It’s a really good thing that I love to cook because you told me loud and clear that you wanted some help with menu planning. I understand it’s not easy, but now it can be much less stressful. It looks like we’re going to be eating really well for the next few days. No complaints here.
Not that this is the first time I’ve posted a holiday menu on the blog. There was that time in 2010 for Project Food Blog and then again in 2011 just for kicks. I guess I was due for an update! I truly think this is the best one yet. Maybe I’m biased, but I think my recipes improve over the years. That means there’s always room for a fresh take on a menu. Yeehaw!
I’d like to walk you through a relatively simple holiday meal plan today for 4 people. Adapt it as you see fit. My goal was to create some dishes that could be made the day before. I also wanted the prep on the day of to be minimal. So no, I’m not throwing a ton of recipes at you today and telling you to spend 3 full days in the kitchen. I did my best to simplify things without sacrificing flavour. It’s a fine line! My prep time the day before was under 2 hours and my prep time the day of was about 1 hour. Not too shabby, right?
This isn’t meant to be a huge, extravagant holiday meal, but rather a delicious and special menu for 4 people. If you are serving a big crowd, you will definitely need to multiply this to suit your group size.
Prepare the day before:
- Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Oat Crust (this pie needs to sit in the fridge overnight to set)
- Cranberry Pear Sauce
- Lentil Walnut Balls (prepare, but do not cook until the day of your meal)
Prepare the day of:
- Maple Cinnamon Mashed Sweet Potatoes (easiest side dish ever!)
- The Best Shredded Kale Salad
- Bake the lentil walnut balls
- Coconut Whipped Cream (if serving with the pie – optional)
Shall we begin? [Note: where ever you see a green link you can click it to be brought to the recipe page.]
The Best Shredded Kale Salad – vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free
Prepare this salad the day of your meal. The flavour is much better when served shortly after preparing it compared to letting it sit overnight. (Yes, I compared the two! I thought the overnighter was going to win, but it didn’t).
[note: in the photos below I served the salad with the main course, but you can serve it either before or with your meal. Your call.]
Lentil Mushroom Walnut Balls with Cranberry Pear Sauce – vegan, gluten-free, soy-free
Prepare both the day before, but do not cook the balls until the day of. I shaped the mixture into balls, placed them on a plate, covered with wrap, and refrigerated until the next day. Then I cooked as directed just before the meal. Easy! You can also cook and freeze the balls for up to 1-1.5 weeks. Thaw on the counter or fridge and reheat in the oven.
Maple Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes – vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, soy-free option
Prepare this quick and easy side dish the day of. This side dish stole my heart! I absolutely love mashed sweet potatoes made with a bit of vegan butter, maple syrup, sea salt, and cinnamon. Nothing beats it. If you haven’t tried them prepared this way, you really should. The prep is just 10 minutes! I used 2 large sweet potatoes, but you could easily get away with using 3 potatoes for 4 people.
If you are looking for another side dish to add to the fun, I recommend my Cranberry, Apricot, and Pecan Wild Rice Pilaf. You can probably prepare this pilaf the day before.
Maple Cinnamon Mashed Sweet Potatoes
3-4 small servings
Like little fluffy clouds of pure bliss, these maple cinnamon mashed sweet potatoes make a lovely addition to any holiday meal. It reminds me a bit of sweet potato casserole, only without the marshmallows. The prep is just 5-10 minutes, so it makes a quick, last minute side dish without much fuss at all. This batch will just barely serve 4 as a side. You could easily get away with increasing the potatoes to 3 instead of 2 (and adding more of the other ingredients as needed). No one ever complained of having too many sweet potato clouds, you know.
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter
- 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
- a couple generous pinches of fine grain sea salt, to taste
- cinnamon, to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Add peeled and chopped potatoes into a medium pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about 5-8 minutes. Drain.
- Add potatoes back into the pot and with a potato masher, mash in the vegan butter until smooth. Now add the rest of the ingredients to taste. Serve immediately.
Note: Instead of vegan butter you can try using coconut oil, although I haven't tried this yet. For a soy-free option, use soy-free vegan butter or coconut oil.
Nutrition Information(click to expand)
Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Oat Crust – vegan, gluten-free, soy-free
Prepare this pumpkin pie the day before. A simple pumpkin pie filling with a delectable nutty crust! This pie is lightly sweetened and doesn’t feel too heavy or give you a sugar crash after indulging. Tip if you need a nut-free pie, feel free to use a store-bought crust (or your favourite homemade crust recipe). I really think this crust makes the pie though, so if you can swing it, definitely make it! It’s so easy too – all you do is press it in…no rolling involved.
