My Vegan & Gluten-Free Thanksgiving! (Recipes + Preparations)

Posted on by Jessica Remmers in News, Recipes | 2 Comments

This was a very special Thanksgiving…

because it was the first time I’ve cooked an entire vegan + gluten-free meal for the entire family and shared with them just how delicious it can be, even on a Holiday!  Since I wouldn’t be cooking a turkey, I wanted to make sure each dish was nutritious, flavorful and extra special. I scoured the internet looking for what seemed to be the most palatable, tried and true recipes from some awesome websites. Some of the recipes I followed very closely and others I was more flexible. I will detail for you the preparation for each dish with pictures and lead you to the websites where I got the recipes…

I have to say, this dinner was an absolute success‚Ķthe recipes were simple, no crazy mishaps in the kitchen, and most importantly everyone thoroughly enjoyed the food! There was a lot of gratitude going around that day and I think people felt really good knowing what they were eating was not only tasty, but healthy for them too. We all felt pretty awesome after the food, which is not how I usually feel after Thanksgiving. At the end of the day, it feels really good knowing that no animals where harmed in making this meal! ūüôā

Okay! Let’s get to the menu:

  • Edible, Tangy, Crave-Worthy Kale Salad
  • Peas with Fresh Dill
  • Roasted Green Beans
  • Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • Mushroom Gravy
  • Lentil Mushroom Walnut Balls
  • Food Babe’s Cranberry Sauce
  • Vegan, Gluten-Free Skillet Cornbread
  • Pumpkin Pie with Gluten-Free Pecan Crust

Snacks:

  • Organic Corn chips and Salsa
  • Olive Oil Potato Chips + Assorted Veggies with Organic Hummus

Side Note: We had about 8 people total for the dinner, it still yielded some left overs and I doubled or adjusted a few of the recipes as noted to accommodate everyone.

 

Vegan, Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Dinner

The Meal!

Preparation:

  • On Wednesday I hit up Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods and picked up all the ingredients I needed for the recipes.
  • When I got home I prepared the Lentil Walnut Mushroom Balls and set aside in the refrigerator to bake on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Next up, I made the pumpkin pies (the recipe recommended leaving them in the fridge the night before).
  • Lastly, I made the cornbread, which may or may not have been a bad idea because I couldn’t stop eating it the night before‚Ķshhhh ūüėČ
The Night Before Baking

The Night Before Baking

Thanksgiving Day:

Kale Salad:  

  • Prepared the Kale Salad and set aside in the fridge until we set the table. This is a simple recipe and mainly requires de-steming the kale leaves and then massaging them with half the dressing before tossing the rest of the dressing and ingredients on top. I ended up using my food processor to chop the kale leaves instead of cutting them with a knife, either one works, I just wanted it to be as simple as possible.

Recipe on my blog: > Kale Salad Recipe

healthyhappyjess Kale Salad

Mushroom Gravy:

  • I prepared the mushroom gravy (while preparing the cranberry sauce) and set aside. This is the healthiest gravy you can get! This recipe makes a lot of gravy, it could even stand alone as a soup if you wanted it to. The recipe link below is for mashed potatoes and gravy but I only made the gravy from this recipe, I made my own mashed potatoes which are super easy, and I will post as well.

Recipe from Forks Over Knives: > Mushroom Gravy Recipe

Cranberry Sauce:

  • This cranberry sauce is such a treat! It’s so fruity and delicious it honestly could stand on it’s own as a dessert. I had fun munching on it while I was cooking everything else. I think I may have doubled the recipe so I’m not sure I followed it precisely, but it still turned out beautifully.

Recipe from Food Babe: > Food Babe’s Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce

 

Peas with Dill:

  • Made the peas then set them aside. For this recipe I followed it pretty loosely. I got two packs of peas from Trader Joe’s (in the refrigerator section) and I used garlic instead of scallions. This dinner would not have been the same without them, they were so good, especially with that fresh dill!

Recipe from Veggies Don’t Bite: > Peas with Scallions and Dill Recipe

Peas

Roasted Green Beans:

  • I have never baked green beans before, I usually saut√© them in the skillet, but I wanted to try it to help simply the preparation. Although, they were tasty I still prefer using the skillet to make green beans. I prepared them on the cookie sheet until right before dinner then baked them.
  • Note: This original recipe was not vegan, but I modified it to make it vegan by skipping the parmesan cheese.
  • Note: I also always add a bit of spice (cayenne or red pepper flakes) and a bit of GF low sodium soy sauce to my green beans as well as garlic.

