This week, I’m posting two, yes TWO, Thanksgiving recipes everyday! Prepping for Thanksgiving is no easy task. You’ve got to pick your menu, make your grocery list, buy all your ingredients (and God forbid you forget something!), prep each dish the night before, and then cook ALL day to ensure everything gets done at the same time for your hangry family. Let’s not talk about the cleanup that follows!
Then, when you think about those traditional dishes you’re consuming, well the average person consumes 4,500 calories during their Thanksgiving meal (twice the daily intake for most people!) and 229 grams of fat – that’s 3.5 times the recommended daily allowance which most nutritionists argue is too high already!*
So knowing how much hard work goes into preparing the one meal, and how much havoc said meal then wreaks on your body, it’s no wonder people fall into a food coma.
That’s why I’m posting two recipes everyday this week to provide healthier options for Thanksgiving sides WITHOUT sacrificing flavor.
First up, mashed potatoes. I used the Creamy French-Style Treeline Treenut Cheese in Scallion to give a rich sour cream and onion flavor to my mashed potatoes. You can find this cheaper (about $7) at your local Whole Foods. Trust me, it is worth it! The cheese has the texture of cream cheese or goat cheese but with the tangy nuance of sour cream and a bold onion flavor. It is PERFECT for mashed potatoes.
I choose to leave the skin on because 1) I love the texture, 2) extra nutrients, and 3) it looks pretty! You can use any potato here, but I just used two large russet potatoes as that’s what I had on hand.
To get the right buttery creaminess, I used almond milk, the cashew cheese, and vegan butter. (Obviously, if you are allergic to nuts, please do not use the milk or cheese I’ve mentioned here. I would instead use the vegan butter and your favorite herbs to flavor the potatoes.)
Now, none of these are low in fat, but they are all entirely free of cholesterol and have the added nutrients found in the nuts like vitamins E and B2, and minerals copper, manganese, phosphorous, magnesium and zinc.
Use a little bit of the starchy water left over from boiling the potatoes to add more creaminess to your potatoes without adding fat.
Next up, the country-style mushroom gravy. Now, I don’t know about you but I never liked the brown gravies made from the stock and giblets of the turkey. On Thanksgiving or any other day, I prefer the thicker, country-style gravy. I used to create this using one of those just-add-water McCormick packets that used ridiculous amounts of salt. Now I make my own gravy using mushrooms for a wonderful savory umami flavor.
Choose your favorite mushroom, and sauté them until all the liquid is released then evaporated. Add a splash of your favorite wine, salt and pepper (don’t worry, the alcohol evaporates and there will be no alcohol content in the gravy) and once the wine reduces, sprinkle in some cornstarch. Add almond milk (or soy, or rice, whatever is your favorite) and some broth, plus your favorite herbs or spices and simmer until thickened. I like to add a spoonful of the Treeline cheese to the gravy when adding the milk and broth, to give it a complimentary flavor to the potatoes, but that is entirely optional. Blend the whole mixture in a high-speed blender, and you’re left with a rich and creamy country-style gravy. SUPER easy and takes no time at all.
Both of these recipes are incredibly versatile, as are the other recipes coming your way this week!
I hope you’ll include just one entirely plant-based side at your Thanksgiving this year. The benefits of including a lighter option far outweigh any inconvenience! Happy cooking!
- 2 large russet potatoes or about 12 small redskin potatoes
- 1 tbsp Earth Balance butter
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 3 tbsp Treeline Cashew Cheese
- 3 tbsp almond milk (or soy or rice)
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder (optional)
- 1/4 tsp onion powder (optional)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat a pot of water on high heat to a boil.
- Wash potatoes but do not peel. Dice into 3/4-inch cubes. Add the potatoes to to the pot of water and cook until done, about 5-7 minutes.
- While the potatoes are cooking, heat up the butter in a small bowl in the microwave. Add the rosemary sprig to the butter and set aside.
- Reserve a 1/2 cup of the boiling water, then drain the rest.
- Mash potatoes in the pot, pressing down with a twist of the wrist to break up the potato.
- Add the cream cheese, almond milk, spices, and the melted rosemary butter (remove the sprig).
- Stir together until creamy. If your potatoes aren't creamy enough, add the starchy water a few tablespoons at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
- Adjust seasonings, then serve hot with Country-style Mushroom Gravy.
- Tip: Use an ice cream scoop to serve your mashed potatoes, giving them height and dimension for a truly irresistible elegant look!
- 10-12 baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp corn starch
- splash of your favorite wine
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 sprig rosemary or sage
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/8 tsp cayenne (optional)
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1 tbsp Treeline Scallion Cashew Cheese (optional)
- Heat olive oil in a medium-sized non-stick skillet at medium-high heat.
- Add mushrooms and saute until softened and all liquid is evaporated - about 10 minutes.
- Add salt, pepper, and splash of wine. Wait until the wine bubbles away, then add the rosemary or sage and all the spices. Toss to coat. Sprinkle the cornstarch all over the mushrooms and toss to coat, until no chunks remain.
- Stir in the cashew cheese, if using. Add the almond milk and vegetable broth. Simmer until thickened, about 7 minutes.
- Remove rosemary or sage sprig. Add mixture to blender and blend on high for 30 seconds or until completely smooth.
- Serve over mashed potatoes or use as base for green bean casserole!