(above: Butternut Squash Lasagna–G-F and Vegan–scroll down for recipe)
A small buffet for six or eight is great fun –so few dishes!– and here’s one that will go down well with gluten eating carnivores as well as those who follow gluten-free and vegan lifestyles. Pass out recipes — or have folks find their own — and make it an easy day for the host.
While I am neither vegan nor on a gluten-free diet, I do often eat Vegan Before Six a la Mark Bittman and boast a daughter-in-law who for the most part eats gluten-free. The idea of a holiday menu that suits both profiles was a challenge I simply had to take because whenever I publish a recipe that is both gluten-free and vegan, I seem to have a really good number of new folks interested. That means I’m interested, too.
So let me know what you think if you try the recipes or maybe just take one or two to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner so that you can eat without wondering whether or not there’s __________ in that casserole. Naturally many of the recipes can be used for ONLY vegan meals or ONLY gluten-free meals and you can adjust those ingredients accordingly. For instance, if you’re not a vegan, you might add grated Parmesan cheese to the lasagna or if you’re not gluten-free, you might use traditional lasagna noodles. And so on. Now on to the meal I so hope you enjoy…………
While the meal gets organized, start with music (here’s a prior Thanksgiving’s music post of mine), sparkling wine (Gruet from New Mexico is inexpensive and charming; please do drink American wines for Thanksgiving) and a gorgeous platter of vegetables, olives, dips, crackers (try Mary’s Gone Crackers.) Check wine and any other purchased food labels; most wines will be fine gluten-free options, but you might want to read up on that right HERE. Don’t eat too much because hopefully someone’s made one of my favorite soups for the very first course…
Go around the table (or the living room seats–wherever) and let each guest offer something for which they’re thankful if you’re not in the habit of grace before meals. Offer a toast to those healthy thoughts….thanksgiving is good for the body and soul.
FIRST COURSE SOUPS Wine: Oregon or Washington Riesling (not too sweet…)
There are 3 soups from which to choose. I love them all. Choose which best suits your other menu choices.
Naturally you might have some bread with these soups if someone’s brought some….Bread sticks or crackers would be nice, too–and not so filling.
Spicy Cream of Pumpkin Soup with Peanuts — 6 first course servings
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced*
- 1 medium red onion, minced
- 1 each: celery stalk and carrot, minced
- 4 fresh sage leaves, minced or 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Hot sauce to taste
- 2 cups pureed pumpkin (15-ounce can will work)
- 4 cups gluten-free vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup rice milk
- 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
Heat the oil and garlic for one minute over medium-low heat. Add vegetables, herbs, salt and pepper; season with 3 drops of hot sauce. Raise heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender — about 10 minutes. Add pumpkin and broth; bring to boil. Lower to simmer and cook another 10 or 15 minutes.
Stir in milk and heat through. Optional: purée using an immersion blender or carefully in batches in the blender or food processor. Taste; adjust seasonings. Serve hot garnished with peanuts.
*If you have a food processor, use it to mince all of the vegetables at once.
Curried Lentil Soup with Fresh Greens Garnished with Pumpkin Seeds and Scallions
8 generous first course servings
This is a heartier soup than the previous pumpkin or tomato that follows, but would be welcome to balance out a lighter meal. The lentils also provide a welcome amount of protein in the vegan diet–particularly if paired with a brown rice entree.
|My most recent lentil love soup — happily vegan, curried, and garnished with sunflower seeds and scallions.|
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, trimmed, peeled, small dice
- 3 celery stalks, trimmed, small dice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black or white pepper
- 1/4 cup white wine or water
- 3 cups water
- 8 cups vegetable stock, gluten-free
- 1 1/4 cups lentils (I used basic, brown American lentils)
- 2 small red potatoes, unpeeled, small dice
- 3/4 cup each: finely chopped fresh beet greens and kale, including stems*
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, for garnish
- 1/4 cup minced scallions, for garnish
- 1/2 lemon, for garnish
Tomato-Carrot Soup with Croutons
This soup, originally made with chicken broth and garnished with chopped feta, was a favorite with testers for my book, Soups & Sides for Every Season. Here, it’s happily morphed just enough to be included as the broth is now vegetable and the cheese is swapped out for gluten-free croutons.