Optional: Serve with Coconut Whipped Cream
Not feeling pumpkin pie? Try my Chilled Dark Chocolate Pie instead. A little chocolate around the holidays is always appreciated.
Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Oat Crust
A simple pumpkin pie filling with a delectable nutty crust! This pie is lightly sweetened and doesn't feel too heavy or give you a sugar crash after indulging. Prepare this pie the day before, so it has time to set in the fridge overnight. Crust is adapted from my Chilled Dark Chocolate Pie and the filling is adapted from my Vegan Pumpkin Pie Squares with a Graham Cracker Crust.
for the pecan oat crust:
- 3/4 cup pecan halves
- 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 1/2 cup + 1/3 cup gluten-free oat flour
- 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats.
for the pumpkin filling:
- 1/4 cup full-fat canned coconut milk (the white cream portion) OR almond milk
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder
- 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
- 6 tablespoons pure cane sugar (or granulated sugar of choice)
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- pinch of fine grain sea salt
- For the crust: Preheat oven to 350⁰F and lightly grease a 9-inch pie dish with coconut oil. Add pecans into a food processor and process until a fine crumb forms, the size of sand. Be sure not to process the pecans for too long, or the oil will release. Now add the coconut oil, maple syrup, salt, and oat flour and process again until the dough comes together. Finally, pulse in the rolled oats until the oats are finely chopped, but still have some texture to them. The dough should stick together when pressed between your fingers. If it doesn’t, try processing for a bit longer.
- With your fingers, crumble the dough evenly over the base of the pie dish. Starting from the middle, press the mixture firmly and evenly into the dish, moving outward and upward along the side of the pie dish. The harder you press the crumbs into the dish, the more it will hold together. Poke 5-6 fork holes into the bottom to let the air escape.
- Bake pie crust, uncovered, at 350⁰F for 10-13 minutes, until lightly golden and fragrant. Remove from oven and set aside to cool on a rack for at least 5 minutes.
- For the filling: In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut milk (or almond milk) with the arrowroot powder until smooth.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all of the pumpkin filling ingredients, including the arrowroot and cream/milk mixture. If your pumpkin puree is firm and grainy - add this filling into a processor and whirl it until smooth. You might need to add a bit more cream/milk if your pumpkin was really dense. Pour this filling into the baked crust and smooth out.
- Bake the pie, uncovered, at 350F for 37-45 minutes until the pie is semi-firm, but still a bit soft. Watch the crust and cover with tin foil if necessary. My crust was nice and golden at 40 minutes (when I took it out), but not burned.
- Cool the pie for 2 hours on a cooling rack and then cover with foil and transfer to the fridge overnight to set.
- Serve the pie straight from the fridge, with some coconut whipped cream, if desired. Note that the pie will get quite soft at room temperature so I don't suggest keeping it out for longer than 10 minutes at a time.
Note: 1) To make the oat flour, add 1/2 cup + 1/3 cup rolled oats into a high speed blender. Blend on high until a fine flour forms. 2) Note that using the coconut cream will give the pie a light coconut flavour. Use almond milk as an alternative if desired.
Nutrition Information(click to expand)
Edited to add: We’re having a small issue with our recipe plug-in (in this post) and we’re working on fixing the bug. Thanks for your patience!
Well, we have full, grateful, and happy bellies going on over here. And the best part is, I don’t feel like sleeping on the couch for 6 days. Success!
Let me know what you think of the recipes if you try them out. Love ‘em, hate ‘em, find a new way of doing something? Let us know in the comments, as always.
Wishing those of you in the US a happy, safe, and fun Thanksgiving! xo
Deliciousness is the only way to describe this! Thanks so much for sharing these tips for an amazing meal! :)
The other morning when I was making your recipe for graham wafers, a thought occurred to me. As I was taking my labelled glass jars out of my pantry and adding a pinch of this and a measurement of that I felt a wee bit like a sorcerer. Wonder if you ever have had that feeling? Made me start laughing!!! You definitely have a way of making things come together and taste great. We love the graham wafers!! Wonder what a sorcerers cooking hat would look like?
This is the first Thanksgiving that I am spending Vegan and your recipes have been so extremely helpful! I was having a lot of issues at first with finding recipes because I like to stay away from the faux meat as much as I can, but when I found your website my Vegan Thanksgiving finally seemed doable. Thank you so much and keep up the amazing work!
So happy to hear this Alexandra!
Gorgeous post….it made me feel like i was able to join in the celebrations too! I will bookmark this for Christmas recipe ideas. Thank you!
