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My Mostly Plant-Based Thanksgiving Meal Plan

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Happy Monday, Friends!  Am I the only one who is super excited about the short work week ahead of us?  Yeah, I’m guessing that I am probably not! 😉  I just have two and a half days of work left and then I am home free (literally).  Unfortunately, since my brother is in his first year of his residency program, he will not be home for the holidays.  So it looks like it will just be my parents, my two puppy dogs, and me.  This will seem strange, but irregardless it will be good to be home.  I am looking forward to quality family and friend time, cooking, good eating (and lots of it!), relaxing, Black Friday (or I guess it is more like “Black Thursday” now) shopping with my mama, and decorating for Christmas.  Could it be a more perfect sounding week?  Now let’s hope the next two and a half days fly by and that the four and a half days after that slow way down.  I want this holiday season to be a slow once since this is one of my favorite times of the year.

Now with this being a food blog and all, some of you may be curious about just what exactly my family and I will be sitting down to eat on Thursday.  I know that I always love to read and learn about other families’ holiday food traditions and plans, so maybe there are a few of you out there who are curious about what a mostly plant-based vegetarian’s Thanksgiving dinner may look like.

Last year was my first Thanksgiving as a vegetarian.  And guess what?  I didn’t miss the turkey one bit.  This year is going to be slightly different.  No, I’m not adding the turkey back in ;).  In fact, I am taking away even more of the animal-based products.  Over the past year I have started following a mostly plant-based diet.  I would say that I eat plant-based (often referred to as vegan by many people) diet about 90% of the time and eat vegetarian the other 10% of the time.  This 10% is usually reserved for eggs (hey, I love them), the occasional craving for pizza, certain restaurants/when traveling, and during the holidays.  Therefore, this Thursday I am still going to try to stick to a mostly plant-based diet, but will also be eating a few old family favorites that contain dairy products.

The Goods (aka, The Food)

While neither of my parents are vegetarians, they are both quite open to a mostly vegetarian meal.  My mom is not a big meat-eater to begin with, and my dad is very open to trying pretty much anything that I cook.  Even still, my dad will most definitely be cooking up a turkey.  I imagine that my mom might eat a little bit of it, but ultimately my dad is going to end up with a lot of leftovers…like, probably enough leftovers to last him until Christmas ;).  I, on the other hand, am prepping up one of my newest recipes and current favorites:

Butternut Squash Lentil Loaf

butternut squash lentil loaf 4

I made this several weeks ago and loved it so much that I knew I had to make it for my Thanksgiving Day entree.  I am super excited just thinking about it.  I’ll definitely be using up any leftovers to make lentil loaf sandwiches, too!

We also plan on making sides galore (even though there will only be three of us!):

My mom is keeping up with her annual tradition and making green bean casserole and our family’s fruit salad.

thanksgiving fruit salad 2

This is where the dairy comes in.  I looked everywhere for canned vegan cream of mushroom soup.  And as far as I can tell, it does not exist (or at least nowhere around me).  But, I am not giving up my green bean casserole, so it’s getting eaten anyways.  Same with the fruit salad.  Since this contains dairy from the vanilla pudding mix, it is not vegan-friendly.  This fruit salad is so delicious, though, that I am eating it anyways.  My holiday meal just would not be the same without it.

My contributions for the sides will be roasted red potatoes…

apple sauce

…homemade Crock Pot applesauce

cornbread muffins

cornbread muffins

thanksgiving vegan stuffing

…and this vegan stuffing from  Whole Foods.  I was so excited to find vegan stuffing this year so that I can finally eat it again during holiday gatherings!

Last, but certainly not least, we cannot forget about dessert!  I’ve mentioned this before, but in case you forgot: I am a big-time lover of all things pumpkin, especially pumpkin pie!  My dad will be following his annual tradition of baking up a pumpkin pie or two on Wednesday night.  And this year, while I may eat some of the pie that contains dairy, I am also going to attempt to make my first vegan pumpkin pie!  I haven’t decided on the exact recipe that I am going to use, but I am thinking either this one or this one.  Has anyone tried either of these?  Or, do you have one that you have tried and recommend?  I am a bit nervous about making this.  But then again, if all else fails I can just dig into this:

thanksgiving pumpkin pieI’d say I am going to be eating pretty darn good this Thanksgiving.  I’ll have a recap for you on Friday or Saturday!

And finally, I can’t write this post without mentioning that today is the first day of the Elf for Health Challenge!  I can’t wait to have a “buddy” this holiday season and to work my way through the daily challenges.  I can’t promise that I will get everything accomplished on the list during this busy holiday season, but I sure am going to do my best.  I have a feeling that today’s challenge isn’t going to be too “challenging” for me! 😉

elf for healthWhat is on your Thanksgiving menu?

Do you love pumpkin pie as much as I do?  Would you ever try a vegan version?

Are you participating in the Elf for Health Challenge?

