Saturday, November 20, 2010

Our Thanksgiving Menu

Our first Thanksgiving 3 years ago was an adventure in experimentation.  Bob and I were quite happy with the results of my mad scientist efforts in creating a healthy and festive meal for this special occasion.   Traditionally we always have another (carnivorous) couple over the next day for leftovers.  I was worried how it was going to go over with them but they loved it!  So here is my menu for the big day to help anyone over the hump of thinking that holidays might be a bit of a drag going without the usual turkey, marshmellowed yams, heavy oily stuffing and mountains of buttery desserts.   You will not feel cheated and if you are going to someone else's home for Thanksgiving, everything can be made in advance and go with you to rewarm elsewhere..self-defense cooking is a must and everyone else will want to taste what you have!

Do realize that this is a "feast" menu, meant to be enjoyed just a few times a year.  The sesame glaze is a high density calorie food and the dessert is high in sugar.

Thanksgiving Menu

Mushroom Lentil Loaf
Green Beans with Sesame Seed Glaze
Baked Japanese Sweet Potatoes
Spinach Greens with Garlic Mustard Dressing
Baked Apple-Berry Crumble


1½ cups red lentils cooked in advance in 2½ cups water until tender, then partially mash in cooking water (doing this the day before is very helpful)
2 medium onions, chopped
2 large portobello mushrooms, diced
red wine, vegetable broth or water for sauteing
2 cups packed fresh spinach, chopped
1 15 oz can diced no-salt tomatoes and juice
2 cups brown rice, cooked (another do-ahead)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp Mrs. Dash's garlic and herb seasoning blend
½ tsp dried marjoram
¼ - ½ cup ketchup or barbecue sauce
[best sauces are “Bone Suckin' Sauce” BBQ sauce (my favorite) or Muir Glen ketchup]

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Stir-fry onions and mushrooms in wine, broth or water in a nonstick pan. Add spinach and cook, covered, until spinach wilts.
  3. Add onions and mushrooms, tomatoes, rice, garlic, sage, Mrs. Dash, and marjoram to lentils in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
  4. Press into a 9x5 inch loaf pan and spread ketchup or BBQ sauce on top.
  5. Bake for 45 – 60 minutes. Serve with more sauce drizzled over slices.

If you have any leftovers this makes great sandwich material.


The Beans:
2-3 lbs of fresh green and yellow wax beans rinsed and looked over.

Steam beans for approximately 25 minutes then turn into an oven proof baking dish.

The Glaze:

4 TBS sesame seeds
2 tsps honey
2 tsps low-sodium tamari sauce

  1. Toast sesame seeds in the oven or in a pan, watching carefully so they don't burn. Place in a small grinder or food processor and process just until ground.
  2. Put sesame seeds in a small bowl and add honey and tamari. Stir until mixed and just crumbly. Add to hot green beans. Gently toss and keep warm in low oven until time to serve.

Both beans and glaze may be made in advance, then mixed together and warmed about 15 – 20 minutes before serving.


4 – 6 small sized Japanese sweet potatoes (sometimes also called oriental yams) depending on number of people. At least one potato per person. But these are delicious and you will want some extras for possible seconds.

Any type of sweet potato or yam will do. We like the  jewel or garnet yams.

I simply scrub and place in a convection or regular oven and bake at 350 – 360 degrees for about 1 ½ hours. Leave in oven to keep warm. Serve as is...they just don't need anything else.


Fresh spinach, well washed and coarsely chopped...set aside in salad bowl.


In a jar with tight lid combine
2 cloves fresh garlic finely minced or pressed
2 TBS of Dijon Mustard or your favorite spicy mustard
½ cup balsamic vinegar
juice of 1 lime

Shake well, adjust for your own taste
Serve greens and dressing separately for guests to add dressing as they choose.


5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 cup blackberries, chopped
1 cup raspberries, halved
1 cup blueberries
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup buckwheat flour
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup rolled oats

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine apples, berries, ¼ cup brown sugar and ½ tsp cinnamon; toss to blend. Place apple-berry mixture in a 1 ½ to 2 quart baking dish.  (I cheat and use a disposable aluminum baking pan - no gooey washing)
  2. In medium bowl combine flour, remaining ¼ cup brown sugar, and 1 tsp cinnamon. With pastry blender or two knives, cut in mashed bananas and then add in the oats. Spoon on the banana/oat topping over the apple-berry in baking dish covering apples as much as possible. Bake 40 – 45 minutes until apples are tender and topping is getting crispy.

