Currently typing this up at around 9:30 P.M., aka what I’d consider to be midnight. Want to know what midnight feels like for me? 3:00 in the morning. In all seriousness, this season has brought me nothing but mayhem, hence why I’ve been completely exhausted these past few weeks. However, each day has been fulfilling in its own right, so I try to enjoy them all in their unique respects. Specifically, today was especially celebrated and serves as an excuse to cook up some fancy homemade meals and gain some high-quality time with the family.
Knowing this, I have written about Thanksgiving’s origins in the past and I still stand by my case. However, this doesn’t mean I don’t choose to partake in the feasting, cooking, bonding time, and volunteering opportunities around me. Two years ago, I volunteered at Cafe Gratitude, then the next Thanksgiving I attended three different feasts (an Asian food potluck, a vegan potluck, and tasted a ginormous vegan turkey!). This time, we kept everything more family-oriented and put in heaps more effort with dinner planning.
For my personal menu, I wanted to innovate two recipes that married my favorite ingredients and maintained somewhat of a sense of tradition to the holiday. Below I present THREE of the most wonderful recipes that are perfect for any party of holiday feast–sweet potato wedges and two types of apple crisp! All of these recipes can be catered to meet any dietary preferences. If you want to switch the sugar and fat in the sweet potato wedges, you can replace the maple syrup with sugar free maple syrup and omit the oil. Need a gluten free spin on the unhealthy apple crisp? Just replace the wheat with gluten free oat flour and rolled oats. There really is a heap of versatility for these dishes, which delight me!
SWEET AND SALTY SWEET POTATOES (serves 6)
- 3 lb sweet potatoes; I used Japanese and purple sweet potatoes
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 2 TBSP coconut oil
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt +1 extra tsp for garnishing
PROCEDURE (sweet potatoes)
- Preheat the oven to 450F.
- Thoroughly rinse and scrub the sweet potatoes. Slice into coins or wedges.
- In a mixing bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the maple syrup and the coconut oil.
- Roast for 25-30 minutes or until the sweet potato pieces reach your desired level of texture, browning, and aroma.
- Remove from the oven and serve warm, cold, or room temperature. Leftovers can be refrigerated up to 3-4 days or frozen for a few months (though this storage method is not recommended).
SINGLE-SERVING VEGAN APPLE CRISP RECIPE (oil free, gluten free, sugar free) (serves 1)
- 1/4 cup gluten free rolled oats
- 1-2 TBSP sugar free maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- Granola, optional (or just use all granola if you’re a lazy bum like me)
- 1 large apple, approximately 8 ounces
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup sugar free maple syrup
PROCEDURE (healthy apple crisp)
- Peel the apples and cut into thin slices. As you cut each apple, place the peeled apple slices into the bowl with water. This prevents the slices from browning.
- Set a non-stick skillet on medium-low heat. Mix in the maple syrup and cinnamon.
- Saute in the apples, coating each slice with the syrup. Continue mixing until the apples are mostly softened. Remove from the heat and let sit to soften more.
- In a small mixing bowl, stir the rolled oats, cinnamon, and sugar free maple syrup together until a crumble-like texture is formed.
- Place the apples in a small serving bowl and top with the crumble.
APPLE CRISP RECIPE (contains oil, gluten, and sugar…lots of brown sugar …but it’s worth it!) (serves 6) (recipe adapted from Texanerin’s gluten free apple crisp)
- 75 grams all purpose flour, approximately 13 TBSP
- 115 grams all purpose flour or rolled oats, approximately 1 1/4 cups
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
- 9 TBSP of melted coconut oil
- 1/3 cup rolled oats, optional
- 3 lb apples
- A large mixing bowl filled with room temperature water
- 2 TBSP all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 lb apples
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a large mixing bowl, completely integrate the crumble ingredients, yielding a dry and somewhat soft crumble. Set aside.
- Peel the apples and cut into thin slices. Submerge the slices in the bowl of water to prevent browning. When finished with all the apples, drain the water.
- Place the apples in a separate large mixing bowl. Toss in the rest of the filling ingredients until each apple slice is completely coated in the wet mixture
- Spray a shallow casserole dish or pie tin with nonstick spray or a light layer of oil.
- Fill the dish/tin with the apples. Top the apples with the crumble mixture.
- Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Let the filling thicken and cool before serving.
Happy holidays! How did you celebrate Thanksgiving?