What's on our Thanksgiving Table

Posted by Ani Blinova on November 14, 2017

Thankful

It's the most wonderful time of the year.... Oh wait, that's Christmas.

Well, for foodies like myself and Gabe, it's Thanksgiving. We LOVE figuring out what we're going to make for Thanksgiving for our families, while keeping everything gluten-free, dairy-free, mostly vegan (except for the turkey, gravy & Brussels sprouts), & very, very low in carbs.

Yes, we cook the whole thing each and every year!

 

PRO TIPS - 

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1. Do as MUCH as you possibly can the day/night before cooking!

Peel and cut all your potatoes, pre-chop/dice all your onions, celery, and carrots, and make simple items like cranberry sauce the night before to make the day-of a bit easier to chew (pun intended).

2. Everyone always freaks out over "timing" everything properly. While the turkey is cooking, start making things that don't require the oven or turkey drippings. Once the bird is done, it needs about 45-60 minutes to rest and let the juices settle before carving - that's when you utilize your oven and make things that do require the oven. Below, I've indicated which dishes do need the oven, and which don't. It's really that simple!

APPETIZERS

To be completely honest, I'm not a huge fan of appetizers. Why fill up BEFORE the main event?!? Plus, most appetizers/starters aren't the best for my gluten-free dairy-free carb-free hubster. However, to please the crowd, I love to make a simple dairy-free cheese board.

I love these crackers from Simple Mills - gluten-free & vegan with quality ingredients. Pairing the different flavors of these crackers (original, garlic & herb, and everything flavors) with a variety of dairy-free super decadent cheeses from Miyoko's Kitchen makes for an AMAZING cheese board. The Mt. Vesuvius Black Ash and Classic Double Cream Chive flavors are crowd-pleasures! Guests don't even notice that what I'm serving is vegan, gluten-free, and low(er) in carbs!

TURKEY

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Ahh, the star of the show. While we try to be vegan for the majority of the year (I actually choose to remain vegan 90% of the time), we love getting a local free-range organic turkey (from our local Whole Foods Market) for Thanksgiving. Gabe has always been the master Turkey chef, and he's allowed me to share his secret to a juicy bird...

After washing the turkey, he stuffs the cavity with lemons, onions, rosemary, & thyme. He adds celery and carrots to the pan (to flavor the drippings). Gabe will then truss the bird.

The big secret? Start cooking birdie UPSIDE DOWN so the juices flow into the breast. WHAT?!?

I know. Mind. Blown.

He'll cook the turkey for several hours upside down, and then flip the turkey over (cooking it right side up) for the final hour of cooking. Obviously, cooking times depend on how big the turkey is. The result is a super-moist masterpiece that the whole non-vegan family will adore!

OUR SAUCE IS BOSS

We make our own sauces/gravys/dressings because we can.

Cranberry Sauce

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We like to make our own cranberry sauce each year. It doesn't take that much time and is so much better than the store-bought variety!

PRO TIP - NO OVEN. Make this sauce the day before! It's just as lovely chilling in the fridge as it is freshly prepared.

Ingredients:

  • 1 12-oz bag whole cranberries
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon Stevia
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest

Directions:

  • Put the cranberries, water, and orange zest into a medium-sized saucepan and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes until the cranberries have popped and a sauce has formed.
  • Add the stevia closer to the end, adjusting how much you add based on your sweetness preference.

Gravy

Since most gravies are thickened with flour, it's safer to make our own. We love using tapioca flour or arrowroot starch as the thickening agents. This gravy will need to be made once the turkey is finished cooking so you can get all those juicy drippings.

PRO TIP - Gravy will have to wait until the turkey is finished, since you need the drippings, but does not need the oven.

Ingredients:

  • As many turkey drippings as you can possibly gather together
  • 32 oz unsalted turkey stock (control your own salt)
  • 2-4 tablespoons tapioca flour or arrowroot starch
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  • In a heavy-bottomed pan, pour in the turkey drippings and turkey stock. Stir well, allow it to warm up.
  • Add in the tapioca flour 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking constantly, until desired thickness has formed. This might take as long as 5-10 minutes.
  • Add any salt and pepper needed, transfer to a gravy boat, and serve warm!

SIDE DISHES

While Mac & Cheese and traditional Green Bean Casserole have their place on many tables, here's how we put our own spin on them.

First, we'll start off on our low-carb side dishes.

Brussels Sprouts

So, these brussels sprouts aren't vegan, but they are keto-friendly and so, so delicious!

