A Little Vegan Thanksgiving [Preview]

Hello my litte tofurkeys!

It’s the night before Thanksgiving, which means I haven’t stepped away from the stove all day. Because I’m continuing to celebrate Vegan Month, I asked if my family would mind my contributions being vegan this year.

I received the a-ok from my parents, who are hosting this year’s dinner, and even had my father excitedly join in on the vegan-cooking. In between basting his turkey, my father challenged himself to make a vegan stuffing. (For years my father has made a sausage stuffing, putting aside some for me before adding in the non-vegetarian elements.  This should give you an idea how shocked I was that my father, the biggest carnivore in the family, took on the vegan challenge with such commitment!)

From Parade Magazine came the inspiration for this year’s Mushroom Apple Stuffing, with kale, walnuts, celery and shallot.

The Granny Smith apples add crunch, and a crisp flavor that counters the richness of the bread and mushrooms.

Last year, I created a roasted root vegetable dish, and I’ve had fun playing with a vegan version. Parsnip, carrot, celery root, and turnip are diced and topped with roasted pearl onions, and a maple sage glaze. Using my favorite Maple Grove Farms Sugar Free Vermont Syrup, I’m able to keep this dish low in calories, too.

Tomorrow, I’ll put the glaze on and finish roasting these beautiful vegetables so they’re served piping hot and perfectly cooked. My first attempt at this dish used honey instead of maple syrup, and I think next year I’ll add purple potatoes, for one additional pop of color.

This dish is the perfect balance of sweet, smoky, and savory. The roasted vegetables make a great side or, if your celebrating a meat-free Thanksgiving, are hearty enough to serve as a focal point of the meal.

My father also threw together this Harvest Vegetable Dish, borrowing some of my leftover carrots and pearl onions.  My mother will be grilling purple and green asparagus, and my aunt’s fennel and green bean dish is certain to be another side-stunner.

Because no Thanksgiving is complete without dessert, I also tried my hand at a Carrot Cranberry Square – oil-free, dairy-free, and completely vegan. A borrowed bite from the FatFree Vegan Kitchen, my version calls for cranberries instead of raisins and no walnuts. This spiced carrot bar, full of sharp ginger and cinnamon, is a healthy way to wrapup a day of feasting.

Tomorrow, this cake will be broken-down into individual servings, enough for everyone in my family to try out this vegan dessert.

I’m cleaning up the kitchen for tonight, but check back this weekend for a complete Thanksgiving recap, looking at some of the best bites of the day.  From family recipes with vegetarian and vegan makeovers, to healthy desserts you can’t miss.

So my friends, thank you for stopping in tonight to see what’s going on in Little Word Bites’ kitchen, and please make sure to come back for seconds.

Tomorrow is a great day to watch portions, before you pile up your plate with too many potatoes or slices of pecan pie. If you’re still craving another bite, reach for something green, rather than another dollop of brown sugar sweet potatoes.

But Thanksgiving is also a day to relax, enjoy your time with friends and family, and savor all the fantastic flavors of fall.  And that’s the most important little bite there is.

Until later, have a very Happy Thanksgiving!