No turkey? No problem

It’s official. The holidays are here. And if you haven’t already, now it’s the time to start menu planning for Christmas and get your shopping…

Meatless meatloaf for Thanksgiving. (Shutterstock)

It’s official. The holidays are here. And if you haven’t already, now it’s the time to start menu planning for Christmas and get your shopping done for Thanksgiving.

This year, I’ll be cooking a whole lot of amazing and mouth-watering plant-based dishes for all of those who are either vegetarian or vegan, or simply wanting to try a new and healthier twist to this iconic and traditional meal. And even if you are not up to a change maybe this season, with turkey production falling into its lowest level since 1986 and wholesale prices hitting their highest, you might have a change of heart.

SEE ALSO: 7 ways to keep your sanity over Thanksgiving

Yet the holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas in particular, can be a very lonely time of the year for vegetarians and vegans.

For years, meatless eaters have been pretty much left out of the celebration with only side dishes to consume. (I’ve been there done that. Sigh.)

But today with all the meatless options ready at any supermarket, and all the countless and delicious choices of recipes available just one click away, the holidays and any other special occasion have turned into an exciting opportunity to inspire others and share how delicious and easy is to follow a plant-based lifestyle.

Whether you are an established meatless eater, a beginner, or someone who is not willing to break his wallet this Thanksgiving, these meatless recipes are you.

Meatless meatloaf for Thanksgiving


Yield: 4 servings

  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small eggplant, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-15 ounce can organic white cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (or any beans of your preference)
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice or quinoa, warm
  • 1 tomato, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup gluten-free breadcrumbs (or fresh, regular)
  • ¼ cup vegetable broth, organic, low sodium
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup raw walnuts, in pieces
  • ½ – ¾ cup pitted calamata olives, chopped
  • 1-8 ounce can organic tomato sauce


Preheat oven to 350 °F.

Brush an 8-inch square pan with olive oil.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat and sauté onion and eggplant until soft and lightly browned and until vegetables have reduced in size. Then stir in garlic and let cook 1 minute more until fragrant. Transfer to a large bowl and add beans, brown rice or quinoa, tomato, breadcrumbs, vegetable broth, salt, pepper, dried herbs, walnuts, and olives. Mix and mash the mixture with a large spoon until the mixture holds together. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Transfer the vegetable mixture into the prepared pan and pack it down very firmly.

Pour the marinara sauce on top of the meatloaf and cover the top of the loaf pan with foil.

Bake for 40 minutes, covered, then remove foil, and bake for another 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving with mushroom gravy (recipe below) and mashed potatoes.

Mushroom gravy

Learn how to make Mushroom Gravy.

Mushroom Gravy recipe. (Shutterstock)


Yields 3 cups

  • 2 cups sliced crimini and shiitake mushrooms
  • ¼ cup chopped yellow onion
  • ½ cup water, or as needed
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or more
  • 2 teaspoons Nama Shoyu or Braggs amino-acids, or to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon kelp
  • 1 Tablespoon dried sage
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped (optional)
  • Pinch celery seed
  • Pinch cayenne


Place all of the ingredients in a food processor with the S-blade or a blender and process on high-speed for 20 seconds or until you achieve a smooth, gravy-like consistency. Serve right away.

SEE ALSO: The spirit of charity and service on Thanksgiving