Recipe from Skinnytaste.com: > Roasted Green Beans Recipe

Before Roasting

Before Roasting

After Roasting

After Roasting

Mashed Potatoes:

  • The very last thing (while simultaneously baking the lentil balls) was to steam the potatoes for mashing. I use the most simple recipe to make mashed potatoes and it is always delicious, low fat and healthy.
  • Recipe: Simply Steam Yukon Gold Potatoes (they are the most buttery and naturally creamy) then drain and set aside. In the same pot you steamed the potatoes add a few cloves of garlic along with a few tablespoons of Earth Balance and saut√© for a few mins. Then add the potatoes back into the pot with a splash of unsweetened almond milk and then mash! You can add a sprinkle of salt and pepper as well.

Lentil Mushroom Walnut Balls:

  • All I had to do was pull out the balls I had prepared the night before from the refrigerator and bake them for about 30 mins. total. I baked them with the green beans while I was making the mashed potatoes. These balls are absolutely amazing! Such a treat, they are the perfect holiday main course and tasted delicious with the cranberry sauce.
  • Note: I did not make the cranberry sauce in the recipe below, I made Food Babe’s Cranberry sauce listed above.
  • Note: I doubled her recipe to make enough for about 8 people.

Recipe from Oh She Glows: > Lentil Mushroom Walnut Balls

Lentil Mushroom Walnut Balls

 

Cornbread

  • Since I made the cornbread the night before, all I had to do was cut it up in little squares and put it in a basket. I absolutely love this cornbread recipe. It had been so long since I had cornbread and this is truly delicious‚ĶI will be making it a lot more in the coming weeks!

Recipe from Keepin’ it Kind: > Vegan, Gluten-free Skillet Cornbread

Vegan, Gluten-Free Skillet Cornbread

Pumpkin Pie

  • Last but not least we have my favorite part of the meal, the gluten-free, vegan Pumpkin Pie! This was the best pumpkin pie I have ever had and many other people agreed. In particular, everyone loved the crust! I followed this recipe pretty closely and I would recommend it to anyone‚ĶAs a matter of fact, a few people are waiting on this so here it is! I will definitely be making this again for Christmas! As I mentioned earlier, I made it the day before and pulled it from the refrigerator before serving.
  • Note: I doubled the recipe and made two pies, you will definitely want to do the same ūüôā
  • Note: I also made very simple Coconut Cream Whipped Cream to put on top. To make I used whole fat coconut cream that was chilled in the refrigerator the night before and with out any guar gum. Just whip the solid part (set aside water from can) with a little bit of vanilla extract and maple syrup.

Recipe from Oh She Glows: > Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Pumpkin Pie

 

I want to take a moment to thank my Mom and boyfriend for all their help! I would not have been able to do it without them! Thank you!!

And Thank you all for stopping by! I’d love to hear your thoughts, questions or comments on your very own Thanksgiving!

I hope you try some of these recipes for, perhaps Christmas coming up? Or next Thanksgiving. I also hope you feel inspired to try doing your own cruelty-free, healthy, plant based Holiday meal!

Love,

Jess ‚ô•

Vegan + Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Feast

Vegan + Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Feast

Day 23: Watercress #27DaysOfThanks

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Day 23: Watercress

After looking in to the health benefits of watercress, I’m wondering why I haven’t been eating it all along, or why I had no idea just how healthy it is‚Ķit’s actually ranked as the number one most nutritious vegetable! It’s so healing, Hypocrites himself made sure it was readily available to treat his patients! Study after study show the healing affects of this powerful plant and it’s amazing ability in disease prevention and beauty.

Here are a few more health benefits:

  1. Watercress is packed with more than 15 essential vitamins and minerals. More vitamin C than oranges, more iron than spinach, more calcium than milk.
  2. Powerful for #thyroid function because of it’s iodine content. It’s also used to treat/prevent¬†Alzheimer’s.
  3. It’s loaded with vitamin K and anti-oxidants and is known to purify the blood, reduce the damage done by free radicals, improve skin appearance and limit neurological damage to the brain.
All that info made me hungry for a watercress & romaine salad…

 Beauty and Brain Salad

1 bag of organic watercress
1 head of organic romaine lettuce
2 organic carrots
1 Granny Smith apple
Handful of walnuts
1 tomato
Dave’s Miso Salad Dressing
This salad will keep you looking beautiful and youthful while replenishing your brain with essential nutrients!
#27DaysOfThanks for amazing watercress!
See you tomorrow for letter “X.”¬†‚ô•

