Your one stop for Thanksgiving Recipes

Whether you're going entirely meatless this year or are hosting a guest with a particular palate, STL Veg Girl Caryn Dugan has you covered.


Whether you're hosting or attending a Thanksgiving feast, we have all the right side dish ideas and dessert inspiration to make sure your holiday meal goes off without a hitch.

Spa-Nut-Chini (Vegan Turducken)

1 spaghetti squash
    1 butternut squash
    1 zucchini
       sea salt
    1 large yellow onion, diced
    6 garlic cloves, diced small
    1 red bell pepper, diced
    8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
    1 cup cannelini beans, cooked, drained, rinsed
    3 sprigs of rosemary, leaves removed
    10 large sage leaves
    2 tablespoons of fresh thyme
    fresh ground pepper
    3 tablespoons of Earth Balance Buttery Spread
    1/4 cup pure maple syrup
    3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
    1 leek, cut to the length of the spaghetti squash
    6 stalks of asparagus, cut to the length of the zucchini

Walnut Meat Ingredients:

1 cup raw walnuts
    1 tablespoon tamari
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 teaspoon paprika
    1 teaspoon of liquid smoke (optional)

*For images associated with steps of this recipe, visit the blog entry of this dish.*

Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.

Cut the spaghetti squash and the butternut squash lengthwise and scoop out as much of the insides as you can. (You will be baking the four halves to soften them up in order to scoop out more of the flesh later.)

In the largest baking dish you can find, add just enough water to coat the bottom and add both squashes. You are just pre-cooking them to soften up, it’s ok if they are stacked a little. Bake for 25 minutes.

Allow the squashes to cool down enough to handle and begin to scoop out the insides using a spoon or a small lemon baller, leaving roughly one-half inch of flesh in tact. Do the same with the zucchini. Add all the squash insides to a large mixing bowl and add 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Mix with your hands and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

To a large skillet, heat up the water or broth over medium/high heat and add the onion and a pinch of salt. After about 3-4 minutes, it should soften. Add in four of the diced garlic cloves, stir and allow to cook for about 30 seconds. Careful to not burn as it will become bitter in taste. Next add in the red bell peppers and mushrooms and continue to stir. Add more water/broth as it evaporates.

The salt in the squash bowl should have been extracting some of the water, with you hands, squeeze out as much water as you can and place the mixture in the food processor.  Add in the beans, the rosemary, sage and thyme, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a turn or two of fresh ground black pepper. Pulse all the ingredients only 5-6 times. Leaving some the beans in tact is just fine. Add this mixture to the onion and mushrooms on the stove top. Mix well with a spatula and cook for about 15 minutes. Allow the moisture to cook off and for the flavors to develop.

Clean out the food processor bowl and add the walnut meat crumble ingredients. Pulse only until the mix resembles ground meat. Transfer a small bowl.

Transfer the squash/onion/mushroom mixture to a bowl and set aside.

In a small sauce pan, over low/medium heat, add in the Earth Balance and once melted, toss in the remaining garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add in the syrup and stir to warm. Finally, add in the nutritional yeast and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Warm through, toss in a basting brush to prepare for coating and set aside. (I had some leftover rosemary and I simmered it in the sauce, but it really was not enough to make a difference.)

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and have a few large sheets set aside to cover your squash when ready.

On a large work surface, lay out the three squashes (6 halves), two bowls of mixes (squash/onion/mushroom in one and walnut meat in another), asparagus, leek, warm butter maple syrup, baking sheet, extra aluminum foil and kitchen twine.

Score each of the 6 squash halves on the inside with the tip of a knife, careful to not poke through the skin.

Here we go:

1. Using the brush in the buttery maple syrup, coat the inside of the spaghetti squash. Scoop about 3 tablespoons of the squash/onion/mushroom mix into each of the halves of the spaghetti squash. Using the back of a spoon, coat and press the the mixture on to the inside (you may need a little more or a little less, depending upon the size of your squash). Next, unravel your cut leek and piece by piece, lay down one layer of leeks. Coat again with the maple syrup.

2. Snugly fit the butternut squash in to the spaghetti squash, brush the maple syrup on the inside and scoop in roughly 2 tablespoons of the walnut meat. Again, using the back of a spoon, spread it out and press in to the inside of the squash. Repeat the leek layering and brush again with the maple syrup.

