Chow Bella

Chakra 4, Green and Pomegranate Cafe Chefs Offer Ideas for a Very Vegan Thanksgiving

Green's Vegan Thanksgiving Plate

​The Christmas table is focused on roast beef; the Easter table is all about ham; and even Independence Day features grilled hot dogs and hamburgers. Sure, Thanksgiving has a turkey, but it's also about everything else on the table -- vegetables and fruit pies! So stash that Tofurkey nonsense and take note....

We've put together our own vegan Thanksgiving table with help from local vegetarian/vegan chefs, who kindly contributed some of their favorite holiday dishes.

If you can't live without some semblance of turkey on the table, Chef Damon Brasch from Green New American Vegetarian has a recipe that will satisfy your holiday urges. Plus, if you don't feel up to assembling it yourself, you can buy tickets for Green's fourth annual thanksLIVING event to pick-up or dine-in at their Tempe location for a full vegan Thanksgiving menu. This isn't the typical meatless Tofurkey. Instead it's made with seitan, a "wheat meat," and then is coated with panko crumbs and hemp seeds. And what turkey is complete without the stuffing? The thanksLIVING stuffing is loaded with organic celery, red onion, walnuts, and cranberries.

For a fun twist on a classic side dish, try Coconut Curried Sweet Potatoes from Chakra 4's Kita Centella. These mashed sweet potatoes are flavored with coconut butter, coconut milk, curry powder, tamari sauce, and cinnamon, then finished with maple or agave syrup and walnuts or pecans. This dish is simple to make and would be tasty on any table - Thanksgiving or otherwise.

Hope you saved room for dessert. Pomegranate Café's Cassie Tolman has a decadent, flavorful vegan dessert that will challenge those butter, sugar, and cream-filled pastries. Pumpkin Persimmon Cheesecake is a no-bake dessert that's made entirely from raw, vegan, organic, seasonal ingredients. That's definitely something to be thankful for! Instead of feeling weighed down and sleepy after several helpings of turkey, gravy, and pumpkin pie, you'll want to get up and dance after enjoying this vegan Thanksgiving.

Want to make these dishes yourself? Find out how after the jump.

Green's thanksLIVING Turkey
Use about one pound of your favorite pre-made seitan from the grocery store, or make your own favorite recipe from scratch.

Wet marinade:
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups cold water
Mix ingredients into a batter and coat the seitan.

Dry coating:
3 cups panko
3 tablespoon hemp seeds

Dredge battered seitan through the dry panko and hemp seeds. Pan fry in vegetable oil until golden

Green's thanksLIVING Stuffing
2 bunches organic celery, chopped
1 organic red onion, chopped
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup vegan margarine
2 tablespoons salt
6 cups vegan chicken stock
2 tablespoons black pepper
½ cup agave nectar
1 cup chopped organic walnuts
1 cup dried organic cranberries (or any dried fruit)
16 oz. dry stuffing mix

Lightly cook onion and celery in olive oil; sweat for 5 minutes. Add stock, salt, pepper, agave nectar, and margarine until melted. Fold in stuffing mix. If too dry, add a bit of water. After the liquid is absorbed, fold in the fruit and nuts. Serve and enjoy!

Chakra 4's Coconut Curried Sweet Potatoes
This recipe doesn't have any exact measurements, sticking true to the homey spirit of Thanksgiving. Flavor to taste.

Start with 4 - 6 sweet potatoes. Peel, dice, cook until tender in water or vegetable stock (for better flavor).
Drain, return to pot. Add a big dollop of coconut butter, approx. 1/4 cup, adding more as desired for creaminess. Add approx. 1/2 to 1 cup coconut milk. Blend well.

A few dashes tamari sauce
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Add more curry if you need, a speckle at a time
Add more coconut milk for creaminess if needed

When the flavors make you pretty happy, transfer it to a serving bowl.
On the stove, warm the maple syrup and nuts. Do not boil.
Pour syrup over sweet potatoes, depending on the intensity of your sweet tooth.

Pumpkin Persimmon Cheesecake
The crust is made by pulsing walnuts and medjool dates in a food processor. For the filling, blend cashews, freshly grated sugar pumpkin, persimmons, pure maple syrup, pumpkin pie spices, and coconut oil in a high-speed blender.

Press the crust into a spring-form pan, pour the filling on top, freezer for two hours, and voila!

The Details:

Serves: 12+ 

Preparation time (including time to set): 3½ hours


2 1/2 c raw nut(s) of choice 

(i.e. almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc.) 

1/2-3/4 c dates or other dried fruit

Pinch salt


¼ c lemon juice

¼ c orange juice 

½ c agave

½ c melted coconut oil

2 c raw cashews

1 c persimmon

1-2 tsp pumpkin spice


¼ c lemon juice

¼ c orange juice 

½ c agave

½ c melted coconut oil

2 c raw cashews

1 c raw pumpkin

1-2 tsp pumpkin spice


1. To make the crust, grind nuts in a food processor. Add dates and process until well blended and mixture holds together.  

2. Sprinkle bottom of an 8" spring form pan with unsweetened coconut. Press crust mixture into pan and set aside. 

3. Place all persimmon filling ingredients into a blender and blend until mixture is very smooth. Pour over base and set in freezer.

4. Repeat process for pumpkin filling layer. Place back in freezer to set for about 2 hours.

5. Transfer to refrigerator about 1 hour before ready to serve.

6. Garnish with fresh pomegranate seeds if desired.

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