Keep Thanksgiving in its place
Choose a Buddha bowl for a more mindful approach to the holiday
I wrote this article in 2017 and it is very appropriate for today. We are all looking for simplicity in our lives. This is an easy way to provide your family with a plant-based Thanksgiving dinner without all the fuss. Concentrate on time together instead and serve a tasty representative of all things flavorful at this time of year.
Thanksgiving dinner came early to my house this year. The preparations for this article filled the house with all the lovely smells of the season. Fresh thyme, oregano, sage, rosemary, garlic, onions and ginger. I love this season.
I wrote an article last year at this time that gave plant-based options for holiday traditional food. (Find the article from 2016 on this Blog). This year is a little less traditional, but just as delicious. These recipes will help you create your own vegan Thanksgiving bowl.
Roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes with gravy, ginger yams with nut sausage, superfood stuffing and cranberry sauce make a beautiful sight on your table. Wouldn't it be lovely to have a bowl of food at each place setting with nothing in the center to pass? What a simple Thanksgiving meal.
Bowls of food have become trendy in the restaurant world and the culinary community. I am sure you have seen them on menus and possibly have tasted a few. Smoothie acai breakfast bowls, grain and vegetable bowls, and noodles bowls are just a few that might be familiar.
The term Buddha bowl has become a synonym for these bowls. The idea stems from Buddha's desire to keep food in its place. He didn't want food to take over our whole lives. Mindfulness and eating are described in a book by Zen priest Dan Zigmond and wellness writer Tara Cottrell, "The Ancient Art of Losing Weight Without Losing Your Mind."
"Buddha woke up before dawn every morning and carried his bowl through the roads or paths wherever he was staying. Local people would place food in the bowl as a donation, and at the end he would eat whatever he had been given," Zigmond and Cottrell explain. "So that was the original Buddha Bowl: A big bowl of whatever food villagers had available and could afford to share. It was probably pretty healthy, since Buddha lived before the age of cheap processed food, but was also possibly pretty simple, maybe rice and a simple curry."
Choosing mindful eating can be a part of your approach in preparing food for your holiday table. Whether you are preparing food for yourself, your family or a guest who has alternative food needs, choosing the freshest ingredients with minimal preparation will keep food in its place.
Ask your guest before he or she comes if there is anything special he or she would like to have or needs to avoid. Be open to making some changes to your menu. Possibly your guest would like to bring a different kind of food to share with everyone. A little change can bring about great things.
I have not participated in eating turkey for more than 19 years, but I still gather at the table with those friends and family who keep that as an option for themselves.
Mutual understanding and respect for each other is the gift we bring to our time together. I always offer to bring a vegan alternative for myself and others who might like to taste something different.
You can serve these as a bowl, or make the recipes and serve them individually. I like the idea of having a full Thanksgiving meal served to me in a bowl. It is beautiful to look at and has the right amount of simple servings to fill you and leave you satisfied.
The variety of vegetables, seasonings and nuts provide you with a balanced meal. Lentils can be substituted for the nuts if you have an allergy. Add some plant-based pumpkin pie or Daiya pumpkin cheesecake, a bottle of good organic wine or sparking cider, and you have a beautiful and fulfilling meal.
I guarantee you will have more energy with this way of eating and not feel like you have to take a nap at the end of the meal.
Start your own traditions. Keep them simple and humane.
With that thought in mind, I would like to mention Farm Sanctuary again this year: The adopt-a-turkey program is alive and well and would welcome your donation to save a turkey through your sponsorship. Farm Sanctuary rescues animals and provides care for them at their sanctuaries, as well as educates and advocates for turkeys and other farm animals everywhere. Visit https://www.farmsanctuary.org/adopt-a-turkey/https://www.farmsanctuary.org/adopt-a-turkey/ for more details.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Fix all or some of these items, or add your own to your Thanksgiving bowl. Top Mashed Creamier Potatoes, Gingered Yams and Superfood Stuffing with the Easy Vegan Gravy and serve.