- 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
- 5 medium carrots, minced
- 6 stalks celery, minced
- 2 medium onions, minced
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup parsley, chopped finely
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped finely
- 28-ounce can Italian tomatoes, gluten-free
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup Gluten-Free croutons, garnish*
SALADS or VEGETABLE SIDES
Go beyond the typical potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and squashes. Since there’s no turkey for those soft, sweet sides to cozy up to, you can choose whatever you want to jazz up the buffet. Think bright colors and popping flavors like vinegary greens or basil-scented summer-like vegetables. They’ll love it!
ALYCE’S LEMON GREEN BEANS
This is one of my favorite vegetable preparations. Cook them not too awfully done; the bit of crispness on the Thanksgiving plate will be welcome alongside all the traditional soft coziness.
Bring a large pot of well salted and peppered water to boil, add 2 pounds of green beans, and cook until almost tender. If you’ve bought the skinny ones (haricots verts), they’ll be done in just a few minutes; if you have regular-sized American green beans, it might take quite a bit longer. (Some of the packages of haricots verts come with simple microwave-in-the-package directions. Do that if you like microwave cooking.)
Drain well and toss with 3 tablespoons olive oil, lots of salt and pepper, and the grated zest of two or three lemons, to taste. Sprinkle with a good pinch of crushed red pepper and toss well. Taste and adjust seasonings. I like a lot of lemon and not quite so much crushed red pepper. I’ll bet you can’t eat just one hot, warm, or cold. I eat these with everything at any temperature.
Cook’s Notes: For a more filling side, mix the green beans together with some rice (along with the olive oil, etc.) A squeeze of lemon juice might be needed; a cup or two of sauteed mushrooms and/or onions would be lovely. Tiny fresh tomatoes make a beautiful garnish and good contrast in texture, taste, and color.
Alyce’s Ratatouille 6 – 8 Servings
While this isn’t typical Thanksgiving fare, and certainly is at its best when summer bounty is at its fullest, today’s market does enable us to make something fun like ratatouille year-round. Besides, everyone — including carnivores — loves this.
Give yourself 1.5 – 2 hours. While this cooks quickly, the chopping takes time.
1/4 cup olive oil (divided)
3-4 Japanese eggplant (skinny long ones) or 2 medium eggplant, cut into 1″ cubes
1 teaspoon salt, divided
3 zucchini and 3 yellow squash, cut into 1″ cubes
1 each: red bell pepper and green bell pepper (or yellow), cut into strips
2 large onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup each: chopped Italian (or curly) parsley and chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill (or 1 tablespoon dried dill)
1 tablespoon dried oregano, optional
1 28-oz can Italian tomatoes, drained (reserve juice) or 1.5-2# fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped, gluten-free*
1 6-oz can tomato paste, gluten-free
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, optional (or to taste; be careful)
- Preheat oven to 350. Place chopped eggplant on a baking tray, sprinkle lightly with salt and let sit while the oven preheats. When the oven is hot, blot the eggplant lightly on both sides with paper towels and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Cover the tray with foil tightly and bake about 40 minutes or until the eggplant is tender. Remove from oven, remove foil, and set aside.
- Meantime, in a large, deep skillet (or heavy soup pot), cook in the remaining oil the onions, peppers, and zucchini until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, herbs, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Season with about 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of black pepper. Stir well, heat through and taste. Add crushed red pepper and taste again. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Let simmer 15 -20 minutes over low heat. Add eggplant and warm through. Add some of the reserved tomato juice if the mixture becomes too thick and is sticking or if you’d like a looser consistency.
- Serve as is (hot, warm or cold), with pasta or beneath fish or chicken if you eat such things. A big bowl of this and a hunk of bread folks can tear and dip into it is just about perfect food.
- Store tightly covered in frig 2-3 days or freeze for 3-6 months, well-wrapped.
*To peel fresh tomatoes, cut an X in the bottom and top. Plunge into boiling water for a minute or two. Pull out, let cool briefly (til you can handle them without being burned) and peel off skins using a small sharp knife or your fingers. Chop coarsely before adding to ratatouille.
Vinegar Chard with Apples, Shallots, and Maple Syrup Serves 6-8
Greens and apples with vinegar are a winner-winner combo. With a drizzle of maple syrup, they’re over the top in this very fast side.
