Who doesn’t love Thanksgiving dinner with its feast of flavorful comfort foods?
As a vegetarian I have been experimenting with healthy, delicious ways to update this traditional meal for many years now, without wanting to deviate much from its warm, grounding staples. At the same time, experimentation encourages us to explore the diversity and bounty of this season’s harvest, reminding us, in turn, of the true meaning of the holiday – to give thanks for the abundant nourishment of Nature.
A few delicious favorites ~
Sweet Potato Cloud
4 medium sized sweet potatoes
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. ghee
ground cayenne pepper
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1½ cups organic coconut milk
1 tsp. sage, dried or fresh
1 cup broken pecan pieces
Pre-heat the oven to 425. Scrub the sweet potatoes clean and dice into large chunks. They do not need to be peeled.
Mix oil and ghee together with a dash each of cayenne, turmeric and clove in a large bowl. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper.
Toss the sweet potatoes in the spice mixture to coat thoroughly and and lay them out evenly in a baking dish. Drip any remaining spicy oil over the potatoes in the pan.
Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place in the preheated oven and cook for about 20 minutes. Remove foil and roast, stirring once or twice, for another 20-25 minutes, until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.
Remove from oven. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. While cooling, spread pecans evenly across a small oven pan and roast at 425 for a few minutes, until just beginning to brown. Remove pecans from oven and allow to cool.
Transfer sweet potatoes back to the large bowl and mash while slowly adding the coconut milk. Season with sage, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, and stir well.
Toss toasted pecan pieces in the center, garnish with a sprig of fresh sage and serve warm.
1 cup dried cranberries
2 tbsp Ghee
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp ground clove
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
½ cup water
1 cup fresh cranberries
½ small apple, cubed into small pieces
1½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
½ tsp grated orange peel ~ optional
Melt the ghee in a saucepan on a low flame. Mix in the clove, cinnamon and nutmeg, cooking for one minute. Stir in dried cranberries until they are thoroughly glazed with ghee. Add water and bring to a light boil.
Once boiling, stir in fresh cranberries and apple pieces. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer on low flame until all the fruit is soft, about ten minutes. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over mixture, stir well and allow to simmer, covered, another minute.
Garnish with orange zest and serve warm.
Thanksgiving Harvest Stew
2 tbsp ghee
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp. ginger powder
½ tsp. garam masala
1 small yellow onion, chopped fine
3-4 cloves garlic
1 potato, chopped into small pieces
3-4 carrots, diced into bite-size coins
2 celery stalks, diced
1 head cauliflower, bite size pieces
1 lb. french beans, cut in thirds
1 yellow pepper, chopped into small pieces, optional
1 cup vegetable broth
14 ounces organic coconut milk
8 ounces Korma sauce
1 cup fresh cranberries
½ cup pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, or pecan pieces
Clean and prepare all the vegetables. Melt ghee in a large pot over medium low heat. Add olive oil and spices and sauté for one minute. Stir in onion and sauté. Once the onions turn golden, add potato and sauté until its edges begin moving towards translucence. Stir in carrots and celery, and sauté another couple of minutes. Add cauliflower, french beans, tomatoes and yellow pepper. Stir thoroughly to coat vegetables.
Add broth and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low for five to ten minutes. Stir in Korma sauce, coconut milk and cranberries. Allow to simmer a few minutes so the flavors merge.
Garnish with nuts or seeds, and serve warm with a fresh baked Rosemary Sage bread.