Are you an avowed vegetarian or maybe just tired of traditional turkey? Perhaps you have relatives or friends coming to celebrate Thanksgiving whose tastes and new traditions run more to tofu and tempeh than turkey and ham. Or maybe you’re cutting out or down on sugar, salt or butter–as conventional cranberry sauces, sweet potato casserole with marshmallows, gravies, potatoes, pies, and other dishes can be high in sugar, sodium, and/or fat. Maybe you are living gluten-free and want some yummy ideas to make your holiday main dish, side dishes, and desserts sing.
Healthier eating doesn’t have to be dull, and even if you’re not changing your own diet, accommodating guests can be a flavorful experience for all. These tasty, tempting holiday alternatives will provide your family and guests with scrumptious dishes that may just make the usual fare a distant memory.
Thanksgiving Meatless Loaf
(from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen)
1 medium sweet potato (about 7 ounces)
1 medium onion
2 ribs celery
1 medium carrot
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans (or other white beans), drained and rinsed
14 ounces extra-firm tofu (one 14 to 16-ounce package)
2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon spicy brown or whole-grain prepared mustard
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tablespoon rubbed sage
1 tablespoon thyme leaf
1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
3/4 cup quick oatmeal or quinoa flakes
Wash medium sweet potato, pierce several times with a fork, wrap in a paper towel and microwave until done, 4-5 minutes. (Alternately, bake or steam the sweet potato.) Allow to cool enough to handle and then peel and set aside.
Mince the onion, celery, and carrot. You can do this quickly by cutting each vegetable in quarters and then pulsing in a food processor until finely chopped.
Heat a large, non-stick skillet. Add the minced vegetables, including garlic, and cook, stirring regularly, until they become tender, about 6-10 minutes. Add water by the teaspoon if necessary to keep the vegetables from sticking or becoming dry. Once they’re softened, add the drained beans and mash them lightly with a slotted spoon or spatula.
Place the peeled sweet potato into the food processor along with the tofu, soy sauce, and all seasonings, including nutritional yeast. Process until fairly smooth. Add walnuts and pulse a few more times. Scrape tofu mixture into a large mixing bowl and add quick oatmeal or quinoa flakes and the cooked vegetables. Stir well.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. If you have a silicone baking mat (recommended) place it on a baking sheet. Otherwise line the baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with non-stick spray. Spoon the tofu mixture onto the prepared baking surface, using dampened hands to shape it into an oblong or oval loaf about 2 1/2 inches high. Bake for 25 minutes or until the top is evenly browned. Loosely cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 more minutes. Check to make sure center is firm; if not, give it a little extra time. (You can also remove the foil and cook for 5 more minutes for a crunchier crust.) Remove from oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.