- 2 bunches Swiss Chard (2 1/2 – 3 pounds)
- Olive oil
- Crushed red pepper
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 2 shallots, minced
- Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped (don’t peel)
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or to taste
- 1 cup chopped pecans for garnish
Remove stems from well-cleaned chard, slice thinly, and set aside. Roll up chard leaves and slice into 1/2-inch pieces. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, deep sauté pan with a pinch of crushed red pepper and the mint; cook 1 minute. Stir in shallots, reserved chard stems, and chopped apples. Season with a generous pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Let cook a minute or two, until a bit softened.
Toss in chopped chard leaves and season with a little more salt and pepper. Stir. Cook 2-3 minutes or until chard wilts. Stir in apple cider and 1 tablespoon maple syrup. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more maple syrup if you like. Serve hot or at room temperature garnished with chopped pecans.
|This is easy, lush, and spicy–if you want it to be. Good hot or cold.|
Hot and Spicy Cranberry Sauce 6-8 servings
In a 3 qt heavy sauce pan, place 1 pound fresh cranberries, 1/2 lemon quartered, 1/2 large apple peeled and chopped, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes, and 1/2 cup (or more to taste) brown sugar. Add water to cover fruit, the pour in 1/2 cup red wine or apple juice/cider. Bring to a boil, and lower heat. Simmer for about 15 minutes until cranberries pop, fruit is softened, and mixture is thick. Stir frequently and add water if it becomes too dry. Remove lemon to serve or let your sour puss friend eat it. (Oranges can be used in place of lemons or in addition.) Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more sugar if too tart or a splash of red wine vinegar if too sweet. Serve hot or cold. Keeps well in refrigerator for several days. If you do not like spicy food, leave out thecrushed red pepper.
MAIN DISHES FOR THE THANKSGIVING TABLE –Wine: Pinot Noir (Try Oregon’s Ken Wright, Cristom, or Bethel Heights Pinots.)
If you have a lot of folks coming, you might like more than one entrèe. Here are a couple I’ve made recently I think you might enjoy.
GLUTEN-FREE AND VEGAN BUTTERNUT SQUASH LASAGNA with Kale
9 generous servings or 12 smaller servings
While this rich and filling beautiful dish is a bit labor-intensive, it’s worth the time and effort for the holiday; I enjoyed figuring it out and making it. I thought about it for a couple of weeks before I finally got it to the stove. My husband, an adventurous eater who still loves his steak and potatoes, adored everything about the meal. It’s really no more work than making a ragu, etc., for a more traditional lasagna Bolognese. I made and baked the lasagna in the same afternoon, albeit with a few hours in between the two. I see no reason you couldn’t make it the day before, store it well-covered in the fridge, and bake it while the group is enjoying starters and soup. Do take it out a bit ahead to warm up or just plan on baking it a few minutes longer since it’s cold.
- 12-ounces cooked or oven-ready gluten-free and vegan lasagna sheets such as Tinkyada (Making fresh pasta? Recipe here.)
- Olive oil
- 2 cups chopped onions
- Kosher salt and fresh ground white pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 pounds of peeled and sliced butternut squash (1/4 – 1/3-inch thick)*
- 15-ounces vegetable broth
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons fresh minced sage (or 2 teaspoons dried)
- 1/2 pound kale, sliced thinly
- crushed red pepper
- 1/4 cup white wine
For the Béchamel sauce (white sauce)**
- 5 tablespoons canola oil
- 8 tablespoons gluten-free flour mix (make your own or purchase pre-mixed)
- 4 cups Rice dream milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- a few gratings of nutmeg or 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup gluten-free freshly-ground bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons finely minced parsley
1. Sauté onions, seasoned with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper in 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat, stirring regularly, until very soft –15 minutes or so. Add garlic and cook another minute or two. Spoon into a bowl and reserve.
2. Cook the squash and kale Add sliced butternut squash, vegetable broth, thyme and sage to the same skillet. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until squash is tender, stirring once or twice–about 5-7 minutes. Remove to a large bowl and, still using same skillet, sauté chopped kale, a good pinch of crushed red pepper with another tablespoon oil and the white wine for 4-5 minutes or until tender. Add half of the reserved onions to the kale, turn off heat, and leave in the skillet.