3. Snugly fit the zucchini into the butternut squash, brush with syrup and scoop 1 tablespoon of the walnut meat in to each half, spread and press. Place three of the asparagus spears in the middle of the zucchini in the walnut meat and slightly press.

Using both hands, carefully roll both halves together and roll over so that one side is on top of the other. Tie twine in a cute bow across the whole thing. Place your masterpiece on the foil lined sheet and brush the rest of the maple syrup over the squash. Wrap in the remaining aluminum foil sheets and bake for 1 hour, 45 minutes.

When it comes out of the over there will be excess liquid and that’s ok. Unwrap the squash and transfer to a plate/server to cool and set up a bit. Wait about 30 minutes if you can.

Using a serrated knife, and securely holding the squash, gently saw off 1/2” - 3/4” slices.


Thanksgiving Stuffing Gravy Wings

-1 cupFinely diced yellow onion
-1 cupFinely diced celery
-¼ cupMinced garlic
-¼ cupButter or margarine
-2 teaspoonsChopped fresh sage
-1 teaspoon Chopped fresh thyme
-4 cupsChicken broth
-4 cupsBeef broth
-1 cup Roux (equal parts flour & butter cooked for about 1 minute)
-Black pepper

-Combine in large sauce pot:
Butter/margarine, onions, celery, garlic, sage, thyme
-Sweat over medium-high heat until translucent (about 5 minutes)
-add chicken and beef broth and bring to a soft boil
-add roux mixture and simmer/reduce until desired thickness
Salt & pepper to taste

Lavash Bread (a crisp cracker like bread)

3 - 2/3 ounces Unbleached flour -- All-purpose
    3/8 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon sugar
    3/8 fluid ounce shortening
    1/4 large egg
2 - fluid ounces milk
    5/8 ounce sesame seeds
   (or a combination of any small seeds you like)

-Pre-heat oven to 375.
-In a large bowl, combine together the flour, salt and sugar. Cut in shortening.
-Beat the egg and milk together and stir into flour mixture, mixing well. The dough will be firm
-Cover and let rest for at least 30 minutes.
-Divide dough into four equal pieces and roll each to 1/16th of an inch thick on the back of a lightly greased sheet pan or
a sheet of parchment.
-Brush Lavash with water and sprinkle the top with seeds.
-Go over dough once more, lightly, to press the seeds into the surface
-Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until browned and crisp.
-Break into pieces.

Fig Jam

-1 teaspoon vegetable oil
-3 shallots, diced
-1 cup red wine
-1/4 cup Homemade Chicken Stock, or canned low-sodium chicken broth, skimmed of fat
-1/4 cup Homemade Beef Stock, veal broth, or canned low-sodium beef broth, skimmed of fat
-3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
-1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
-1/4 cup sugar
-1 rounded cup dried mission figs, quartered
-1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

-Place a medium skillet over medium heat and, when it is hot, add the oil. Add the shallots, and cook until they are softened, about 3 minutes. Deglaze with the red wine, and reduce by half. Add the broths and vinegar, and reduce by half. Add the rosemary and sugar stir to combine.
-Lower the heat to low, and cook until the sugar has melted, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the pepper and the figs, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are rehydrated, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cook until the mixture has the consistency of a syrupy or saucy jam, 10 to 12 minutes. Use immediately; or cover, and refrigerate up to 5 days.

Glazed Nuts

-2 tablespoons butter
-2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
-2 tablespoons real maple syrup
-2 cups Nuts such as pecan halves, walnut halves, ect
-½ - 1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
-Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste

Step 1
-Heat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper. In 12-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar and syrup; mix well. Cook until bubbly, stirring constantly.

Step 2
-Add pecans; cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until coated. Add cayenne, salt and pepper stir to mix. Spread mixture onto parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Step 3
-Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. Store in tightly covered container up to 2 weeks.

