Some of My Favourite Thanksgiving & Christmas Recipes

We aren't religious or even particularly traditional, but twice a year—on Thanksgiving and Christmas—I love cooking a big, classic harvest feast: mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, Brussels sprouts, green beans, cranberry sauce, and a centrepiece dish (over the years this has been homemade or commercial plant-based meats, chickpea tarts, and stuffed squash). Pumpkin pie for dessert is essential.

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I keep it simple with the veggies—they're just going to get drowned in gravy anyway, let's be honest. The green beans get pan fried or steamed until just soft, maybe tossed with some crispy onions. The Brussels sprouts get sliced in half, tossed with olive oil and salt, and roasted at 425 for 18 to 20 minutes until brown and crisp. The potatoes get cubed, boiled, drained, then mashed with Earth Balance (vegan butter) and unsweetened soymilk until the texture is smooth.

And here, below, are my recipes for gravy, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. These are beloved staples in my family and I can't imagine a harvest table without them.

Our Favourite Creamy Gravy

With chickpea flour used for thickening, this is gravy you can feel good about eating with a spoon. (I won't judge.) I posted this recipe on Instagram during the most recent Canadian Thanksgiving and heard from quite a few people that they'd made it and loved it, so consider this recipe tested and approved.

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 2 tsp olive oil, for sauteeing (if you're oil-free, just use splashes of water)
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped (don't worry about getting it too fine—this will be blended)
  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 tsp powdered dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 5 cups veggie broth or water
  • 1/2 cup tamari
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt (note: if you use broth with salt added, you may need to skip this)

Process:

  1. Heat a large pan or wide pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil, onions, and garlic and saute until soft.
  2. Stir in the chickpea flour, thyme, and sage and combine well.
  3. Whisk in the veggie broth (or water), tamari, nutritional yeast, and salt. Whisking constantly, bring it to a simmer for a couple of minutes, then turn off the heat.
  4. Blend until smooth! Since it's a hot liquid, make sure you're letting the steam out of the blender, or you may have a no-good-very-bad explosion on your hands.

Classic Stuffing

This is based on the stuffing from the Joy of Cooking (remember that classic white cookbook in everyone's kitchens?), which I grew up eating. I veganized and healthified it, and changed up the cooking process to make it (I think) easier. This stuffing is edible nostalgia for me.

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 2 tsp olive oil, for sauteeing (if you're oil-free, just use splashes of water)
  • 4 cups onions, diced (about 2 large onions)
  • 6 cups bread crumbs (I just put our fave Silver Hills sprouted whole grain bread in the food processor until it becomes crumbs)
  • 4 sticks celery, chopped
  • 2 tbsp melted Earth Balance, olive oil, or just skip it
  • 1 tsp each: dried sage, dried thyme, dried oregano, paprika (if you don't have or like any of these, just skip em)
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • veggie broth or water, to taste (used for moistening)

Process:

  1. Heat a pan over medium heat, then saute the onion in the olive oil until soft.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl (if stuffing into squash) or baking pan. Stir in small splashes of broth or water until mixture becomes moist and just holds together (don't overdo it or you'll end up with mush).
  3. Either cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes until hot, or stuff into squash and bake as needed.

Tart Cranberry Sauce

Nothing fancy here. Just a basic cranberry sauce with half the usual amount of sugar so it adds a nice, tart pop to our rich feast smothered in creamy gravy... ugh, drooling just thinking about it 😍

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz bag of cranberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar of choice

Process:

  1. Add all ingredients to a small saucepan, combine, and bring to a simmer.
  2. Simmer over low heat, covered, stirring occasionally until cranberries are popped and sauce is thickened and smooth, about 20 minutes.