Note: frozen berries are fine if fresh are not available.



  1. yum! Thanks for the alternative! They all sound delicious!

    Farley's CS friend Julie

  2. The glaze for the beans, sounds good for carrots also!

  3. That is the way to eat Sweet Potatoes for sure. The spinach and apple crumb sounds great also. I'm not so sure about the meat loaf though.

  4. Cheryl, not meat loaf! Mushroom loaf...LOL.

  5. I'm always on the lookout for a good veggie loaf. I appreciate your blog - it's good to connect with others following this eating plan for their health. I still have to cook a turkey for the rest of my extended family, who still, after more than 5 years, find our eating plan "extreme" even though it has kept my husband's stented arteries clear. (Never would have done those if we had discovered McDougall earlier!)

  6. Thank you Farley - you guys are going to be eating real good on Thanksgiving!!


  7. "rcb17408 said...

    I still have to cook a turkey for the rest of my extended family,"

    Many years ago when Bob and I were "vegetarian" I just didn't want the odor of turkey and grease filling up my kitchen. The other family that shared our holiday would graciously cook a turkey at their home and then bring it here. Everyone who wanted the traditional SAD meal got one, but my kitchen stayed free of the grease and I didn't have to handle a turkey carcass. The interesting thing is that guests ate the traditional food along with the healthier.

    Could you possibly have your extended family prepare a turkey beforehand if they aren't coming from too far away?

    New Traditions!

  8. Re still cooking turkey: Hopefully I can try that next year - my one daughter did it one year, but she has been having a bad time with her crohns disease recently. (She won't give up her fish and chicken - thinks she needs it for protein since she can't eat beans - I've tried to explain you can do it without beans, but so far no luck. Sent her Dr. McDougalls link for free lecture on autoimmune diseases when it first came out) My sister is still reeling from the unexpected death of her husband. Other family members aren't "cooks". I just can't seem to have everyone "get" that "lowfat" is not good enough with the side dishes either. I'll keep trying cause I love them all! They will eat my fatfree sides without complaint - but that means I do alot of cooking! (Usually everyone brought a side dish)

    Farley, do you really take an entire meal with you if you go to someone else's house - and if you do, don't they think you are a "food snob"?

    Thanks for your encouragement and the great recipes.


  9. Linda we have had a variety of experiences with bringing food along. I gage carefully the personality of the host/hostess and the type of event before bringing food. I don't bring an entire meal but I have brought my rice cooker and another small slowcooker with a chili or soup item in it. I make sure I have a lot since the other guests are interested sometimes in what we eat. If I think it's going to cause some stress with the hostess, we eat a full meal in advance. There is typically a salad which Bob can enjoy without dressing or with vinegar provided by the host. Some of our friends try to cook at least one item that is whole plant food and oil free. The problem with that (this occurred recently) is there can be a processed item in the dish that might have oil or high salt content, which never occurred to them to be a problem.

    It's a rocky road sometimes trying not to insult well-meaning friends and protect yourself at the same time. I found after I had been eating this way for about 6 months, losing weight without trying, feeling fantastic and of course having Bob reversing all his diseases, to be intimidating to a couple of friends. They don't invite me anymore to lunches etc. Their status is so threatened by good health and our ability to make just astounds me sometimes.

    Just keep cooking the good food for you and your husband. All you can do is set a good example and let others make their choices. It's hard not to whack them over the head with a 2x4 sometimes, I know.

  10. Thanks for sharing Marley - I really appreciate it! We'll keep on keeping on - we've experienced some of the same things and find it challenging to say the least - but feeling good and staying healthy really do outweigh the uncomfortable times. My husband's doctor says she has never had a patient as motivated as he is to make these lifestyle changes. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Linda

  11. Happy Thanksgiving to you and family.

  12. Thank you both for sharing these recipes. I made the Lentil Loaf last night and it was wonderful. I did leave out the mushrooms as I have a strong dislike for them, but even my SAD hubby liked it. Normally, he curls his nose up at my no added fat/vegan food, but couldn't resist trying it after smelling it cooking for an hour, lol. Thank you, again and keep the recipes coming.

  13. Danielle so glad you both enjoyed it. That aroma can't be beat. I think because of the sage making it smell a lot like (turkey) stuffing will rope anyone in.

  14. Just found your blog, thanks for all these posting, and thanks for the Loaf recipe, I am always on the lookout for new recipes which are healthy whole foods!

  15. How fun to see your recipes here Farley! Thanks for sharing.

  16. I saved the whole menu thanks for sharing.