Day 20: Tomatoes #27DaysOfThanks

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Day 20: Tomatoes

Add flavor to so many dishes with tomatoes!
There are so many varieties and ways to use tomatoes to spice up your cooking.¬†If you don’t like tomatoes it may be because you haven’t found the right variety yet, there are so many different textures and flavors out there, keep trying. ¬†Some of my favorites are heirloom tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. What about you?
It’s actually so simple and delicious to make your own tomato sauce. Just food process a few tomatoes, saut√© them with some garlic, seasonings (red chili flakes, garlic powder, oregano, basil, cayenne) add spinach or veggies, add a can of organic chopped tomatoes or tomato sauce and a few tbl. spoons of tomato paste and that is all you need!
Paired on top of some gluten-free pasta and you are good to go! You can even add lentils to your sauce to create that bolognese flavor!

  • Tomatoes are full of anti-oxidants and are linked to heart health.
  • Tomato paste is an excellent source of iron!¬†If you are a ketchup fan, make your own with tomato paste! It’s so much healthier and super easy too.
See you tomorrow for letter “U.”¬†‚ô•

Day 18: Rice + Rice Cakes #27DaysOFThanks

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Day 18: Rice

Rice Cakes with Peanut Butter, Julienne Peeled Apple, Sprinkled with Cinnamon and Coconut!

¬†This makes the perfect after dinner snack if you’re having sweet tooth, it really satisfies your craving and is a good carb to have before bed because the apple will give you some fiber and the rice cake will give you some good carbs to help you get to sleep…

Arsenic and Rice:

There is a lot of controversy about rice right now because of high arsenic levels. Research shows that it is highest in brown rice, so I would avoid it altogether. White rice is a safer choice (organic doesn’t ¬†change arsenic levels), it’s also easier to digest. It’s best when it’s grown in California or Asia (no where else in the U.S.). Also, rinsing it first helps. I would avoid giving it to children or very sparingly.
It’s too bad about rice, because it is an absolute staple for me and my gluten-free, hclf diet! I am still eating it (white, black or wild rice), but I am going to start eating it less often‚ĶWhat are your thoughts about rice?
See you tomorrow for letter “S.”¬†‚ô•

Day 15: Oat +Baked Oatmeal #27DaysOfThanks

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Day 15: Oats

There are so many delicious ways to eat oats, do you ever forget they’re healthy?
You can bake them in cookies, use them as bread crumbs, add them to your smoothie or make baked oatmeal with fresh fruit like I did here…

3 Reasons to eat Oats:

  1. Oats are great source of whole grains packed with energy fueling carbs, fiber and protein.
  2. Eating oats helps stabilize blood sugar, lower cholesterol, and control blood pressure.
  3. If you are Gluten-Free like me, you’d like to know that recent studies show that eating more oats will enhance then nutritional value of your GF diet by increasing your mineral, vitamin and antioxidant level!

I’ve been wanting to try baked oats for so long and was excited when I found a pack of 3 baking ramekins at Ross for $3.99!¬†This recipe is SUPER simple, there are so many possible combinations you can use, it will be fun trying new things‚Ķ
I used gluten-free oats, no refined sugar and no oil.

Baked Banana Apple Oatmeal

Ingredients:

1/2 cup GF oats
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 teas. baking powder
1 banana
1 date
1 small apple
cinnamon

(Other options are adding 1/2 teas. vanilla extract, blueberries, cacao or maple syrup)

Instructions:

  • Heat oven to 350f.
  • Combine Oats and almond meal, let soak for a few minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cut your banana in half.
  • Mash half your banana and one date and mix with oats.
  • Add cinnamon.
  • Pour mixture into your ramekin.
  • Top with banana and apple slices.
  • Bake for about 20 mins until slightly brown on top and crisp.
  • Top with coconut flakes

Enjoy!

See you tomorrow for letter “P.”¬†‚ô•

Day 12: Lentils +Lentil Soup #27DaysOfThanks

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Day 12: Lentils

Lentils are one of my top favorite go-to foods. They are so versatile, I try and throw them in as much as possible because they add so much flavor, protein and nutrients to so many dishes.

Lentils make a great substitute for any dish requiring ground meat because the flavor and texture is very similar. Even more healthy than meat, less fat, great protein and added fiber! You can use them to make things like bolognese sauce, meatballs or shepherds pie.

