These vegan Thanksgiving recipes will satisfy your holiday cravi - KCTV5 News

These vegan Thanksgiving recipes will satisfy your holiday cravings

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With the holidays around the corner, how many of us are already thinking of the turkey and mashed potatoes? But what if you couldn’t cook with any animal products? (Graphicstock) With the holidays around the corner, how many of us are already thinking of the turkey and mashed potatoes? But what if you couldn’t cook with any animal products? (Graphicstock)

With the holidays around the corner, how many of us are already thinking of the turkey and mashed potatoes? But what if you couldn’t cook with any animal products?

At KCTV5, when you’re chasing breaking news it can be hard to eat healthy on the job. But, for news photographer Michael Ross, there's a new challenge.

"Anything I used to eat a lot of, pizza or whatever it is, when I see it I still get those urges that say, 'Oh, that would be so nice,'" Ross said.

To be healthier, Ross and his family became vegan two months ago. But with the holidays around the corner the newly vegan family isn't sure what do it yet.

"If you're going to ask me about Thanksgiving, I have no idea what we're going to do for Thanksgiving yet," Ross said.

And Heidi VanPelt, chef-owner of FüD Restaurant, says Ross is not alone. She's been vegan for more than 20 years. From experience, she says the holidays are the most difficult part of being vegan.

"When you've grown up eating meats like I did it took me years to reinvent the holidays for myself," VanPelt said.

She says the secret to a tasty holiday dish is all about a key ingredient.

"I really think you can never have too much thyme," she said.

That's how she came up with her recipe Gravy Thyme. It doesn't contain any animal products, just soy sauce, onion, garlic and, of course, thyme.

The main dish is a bit more hearty with Savory Pumpkin Stuffing. Pumpkin will be the star of the dish. Then add mushrooms, celery, onions and even apple. Next come your spices of sage, parsley, rosemary and thyme.

On her dinner menu, VanPelt also has other recipes like Rainbow Cranberry Swirl, Persimmon Pumpkin Parfait and Shitake Chowder.

The great thing about the recipes, VanPelt says, is that the ingredients are easy to get without breaking the bank. Which is great news for the growing number of vegans in the metro. VanPelt has even had to close up shop to move somewhere bigger.

"I have seen the growth in our restaurant which is why we had to move locations because our restaurant was too small," she said.

While the vegan fad continues to boom, for Ross and his family, it's not just a dietary change, it's a new lifestyle.

"We have the support of each other it just makes it easier to do," Ross said.

Savory Pumpkin Stuffing


1 whole carved pumpkin to be stuffed as the centerpiece

4 cups cooked wild rice

6 cups chopped pumpkin

4 cups shiitakes or crimini mushrooms

2 diced apples

2 cups minced onion

2 cups chopped celery

1/3 cup currants

1 baguette, chopped (optional)

1/2 head of Cauliflower

sage, parsley, thyme, rosemary

1 T salt

2 cups water or vegetable broth

1/4 cup olive oil (more if needed)


In a stock pot add olive oil, sauté onion, celery, apples, cauliflower and chopped pumpkin with 1/4 C each of fresh herbs of sage, parsley, thyme and rosemary.

Cook until onions are translucent. Salt to taste

Add shiitake mushrooms and continue to stir. Add salt to taste

Add the entire baguette chopped and stir.

Add two cups water or broth. Add currants and cooked wild rice. Stir and add salt if needed.

Stuff in pre-baked giant orange pumpkin and place in the center of the table.

Gravy Thyme


1/4 cup soy sauce or 1 cup chopped crimini mushrooms

1/2 tsp. salt or more if you're not using soy sauce

1/3 cup minced onion or 1 T onion powder

4 cloves garlic minced or 1 tsp. garlic powder

6 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme

1/4 C oil

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 cup flour, rice or white

2 Cups water plus more


Using a small saucepan add oil, salt, garlic, onion, thyme, pepper. Cook until pasty or the onions are translucent.

Add soy sauce or chopped mushrooms and cook.

Add flour to the water and stir well. Add it to the heated mixture. Allow to thicken and cook. Add salt to taste

Shiitake Chowder


2 cups shiitakes, destemmed

2 cups cubed & peeled potatoes

1 cup minced onion

1 cup finely chopped carrot

1 cup diced celery

1 bay leaf

1 qt. Non-dairy milk

dash of black & white pepper

2 tsp. salt to taste

Olive oil

1/2 C flour, white or rice

2 T seaweed, dulse or wakame


In a small stockpot sauté onion, carrot, celery in oil.

Add potatoes and salt. Add shiitakes and shredded seaweed and cook.

Add more salt and pepper. Add flour to 2 cups non-dairy milk, stir. Add to heated mixture. Add bay leaves.

Cook until potatoes are tender. Add more water if needed.

Serve with a lemon wedge and chopped fresh parsley on top.

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