Every dish we made for thanksgiving tonight was from a recipe of yours. And every single one of them was beyond a hit! I’ve been making your pumpkin pie and sweet potatoe casserole for three years now and I get recipe requests every time. This year though, not only was there recipe requests after dinner but everyone made me get a recipe for their dish from you! Hence the entire ohsheglows menu. I absolutely love your tastes, your style, and every single recipe I’ve made. I am a huge fan and cannot wait for your book! It’s already in my amazon wish list!!!
Thank you for sharing all of your yummy creations with me!
Thanks, Angela, for the lovely meal plan! I made the meal for my parents and they were quite happy with the result. Thank you, thank you, thank you :)
Wow!! This whole meal looks amazingly delicious! And to think it’s vegan and gluten free!! I had a gluten free Thanksgiving because I am gluten intolerant…. thanks for the great menu ideas!
Angela – I am a big fan of your site and recipes. For Thanksgiving, I made the lentil balls and your mushroom gravy – along with more traditional foods – as I am the only vegan in my family. I ended up putting the gravy into the blender. It was so delicious that my very unvegan son was eating it with a spoon! Thank you so much for your generosity and creativity.
Hey Allison, I’m so happy to hear this! Thanks for letting me know :) Happy Thanksgiving!
So far I only made the sweet potatoes and the Lentil, Mushroom, Walnut balls. They were both fantastic! Non-vegans liked them too. I’ll be making them again for Christmas to share with family who didn’t get to try them yet. Thanks for another great recipe!
Hi Cindi, I’m happy to hear they were enjoyed! Thanks for trying them out :)
I made the pie and it was cloyingly sweet. Are you sure both sugar and maple syrup are necessary for the filling recipe?
I made another of your vegan pumpkin pie recipes last year using a store bought crust and it was good. But this year I tried this pumpkin pie recipe with the Pecan Oat Crust. ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!! My husband and I are having a hard time eating just one piece at a time. I’ve decided it will be my go to pumpkin pie recipe from now on…unless you can top this one. ;)
The slight tweaks I made to it were all for the filling. I used almond milk, brown sugar for half the called for cane sugar, 3-4 pinches of salt (it just needed a bit more for my taste), and added a little less than 1/8 tsp each of cloves and allspice (probably about 2-3 pinches of each).
Hey Joann, So glad the recipes are being enjoyed! Thanks for letting me know :)
This whole post is so well thought-out, Angela! I didn’t make this menu for Thanksgiving, but i think i’m going to use it for christmas! It looks so simple and not-overwhelming while still being enough, you know? Really appreciate the time that went into this one!
Question here: how long do you think the lentil balls can store refrigerated (not frozen)? I am thinking about making them, packing into a checked bag, taking a flight to a family holiday destination, then serving 4 days later. I don’t want to have to buy all the ingredients at the destination and thought this plan might work. Thoughts?
Hey Kate, I don’t think they would last very long unrefrigerated due to concerns over bacteria forming if kept out too long. I probably wouldn’t keep them at room temperature for longer than 2-3 hours ideally. Not sure what the temp is under the plane though! As for the fridge: I’ve enjoyed them in the fridge for up to 4 days. Hope this helps!
Thanks a lot Angela! My husband and I made this for a special dinner with friends and it was a big hit. We love your blog and have already tried many of your recipes since we discovered it last month!
We had the walnut balls for Thanksgiving! YUM!!!
I am looking forward to some much-needed down time from work and some quality time with our families!
I’m really looking forward to surprising all of my omnivorous friends and family with some delicious vegan treats!
So excited to try some of your gluten free ideas this holiday season!
Love it! CAnt wait to try it.
My mother and I made the lentil balls for thanksgiving and absolutely adored them! They are the perfect flavor to savor for the holidays, and with a little cranberry sauce…forget about it!
Thanks for the holiday inspiration! Made the lentil balls and cranberry sauce, kale salad, roasted cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, and I made your golden beet salad with shallots and orange miso dressing. We finished with the pumpkin squares with coconut whipped cream. My non vegan family raved about it! I live in California and my sister from Seattle joined us. When she walked in she said, “Is this all Angela’s stuff?” We’re both huge fans of your website and most of my “stuff” is your “stuff,” lol. Thank you for all the wonderful recipes!
The mashed sweet potatoes are AWESOME!!!!!!! I made a triple batch for the Thanksgiving meal I went to at a friend’s, and…of course…there was so much food that there was a double-batch of leftovers for me to take home. Which was GREAT because I could seriously eat these sweet potatoes for breakfast, lunch, dinner & instead of ice cream.
YUM! Thanks! I feel my heart is stolen, too!
The shredded kale salad looks great – hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner!