Farmer's Pumpkin Pie

-1 Pie pumpkin, about 5-pounds, washed with stem removed
-3 large eggs, slightly beaten with fork
-1 1/2 cup plain pumpkin puree, packed-well
-1/3 cup + 1 Tbs. brown sugar
-½ tsp. ground nutmeg
-3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
-Pinch of ground cloves
-1/2 tsp. table salt
-½ cup heavy cream
-½ cup milk
-1 Eckert's Frozen Pie Shell (9 inch)

To prepare the pumpkin pulp:

1.Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Cut pumpkin in half. Use a large metal spoon or a canning jar lid to remove the seeds and pumpkin membrane. Place each pumpkin half cut side down on a parchment-lined baking dish or sheet pan with sides. Add about ½ cup water; enough to cover the bottom of the dish and come up the sides about ½-inch (add more water if necessary).

2.Bake pumpkin about 1 ½ hours or until the pumpkin is VERY SOFT when a knife tip is inserted into the peel. The pumpkin will sometime 'collapse' when it is soft enough. Remove baked pumpkin from oven. With a large spatula move the hot pumpkin halves to a heat-proof plate to cool slightly, about 15 to 20 minutes. Note: This step is to get the cooked pumpkin out of the hot water while the pumpkin cools.

3.When cool enough, use your fingers peel off the pumpkin skin and discard skin. The pumpkin pulp can now be used for cooking and baking. Makes about 4 ½ cups.

For the Pie:

4.Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients except pie shell. Transfer mixture to a blender or use an immersion blender to even out the texture of the mixture. Pour mixture into the pie shell and bake on a sheet pan for 50 minutes or until center is set. Cool for at least 45 minutes before serving

BBQ Southern Green Beans

-Diced Bacon 3 Slices, Raw
-Diced Onions- 2 tbsp.
-Ketchup, 2 tbsps
-Brown Sugar 2 tbsp.
-Sauce-Worcestershire 1 tbsp.
-Green Beans- Fresh 1 pound

-In a skillet, brown bacon and onion until fat is rendered. Do not drain.
-Stir in ketchup, sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
-Steam green beans until tender.
-Add to skillet and toss to coat all beans, serve immediately.

Roasted Root Vegetable Medley

-1 pound turnips
-1 pound rutabagas
-1 pound carrots
-1 pound parsnips
-1 pound celery root
-3 shallots, halved
-1/2 cup olive oil
-2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
-2 teaspoons kosher salt
-1 teaspoon black pepper
-8 garlic cloves

-Preheat to 400°. Peel first 4 ingredients; cut into 1-inch pieces. (If your carrots are small enough, leave them whole.) Toss with shallots and next 4 ingredients. Place in a single layer in a 17- x 11-inch jelly-roll pan. Bake 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. -Add garlic; bake 45 minutes or until tender, stirring at 15-minute intervals.

Note: You can prepare 4 hours ahead: Cool in pan 30 minutes or to room temperature; bake at 450° for 10 to 15 minutes or until hot.

Chipotle-Raspberry Vinaigrette

-½ cup fresh or frozen raspberries (thawed)
-1 teaspoon Chipotle pepper in Adobo Sauce
-Juice of half a lime
-¼ cup olive oil
-1 teaspoon salt
-½ teaspoon pepper
-2 tablespoons sugar

-Place the chipotle pepper, raspberries, lime juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and sugar into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth.

Cranberry & Orange Compote

-Juice-Orange, 6oz
-Lemon Rind (Zest), 1.5 tsp
-Fresh Cranberries, 8oz
-Diced Onions-Yellow, 2 tbsp
-Cloves, ground, 1 tsp.
-Ground Allspice, 1 tsp.
-Orange, Fresh, 88ct, peeled and sectioned, 2 each
-Fresh Ginger, 3 tsp.

-In a sauce pan, combine orange juice, lemon rind, cranberries, onions, cloves and allspice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduced by half.
-Add orange segments, ginger and butter. Stir gently, not to break orange segments.
-Remove from heat.