Yesterday, I threw some black lentils in a slow cooker and made a big pot of delicious lentil soup. It was so easy and tasty I can tell it’s going to be one of those staples for the winter‚Ķ #27DaysOfThanks for lentils!

 

Easy Vegan Lentil Soup

I made this soup in a slow cooker (or crockpot) but you can make it on the stove top as well, just follow the cooking instructions for the lentils, add veggies and cook until tender…

Ingredients:

One bag of any color lentils (I used black lentils this time but green, brown or red work great too)
Carton of veggie broth
Can of diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted)
1 potato (your choice, I used a gold but sweet would be good)
2 carrots (diced)
3 stalks of celery (diced)
One bag of cut up butternut squash (optional)
2 large garlic cloves
3 bay leaves
spices (I used a dash of cayenne & garlic powder)
Dash of salt/pepper

 Instructions

  • Wash and sort lentils – throw in the pot
  • Wash and chop all veggies – thrown in the pot
  • Add broth, chopped can tomatoes, garlic and spices
  • Put the lid on and you are done!
  • Follow slow cooker instructions or wait a few hours you will know when it’s done‚Ķusually 4-5 hours on high, 6-7 on low.

Enjoy a wonderfully nutrient dense delicious hot soup that should last a few days ūüôā

Day 11: Why you should eat Kale #27DaysOfThanks

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Day 11: Kale

To be honest I haven’t always been a fan of kale‚Ķif it isn’t prepared right or just blended in a smoothie, it’s hard for me to get it down. It isn’t until recently that I’ve experienced a few amazing salads that have opened my pallet to this nutrient dense cruciferous green. The key is finely chopped, massaged kale with the stem removed, lightly covered in a tangy, garlic, lemon, dressing and a hint of a sweet dried fruit. This is exactly what I have created here and it’s the kind of salad hardy enough to stand on it’s own. It fills you up and makes your body feel good as if it’s been given the nutrients it craves. In fact, kale is among the most nutrient dense food you can eat. It has essential nutrients hard to get in other foods, for both vegans and non-vegans.

Why to eat Kale:

  1. Kale is low in calories and high in nutrients; eating more kale will quickly increase the total nutrient content to your food.
  2. Kale is a great source of hard to get nutrients like calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin A, C, K and B6.
  3. Powerful antioxidants and other nutrients in kale can help with anti-aging and can fight against cancer cells.
  4. Kale also has protein! Mixed with it’s high fiber content and zero fat content, it can help you lose weight.
  5. Kale contains Omega- 3 which is anti-inflamitory and great for your brain.
There are tons more good things to say about kale, but this is a good start. Combine this knowledge with some tasty recipes and you are good to go!

 Edible, Tangy, Crave-worthy, Kale Salad

Ingredients:

Head of Kale
1 lemon
1-2 Tbls. olive oil
2 large garlic cloves
Paprika
Cayenne pepper
Sea salt and pepper
Cranberries (or other dried fruit)

Nut parmesan

Almonds (or any nuts you prefer, pecans, walnuts, cashews…)
Nutritional Yeast

Directions:

  • Clean and dry kale.
  • Peel (or cut) all the kale leaves from the stem. (You will not be using the stem)
  • Chop up remaining leaves as finely as you can and place in a large bowl. Or use your food processor to chop it even finer!
  • Mix half of your lemon juice with half your olive oil and a few sprinkles of sea salt and pour over your kale and begin to massage the leaves until they become slightly wilty. (About 2 mins).
  • Set aside.
  • Mix remaining lemon, garlic, olive oil and seasoning into a cup and stir to make the dressing.
  • Pour over Kale and mix thoroughly.
  • In a food processor chop up almonds until the the texture is fine, similar to parmesan cheese.
  • Plate your salad and top with cranberries, nut parmesan and nutritional yeast.

Enjoy!

See you tomorrow for letter “L.”¬†‚ô•

Day 8: 3 Reasons to Eat Hummus! #27DaysOfThanks

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Day 8: Hummus

Lowfat, protein rich, highly nutritions, guilt free  & delicious hummus!
Hummus is one of those super easy to make dishes that is an absolute essential for every vegan kitchen…or just every kitchen! 
It’s tasty on so many things from veggies, to sandwiches to salads to crackers to you name it! It’s super healthy too because it is low fat high in protein and full of nutrients.

3 reasons to eat hummus:

1.Chickpeas are full of fiber, protein, anti-oxidants, minerals and help balance blood sugar.
2.The fresh garlic in hummus is anti-infalmitory antibacterial and antiviral.
3.The fiber and protein in the chickpeas and tahini will fill you up and keep you satisfied on the go.