Hi Angela – this looks amazing, especially the pumpkin pie! Thanks for putting this together, it’s a great source of inspiration for a holiday menu:)
I’ve tried the ”Lentil Walnut Balls” very delicious!!! I’ll will make this during the Holidays! I really love all your recipes Angela, can’t wait to get your cookbook!
Happy Holidays to you and Eric!
I made the pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving and my entire family loved it. Even those highly sceptical of gluten free, vegan desserts. I discovered your blog earlier this year and all the recipes I have tried have been delicious! Thank you for the inspiration!
Hey, I just made the pumpkin pie and they smell AAAHHH-mazing but mine is no where near as smooth as yours it was actually spreadable and the spatula marks remained…can you think of what I did wrong?
Hey Melanie, My guess is that your pumpkin was more firm or dense than mine was – so in this case, you can add a bit more milk to thin it out. I’ve added this note to the directions. Hope this helps!
My sister made us this meal tonight and everything was exceptional. Thank you for this amazing Christmas menu!
My nephews and everyone loved your pie. I subbed sweet potato for the pumpkin. I only had a tiny sliver before it was gone, so I’ll have to make it again to get a good taste of it. Thanks. I was worried it wouldn’t be firm enough, but was surprised how firm it was without tofu. I like firm pies like this and loved the glossy look of it (also reflected in your photos).
Thank you for sharing this! I made the entire menu for my christmas dinner together with some homemade gluwine, and it was very good! Especially the pumpkin pie and sweet potato mash were devine! For the pumpkin pie I only substituted the arrowroot for Agar Agar because I couldn’t find arrowroot, and I used Rucola instead of Kale in the salad. Thanks!
THANKS for this menu, Angela! I just made it for Christmas dinner and it was a big hit – delicious and made the day special! Happy New Year!
Wow!! I made the lentil balls as part of my Christmas dinner and they were AMAZING!! Thanks so much for sharing!!! This recipe is a big keeper in my books!
if you had to guees, how long would frozen lentil-mushroom balls take to thaw? they look like a great make ahead option for american thanksgiving next week.
I made your Vegan Thanksgiving dinner last night and today! It was delish! While it was a bit time-consuming, it was so worth it and I have plenty of leftovers to freeze and enjoy at a later date.
The lentil walnut balls fulfilled my stuffing craving. Now I need to figure out how to use up my remaining rosemary, thyme and sage. Any suggestions ?
Thank you for a tasty, inexpensive, easy meal! This was our first year of all vegan Thanksgiving dinner and your recipes made our holiday a memorable success. I refer readers to your site.
YA!!! I am doing this whole meal with a few of my special touches! But I love it!! thanks so so much for your amazing recipes! :) you are a new favorite for me and my budding 12 year old chef!! :) Thank you thank you!!
SOS I’m getting ready to make this pie right now one question if I wanna use almond flour instead of oat flour how much do you think I need???
Hi! I just wanted to give some super-late love for this post. I made just about everything on this menu for my vegan & soy-free thanksgiving, and it was amazing! I hope I’m able to post a photo…
I also made the pumpkin pie – that crust is the stuff of legends! My only failure was the whipped cream. Couldn’t figure out that coconut cream. Next time.
That’s awesome! So glad you enjoyed the menu and pumpkin pie :) Hopefully the whipped cream works out better for you next time — let me know if you have any questions and I’m happy to try to help!
That’s really nice delicious food. Personally I am a big fan of you. I really love to read your story. Next week me and my family will go to visit and I want to surprise them to make mushroom balls and cranberry pear sauce. I want to memorable the trip to make this recipe. To come back home I will definitely update your blog page that how was the journey with your delicious recipe. Thank you for your great recipe.
Looks great! One guest hates mushrooms. Any suggestions for a substitute in the walnut balls?
All of these dishes look so delicious! And the photos have me drooling. The white plate that the pumpkin pie is on is sooo elegant, wish I had one just like it! Can share the pattern name of where it was purchased? Thanks
Oops, it should read: or where it was purchased?
Hi Diane, Thank you! It was a Pier 1 find several years ago. I wish I bought more! I’m not sure if they still carry it or not.
Hi. I made this for Canadian Thanksgiving and it was a hit. This was the biggest meal I’ve ever made myself but the step by step instructions made it very easy. Thank you!
Hey Jennie, nice job! I’m so happy it was a hit…I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving :)
I just wanted to say that these sweet potatoes are my go-to recipe when I need to bring something for Thanksgiving. They’re so easy and delicious and always a big hit. I’ll be making a quadruple batch for a Friendsgiving at my church tomorrow. :) Love your recipes!
Has anyone made this without the maple syrup? I am making for my family and want my 6 month to be able to have.