PRO TIP - NO OVEN. Make this while the turkey is roasting and cover with foil to keep warm.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package thick-cut bacon, cut into chunks
  • 12 oz brussels sprouts, rinsed and halved
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
  • Avocado oil

Directions:

  • Prep the brussels sprouts by washing them and then slicing them in half. Then, dump your sliced brussels sprouts into a steamer and steam for about 5-10 minutes. You don't want to cook them all the way through quite yet.
  • While the brussels sprouts are doing their thing, start making the bacon. In a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat a very small amount of avocado oil on medium-low heat. Then, start cooking your bacon! You don't need a lot of oil, since the bacon will render its own fat.
  • Remove the bacon from the pan once it's just shy of being burnt to a crisp. Add in the sliced raw onion, letting it caramelize in the bacon fat, for about 5-10 minutes on a medium-low heat.
  • Once the onions are looking delightful, add the bacon and the tender brussels sprouts back in and cook for at least 5 minutes, allowing the brussels sprouts to get crispy and soak up the flavors of the bacon and onion. Serve warm.

Roasted Carrots

This is just a super-simple roasted veg recipe you can use with any vegetables you wish! I personally love the bright colors of heirloom carrots on our Thanksgiving table.

PRO TIP - OVEN REQUIRED. Prep the dish, and stick in the oven once the turkey comes out.

Ingredients:

  • 20 whole heirloom carrots
  • Coconut oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions:

  • Peel and wash the carrots. In a large baking dish, toss together the carrots (or whatever veg you decide to use) with 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil, and sprinkle liberally with salt.
  • Let the oven do the work! Put in the oven and roast at 350F for 30-45 minutes.

 

Now, let's move on to the carb-loaded side dishes... AKA the best part.

Stuffing

For many of us, stuffing is the best part of the show, I mean, meal. How do we keep it gluten-free and dairy-free? We do take some shortcuts, but it's still so, so delicious! This can definitely be made the day before, and just warmed up slightly in the oven prior to serving.

PRO TIP - OVEN REQUIRED. However, you can make the whole thing the night before! Once the turkey is finished and the carrots/veg are out of the oven, simply add a touch of vegetable stock, cover with foil, and warm in oven for 15-20 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 loaves dried out/stale gluten-free bread, cut into 1 inch cubes. You can certainly make your own (maybe one day, I'll have the energy and available almond flour to do so), but I'm taking a major shortcut and buying bread. Canyon Ranch bread is my favorite but they do use eggs. For a vegan stuffing, Schar bread is just as incredible.
  • 32 oz unsalted vegetable stock (control your own salt!)
  • 1 cup peeled and diced carrot
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sage
  • 2 cloves diced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 4 tablespoons avocado oil

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 375F. 
  • In a large skillet, heat up 3 tablespoons avocado oil. Add onions and carrots and cook until soft, about 5-6 minutes
  • Add in the celery, garlic, and sage, and cook until everything is tender and smells like heaven (another 5 minutes). Add in the veggie stock, and cook until the veggie stock is warmed through. Add 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper (adjust based on your taste)!
  • Put the bread into the baking dish, then add in the warmed stock and veggie mixture. Mix well. Add slowly - bread should be moist but not 100% soaked through.
  • Bake covered for 30 minutes, and then uncover and bake for another 15 minutes until golden brown!

Garlic Smashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes definitely aren't keto-friendly, but it's a Thanksgiving tradition. My mom always makes the BEST potatoes, loaded with onions, garlic, herbs, and deliciousness.

PRO TIP - NO OVEN. Make this while the turkey is roasting and cover with foil to keep warm.

Ingredients

  • 10 medium potatoes, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 2 large onions, cut into large half-moons
  • 8 large garlic cloves, sliced
  • 4 tablespoons fresh dill
  • 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro
  • 4 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 4 tablespoons fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • Salt & pepper

Directions:

  • Boil the potatoes for 30 minutes, until fork-tender but not total mush
  • In a large pan, heat 2 tablespoons avocado oil, and add in onions. Saute until caramelized. Add in sliced garlic, saute until fragrant (about 1 minute)
  • Turn pan off heat, add in all herbs and mix well.
  • Add in all drained potatoes, mashing them slightly in the pan. Season liberally with salt and pepper.

Sweet Potatoes

Has anyone noticed that all the recipes we use for Thanksgivng are sugar free?? Until now. These sweet potatoes are sweetened with just a bit of maple syrup, to bring out that traditional sweet potato flavor. We omit the marshmallows in this recipe.

PRO TIP - NO OVEN. Make this while the turkey is roasting and cover with foil to keep warm.

Ingredients:

  • 6 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced.
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup, plus more for serving
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Directions:

  • In a large pot, boil sweet potatoes until fork-tender (about 10 minutes, depending on the size of the diced potatoes).
  • Drain potatoes and mash until smooth. To the mashed potatoes, add in the 1/3 cup maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Transfer to serving bowl
  • Serve with pecans sprinkled on top, and drizzle a bit more maple syrup onto the top of the sweet potatoes.

DESSERT

This recipe for vegan, gluten-free pumpkin pie is a winner. Need I say more? It's just SO Thanksgiving themed!!!

PRO TIP - OVEN REQUIRED. Prep this while the turkey is roasting, and then stick in the oven to cook while you and your guests are enjoying your main dishes.

 

Oh man, I'm so tired of cooking. I need a glass of wine and some of that pie ;)