A Vegetarian Thanksgiving

It’s not always easy to be a vegetarian at Thanksgiving – for the guest or the host! And why we’ve put together a few of our favorite dishes – a gingered-carrot soup, vegan shepherd’s pie, butternut squash stuffing and a caramel apple tart for dessert. So good even the non-vegetarians at your table will enjoy.

Gingered Carrot Soup

The New Enchanted Broccoli Forrest

  • 2 lbs. carrots
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 Tbs. butter or oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs. freshly grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground fennel
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. dried mint
  • 3-4 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup lightly toasted cashews
  • optional: buttermilk, to drizzle on top

Peel and trim carrots, and cut them into 1-inch chunks. Place in a medium-large saucepan with the water, cover, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, and simmer until very tender (about 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the carrot pieces).

Meanwhile, heat the butter or oil in a small skillet. Add onions and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, salt, and spices. Turn heat to low, and continue to sauté for another 8-10 minutes, or until everything is well mingled and the onions are very soft. Stir in lemon juice.

Use a food processor or blender to purée everything together (including the toasted cashews). You will need to do this in several batches. Transfer the purée to a kettle, and heat gently just before serving. If desired, pass a small pitcher of buttermilk for individual drizzling.

Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Food52: Serves 6-8

Every winter, we sign up for the 20-Week Vegetable Subscription through a local, organic farm. And every week, we pick up our box of weekly veggies. One of the vegetables we always struggle with finding things to do with are the parsnips which apparently grow well here in Montana – because we get a lot of them!

So great news for us is that this Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie (we adapted just a bit) is not only hearty and tasty  enough to satisfy the non-vegetarians – but also puts to use some of those parsnips piling up!

  • 2 1/2 pounds (about 4 large) sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 6 parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup whole milk or your choice of non-dairy milk
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided into 2 tbsp and 2 tbsp
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large carrots, diced evenly
  • 2 ribs celery, diced evenly
  • 6 ounces baby bella, cremini, or button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups brown or green lentils, dry
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Place potatoes and parsnips in a large pot and submerge in cold water (there should be at least 1 inch of water over the vegetables). Salt water well. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and allow potatoes and parsnips to cook for approximately 25-35 minutes, or until both vegetables are very fork tender. Drain, return the vegetables to the pot, and add 2/3 cup milk, 2 tbsp olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Mash well with a potato masher. If you need more milk, add the remaining 1/3 cup. Set the mashed potatoes and parsnips aside.

While potatoes are cooking, bring 1 1/2 cup lentils and 3 cups water to a boil. Reduce and simmer until lentils have absorbed all liquid, and are soft (about 30 or 35 minutes). Set lentils aside.

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large saute pan over medium. Add onions and garlic and cook until onions are translucent and golden (10 minutes or so). Add the carrots and celery and cook till both vegetables are tender (another 8 minutes). Add the cremini mushrooms and cook for another 3 minutes before adding the lentils, the rosemary, the thyme, and 1/2 cup vegetable broth. Simmer the mixture, stirring well to incorporate flavors. Add more liquid as needed: you don’t want there to be too much broth or liquid in the bottom of the pan, because you’ll get a runny shepherd’s pie, but you do want it to be quite moist. When everything is warm and well mixed, season to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 350. In a large casserole dish, layer the lentil and veggie mixture. Spread the mashed potatoes delicately and evenly over. Bake for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are browning. Sprinkle with extra rosemary, if desired, and serve.

Here’s another version from the Minimalist Baker.

Butternut Squash Stuffing with Brussels Sprout & Apples

Food52: Serves 6

Clearly we’re big fans of Food52. For Thanksgiving in particular, they have an added feature called the Automagic Thanksgiving Menu Maker to help you get organized. Definitely give it a try – it’ll make planning for the big day 10x easier, promise!

  • 1 pound butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 pound brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1 medium gala apple, cut into a 1/2 inch dice
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided into 2 tbsp and 1 tbsp
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 10 slices bread of choice: crusty sourdough, dry cornbread,whole grain, or, if you are gluten free, millet bread from Food For Life will work nicely. Prior to preparing the recipe, leave bread out for a day to become slightly dry, then cut into cubes.
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (plus extra as needed)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup pecans or walnuts
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the squash, brussels sprouts, apples, and shallots in 2 tbsp oil and season well with salt and pepper. Roast till vegetables are very tender and remove from oven. Reduce oven heat to 350.

