There is nothing more comforting than Shepherd’s Pie during those cold Fall days. We thought the twist of sweet potato would add the extra autumn twist. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, this recipe works as a side dish or the main course for your meatless feast. The best part about this recipe is it’s gluten free! It is perfect for a main Thanksgiving dish to serve to your gluten-free guests!  It’s hard to please every palate at your holiday feast, but trust us, you can’t go wrong with this one!

Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

2 Med-Large Sweet Potatoes
1/2 lb of Lentils, cooked and drained
1/2 Cup Vegetable Broth
1/2 Cup Soy milk
1 Onion
1 Carrot
1 Stalk of Celery
1 Glove of Garlic
1/2 tsp Sage
1/2 tsp Oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste

Earth Balance to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Chop the potatoes, onion, carrots, and celery and set aside. In a pot boil the sweet potatoes until soft enough to mash. In another pot boil the carrots and celery for a few minutes until a little soft, about 6 minutes. Strain both and set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine the lentils, vegetable broth, boiled carrots and celery, garlic, and spices. Lay out this mixture in a casserole dish. In another mixing bowl, mash the sweet potatoes with soy milk, Earth Balance, salt and pepper. Layer the mashed sweet potatoes over the lentil mixture. Place in oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are a little dry on top.

So you are skipping the turkey this Thanksgiving. To most Americans this seems almost sacrilegious to serve Thanksgiving dinner without a turkey. Likening the bird to the first Thanksgiving, however, many people including vegetarians, vegans, health conscious folks, and just people looking for a change opt out of meat for the holiday. So if you are looking to lose the meat, try out a few of our suggestions below. If you want a rating of them, check out this comparison on Slate.  Have a happy meatless Thanksgiving!

Tofurkey: Aww the Tofurkey, it’s very name fills the air with the scent of Thanksgiving.  It has been a staple of vegetarian Thanksgivings for over a decade.  It is fairly inexpensive, around $9.99 and comes with stuffing and gravy. The brand does an excellent job of tasting turkey-esque and definitely completes your holiday meal. The Slate comparison gave it a 19 out of 25 rating.

Field Roast Celebration Roast: Although the Field Roast,  looks much more like a holiday ham, it definitely will fit in on the Thanksgiving table.  It’s texture and spices have a turkey taste, but the stuffing is a little more mushy than the Tofurkey. You can’t beat the sweet potatoes and apples in the stuffing. Slate gave this centerpiece a rating of 12 out of 25.

Gardein Stuffed Turk’y:  Gardein, although new on the market, has made a huge splash. They have come out with all sorts of delicious meatless options including crispy “chicken” and beefless tips. Their biggest contribution is their Stuffed Turk’y. Even though, these are a lot smaller than the above roasts, they win out in flavor. This is hands down one of your best options for fake meat. Slate gave it a winning 22 out of 25!

Homemade: Instead of buying your main dish this year, consider making your roast from scratch. We posted a great recipe last week on homemade gluten roast. It’s very easy and will make your whole feast a more homemade feel and taste. You can also try these recipes for ideas.

 

It’s almost Thanksgiving and as you are compiling your shopping list, why not skip the processed Tofurkey this year. We have a great recipe to create your own “turkey” roast in time for the holidays.  It will give your meal a real homemade feel, not that we don’t love Tofurkey, but making a roast from scratch is always so satisfying. This recipe is a tried and true friend’s family recipe that has been dished out at Vegan Thanksgiving for many years!

Homemade Vegan Roast

Gluten:
3 Cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Flour
3 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
1 3/4 Cup Water
1 Cup Soy Sauce or Bragg’s Amino Acids
1 tsp Garlic Powder
2 Carrots
3 Red Potatoes
1 Medium Onion

Breading:

1 Cup Bread Crumbs
1/3 Cup Nutritional Yeast
2 Tbsp Bragg’s Amino Acid
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Oregano
1/4 tsp Black Pepper

In a mixing bowl combine all dry spices and ingredients for the breading and set aside. In a large saucepan, boil water, soy sauce, and garlic. While the water is boiling, combine Gluten flour and regular flour. Add in 1 3/4 cup water slowly, while kneading the dough. Slice dough into strips and drop each slice into the boiling water/soy sauce. After a minute each slice will float to the top. Let them float for a few minutes and then lift out of the water and set aside.

Cut the carrots, onion, and potato in large chunks. Boil these until soft and set aside. In a small sauce bowl add the Bragg’s Amino acid and a little vegetable oil. Warm up a skillet on medium high and add the rest of the vegetable oil. Dip each strip in the amino acid and roll in the dry breading boil. Fry each strip until crispy on both sides (about 5 minutes).

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. In a casserole dish, cover the bottom with a little oil or margarine. Layer the strips similar to lasagna and surround them with the boiled veggies. For an added treat, separate gluten strips with stuffing. Cook for fifteen/twenty minutes. Serve with all the fixin’s: mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, and cranberry sauce.

Usually the only green thing about your Thanksgiving meal is the bean casserole, but this year there are several ways to make your dinner that much greener.  The holiday itself is a tad gluttonous and seems the opposite of anything eco-friendly. Buying too much food, tons of  plastics, and cooking all day. We have put together a short list of ways you can make your day of Thanks a tad more eco-friendly.

Buy Local & Organic: Instead of going to the supermarket for all your veggies, bread, and jams, try your farmer’s market.  You can find almost every thing you need at your weekly farmer’s market or your local grocery store. Be sure to look for organic certified products.  You can also purchase your breads, jams, and other goodies from local vendors. If you must purchase any dairy, definitely look for a local organic option.

