Ayurvedic Alternative Thanksgiving Menu

I well remember my first Thanksgiving, crowded into a London bedsit. I was a medical student in London and supplementing my student grant as an usherette at the National Theatre. One of the usherettes was American, and organized a diverse group of National Theatre employees and international students to create a Thanksgiving feast! Here is a vegetarian or vegan, gluten free, Ayurvedic Thanksgiving menu. You could create a vegetarian Thanksgiving or use these recipes to add variety to the traditional turkey dinner.

The Menu

  • Baked Delicata Squash with Red Quinoa and Pumpkin Seed Stuffing
  • Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad with pecans
  • Puree de batata (Moroccan mashed potatoes)
  • 'Yam'/Sweet Potato Halva
  • Cranberry Apple Chutney

 

Baked Delicata Squash with Quinoa and Pumpkin Seed Stuffing

A note: I could only source sweetened dried cranberries, so I omitted them entirely and the recipe was still delicious!

Recipe courtesy of Chef Peter Berley author of The Flexitarian Table

Serves 8

Ingredients

2 cups quinoa
4 tablespoons unsalted butter or coconut oil
sea salt or Kosher salt
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1/2 cup dried red cranberries
1/4 cup dried currants
1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
freshly ground black pepper
4 medium Delicata squash, halved lengthwise, seeds and membranes removed
extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing

Method

1. Adjust a rack to the middle shelf of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

2. Simmer the quinoa in 4 cups of water until fluffy, 15 to 20 minutes.

3. While the quinoa cooks, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the carrots, celery, ginger, and sage and 1/2 tsp salt.

4. Cover the pan and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 5 to 7 minutes (add a tablespoon of water, if necessary, to prevent scorching.)

5. In a large bowl, toss together the quinoa and vegetables. Stir in the dried fruit, pumpkin seeds, nutmeg, and cinnamon, season with salt and pepper.

6. Brush the skin of the squash lightly with oil. Place the squash, cut side down, in a baking pan large enough to hold them in a snug single layer.

7. Pour ½-inch of boiling water into the pan and bake for 20 minutes (you want the squash to have softened slightly, but not completely). Transfer the squash to a plate and let rest until cool enough to handle.

8. Stuff the squash halves with the quinoa mixture, return them, stuffing-up, to the pan, and bake until the flesh can be easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 20 to 30 minutes.

Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad

A note: we used garden beets, a mixture of golden and red. Mixing two colours of beets gives a nice colour contrast.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 large golden beets (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 oz baby arugula leaves, washed (about 2 large handfuls)
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 oz goat feta or soy cheese
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Method

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Wash the beets and coat with 1 tbsp of the oil. Wrap in several layers of foil and bake for 1 hour or until tender. Let cool to room temp or refrigerate. This may be done in advance.

With a knife, scrap off the beet skin, and cut in 1-inch cubes. Add to a mixing bowl, and add the rest of the ingredients, except the goat cheese. Toss well to combine, and divide on to 4 plates. Crumble over the cheese, and serve.

Pure de batata (Moroccan mashed potatoes)

Serves 16 as a side dish

Ingredients

5 large baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tbsp Olive Oil (or as needed)
1.5 tsp Turmeric powder (or as needed to create a primrose colour)
1.5 tsp Salt (or to taste)
1 tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp ground cumin

Method

Boil the potatoes over medium-high heat and cook for about 20 minutes, till they can be easily pierced with a fork. When the potatoes are done, drain them and mash well. Add turmeric, salt, black pepper and cumin.

Add the remaining olive oil. Mix well to make the potatoes creamy.

'Yam'/Sweet Potato Halva

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 4 medium 'yams' i.e. orange/golden sweet potatoes
  • 4 tbsp. ghee or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. green cardamom powder
  • ¼ cup chopped almonds

Method

  1. Boil yams in their skin. When cool, peel and mash. Add and mix cardamom powder
  2. Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed pan.
  3. Fry mashed yams, stirring frequently, until ghee begins to separate. The halva tastes better when fried well.
  4. Cook, stirring all the time, for a further 2-3 minutes.
  5. Turn off heat and add 2/3rd of the nuts. Mix.
  6. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with remaining nuts. Serve hot.

Link to Cranberry Apple Chutney

Alakananda Ma M.B., B.S. (Lond.) is a Certified Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is a well known and highly respected practitioner in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.

Enliven your holistic health! Visit Alakananda Ma in Alandi Ashram’s ayurvedic clinic to support the overall rejuvenation of your body, mind, and spirit. In-person and virtual appointments available. Book now!