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{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Ashley November 25, 2013, 6:54 am
    Your line-up for Thanksgiving sounds delicious! I always love seeing what other people are planning to have ... my husband calls me snoopy but I find it so interesting! haha Especially when it comes to holiday traditions! Ashley recently posted...Cranberry Bacon Grilled CheeseMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 25, 2013, 8:20 pm
      Heck, I think we are all "snoopy" since we are blog readers and writer! ;) And I love to see others traditions, too! It sparks ideas for me :).
  • Alexis @ Hummusapien November 25, 2013, 7:58 am
    We're going to my aunt't house and I now the stuffing will be loaded with chicken stock...so I was thinking of making my own using that Whole Foods mix!! Such a fab idea! I never miss the turkey on Thanksgiving either...I'm all about the sides! Alexis @ Hummusapien recently posted...Steel-Cut Oatmeal, Quinoa, Amaranth & Chia Porridge + An AnnouncementMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 25, 2013, 8:21 pm
      I know, right?? The sides are where it's at!! And I am super excited about this stuffing. I was so sad last year when my dad made Stovetop stuffing and I couldn't eat any. This year he is going to be eating vegan stuffing! :)
  • Alex @ Cookie Dough Katzen November 25, 2013, 9:41 am
    That fruit salad looks good. I love pumpkin pie too. I'd try it vegan and however else I could get it. :) Alex @ Cookie Dough Katzen recently posted...Pre-Thanksgiving MarvelousnessMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 25, 2013, 8:23 pm
      Haha, pumpkin pie is THE BEST! It is pretty much the only kind of pie that I like, actually.
  • Dana @ Conscious Kitchen Blog November 25, 2013, 12:24 pm
    I love how flexible and adaptable you are for your Thanksgiving meal. It's great that you and your family can try new things and still keep some of your traditions - like pumpkin pie. So important. :) Dana @ Conscious Kitchen Blog recently posted...Happening LatelyMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 25, 2013, 8:24 pm
      Yes, some of those family traditions are too important to me at this point in my life to give up. And yes, pumpkin pie is a MUST!
  • Elyse @ Lizzie Fit November 25, 2013, 2:01 pm
    I love following your blog and just nominated you for a sunshine award. To accept stop by http://lizziefit.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/walking-on-sunshine. If you aren’t interested, that’s OK, just ignore :) Elyse @ Lizzie Fit recently posted...Walking on SunshineMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 25, 2013, 8:24 pm
      Thanks Elyse!!! :)
  • Jan @ Sprouts n Squats November 25, 2013, 4:27 pm
    I wish I had a short week ahead to be excited about but I can’t complain too much as I had a 2 day week a few weeks ago :) I’m planning on doing some online Black Friday shopping too. I’ve never tried Pumpkin pie so don’t know what I’m missing – we don’t do thanksgiving here. Looks like a great menu :D
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 25, 2013, 8:28 pm
      That is such a bummer!! I really think you need to do a Friendsgiving AND make a pumpkin pie!
  • Emily @SinfulNutrition November 25, 2013, 5:00 pm
    Go you for a veggie filled Thanksgiving! Being a vegetarian, I make an exception for having stuffing with chicken broth, but now I want to try that vegan one. You'll have to let me know how it is! Also, I made Katie's pumpkin pie last year which was delish if you wanted another recipe to try. Have a great holiday! http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2012/11/08/crustless-pumpkin-pie/ Emily @SinfulNutrition recently posted...Monday Meals: True Citrus GiveawayMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 25, 2013, 8:32 pm
      Thanks for the recipe! I am definitely checking that out right now!
  • Sara@fitcupcaker November 25, 2013, 7:43 pm
    I love cornbread muffins!! Yum, good choice Sara@fitcupcaker recently posted...November Breakfast Challenge Days 18-24My Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 25, 2013, 8:33 pm
      Aren't they SO good? That is probably my muffin/bread of choice to accompany dinner!
  • Jackie November 25, 2013, 8:40 pm
    I'm an elf for health too! My mouth is watering after all the thanksgiving talk! Jackie recently posted...Weekend updateMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 26, 2013, 3:24 pm
      Yay for fellow elves! :)
  • Mollie @Sprinkles of Life November 26, 2013, 12:25 pm
    I am sOO excited it's a short week. I'm anxiously waiting for this day to be over! My daughter doesn't have school tomorrow so we're gonna be at home prepping for Thursday's big day of cooking. We are hosting my side of the family again this year. Kudos to you for sticking to the mostly plant based and vegetarianism through the holiday! And have fun back in Iowa! :) Mollie @Sprinkles of Life recently posted...My Favorite Things {and my 1st giveaway!}My Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 26, 2013, 3:25 pm
      I'll definitely have fun! It's always great to be back in Iowa :). And what a fun day you have planned for tomorrow. I am sure that you and your daughter will be making some fantastic holiday memories.
  • Elyse @ Lizzie Fit November 28, 2013, 10:19 am
    Good on you for sticking to a mostly plant based Thanksgiving but cutting yourself some slack to fully enjoy the meal with your family! I haven't seen Vegan canned cream of mushroom soup but I have seen some recipes on-line. I sadly can't recommend a vegan pumpkin pie because I haven't attempted that yet either. But I can wish you a lovely Thanksgiving. Think of your Canadian friends who are working today and tomorrow ;) hehe Elyse @ Lizzie Fit recently posted...Healthier Candy Cane Hot ChocolateMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 29, 2013, 9:08 am
      Thanks, Elyse! And yes, I feel VERY grateful that I am not at work today. But just think, at least it is Friday! :)

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