I made a pot of chickpeas today and blended this together in no time at all. The hardest part is planning when you want to eat them because I like to soak the beans for at least 24 hours; soaking beans breaks down the enzyme inhibiters that can cause digestive issues and gas, it also helps you absorb the nutrients more easily and it also cuts down on cooking time.
Simply food process together:

chickpeas
fresh lemon
tahini
garlic
paprika
cumin
a little salt

Add a little water and blend until smooth and fluffy. What other ingredients do you like to add to hummus?

#27DaysOfThanks continues tomorrow with letter “I.”¬†‚ô•

Day 7: Ginger + Healing Ginger Tea

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Day 7: Ginger

There are so many wonderful things to say about this special root, I’m not sure where to start‚ĶIts not only delicious in so many recipes it is also a super powerful healing aid.

Here are some top reasons to give thanks for ginger:

  1. Soothing to your digestive track; it relieves gastrointestinal distress including upset stomach, gas and nausea. Its safe for pregnant women and very effective in reducing vomiting without any side effects.
  2. The gingerols inside of ginger are very anti-inflammatory, they have been known to reduce pain in injury and arthritis. Consuming ginger regularly can help keep you active and pain free.
  3. Powerful against cancer, its been known to kill ovarian cancer cells and colorectal cells.
  4. Ginger is Immune Boosting, it contains natural antibiotics and can kill bacteria!

I want to let you in on a little remedy that you may (or may not know about) that will knock out anything trying to attack your respiratory system pretty much overnight. This tea is so healing, anti-infalmitory and immune boosting you will be drinking it all winter.

 Healing Ginger Tea

  • For a one cup serving just boil water and a few inches of chopped ginger root.
  • After about 10 minutes pour in your teacup and add 1 tbls. apple cider vinegar, the juice of half a lemon, turmeric powder and/or honey (if you eat it/vegan honey). This has worked wonders for me when I feel a sore throat or cough coming on!

What’s your favorite ginger drink?

P.S. I want to thank @bebe_glow for her shout out today and for all the new followers on Instagram! Feeling blessed by all your support!! ♥

Check it tomorrow for letter “H.”

Day 5: Eggplant #27DaysOfThanks

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Day 5: Eggplant

¬†What I love about this challenge…

that I have laid out for my self, (#27DaysOfThanks for 27 different foods from A-Z) is that it is causing me to experiment and try foods that I may not typically eat, and learn a lot about them too. Case in point, Eggplant. I don’t usually buy it, but when I saw these cute little purple bulbs at the FarmersMarket, I new I wanted them to be “E.”

A photo posted by HealthyHappyJess (@healthhappyjess) on

I ended up making this Asian inspired stir fry and I’m glad I did, the eggplant added a lot to the dish and I seasoned with some new ingredients. Here is the recipe…

Eggplant Stir Fry~

Ingrediants:

eggplant
green beans
2-4 garlic cloves
red pepper flakes
cayenne pepper
garlic powder
gluten-free soy sauce
1 inch shredded ginger
lemon or lime wedge
1 tbls maple syrup
1 tbls coconut oil (or veggie broth for no oil)
fresh parsley
sprinkle of sesame seeds
white Jasmine rice

Directions:

Chop up your eggplant and green beans.

In a skillet combine coconut oil, red pepper, and garlic. Sauté on low/med heat for a few mins.

Add in your veggies along with a few splashes of soy sauce, cayenne pepper and garlic powder. Sauté for a few minutes on medium heat.

Add a few tablespoon of water and cover for about 10 minutes, or until veggies are tender.

Shred your ginger and add to a separate bowl with maple syrup, lemon, a little more soy sauce and another tablespoon of water.

Add sauce to your skillet and cook for another few minutes.

Add your parsley and pair with your Jasmine rice!

Enjoy!

Reasons to give thanks for Eggplant

  1. The anthocyanin in the skin acts as a powerful antioxidant, is anti-infamitory and helps detoxify your cells. This helps cognitive function, heart health, and prevents tumor growth and the spread of cancer cells.
  2. It can lower blood cholesterol because of large amounts of chlorogenic acid which decreases LDL levels and also is antimicrobial and antiviral.
  3. It is a #beautyfood that promotes a #healthy weight, glowing skin and #antiaging.
What are your favorite dishes with Eggplant?
Check in tomorrow for letter “F.”