I didn’t bother documenting my preparations for Thanksgiving because I didn’t do anything unique, unusual, creative, or different, so I figured I’d spare the world a boring post. But then it occurred to me that I might be interested to know what I did this year, next year. I only cooked for me and Mark. We went to the parental homestead, but my parents make a traditional meal and there’s no way I could ever convince them to eat vegan on Thanksgiving. Maybe some other day, but not Thanksgiving. My mother does make vegan portions of her dishes where possible, so I was saved from making a few things like mashed potatoes. It took me about three hours to knock out the following:

1 seitan “turkey”
green beans
“turkey” gravy
cranberry sauce
1 loaf of bread

In the past, I’ve spent more than three hours simply trying to decide what to make, perusing my cookbooks and the internet, looking for recipes and ideas. I’ve found it’s so much easier to just go into the kitchen and make stuff up as I go along!

I cheated on the bread: I had frozen a loaf before the final proof on Sunday, and just popped it out of the freezer and into the refrigerator the night before, then proofed for longer than usual before baking. And it wasn’t for really for Thanksgiving as my mother had two different kinds of rolls. The bread was for leftover “turkey” sandwiches later. Mark was so excited about the “leftover” sandwiches he started eating them the night before!

Everything I made (other than the bread) was totally off the cuff, and since I wasn’t planning to post it, I didn’t even try to mind measurements. But here is approximately what I did:

Seitan “Turkey”

2 1/4 cups (1 box) vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup soy flour
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp white pepper
2 cups vegan “chicken” broth

Mix dry ingredients together. Add broth. Form into log, wrap in cheesecloth, tying off ends like a Tootsie Roll, then pressure cook for 45 minutes. Remove from pressure cooker, set in foil inside a baking pan, and baste with some sort of sauce (I used one from the Tofutti site: some apricot preserves, soy sauce, pepper, and water). Bake at 375 degrees for an hour, basting periodically.


10-12 slices whole grain bread, sliced and cubed
1/2 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 half Granny Smith apple, chopped
1/2 tsp rubbed sage
1/2 tsp cracked rosemary
freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup vegan “chicken” broth

Because my bread was pretty fresh, I spread the cubes out on a baking sheet, then after baking another loaf, turned the oven off, let it cool for a few minutes (it had been at 430 degrees Fahrenheit), stuck the sheet in the oven and let the bread cubes dry out for somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes. Then in a cast iron pan, I sauted the onion and celery until soft, then added the apple, sage, rosemary, and pepper and stirred, then mixed in the bread cubes. Then I poured the broth over everything and combined until the cubes were mostly soft. I moved the mixture to a Pryex baking dish, patted it down, and baked at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for half an hour. Mark was obsessed with the stuffing and tried to eat it all before we even made it to my parents’.

“Turkey” Gravy

2 Tbsp Earth Balance
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 cups vegan “chicken” broth

In a heavy-bottomed pot, melt the Earth Balance. Whisk in the flour and other dry ingredients to form a roux. Slowly whisk in the broth, adding a little at a time to avoid lumps. Heat until thickened.

Non-Casserole Green Beans

1 pound green beans, trimmed
shallot salt (from Penzeys)
fried onions

I used to loooove green bean casserole, although my mother always made it with cream of celery soup instead of cream of mushroom because I hate mushrooms. Even as late as last year, I would make vegan versions of the traditional green bean casserole. But the idea of adulterating green beans that way sort of makes me ill these days, so I cooked the green beans for 5 to 7 minutes in boiling, salted water, then drained, tossed with shallot salt, and topped with fried onions. They were almost entirely cooked, but I left myself a little leeway for continued cooking when reheating them the next day. If I were serving them right away, I would have cooked for another minute or two.

Cranberry Sauce

12 oz fresh cranberries
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup orange juice

Heat all ingredients in heavy-bottomed pot until cranberries have all burst and mixture is somewhat thickened (it will thicken more upon cooling). Refrigerate for at least an hour.

My mother made a vegan dessert! Look!

It’s wacky cake! Here’s the recipe:

Classic Wacky Cake

Serves 6 to 8

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
5 T. vegetable oil
1 T. white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup water
confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

Whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in the prepared pan. Make 1 large and 2 small craters in the dry ingredients. Add the oil to the large crater and the vinegar and vanilla separately to the small craters. Pour the water into the pan and mix until just a few streaks of flour remain (but break up lumps). Immediately put the pan in the oven.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 30 minutes. Cool in the pan, then dust with confectioners’ sugar. (The cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days).

Mum’s tip: don’t dust with the confectioners’ sugar until just before serving because the moisture in the cake will soak it up, causing it to “disappear”.

From “America’s Best Lost Recipes,” by the editors of Cook’s Country.

Per serving (based on 8 servings): 238 calories, 3 grams protein, 9 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 37 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 264 milligrams sodium.

After we humans ate dinner, my parents’ silly dogs got some dog treats. This is Shannon scarfing them down:

This is him smiling about it:

Those treats were lip-smacking good!

Sophie Mae didn’t want to be photographed eating, but here she is being wary of me:

And that’s it for today! I hope all my American friends had a great Thanksgiving yesterday (or last month for the Canadians), even if the Australian Muck accidentally wished me a Happy Independence Day instead.


  1. Jes Said,

    November 28, 2008 @ 9:14 pm

    Looks like it was delicious!! I’m glad you were able to have a tasty vegan feast, even though no one else joined in. 🙂

  2. Aunt Lynn Said,

    December 1, 2008 @ 8:11 am

    Your little white dog brother and sister aren’t silly.

  3. Josie Said,

    December 4, 2008 @ 3:38 pm

    Wanted to convey my heartfelt wishes for a Wonderful Holiday Season to you and yours.
    I cannot tell you how much I enjoy and appreciate the work you do here on your blog.
    You and Mark have been an inspiration and help to me, and I thank you for your efforts!


  4. renae Said,

    December 4, 2008 @ 3:57 pm

    Why, thank you, Josie. That’s the nicest thing I’ve heard all week!

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