegan Pie Crust: Baking a crust before the pie is called blind baking. You can use a pre-made crust from the grocery store for this recipe. (Be sure to check the ingredient list for lard.) You can also make a homemade crust. Here are links to some vegan pie crust recipes. Choose any one you like and be sure to blind bake it before you start the pies! We use 2 cups of GF flour, $ Tbs. Earth Balance and enough ice water to moisten, a few teaspoons. Our dough is a little crumbly because it’s gluten free.

Minimalist Baker

Savvy Vegetarian

Oh  Ladycakes

Gluten Free Girl

The Blender Girl


Cornbread Dressing


Preparing for the Thanksgiving feast? We’ve got a great dressing (aka stuffing) your family and friends will adore. It works well for potlucks, too.

This is a southern American tradition, Cornbread Dressing. We never tried making it before and it’s SO YUMMY! You’re going to want to embrace this tradition!

You will need to make vegan cornbread one or two days in advance. There are some recipe links at the bottom you can choose from. Sweet to neutral cornbread works best in this recipe, and once you make it, cut the cornbread into cubes and allow it to get stale on the counter. Really ~ you can munch on a few cubes as well!

To make this gluten free, use the gluten-free cornbread recipe at the bottom of the page, and sub in your favorite GF bread for the multi-grain. To make this recipe SOS-free (no salt, sugar, oil), use the Forks Over Knives cornbread recipe below, and omit the coconut oil/salt from the recipe. Nut free? Don’t add the pecans – you can sub in pepitas or sunflower seeds or nothing at all!

Enjoy – and Happy Thanksgiving!

Corn Brea Dressing

Cornbread Dressing

1 recipe vegan cornbread** (see recipe suggestions at bottom)

6 to 8 slices bread (we used multi-grain)

2 cups vegetable broth, warmed

1/2 cup flax seed meal

1/2 cup dry hard apple cider (regular non-alcoholic will be fine, too)

1 cup diced onion

4 stalks celery, chopped

4 carrots, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbl. coconut oil (or earth Balance or olive oil or extra broth)

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup vegan breadcrumbs

2 Tbl. fresh parsley, chopped

2 Tbl. fresh sage, chopped

2 tsp. poultry seasoning blend

1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. dried rosemary

1/2 tsp. turmeric

1/4 tsp. white pepper

1/4 tsp. smoked salt (optional, regular salt or no salt is fine, too)

1 cup pecans, finely chopped


Cube cornbread and multi-grain bread and allow to sit on the counter for 24 to 48 hours to get stale and crunchy. Alternatively, if you are short on time, cube both breads and toast in the oven at 200 for about 10 minutes, then stir and toast another 10 minutes, until outside of bread is crisp. Set stale/toasted bread cubes aside.

To make dressing, preheat oven to 375. Spray a 9×12 casserole dish with non-stick spray.

Mix together warm vegetable broth with flax seed meal. Allow to congeal, this will be the binder.

In a large pot over medium heat, saute onions, celery, carrots and garlic in coconut oil until soft and fragrant, about 2 to 5 minutes.  Add dried cranberries, bread crumbs and all herbs (parsley, sage, poultry seasoning, basil, thyme, rosemary, turmeric, white pepper, smoked salt).  Cook a few more minutes, stirring often, Add all bread cubes (cornbread and multi-grain) and carefully fold together.

Add hard cider to broth/flaxmeal combo. Pour all liquids over the bread cubes/vegetable mixture, add chopped pecans. Again, fold together carefully.

Turn dressing into prepared casserole dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes; uncover and bake another 20 minutes.

Serve hot as part of your holiday feast!


**Need ideas on making vegan cornbread? Try these recipes…

Isa Chandra

Brand New Vegan

Food 52

Texan Erin (Gluten Free option)

Forks Over Knives




Vegan Stuffing with Beyond Meat, Apricots & Capers


My Dad has this sort-of rule that stuffing *has* to have meat in it to be delicious. After careful consideration, we cooked up this recipe, featuring Beyond Meat Chicken-Free strips, dried apricots, capers, pecans  and oregano. The Beyond Meat gives the stuffing that meaty bite and aroma my Dad loves; the capers and apricots bring depth and sophistication; the pecans add crunch; the oregano is like a whiff of the garden. Basically, it comes together smoothly to make a delicious Thanksgiving or Christmas side!

We bought already-dried bread cubs from our local bakery. You can find cubes like this at bakeries or grocers – or make your own by cutting a loaf of your favorite bread into cubes and allowing them to dry out on the counter for a day or two. Really stale, crispy bread cubes are the way to go for stuffing. If they’re too soft, they get mushy in the stuffing.