3. Meanwhile, make Béchamel sauce. Heat oil over medium heat and whisk in gluten-free flour; cook 2 minutes or so, stirring. Slowly whisk in rice milk and cook, stirring regularly, until thickened; it will take several minutes. Be patient. Season with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and the nutmeg. Taste and adjust seasonings. Remove from heat and reserve.
4. Toss bread crumbs with parsley, a pinch of salt and pepper, and a tablespoon of olive oil in measuring cup or small bowl. Set aside.
5. Put the lasagna together: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Oil or grease a 9×13 glass baking dish. (Metal will work if that’s what you have.) Organize and arrange your ingredients so they’re close to the greased pan, otherwise you’ll drip all over the entire kitchen! (See above photo.) Spoon 1/2 cup of the Béchamel sauce into the bottom of the pan, spreading it out in a thin layer. Lay down one layer noodles (see note) and top evenly with a 2 cups squash; sprinkle 2 -3 tablespoons onion on top, along with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Ladle on one cup of Béchamel sauce, spreading evenly. Next, add all of the kale-onion mixture. Lay down another layer of noodles perpendicular to the first, then add the squash, onion, and sauce; repeat. Top with a sprinkling of the bread crumb mixture. Cover tightly with foil.
6. Bake on the center rack of the oven for 30 minutes, remove foil, and bake another 10-15 minutes or until bubbly and tender. Let rest 10 minutes; cut and serve hot.
Cook’s Note: I had 6 noodles and divided them evenly; if you have more–and you just might– you can lay down 3 on each layer. I like each layer to be laid down perpendicular to the previous–so that if the first layer goes the length of the pan, the second goes the width. You may have some sauce left for another use or to warm and serve at the table. If you’d like to double the kale, I think it would work fine; there was plenty of room in my Pyrex casserole. Also, additionally, a layer of sautéed thick, meaty mushrooms might be lovely.
*For ease of peeling this squash, I first cut it in half and microwaved it for 5-7 minutes just to soften it up a bit before peeling and slicing for the lasagna. To peel, I cut it into 3 sections, stood each upright, and sliced off the peel using a small, sharp knife. A peeler works, too, but it’ll take several swipes to get down through the white layer to the orange squash; the knife was just faster and more efficient for me.
**I based my Béchamel sauce on one from What Would Cathy Eat.com? THANKS, CATHY! Cathy uses almond milk rather than rice. I had never made a vegan white sauce before.
CURRIED BROCCOLI-ALMOND BROWN RICE SALAD 12 side servings or 6-8 main dish servings
I’m crazy about this dish and you needn’t think of it as a salad if that bothers you. This is a main dish for anyone. Hearty brown rice — you could sub wild rice — backs up low notes of broccoli and almonds and provides a background for the teensiest bit of light sweet melody provided by the currants. You could use dried cranberries if you like; they’d be lush, bright, and beautifully red for the holiday. I made it a day before and stored in the fridge two hours or so before I needed it. It’s best shown off at room temperature. There’s nothing in it to go bad easily.
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 2 cups brown rice
- Extra-virgin olive oil –can sub canola oil
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 10 scallions, minced – white and green parts
- 1 1/2 – 2 pounds cooked broccoli florets
- 1 cup sliced almonds, plus extra for garnish
- Red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup dried black currants or 1/2 cup dried cranberries, plus extra for garnish
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Kosher salt
1. In a medium pot, heat water to boiling; add rice with a drizzle of olive oil and a few grinds of pepper. Lower heat to simmer, cover, and cook 45 minutes or until tender. While still hot, add 1/4 cup olive oil, the cooked broccoli, and almonds. Stir well and drizzle with 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar.
2. Stir in currants, curry powder (start with 1/2 teaspoon, adding more to taste), crushed red pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Mix well. Taste and readjust seasonings, including curry powder. Add an extra drizzle or two of vinegar and/or oil to moisten and season if needed. You might also want to add more almonds or currants to taste; I liked the dish garnished with extra for looks and flavor.
3. Serve immediately at room temperature. You can also cover the dish well, refrigerate overnight, bring to room temperature, and serve the next day. If the rice seems dry, moisten using a tablespoon or two of olive oil and stir well.
