I’m not sure if you’ve picked up on this, but Thanksgiving is next week. I feel like we are just getting into the swing of fall, and I’m not quite ready for the deep dive into winter that always takes place right after the big day. It’s hard to believe that next weekend we’ll be picking out a tree and decking the halls! But…we’re not there just yet, so lets talk about the feast.
Because I make our entire meal myself — and there is only enough time to make so many dishes — and because it means a lot to Erik to have certain foods on Thanksgiving, we usually stick to a very traditional meal. (Here are a few of my tips for a traditional vegan Thanksgiving.) Erik’s parents are coming to spend the week with us, and I’m really excited to make a delicious Thanksgiving dinner for them that allows us to celebrate in a way that values all life.
Our Thanksgiving meal will feature breaded chicken-style seitan (seitan from Vegan Diner), mashed potatoes with rich brown gravy (gravy also from Vegan Diner), savory kale stuffing, cranberry and walnut sauce and roasted Brussels sprouts and root vegetables. And to top it all off, pumpkin cheesecake (from Vegan Pie in the Sky). I can’t wait!
Cranberries add a lovely punch of vibrant color to what is generally a meal composed of shades of brown. I grew up eating canned cranberry sauce and I actually loved it, but it didn’t occur to me until about five years ago that it came any other way. Once I made my own, there was no going back to the canned variety. Aside from being so fresh and flavorful, it’s incredibly easy and fun to make — my favorite part is watching the cranberries pop!
I first posted my recipe for cranberry & walnut sauce three years ago, and I thought it was time to pull it out of the vault and freshen it up a bit. The bright and rich sauce is a great blend of sweet and tart, and I love the bite from the chopped walnuts. It’s a must-have Thanksgiving side dish!
- 1 cup apple cider (regular or spiced)
- ¾-1 cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the apple cider and sugar and bring to a simmer.
- Once sugar has dissolved, add all remaining ingredients and simmer, covered, for about 10-15 minutes. The sauce is finished cooking once the cranberries have popped and the mixture begins to thicken slightly (it will continue thicken as it cools, so don’t overcook it — unless you prefer a more “jellied” sauce). Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until chilled.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I’ll be back after the holiday. :)
PS. If you are in the Kansas City area and don’t have any plans for Thanksgiving, Café Gratitude is hosting their second community Thanksgiving dinner. The free, pre-set menu is organic and vegan, and it features a salad, an entrée and a dessert. It runs from noon until 3 pm (or until food runs out) and is run by volunteers (you can stick around to help out if you have time). Erik and I went last year and it was a wonderful experience and we left with very happy bellies.
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