Vegan Stuffing with Beyond Meat, Apricots & Capers

1 cup onion, chopped

1 Tbl. olive oil

1 cup celery, chopped

1/2 cup carrots, chopped

3 Tbl. capers, crushed/chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced finely

1 pack Beyond Meat Chicken-less Strips, Lightly Seasoned flavor, shredded

1 Tbl. dried oregano

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. white pepper

salt, to taste (be sure to check your broth’s flavor  before adding more salt!)

1 cup dried apricots, cut into quarters

1 cup pecans, chopped and divided

2 portions of mixed “egg replacer” such as Ener-G or Neat Egg or Bob’s Red Mill

3 cups un-chicken broth or veggie stock (such as Better than Boullion Vegan No-Chicken Base or Imagine Foods No-Chicken Broth)

10 cups bread cubes, dried

splash of dry white wine, (optional)

fresh parsley, to garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9×13 casserole with non-stick spray or rub with a few drops of olive oil. Set aside.

In a large skillet or cook pot, add olive oil and onions over medium-high heat. Saute 2 or 3 minutes, to soften onion. Add celery, carrots, capers and garlic. Saute another 4 to 7 minutes, until all veggies are lightly browned then add shredded Beyond Meat, dried oregano, dried thyme, white pepper and salt (if using). Cook about 2 to 3 more minutes and set aside, off heat.

Combine chopped dried apricots, 1/2 cup chopped pecans and bread cubs in a large mixing bowl. Toss in Beyond Meat-veggie mixture and fold together. Pour in egg replacer and broth, as well as a splash of dry white wine, if using. Quickly stir to moisten, then turn out into prepared 9×13 casserole dish.

Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup pecans onto stuffing and cover with aluminum foil. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes, to crisp the top. Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired, before serving.



Savory Holiday Pastry & Spicy Cranberries


In 2013, we won Beyond Meat‘s Clucktober contest, and they gave us – for a Twitter post – a free year of product. It was pretty freaking awesome. We have been posting away all year, making fun new recipes with the chicken-less strips and beef-less crumbles. We’ve also made a few friends with the folks that work there, like Justin. He said he thought that Beyond Meat might not make it as a main dish for the holidays, but we wanted to show him that it could easily take center stage.

Like in these incredibly elegant, yet easy Savory Holiday Pastries. They literally take less than 30 minutes to make. Try that timeline for any other holiday main dish!

To serve alongside, we devised a Spicy Cranberry sauce that accents the pastries – the secret ingredient is adobo sauce! This recipe is a snap, too. Need a simple side? Try any kind of steamed, wilted greens – Swiss chard, kale, arugula, spinach. Greens are amazing with cracked pepper and a splash of vinegar.


Spicy Cranberries

12 oz. bag of cranberries, rinsed and sorted

2/3 cup orange marmalade (about one 8 oz. jar)

1 chipotle pepper, minced (or less, to taste)

2 Tbl. adobo sauce, from the canned chipotle peppers (like Goya brand)

In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, marmalade, chipotle pepper and adobo sauce. Stirring frequently, cook over medium-high heat until cranberries begin to pop and crackle. When a thick gel has formed (cranberries have loads of natural pectin!), remove from heat and set aside until ready to serve the meal.


Savory Holiday Pastry

1/2 cup fig jam, room temperature

1/2 cup plain vegan cream cheese (such as TofuttiDaiyaGalaxy or Trader Joe’s), room temperature

1 pack lightly seasoned Beyond Meat Chicken

1 tsp. olive oil

1 cup yellow onion, finely chopped

1 cup mushrooms, finely chopped

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. dried sage

1/4 tsp. white pepper

pinch salt, or to taste

Preheat oven to 400. In a small bowl, stir together fig jam and vegan cream cheese. Set aside.

Using a fork or your fingers, shred Beyond Meat chicken strips into small pieces. Set aside.

In a large skillet, combine chopped olive oil, onion, mushrooms, thyme, sage, white pepper and salt over medium heat. Saute 4 to 6 minutes, until onions are translucent and mushrooms tender. Add shredded Beyond Meat and stir to until coated and warmed through. Remove from heat.

On a flat work surface, unroll both sheets of puff pastry from the box. Cut each sheet into six equal pieces.

Add a spoonful of fig jam/cream cheese to one corner of each of the twelve puff pasty pieces. Top with even amounts of Beyond Meat/onion mixture until all ingredients are used up. Fold diagonally and crimp pastries closed with a fork. Transfer carefully to two baking sheets.

Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, until pastries are golden brown and crispy. Allow to cool on baking sheet five minutes before serving with Spicy Cranberries.