Skip the Turkey: Stick to your veggies this year, and skip the turkey. There are plenty of great main vegan or vegetarian dishes to serve rather than turkey. Check our lovely vegan recipe blog for ideas.  You can even take it one step further and Adopt-A-Turkey from Farm Sanctuary. You can also purchase or make meat substitutes for dinner such as Tofurkey or Field Roast.

Organic Spirits: Serve up all your spirits organic! You can find great organic wines, organic beers, and even liquors. From organic vodka to rum, you can find organic versions of your favorite night-cap. Also, be sure to get your mixers organic as well, including cranberry juice, soda, and apple ciders.

Natural Decorations: This year use what nature gave you to decorate rather than buying new fall themed decor. You can use local straw, pumpkins, and squash. Or you may find some great items lying around your own backyard, such as apples and fall leaves. Another great resource is pine cones and tree branches. You can place them around the house or use a glue gun to make wreathes or other decor for your house.

Leftovers: Try to limit your food purchases to what you need, but if you find you still have leftovers be sure to do the green thing. If you compost, be sure to compost them to nurture your garden. Another option is to donate your leftovers to a local homeless shelter, food bank, or Food Not Bombs. Try searching this nationwide database of Food Pantries for a local place near you.

The week of Thanksgiving is finally here! We have been posting great vegan recipes all month and are so excited for the delicious holiday in a few days. Today we post our last vegan Thanksgiving recipe for this year, and it is a great one!  We thought we would save this delectable garnish. This quick and easy recipe will have your vegan and non vegan guests mouth’s watering and sure beats that canned stuff you used to serve!  Happy Thanksgiving :)

Organic Cranberry Sauce

Cook Time: 20 Minutes

1 Bag Organic Whole Cranberries

1/3 Cup Organic Evaporated Cane Juice
1/4 Cup Fresh Organic Orange Juice
~1 Tbsp Organic Orange Zest or to taste
Boil the bag of cranberries until they are soft. Strain out the water and put the cranberries back on the stove. Mix in the sugar. With a grater, grate fresh orange peel into the mixture to add zest. Squeeze the juice from the orange you used from the peel. Heat the mixture, but do not boil. The mixture should mush together. You may need to add more cane juice or orange zest  according to your taste. Cool in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.

With the Thanksgiving holiday fast approaching we thought we would publish our favorite holiday recipes. We are counting down the days until our biggest vegan feast of the year and want you to be in on the delicious foods. We have a stock pile of traditional recipes perfect for your Thanksgiving feast, with a vegan twist. Check out our backlog of yummy vegan dishes and try out our favorite vegan sweet potato pie.

Organic Vegan Sweet Potato Pie

Filling:
2 Cups Organic Sweet Potatoes, peeled
1 Cup Organic Soy Milk
1/2 Cup Organic Brown Sugar
3 Tbsp Organic Earth Balance
2 Tbsp Organic Molasses
1 1/2 tsp Organic Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Organic Nutmeg

Pie Crust (or purchase an uncooked vegan crust from a store)
2 Cups Organic Unbleached Flour
1 tsp of Salt
2/3 Cup, plus 1 Tbsp of Soy Margarine (we suggest Earth Balance)
1/4 Cup Ice Water (more may be needed)

Peel and half the sweet potatoes and boil in a saucepan until soft. Mash the potatoes with as if you were making mashed potatoes and add in the Earth Balance and soy milk. Add all other ingredients together until smooth. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. If you are making the pic crust from scratch, begin by combining the flour and salt. Blend in 2/3 cup soy margarine until the mixture is crumbly. Add in the water until mixture starts to hold together (you may not need all the water or you may need more-play it by ear!). Next roll out the crust with a rolling-pin (or in times of need a washed wine bottle can substitute). Place the crust in a 9 inch pan and use your fingers to make even patterns in the dough. Add the filling to the crust and bake for 50 minutes to an hour.

American holidays are wrapped with tradition, from the foods we eat to the decorations and even our activities.  Nothing is more traditionally American than Thanksgiving. The holiday is meant to bring all together and to give thanks for everything in our lives. But let’s face it, most Americans focus on the feast, which consists of traditional fall foods including sweet potatoes, cranberries, walnuts, and apples. However, the center of all these foods for most Americans is the turkey. Unfortunately, the turkey industry is nothing to be so thankful for.

In the US, 72 million turkeys are slaughtered for holiday meals! And these turkeys endure serious pain and suffering. A whole host of suffering is put upon turkeys including painful de-beaking, overcrowding, and over anti-biotic injecting. Honestly, this is not what I would consider an American tradition.  Fortunately, there is something you can do about it! Instead of purchasing a turkey for your table, you can adopt a turkey from Farm Sanctuary! The program rescues thousands of turkeys that would have ended up on the dinner table, and finds stable and loving homes.  People will property and room farm animals adopt these intelligent and caring animals for the rest of their lives. If you have room, consider adopting a turkey today. If you can not take on raising a rescued turkey, please consider sponsoring a turkey. With a donation of $30 you can sponsor one of the rescued turkeys that live on the Farm Sanctuary.

This year, you can make a difference and save a turkey’s life. Trust us, they will be thankful for your choice. For more information of the turkey industry and Farm Sanctuary‘s Adopt-A-Turkey Project take a look at this eye-opening video:

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