1 large carrot, peel, quarter and cut into 2-inch long pieces
1/2 medium acorn squash, sliced with skin on
1 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons brown or coconut sugar
salt and black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup chopped pecans (adding during baking per directions)
1 1/2-2 cup broccoli florets (cut large)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups Brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Prepare a big baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Mix carrots and acorn squash with olive oil, brown sugar, and salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
Spread both the carrots and the squash out on baking sheet.
Mix halved Brussel sprouts (same bowl) with brown sugar, olive oil, salt and pepper, then spread them out on the same baking sheet.
Mix the broccoli with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, making sure to really massage the garlic into the heads of the broccoli.
Spread the broccoli on the baking sheet, and put everything in the oven.
Bake for 20-25 minutes. About halfway through the cooking time, flip and stir everything on the baking sheet, and put everything in the oven.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, possibly less depending on your temperature in your oven. About halfway through the cooking time, flip and stir everything on the baking sheet and sprinkle everything with 1/4 cup of chopped pecans, and top squash with extra sugar, if you wish.
MASHED CREAMIER POTATOES
1 1/2 - pound bag Yukon gold potatoes
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon vegan butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch each of dried thyme and oregano
Boil potatoes on one element and make the gravy on another
Boil potatoes for 15 minutes (until fork tender) before mashing them with the vegetable broth, vegan butter, salt, dried thyme and oregano.
EASY VEGAN GRAVY
1 tablespoon vegan butter (or olive oil)
2 tablespoons gluten-free flour
1/4 teaspoon each of onion powder, dried thyme and oregano*
1 cup vegetable broth
Heat the vegan butter over medium heat in a small saucepan. Once hot, whisk in the flour, salt, thyme and oregano, and mix well.
Cook for 1 minute before slowly whisking in the veggie broth (you may find you need a little more or less depending on your prefered consistency.)
Simmer for 3-5 minutes until thick, adjusting the consistency with extra vegetable broth as needed.
*Replace the dried herbs with fresh and double the amount.
1/2 cup goji berries
1/2 cup dried Turkish apricots, chopped
1 cup vegetable broth
8-10 slices sprouted grain or gluten-free bread*
2 tablespoons coconut oil (melt/divide)
2 cups red onion, diced
1/3 cup celery, diced
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup hemp seeds
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
salt and pepper to taste
Combine goji berries and apricots in a medium bowl with the vegetable broth. Let soak for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pulse bread into large crumbs in a food processor.
Spread crumbs onto two baking sheets and bake for 15-18 minutes, stirring halfway through or until crumbs are toasted.
Remove and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a saute pan over medium heat.
Add onion and cook for 2 minutes.
Add celery and cook for 2 minutes.
Add cooked vegetables to bread crumbs and mix well.
Add all remaining ingredients (including the reserved tablespoon of coconut oil.)
Include the soaking liquid with the apricots and goji berries.
Transfer stuffing to a large well-oiled baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring halfway through.
*Substitute the bread with 2 cups of pulsed cauliflower florets. Instead of baking, saute the cauliflower with the onion and celery.
GINGERED YAM BOWL
Makes 4 servings
2 yams, peeled and thinly sliced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, diced
1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup walnuts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
4 nut sausage patties, prepared by you or purchased and baked according to directions on the package ( or substitute lentils)
Put the olive oil in the bottom of the roasting pan and add all of the ingredients except the nut sausage.
Place the roasting pan in the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until yams are soft, but still firm.
Top with broken pieces of nut sausage and fold in.
ALMOND PECAN RAWSAGE
Makes 10 patties
1 cup soaked almonds (or 1 cup cooked lentils)*
8 dates pitted and soaked for 2-4 hours
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 cup of soaked pecans
1/4 cup dried mushrooms
4-5 sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup dried onion slices
Process all of the above in a food processor until you have a sticky mass. Leave some chunks of nuts.
Roll into small patties and dehydrate for 6 hours.
Alternatively, put in the oven on warm for 3 hours on a parchment lined baking sheet.
*Substitute 1 cup of lentils cooked 10-20 minutes, but still firm, for the pecans.