Thanksgiving Sides Your Guests Will Never Forget!
For vegetarians and vegans, Thanksgiving is all about the traditional mouth-watering side dishes, and of course, I’m all about making them as healthy as they are delicious!
Today I’ll point to all of my favorite holiday sides and introduce you to a new recipe: Reimagined Green Bean Casserole.
When I was young, in the ’50s and ’60s, cooking for convenience was all the rage, and there was no cornucopia of fresh vegetables readily available in grocery stores. I can’t fault my mother for her frozen spinach with canned mushroom soup—though just the thought of it now makes me cringe! Even then, I had no taste for such food. I learned to love vegetables only when I began cooking with my college roommate, Ellen Brock, who grew up picking fresh veggies out of her mother’s garden.
But there was nothing wrong with the idea behind my in-laws’ green bean casserole with canned mushroom soup and canned onion rings. The potential is there for a great dish. I invite you to expand your culinary imagination with this recipe.
This Reimagined Green Bean Casserole is a vegan and gluten-free dish made with fresh ingredients: green beans, caramelized onions, fresh almond milk (if available), fresh ginger, and shiitake mushrooms (which are known in Chinese medicine as a great support for the immune system). For a bit of sophistication and lovely flavor, you can cook the mushrooms in wine or, if you like a sweeter taste, sherry—or forego the alcohol and use a homemade stock. Granted, executing this recipe is not as easy as opening a can of mushroom soup. Nonetheless it’s quite easy for anyone who knows how to cook on a stovetop and to use a food processor.
Not everyone enjoys the texture of mushrooms (e.g., my husband, Tom) but they are almost hidden if minced finely in a food processor. (Tom loves this dish!) If you don’t like cumin and coriander, just omit these spices. I add them to many dishes because they give vegan and vegetarian food an extra layer of flavor that boosts the umm factor. Cumin and coriander also help balance the body’s digestive enzymes.
Finally, drum-roll please for my version of classic holiday favorites that you’re guaranteed to love. All these recipes are in the Sacred & Delicious cookbook and a few were first unveiled on the blog: Holiday Sweet Potatoes with Glazed Pecans and Fresh Cranberry Salad. And the best gluten-free Holiday Dressing you’ve ever tasted is in the Sacred & Delicious cookbook on page 164, while I offer a smaller, tasty Millet Dressing right here on the blog. If you’re not up for mushrooms this season, my other favorite is Elegant Green Beans on page 186. For some delicious protein, try this Savory Tofu on page 170 of Sacred & Delicious.
Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends! May it be a joyful and sacred remembrance in your homes as you celebrate all the abundance we are privileged to enjoy.