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My Thanksgiving guest list consists of two diabetics, one vegan, one vegetarian, and my gluten-intolerant mother. For reals. And then there are the few with no dietary restrictions who expect the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, dripping with gravy, cranberry sauce and a nice, plump bird. What's a girl to do?
As soon as someone says "yes, thank you" to coming to your Thanksgiving feast, ask if they have any dietary considerations. It would be pretty terrible if the only thing one of your guests could eat was a giant plate of mashed potatoes...ok, not that terrible. But, you see my point.
If you plan well, you won't be making separate meals for each person, but a buffet of tasty dishes that will please everyone at the table. I believe in using real, natural ingredients -- so I avoid food with sugar substitutes and any unpronounceable, artificial stuff. Here are some highlights from last year's menu which I'll be repeating this year because everyone gobbled up with no complaints or allergic reactions - total win! All recipes are for 8 servings, adjust up or down accordingly.
Mike's Vegan Mashed Potatoes
Skeptical of a mashed potato recipe that's not laced with butter and heavy cream? Don't be!
Ingredients: 16 Idaho or Russet potatoes, 16 cloves of garlic, 8 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, 1 cup almond milk, 2 teaspoons of lemon zest, 4 tablespoons of chopped rosemary.
Sugarless Cranberry Sauce
This recipe is bursting with tart goodness - I promise you won't miss the sugar!
Ingredients: 24 ounces of fresh cranberries, 3/4 cup pineapple juice, 1/2 cup sugar-free applesauce, 1/2 cup water, juice and zest of one orange, 3-4 tablespoons of honey or stevia to taste (optional)
Polenta Casserole with Pumpkin Seed Pesto
I recently attended a Thanksgiving cooking class at the Natural Gourmet Institute. Chef and author Myra Kornfeld was the fabulously energetic teacher, and this was the delicious vegan entree we prepared in her class - and will be on my own menu this year.
Ingredients for squash:3/4 cup soaked pinto beans, 2 tablespoons, EVOO, 2 cups onions - diced small, 2 dicded bell peppers - 1 yellow/1 red, 2 minced garlic clobes, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 1 jalapeno - stemmed, seeded and minced, 2 cups butternut squash cut into 3/4" pieces, 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, 1 cup frozen corn kernels.
Ingredents for polenta: 1.5 cups corn grits, 4.5 cups water, 3/4 tsp salt, 1 TBS chile powder, 1 TBS butter (optional), 1 TBS olive oil
Instructions for pumpking seed pesto:
Cauliflower Sour Cream Mash
A yummy, trendy alternative to mashed potatoes.
Ingredients: 1 head trimmed cauliflower, 2 2/3 tablespoons sour cream, 2 2/3 tablespoons heavy cream, 2 tablespoons butter, 1 1/3 teaspoon salt
Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie
No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without Pumpkin Pie. It's tough to find dessert recipes that don't include an artificial sweetener, so this will have to do!
Ingredients: 1 (9 inch) pie shell, 1 egg, 6 packets granulated artifical sweetener, 1 tsp pie spice, 1 cup pumpkin puree, 1 cup evaporated milk
Thanksgiving celebrations can extend on for many hours -- with lots of tryptophan-enduced napping, football watching, and neighborhood strolling. If all that hanging around tends to amp up the family drama, I recommend you have some crafts, games, or other forms of entertainment on hand. Many of our magicians are available to perform on Thanksgiving Day...maybe they can make that mountain of dirty dishes disappear!