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Pecans

-2 ½ cups Shelled Pecans
-½ cup Brown Sugar
-1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
-1 Egg White

-Place nuts and egg white in a bowl and combine.
-Add sugar and spice and stir to mix together.
-Spread out on a paper lined or lightly oiled sheet pan.
-Bake at 250 degrees F for 25-35 minutes.
-Allow to cool and store in an airtight container

Cranberry Broccoli Slaw


Slaw Mix
-4 cups Broccoli Slaw
-¾ cup Dried Cranberries    
-¼ cup Pumpkin Pie Spiced Pecans

-½ cup Mayonnaise
-Juice from One Orange
-1 Tbs Orange Zest
-2 Tbs Honey


-Place all slaw ingredients into mixing bowl and stir to combine.  
-Mix all dressing ingredients into mixing bowl and use wire whisk to combine.
-Pour dressing over slaw mix and stir to combine.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

Yields: 8 small, 4 medium or 2 large potatoes
-8 small, 4 medium or 2 large sweet potatoes
-1 Tablespoon kosher salt
-1 teaspoon ground black pepper
-1 Tablespoon turbinado sugar
-1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

For the filling-

-2 Tablespoons butter, unsalted, room temperature
-2 Tablespoons heavy cream
-½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/8 teaspoon allspice
-Pinch ground nutmeg
-1 teaspoon kosher salt
-½ teaspoon ground black pepper
-¼ cup dried cranberries
-½ cup candied pecans, chopped

For the topping-
-2 Tablespoons, butter, unsalted, melted
-1 cup pumpkin spice granola
-½ cup dried cranberries
-½ cup candied pecans, chopped 
-1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder

Optional - Mini marshmallows

-Heat oven to 350
-Wash and dry the potatoes, place in bowl and toss with the salt, black pepper, sugar and oil, making sure to cover potatoes all the way around with the oil and seasonings. Please on baking tray. Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes or until fork or skewer is easily inserted and removed from the center. (It will take longer for larger potatoes). Remove potatoes from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
-For the filling- slit the potatoes in half, not slicing all of the way thru. Open the potato and scoop out the flesh, leaving a small amount to help the potato hold its shape.  Place the flesh into a medium size mixing bowl. Add the butter, cream, allspice, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Adjust salt and pepper to your taste level. Add the dried cranberries and the chopped pecans. Mix by hand, in a small stand mixer or in a food processor depending on how smooth you want the filling. Divide evenly back into the potato shells. At this point you can cover the potatoes with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days. 
-For the topping- combine the melted butter, granola, cranberries, pecans and chipotle. Divide evenly on top of the stuffed potatoes. If you stuffed your potatoes the other day- remove them from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before topping (about 2 hours at room temperature). Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes or until hot in the center. Remove from the oven and serve. 

Optional- top with mini marshmallows after removing from the oven and broil until marshmallows are brown. 

Cauliflower Rice and Squash Bowl

-1 acorn squash, cut in half
-1/2 head of cauliflower
-1 C vegetable broth
-1/2 yellow onion
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-Large handful of kale, diced small
-1 C cooked dark kidney beans
-1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
-1/2 tablespoon, fresh thyme
-1/2 tablespoon fresh sage, roughly chopped 
-A of pinch sea salt and fresh ground pepper
-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
-1/2 cup walnuts, chopped small
-2 tablespoons dried cranberries, chopped (optional)

-Preheat your oven to 350-F.
-Cut the acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds and any easily removable remaining flesh. In a glass or ceramic baking dish, add just enough water so that it covers the bottom of the dish and place both halves of the squash, cut side down on the water. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
-Add the cauliflower to the food processor and pulse several times until you achieve the consistency of rice. Don't over fill the container, you may have to do this in a few batches. Place the cauliflower in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
-In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add a few tablespoons of broth and allow it to heat up. Add the diced onion and a pinch of salt. Allow those to become translucent and after about 3-4 minutes add in the minced garlic.
-Add a few more tablespoons of the broth if you need to and continue to stir for 30-45 seconds.Transfer the bowl of cauliflower rice to the skillet and mix well. Keep adding broth a few tablespoons at a time as it evaporates.
-With the back of a spatula, press the mixture down and allow it to cook and even get barely crispy. Stir and repeat until the cauliflower begins get get a little golden.
-Toss in the kale and mix well. You'll want that to wilt down. Next add in the kidney beans and stir. Add the herbs to the skillet and incorporate well. Finally, add in the nutritional yeast and give it a final stir.
-Empty the skillet of ingredients back into the mixing bowl and fold in the walnuts and cranberries (if using).
-When the squashes are finished cooking, turn them over the in the baking dish and fill them with the cauliflower rice mixture.
-Place them back into the oven for 10 minutes.
-Serve immediately.


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