It’s far too often that an occasion is centred around the food you eat, however for Thanksgiving it can be a slightly more difficult one to avoid if you’re either in the US, Canada (second Monday of October), or happen to be celebrating for any other reason. There’s no doubt it’s a wonderful day full of celebration and reflection with your loved ones, to say thank you for the previous year (and ultimately staying mindful of the one to come). However with the Turkey taking precedence on the dining table, for those adopting a veggie diet, this can be far from ideal when the hunger pangs kick in. Typically, surrounding the meaty centrepiece is an array of stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and well, pumpkin pie…..not all of which are the most appealing for all Thanksgiving-goers. As a result of this, I’ve come up with a few hearty alternatives for filling that gap, allowing you to bring to the table a few uncompromising dishes that will have even the most skeptical jumping for joy.
Before we reveal our Thanksgiving (alternative) faves, let’s take a mo to appreciate the importance of the message of the day itself. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle, bustle and general indulgence of the day, but there’s an element of the occasion which is beautifully humbling; being collectively thankful for the year you have just endured, despite all the ups and downs, and anticipating the one to come…doesn’t happen every day, although I wish it did! Whether you celebrate it or not, it’s important for your overall happiness to occasionally take a step back and appreciate the people you have around you and the happiness they bring you.
So without further ado, here are some of the best Naturally Sassy dishes you can bring to the table when Thanksgiving strikes this Thursday 26th November.
SWEET POTATO & TURMERIC MASH
6 sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon turmeric
1/4 cup coconut cream
Juice 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp salt (I use pink himalayan)
Pepper to taste
Start by peeling the sweet potatoes, and chopping them into small pieces. Steam them for around 25-30 minutes until super, super soft. Put the sweet potato into a bowl and add all the other ingredients. Mash really well until completely smooth. The longer you mash for the better it tastes. If you’re not eating right away put it in the oven to keep warm, or put it in a saucepan and heat through before you serve!
RASPBERRY & APPLE JAM
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 apples, pealed, cored and grated
50g or 1/3 cup, of coconut sugar (you can also use pure maple syrup in same quantity)
Add the raspberries and lemon juice to a pan, and put over low to medium heat – simmer until the raspberries juices start the come out and the mixture has lots of liquid. Now add all other ingredients, stir well until the coconut sugar has dissolved – now bring to the boil and boil for around 15-20 minutes. Transfer into a cold bowl, and leave to cool completely before pouring into jars, and storing in the fridge. Leave in the fridge for at least an hour before consuming! Serve with 100% peanut butter and a slice of toasty gluten free bread! Yum.
GOOEY CHAI SPICED PUMPKIN BROWNIES
120g brown rice flour
16 medjool dates
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
90g ground pecans (You can grind these yourself in a food processor)
1/4 cup/ 4 tablespoons of pure maple syrup or agave
2 tbsp chia seeds + 6 tbsp water
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Start by pealing the pumpkin and chopping into cubes. Steam for around 20-25 minutes until soft. Put the chia seeds and water in bowl, mix and leave for 15 minutes. Put the steamed pumpkin in a blender with the medjool dates, raw cacao, pure maple syrup and spices. Blend until smooth! In a bowl mix in the chia seeds mixture, brown rice flour and ground pecans. You can also add some chopped pecans to the mix for a bit of crunch! Pour into a baking tray lined with parchment paper, and bake for 20 minutes. Checking to see if they’re cooked all the way. Cut chunky pieces, and enjoy!
LENTIL & SQUASH CURRY
1 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 2cm chunks
150g red lentils, rinsed
600ml vegetable stock
1 tin coconut milk
1 can tinned plum tomatoes
1 handful fresh coriander, leaves chopped
4 tbsp olive/coconut oil
2 onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 small green chilli, halved, deseeded and thinly sliced
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celcius. Heat the oil in the bottom of a (very) large saucepan. Add the onions and sauté with a pinch of pink Himalayan salt. You’ll need to cook them for around 10 minutes until they’re completely soft. Then add the ginger, chilli and garlic continuing to sauté for another few minutes. Then add the spices and continue to stir again. Then put the cubes of squash and the lentils in the pan and stir until everything is mixed nicely. Pour in the stock tomatoes and coconut milk. Put the lid on the saucepan and place in your oven to cook for around 30-35 minutes. If your cooking brown rice, this is when you want to do it! Once the curry is done, stir in some fresh parsley or coriander and season to taste. Note: I always serve this with brown basmati rice and a dollop of coconut yoghurt or cashew sour cream.
Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving wherever you may be celebrating!