The Meatless Monday Thanksgiving Project

November 22nd, 2010


With Thanksgiving (and the start of the holiday season) just around the corner now is the perfect time to commit to healthy, plant based options each Monday. To help you through this week, we’ve recruited some of our favorite celebrity chefs and health activists. Each has graciously shared their favorite meatless dish of the season, along with what they’re giving thanks for this year.

We at Meatless Monday are thankful to those who have taken steps each week to make the world a healthier place. We encourage you to share your favorite meatless holiday recipes and what you’re thankful for in the comments section below.

Maria Rodale

MARIA RODALE

Not only is this cranberry sauce vegetarian, it’s vegan and raw. This was my Mother’s recipe. I also like to eat it as dessert with whipped cream (not vegan!) It’s fresh, tart and sassy. Kind of like me!

This Thanksgiving I’m thankful for some quiet time at home alone with my family. From my newly married daughter and son-in-law, my husband, my 13-year old and 4-year old kids, it’s not often we get a few days at home together with no travels, no agenda and no social obligations. Heaven! I might even get to do some needlepoint in front of a fire. I could say I’m thankful for something a lot less selfish, and I am — but sometimes it’s just the little things that make it all worthwhile.

Katie Lee

KATIE LEE

Every Thanksgiving, my grandma made a pumpkin roll. It’s kind of like a pumpkin version of a jelly roll crossed with a yule log! I love the moist pumpkin sponge cake with the cream cheese frosting.

I am thankful for the time I get to spend in or near the ocean. I find the ocean to be invigorating and calming at the same time, and it brings me peace. I just hope we all start taking better care of it.

MARIO BATALI

MARIO BATALI

Arancini, or Sicilian rice balls, have been a traditional Italian favorite since the 10th century. Serve them up to family and friends this Thanksgiving with this easy yet delicious recipe.

I am thankful for my family.



KATHY FRESTON

KATHY FRESTON

This Thanksgiving, I’m following Tal Ronnen’s menu exactly. With his recipes, I’m always guaranteed that my meat eating friends and family will love it. The Gardein “turkey” is hearty and traditional, and the side dishes are festive and gorgeous AND easy to make!

I’m thankful for the progress that seems to be happening in terms of eating less animals.

MOLLIE KATZEN

MOLLIE KATZEN

Thanksgiving is more vegetarian-friendly than one might think, as there are umpteen side dishes weighting down the table. Still, a non-meat preferer needs a focal point, and here is a lovely, succinct, easy, non-oven-space-claiming main dish that will draw appreciative focus. Bonus, it’s really pretty.

I am thankful for the incredible, loving long-term relationships in my life, and for health, and for a sense of sane hope that seems to persist and adapt and find its pathways through everything (most things) crazy.

LAURIE DAVID

LAURIE DAVID

Here is what we do with the delicata squash from my garden. This dish is great. It is sweet, tangy, savory and beautiful all at once… and even better you can make it earlier in the day and just heat it up right before serving your family dinner.

Which brings me to what am I grateful for… family dinners. Through thick and thin we have sat down with each other almost every night. And those are moments I will always be grateful to have.

JOSH VIERTEL

JOSH VIERTEL

This dessert is versatile, and cooks while dinner is being eaten. It works with any fruit in season, and it works with fruit you have frozen, or with jam as well. Right now, it is great with thinly sliced apples. I’m particularly fond of it with Winesaps. The recipe comes from my mom, who I believe got the recipe from Al Forno in Providence, RI.

I am thankful for the 1,000 people who volunteer to lead Slow Food’s work across the nation. They are building an incredible community for people working to transform food and farming. Some build school gardens, others set-up farmers markets, or glean food from local farms and donate it to food banks. Others run canning workshops, or hold monthly potlucks. Every day I am thankful for what they do.

Kerry Trueman

KERRY TRUEMAN

Thanksgiving is that rare American holiday when veggies really get to shine. With all those classic side dishes featuring the glories of the fall harvest–the pumpkins, parsnips, apples, sweet potatoes, cranberries, and so on–would you even miss the turkey if your Thanksgiving meal took a pass on the poultry? If you’re going to go to the trouble of lovingly preparing your Thanksgiving feast from scratch, why not make your own “Fo-Turkey” while you’re at it?

Before I dig in to a splendid meal this Thursday with friends and family, I’ll be giving thanks for the generosity, compassion, tolerance, good humor and courage that millions of folks display in this country every day.

MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN

MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN

This tart, uncooked cranberry relish was long ago dubbed “Pucker Up Cranberry Relish.” It’s incredibly easy to make (as are most cranberry sauces) – just throw everything in the food processor and pulse. The orange is used peel and all, so make sure you use an organic one. You can use a little more honey than the recipe calls for if you wish (1/2 cup rather than 1/3), and walnuts can stand in for pecans. I love having leftovers – I eat them with my yogurt for breakfast and until there’s no more. Then I wonder why I only make this relish at Thanksgiving.

At Thanksgiving time, I’m particularly thankful for our wonderful farmers markets; their special holiday buzz begins around now and lasts through the New Year.

CHEF ANN COOPER

CHEF ANN COOPER

Here’s a recipe for the butternut squash croutons to mix up your salad for thanksgiving.

I’m thankful for all of the folks across the country working to bring more nourishing food to kids in schools, especially all of the unsung heroes: the lunch ladies! Of course I’m also thankful for all the kids who are willing to try new foods and prove that kids can eat and enjoy foods like leafy greens, legumes and whole grains!

DAPHNE OZ

DAPHNE OZ

Here is my recipe for a favorite (if indulgent) vegetarian Thanksgiving side dish that I love.

I am grateful for the wonderful first three months of marriage I have enjoyed and, of course my husband! I am also grateful for the love and support of my family, and that we are all happy and healthy!

KIM O'DONNEL

KIM O’DONNEL

I would have to say that a hot heaping mound of mashed potatoes is my perennial favorite at Thanksgiving, but this year, that old fave gets a healthful makeover, and it’s called Dino Mash, a recipe from my new book, The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook. Inspired by colcannon, a classic Irish combination of mashed spuds and cabbage, I substitute dinosaur kale (hence, the Dino reference), a ruffly dark green leafy variety that adds color and texture to my dairy-free, roasted garlicky mash. P.S. You won’t miss the buttah. Seriously.

I’m thankful for so many things — my health, my husband and the roof over our heads among them — but this year, I’m particularly grateful for the unconditional kindness and nurturing support from my family of friends.