Heat other tbsp oil in a large pot. Sautee the onion and celery till translucent (about 5-8 min). Add the bread cubes and allow them to get golden brown with the veggies in the oil. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Add the roasted vegetables, vegetable broth, cranberries, pecans, and seasonings. Stir the mix till the broth has almost entirely absorbed in the toasted bread. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Serve hot. And delicious.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Tart

The Minimalist Baker 

What’s Thanksgiving without dessert? Boring, that’s what! I won’t lie to you – we order our pies from the best damn baker in town. But this is one we’ve put on the menu for another night because it’s so darn good! Either way, you can never have too may desserts.



  • 3/4 cup (~180 g) coconut yogurt (DIY or store-bought, such as Coyo Brand // or sub full-fat coconut milk or cream and add 1 more Tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice)
  • 1 cup (120 g) raw cashews
  • 2-3 Tbsp (30-45 ml) maple syrup (or sub stevia to taste (~1/4-1/2 tsp))
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) melted coconut oil (if avoiding oil, omit)
    optional: 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch sea salt


  • 1 1/3 cup (120 g) gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 1/3 cup (150 g) raw almonds
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp (24 g) coconut sugar, plus more to taste (or sub stevia to taste (~1/4 tsp))
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup
  • 4-5 Tbsp (60-75 g) coconut oil, melted (if avoiding oil, you can try subbing a 1/2 + 1/2 mixture of applesauce and water, but I haven’t tested it this way)


  • 1/2 batch of Cinnamon Baked Apples, figs, berries, etc. (fruits in season!)

Start by making preparations for filling. If making coconut yogurt, do so first. Otherwise, proceed with store-bought or sub coconut milk or cream (see note in instructions about extra lemon juice).

Next, soak your cashews in very hot water for 1 hour or 6-8 hours in cool water. Then drain and set aside. If using soaked cashews more than 1 hour after draining, cover and refrigerate for up to 4-5 hours (continuing the soak can make them mealy or too soft).

Meanwhile, prepare crust by preheating oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and adding oats, almonds, sea salt, coconut sugar and maple syrup to a high-speed blender or food processor. Pulse into a fine meal. Then add coconut oil and and pulse until a crust “dough” forms that holds together when you squeeze it between your fingers. If it appears too dry, add more melted coconut oil 1 Tbsp (15 g) at at time and blend. I found 5 Tbsp (75 g) to be about right.
Line a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom (or sub a pie pan or 8×8-inch baking dish) with parchment paper. I did this by cutting out a circle that fit in the bottom of the pan and just reached the edges (if using an 8×8 dish, extend parchment paper up over the edges).

Then add the crust mixture to the pan and use your hands to spread it into an even layer, pushing the crust up to the

edges of the pan so it contains the filling well. To achieve a uniform layer, cover a flat-bottom object (such as a drinking glass) with parchment paper and press down firmly. Bake for 15 minutes. Then increase heat to 375 F (190 C) and bake for 5-8 minutes more or until the edges are golden brown and there is some browning on the surface. Remove from oven to cool for 5 minutes. Then carefully transfer to the freezer to chill.

Make filling by adding coconut yogurt, soaked and drained cashews, 2 Tbsp (30 ml) maple syrup, lemon juice, melted coconut oil, vanilla (optional), and sea salt. Blend on high until creamy and smooth. Then taste and adjust flavors as needed, adding more lemon for acidity, maple syrup for sweetness, or vanilla for intense vanilla flavor.

Remove cooled crust from the freezer and pour the filling onto it. Gently tap a few times to release any air bubbles. Then set back in the freezer (I set mine on a baking sheet to keep it flat) and freeze until firm to the touch – about 2-3 hours.

While this happens, prepare desired fruit topping. I went with a half batch (3-4 apples instead of 6-7) Cinnamon Baked Apples, but fresh fruit would also be lovely here. The important thing to remember is the apples (or any baked fruit) need to be cooled completely before being added to the top of the tart or it will melt.
To serve, make sure the tart has set out for at least 1 hour from the freezer so the filling is more the consistency of cheesecake. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator (freezing isn’t necessary) for up to 4 days.

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  1. Thank you these look great! Going to incorporate some for my family. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

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