Giving Thanks - Show #413

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Plant-Based, Oil-Free Holiday Menu


Holiday Stuffing Casserole

Makes 6 servings 



3 cups peeled and chopped white potatoes

11/2 cups cooked white beans (drained and rinsed if canned)

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves



4 cups whole-grain bread cubes, from 7 to 9 slices fresh wholegrain bread (see note)

3 teaspoons Italian seasoning (see note)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 cups diced onion

2 1/4 cups vegetable broth

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 cup diced celery

4 cups diced mushrooms

⅔ cup chopped pecans



1/2 teaspoon paprika, plus more as needed

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Oil an 11 x 7-inch baking pan or casserole dish.

To make the potato/bean layer, fit a large sauce pan with a steamer insert. Add 2 inches of cold water, and then add the potatoes. Cover and bring to a boil. Steam for 15 to 20 minutes, until they are soft, but not mushy. Put the potatoes, beans, garlic powder, and salt in a high performance blending appliance and process until smooth. Transfer to a medium-size bowl and stir in the marjoram.

While the potatoes are steaming, cut the wholegrain bread into 1/2-inch cubes. Put the bread cubes, Italian seasoning, and salt in a large bowl and toss to combine. Transfer to a large, rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the bread is slightly crisp. Put the pan on a wire rack and let cool.

While the bread cubes are cooling, prepare the stuffing by combining the onion,  ¼ cup vegetable broth, and the basil in a large skillet. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes. Add the celery and ¼ cup broth, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the diced mushrooms and another 1/4 cup broth, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has cooked down, leaving the mushroom mixture very moist but not soupy. Stir in the pecans and remove the skillet from the heat.

Put the remaining 11/2 cups vegetable broth into a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Put 4 cups of the toasted bread cubes in a large bowl. Add the mushroom-pecan mixture and stir gently to combine. Pour in 1/2 cup of the hot vegetable broth and stir to combine. Add as much of the remaining broth as needed so the mixture is moist but not soupy. (If the mixture still seems dry after adding all of the broth, add a small amount of water.)

Spread the stuffing in an even layer in the bottom of the prepared baking pan or casserole dish. Spread the potato mixture over the stuffing in an even layer. Sprinkle with the paprika. Cover loosely and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until slightly golden on top. Cool for 15 minutes. Serve warm.


Festive Kale Salad

Makes 4 to 6 servings


3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 tablespoons maple syrup 


6 to 8 cups very thinly sliced, lightly packed curly kale, washed and dried

1/2 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries

⅓ cup chopped walnuts

Sea salt, to taste (optional)

Freshly ground pepper, to taste (optional)

To make the dressing, put the lemon juice and maple syrup in a small bowl and briskly whisk until smooth. Put the kale, cranberries (or cherries), and walnuts in a large bowl. Pour about three quarters of the dressing over the salad and toss gently until the kale, cranberries (or cherries), and walnuts are evenly coated. Taste and add the remaining dressing, if desired.

Cover and let stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving. Just before serving, top with a few grinds of sea salt and pepper, if desired.


 Maple Baked Acorn Squash

Makes 4 servings

2 small acorn squash, halved and seeded

3 tablespoons maple syrup

2 teaspoons vegan margarine (optional, see note)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or Pumpkin Pie Spice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking pan with unbleached parchment paper. Put the acorn squash halves, cut-side-up, on the prepared baking pan. Put 2 heaping teaspoons maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon margarine, and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice in the center of each squash.

Tent with foil and bake 45 to 50 minutes or until the squash is soft and filling is bubbling.

NOTE: To keep this squash recipe oil-free, substitute 1 more tablespoon maple syrup for the vegan margarine.


Pumpkin Pie with Date-Nut Crust

Makes 8 servings



10 large pitted Medjool dates, plus more as needed

1/2 cup pecan halves

3/4 cup rolled oats 


14 to 16 ounces firm regular tofu

1 can (about 16 ounces) pumpkin purée

⅔ cup maple sugar

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ½  teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

⅛ teaspoon sea salt


Bourbon Vanilla Whipped “Cream”  (see recipe below) 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a 9-inch pie plate. 

To make the crust, put the dates, pecans, and oats in a high-performance blending appliance and process until the mixture forms a dough. If the mixture is still too crumbly to hold together, add more pitted dates, one at a time, until the consistency is doughy. Form the date mixture into a ball and place it in the center of the prepared pie plate (see note).

Press the date mixture evenly over the bottom of the plate, pushing it up the sides of the pie plate as you go, to make a crust. To craft a pretty edge to the crust, use your index finger to push the inner edge of the crust out, while pinching the outer edge in with the thumb and index finger of your other hand to make a classic scalloped edge around the pie crust.

Put all of the filling ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Pour the filling into the crust and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and cover the crust edges with small strips of foil.

Bake the pie for 20 to 30 minutes more, or until the filling is somewhat firm to the touch (the center will still be slightly soft). Place the pie on a wire rack to cool completely. Before serving, pipe whipped “cream” around the perimeter of the pie using a star tip, or simply serve a dollop of the whipped “cream” on the side. 

NOTE: If you are serving the pie warm, let it stand it at room temperature for 45 minutes to 1 hour before serving. If you are serving the pie chilled, cool, then cover it with foil and place it in the refrigerator for 3 to 24 hours before serving. Covered tightly and stored in the refrigerator, leftover pie will keep about 2 days.

NOTE: If desired, you may use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 10-inch round before placing it in the pie plate.


 Bourbon Vanilla Whipped “Cream”


14 to 16 ounces extra-firm regular tofu, drained (sprouted variety is preferable)

3 tablespoons maple syrup, plus more as needed

1 teaspoon bourbon-flavored or plain vanilla extract


Put all of the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Taste and add more maple syrup if a sweeter flavor is desired. Refrigerate 2 to 4 hours or up to 24 hours and serve.