WARM QUINOA SALAD WITH ROASTED AUTUMN VEGETABLES 6-8 servings
While you’ll need to go to Chowhound and find the recipe (adapted from Joann Chang), you can see by looking at this that it’s very simply a gorgeous amount of roasted root vegetables on a bed of quinoa. The idea is to roast some vegetables, cook the quinoa, and stir it all up together. Great food; great leftovers. What you don’t see is the Asian-style dressing — YUM.
My changes: small, but critical for this version……………
The given recipe on Chow calls for stirring the vegetables into the quinoa and doesn’t include the fresh greens. I thought the salad would be more attractive with the vegetables on top for visibility and I just loved the idea of a bed of freshness (the spinach or other greens) underneath for color and texture. The key element is the quinoa, which is quickly cooked –as quinoa is–and then stirred up with an Asian dressing that includes a whole bunch of chopped green onions. If you don’t like quinoa, make brown rice; it would work perfectly well. My other change was adding crushed red pepper to the Asian dressing. It’s almost perfect, but I thought it needed a bit of a bang. I didn’t do this, but next time I would add some toasted nuts of some kind–chopped walnuts or sliced almonds–for extra crunch.
DESSERT. Wine: How about an American port? Coffee, of course!
If no one wants to cook or bake, buy some lovely sorbet and call it a day. Or just have a gorgeous after-dinner brandy, port, or dessert wine as a digestif. I include just one simple dessert, but there are links to a variety of options if you’ll scroll down.
Pumpkin Custard on Gingersnaps Serves 4 – 5
You’ll find the non-vegan version of this dessert in my cookbook.
If you’d really like some whipped cream, check this vegan whipped cream out on You Tube.
Read all directions and notes before beginning, please!
Softened Earth Balance or canola oil to grease ramekins
1 teaspoon corn starch
1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon (Chinese) plus extra for garnish
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch ground cayenne
1 1/4 cups coconut cream or almond milk
Gluten-free Ginger Snaps, Vegan Whipped Cream, optional
Grease 4 or 5 ramekins and set aside.
Add a g-f ginger snap to each greased ramekin. Whisk all ingredients together in a large measuring cup and pour filling into ramekins (or custard cups or microwave-safe mugs) until 1/2 full. Cook each ramekin (or microwave-safe cup) on a plate in the microwave on full power for about 1 minute.* Watch carefully. If custard begins to overflow, stop oven, let custard cool for a few seconds and continue cooking. Using mitts or potholders, remove from microwave and repeat. Makes 4-5 servings. Let cool for a few minutes. Sprinkle with a sprinkle of cinnamon for garnish or top with vegan whipped cream. Love fall!
*As microwave ovens vary in size and strength, your custard may take a little less or more time to make. You might also try microwaving at 50% power for two minutes. The other factor will be the size of your ramekin or cups. It’s done when just barely set. It’s custard; it should be able to do a bit of a jiggly dance and not be terribly staid and solid.
A FEW OTHER IDEAS…
INTERESTING LINKS WITH RECIPES FOR GF AND/OR VEGAN THANKSGIVING DISHES
- Slow Cooker Pumpkin Curry
- Gluten-Free Banana Zucchini Bread from Allyson Kramer
- Gluten-Free and Vegan Bread from Fork and Beans (Book Available: Decadent Gluten-Free and Vegan Baking by Cara Reed.)
- Gluten Free Thanksgiving Desserts from FOOD AND WINE
- Apple Pie Cheesecake: Vegan and Gluten-Free from Allyson Kramer
- Pumpkin-Oatmeal Anytime Squares from Oh She Glows
AND… other things to read:
7 Tips for a Gluten Free Thanksgiving from FOOD AND WINE (Spiced Butternut Squash Sorbet is vegan, too. Some of the other recipes could be easily made vegan with the substitution of Earth Balance baking sticks for butter, for example.)
A list of the Best Vegan and Gluten-Free Blogs Featuring Thanksgiving Recipes (from 2011, but hopefully still helpful)
Have a great day together!
Sing a new song,
Most of these recipes are simply ones I’ve cooked in my own kitchen and are not certified in any way to be gluten-free or vegan, though they are as gluten-free and vegan as I know how to make them. I am not a nutritionist or trained chef, nor do I eat gluten-free and vegan daily. I hope I haven’t missed something, but if I have, know that it was inadvertent and make the best judgment according to the diet you follow.
Please use your own discretion, read all labels, and cook and eat wisely. Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving!