A Vegan Thanksgiving Feast

Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes
Vegan recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake

Traditions are made to be broken. And Thanksgiving is a great time to do that.

Have you ever wondered, for instance, why does everyone HAVE to eat turkey for Thanksgiving? I mean, why should mass-slaughtering millions of innocent and beautiful birds and putting them on our tables, belly up, be a great way to show we are grateful?

Of course, there are those who veer away from this tradition, like vegetarians and vegans. But somehow, we too can’t get too far from the turkey malarkey. So we rush out to buy fake turkeys, made with soy protein or what have you, and pretend it’s just as good as the real thing.

Somewhere, we lose sight of the fact that real vegan food, made with great, natural ingredients, can be just as good-and frankly even better than- that stuff the meat-eating world thinks they cannot live without.

As Thanksgiving drew closer this year, I often got the question: “What are you cooking for Thanksgiving? Tofurky?”

No way. Instead, here’s the gorgeous spread I served up. My main dish, Cauliflower “Malai” Kofta Curry with Whole-Wheat Puris, is so delicious and satisfying, it would satisfy the most hard-core meat-eaters. Koftas are little vegetable balls – kinda like meatballs, only tastier. You can make them with a variety of veggies, including cabbage and zucchini, but I went with cauliflower because it’s one of my favorite vegetables. Incidentally, these would be great appetizers by themselves, especially with a green mint or coriander chutney.

There’s some deep-frying involved in this dish, but if you deep fry at the appropriate temperature (350-375 degrees) the food absorbs almost no oil. Plus, it is a celebration and this is still much healthier than turkey fat and butter and whatnot.

To go with the curry and puris, I served up a side of Crunchy Edamame with Crispy Onions (replacing the tried-and-tired bean casserole) and Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Pineapples and Walnuts.

For dessert, we had the most scrumptious Pumpkin “Cheesecake” with a creamy filling and a divine nut crust. And, of course, it’s all 100 percent vegan.

So here’s my Thanksgiving feast, delicious, protein-rich, quite easy to cook, and meant to show my appreciation not just for the life I am lucky enough to lead, but also the lives of my fellow creatures of all kinds who make this world such a beautiful place.

Cauliflower Malai Kofta Curry, vegan recipe

Cauliflower “Malai” Kofta Curry

For the gravy:

1/3 cup cashew pieces, soaked in 1/2 cup water

1/3 cup pumpkin seeds, roasted and then soaked along with the cashews

2 green chilies, chopped

1/2 cup coriander leaves, chopped

Salt to taste

1 tbsp sugar

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp cumin seeds, roasted

1 tsp coriander seeds, ground

Mix all the ingredients and process in a food processor until smooth.

Pour into a heavy saucepan on medium heat until heated through. Add water if the gravy is too thick.

Set aside.

For the koftas:

4 cups cauliflower, finely grated (I passed the florets through the fine grater on my food processor)

1 cup chickpean flour (besan)

2 green chilies, chopped

1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves

1 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp turmeric (optional)

1/2 tsp baking powder

Mix all the ingredients and shape into balls about 3/4th of an inch in diameter.

Deep fry in hot oil until golden on the outside. Take care not to let the oil get too hot or the outside will be browned before the inside has a chance to cook.

Place in a bowl and pour the hot gravy over the balls.

Serve hot with whole-wheat puris.

Whole Wheat Puris


1 cup whole-wheat durum flour (use regular whole wheat if that’s what you have)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp oil

Using enough water, knead the above ingredients into a smooth dough. Set aside at least half hour.

Divide the flour into balls about 1/2-inch in diameter each.

Roll each ball into a flat round about 3-4 inches in diameter.

Deep fry in hot oil on each side until puffed and golden.

Mashed sweet potatoes with pineapple and walnuts, vegan

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Pineapple and Walnuts

2 large sweet potatoes. Poke holes all over each sweet potato with a fork or small knife and then zap in a microwave about 10 minutes until tender and cooked all over. When cooled enough, peel and pass through a potato ricer or just mash with a potato masher.

1/2 cup finely chopped pineapple

1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped

2 tbsp soy creamer (I used Silk)

Mix all the ingredients together well and add salt only if you need it.

Edamame with Caramelized Onions
Crunchy Edamame with Onions

1 tbsp canola or other vegetable oil

1 large red onion, finely sliced

1/4 tsp red chilli powder

2 cups shelled edamame beans (soy beans), microwaved for a couple of minutes if frozen, until they are just tender but have a strong bite.

Heat the oil and fry the sliced onion until browned and quite crispy.

Remove about 3/4 of the onions from the oil and reserve.

To the remaining onions, add the edamame and salt to taste.

Toss together and turn off heat. Top with remaining onions and serve hot.

Pumpkin Cheesecake, vegan recipe
Pumpkin “Cheesecake”

For the nut crust:

2 cups walnuts (can use pecans)

2 tbsp vegan “butter” like Earth Balance or Smart Balance (the vegan version)

2 tbsp canola or other vegetable oil

3 tbsp sugar

A pinch of salt

In a food processor, process the nuts until they resemble crumbs. Add the “butter”, oil, sugar and salt and process briefly until the mixture comes together.

Pat the crust into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 9- or 10-inch springform pan.

Bake 10 minutes until it starts to brown and becomes quite firm. Set aside to cool completely.

For the pumpkin filling:

2/3 cup turbinado sugar + 1 tbsp maple syrup (can substitute with regular dark brown sugar)

1/2 tsp powdered cinnamon

1 tsp cardamom powder

1/4 tsp powdered cloves

In a large bowl, beat until just smooth:

16 ounces vegan “cream cheese” (I used Tofutti’s Better-than-cream-cheese)

Scrape the sides of the bowl and the beaters. Add the sugar and spices and mix briefly until everything blends in.

Add 16 ounces of silken tofu, in three portions, beating well after each addition.

Add and mix until just mixed:

1 cup pumpkin puree

Pour the filling into the crust.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place a loaf pan or any other pan filled with water in the oven.

Slide the springform pan on a baking sheet and place in the oven.

Bake the cheesecake for 30 minutes.

Turn the heat down to 325 degrees and continue baking for another 20 minutes.

When the cheesecake is done, the sides will be set and puffy but the center will still jiggle when tapped.

Remove to a rack and cool completely. Chill before serving.

Enjoy, everyone, and hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

28 thoughts on “A Vegan Thanksgiving Feast

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Curry Leaf

    November 30, 2008 at 8:23pm

    Now I know you had a delish Thanksgiving.Love the feast and has bookmarked everything.

  2. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    November 30, 2008 at 11:40pm

    Wow! So, that is what you have been cooking up! Awesome spread.

  3. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    December 1, 2008 at 12:26am

    Oh my god, what an awesome spread. Cauliflower koftas are new to me and they look so so tempting Vaishali.

  4. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    December 1, 2008 at 2:27am

    Wow.. thats a great spread and healthier I agree :)

  5. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Gita's Kitchen

    December 1, 2008 at 2:38am

    Wow so many yummy dishes, loved everything Vaishali, the pictures look great :)

  6. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    December 1, 2008 at 2:57am

    Hmm someone is enjoying Thanks giving in a delicious way ;-)
    Malaikoftas with cauliflower are very innovative coz all the sorts of malaikoftas that i had come across call for boiled potatoes as base
    Pumpkin cheesecake is in To-make list since long time,so will like to try it out.But could it be done on stove top??

  7. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    December 1, 2008 at 3:38am

    What a feast, Vaishu! Everything looks lovely. I was going to make malai kofta with cashew paste too:) It tastes better than the creamy one! I am still getting myself used to pumpkin in desserts before I get down to making it!! Hey, the word verification today is bad! It says ‘obese’:)

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    December 1, 2008 at 3:58am

    i am so going to try the koftas…they look fab… that’s a wonderful spread…and waaaay better than any tofurkey!! happy thanksgiving….today there’s a lot i am thankful for…

  9. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    December 1, 2008 at 4:49am

    I want to have Thanksgiving at your house! Malai kofta was one of my favorite Indian foods before going vegan…

  10. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Jayashree Mudaliar

    December 1, 2008 at 5:56am

    Wonderful Thanksgiving spread…Especially the Pumpkin Cheese cake.. Would love to try it out!!!

  11. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    December 1, 2008 at 7:31am

    Tats a great Thanksgiving menu Vaishali…loved ur pumpkin cheesecake…Happy thanksgiving..

  12. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    December 1, 2008 at 6:17pm

    Wonderful vegan menu Vaishu. Koftas are very luxurious! Hope u had a great day.

  13. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    December 1, 2008 at 10:41pm

    What an amazing feast Vaishali! The pooris have puffed up perfectly, the cauliflower kofthas look tempting too. Nice touch on the edmame beans too!

  14. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    December 1, 2008 at 10:45pm

    what a feast! I wish I was there to eat all these wonderful dishes.

  15. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    December 2, 2008 at 12:48pm

    Wow, what a spread, loved your variation to the “malai” kofta, will definitely give it a try:-)

  16. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Malar Gandhi

    December 3, 2008 at 4:21pm

    Sounds like a feast. Malai kofta curry is very inviting and so does the cheese cake too….

  17. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    December 3, 2008 at 5:14pm

    Great entry! And you totally made my day, because Malai Kofta is my and my sister’s favourite Indian dish ever. I’ll print the recipe and cook it for her at Christmas. Thank you so, so much!

  18. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    December 4, 2008 at 4:54am

    Hi! Thanks for the recipes! The malai kafta looks amazing! I am still intimidated by cooking indian food, but your recipes are inspiring. I can’t wait to cook one of your recipes!

  19. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    December 4, 2008 at 9:17am

    What a spread Vaishali – scrumptious!!! The kofta curry especially looks very tempting!


  20. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    December 4, 2008 at 3:56pm

    What a lovely thanksgiving meal that is.. Malai koftas with cauliflower is new to me – great idea.

  21. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    December 5, 2008 at 9:27am

    Simply awesome spread! I couldn’t believe vegan cheesecake was possible. I am going to look for vegan butter and cheese next time to the market!

  22. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    December 9, 2008 at 7:33pm

    What a laborious spread! Everything looks fabulous and decadent..yet guilt free:)

  23. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    December 9, 2008 at 9:42pm

    Thats a lovely and unique thanksgiving meal Vaishali…noticed the addition of pumpkin seeds to the gravy…i sometimes use sunflower or watermelon seeds too.

  24. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    January 25, 2012 at 4:33pm

    Good one.. But where to get ‘vegan cheese cream’ in India.

  25. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    March 25, 2012 at 7:57pm

    help, the gravy turned out too spicy HOT!! what can I add
    to reduce the hotness??

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply


      March 26, 2012 at 1:21pm

      There’s not much you can do after you’ve added the spice– you have to adjust the spice to your liking before you add it to the recipe. Try squeezing on some lemon juice– it might help.

  26. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    March 26, 2012 at 3:40pm

    thanks! what I did was made another batch of the gravy without the chilies and it worked out great!! yes I have to remember one chili would be good for me. I love this recipe,so did my non vegan friend he was shocked!

  27. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Sonal Chowdhary

    January 13, 2013 at 1:36pm

    Hi Vaishali- Yesterday I hosted a lunch for friends where I served your Malai-Kofta and the Veggie Pot Pie. For the first time, I didn’t have any left overs! Hubby also said that this is by far the best lunch we’ve hosted taste wise. Thank you so much for your amazing recipes :)

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