Gena’s Mostly Raw, All Vegan Thanksgiving Menu


Hey all!

There’s nothing like an imminent holiday weekend to destroy one’s concentration. If today is any indication of my capacity for focus (it began with a half-terrifying, half-comical spill on the treadmill, and ended with my absentmindedly confusing vinegar and soy sauce in the kitchen), then Thanksgiving can’t come soon enough. What I have been able to focus on – finally! – is a high-raw, all vegan Thanksgiving menu for you to enjoy and share with loved ones!

As I was creating this menu (and the recipes on it) I had a few goals in mind:

•   Simplicity. There are some folks who like to spend four hours basting a bird or half a day freezing pastry dough. Let them. I prefer to spend no more than forty-five minutes working on a dish–and that’s a generous window in my world. Some marinating aside, each of the following dishes takes no more than forty-five minutes of active work.

•     Seasonal produce. From winter squash to fresh cranberries to carrots and celery from your local farmers’ market, it’s my hope that this menu showcases some of the best of seasonal flavors and tastes.

•   Familiarity. In my last post on Thanksgiving, I made clear that a positive attitude and open-minded approach is the best way to help your family adjust to the brave new world of vegan and raw dishes. There’s a culinary component to helping them adjust, too: make dishes that are familiar and comforting. This is not the occasion to experiment with a cacao-goji-avocado pudding, dusted with maca, or a nutloaf that you’re not certain won’t emerge from the dehydrator looking like a brick.

This is the day to make raw food that’s reminiscent of conventional dishes. And for you high-raw foodies out there, it’s a good day to experiment with an entrée or two that’s vegan and easy to digest, but not all raw. Bringing something warm to the table may actually help your family and friends gather up the courage to taste your other all-raw options; knowing that they aren’t limited to (read: forced into) eating raw will make them much more receptive to the idea.

To wit, a high-raw, all vegan, user friend Thanksgiving menu!

Beet “ravioli” with root vegetable filling

Arugula, radicchio, fennel and orange salad

Butternut squash and apple soup

Raw cranberry sauce

Raw walnut and mushroom stuffing


Acorn squash stuffed with cinnamon-scented quinoa and dried cherries

The menu includes two semi-raw recipes (the ravioli and, if you don’t have a high-speed blender, the soup) and one cooked recipe (the squash). The rest is raw.

I love this menu for its tastiness, of course, but what I love most about it is the fact that these recipes are simple and hassle-free. And since they feature familiar flavors (cinnamon and nutmeg; parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme) and textures (soup; mashed root veggies; dense and nutty stuffing) they’ll allow you to show the special people in your life that eating raw needn’t be a daring experience. Instead, it can be comforting and delicious.

With that, let’s get on to the recipes!

Arugula, Radicchio, Fennel, and Orange Salad (serves 4-6)


This is the perfect fall salad. The tart arugula and radicchio are balanced by the sweetness of fresh fennel and citrus, and the whole thing is brought together by a classic Dijon vinaigrette.

For the salad:

2 bunches fresh arugula (about 12 oz)
1 small head radicchio, chopped
1 medium head fennel, shaved thinly
1 large navel orange, supremed (ie, peel it, cut off the pith, and cut it into sections, being sure to remove all seeds)

For the vinaigrette:

6 tbsps olive oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white whine (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients together until smooth.

Toss the vinaigrette over the salad, mix, and enjoy!


Beet Ravioli with Root Vegetable Filling (makes 12 ravioli)

A few weeks ago, you guys saw these take a starring role in a dinner party. Here, they make terrific appetizers for any meal.


For the “ravioli”:

24 very thin slices of beet

For the filling:

At least 2 cups of a simple root vegetable mash. I suggest:

Sweet Potato and Turnip Mash

4 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 large turnips, peeled and chopped
1 heaping tbsp Dijon mustard
1 ½ tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsps agave
1 generous tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp salt (adjust to taste)
Pepper to taste

Steam the root vegetables for about twenty or thirty minutes, or until very fork tender. Put them in a food processor with the remaining ingredients and blend till very rich and smooth – you may have to stop often to scrape the sides of the bowl.

Top each round of beet with about 1-2 tbsps of the warm veggie mash. Put another beet on top, and voila: a sweet, savory, and sumptuous half-raw pasta creation that will leave your guests smiling.

Butternut squash and apple soup (serves 4-6)


Another guest from my autumn dinner party menu, this is by far my favorite recipe of the last few months. Sweet and gently spiced, it only tastes decadent. Enjoy it for your dinner, or at any time of year!

8 cups butternut squash (peeled, seeded, and chopped)
2 cups fresh apple juice or cider
2/3 cup orange juice
2/3 cup water (a bit less if you like a very thick soup)
4 large stalks celery
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
8 pitted and soaked dates (or 2 tbsps agave)
2 tsp salt
Dash of onion powder (or some fresh onion, if desired)

Blend all in a high speed blender till smooth and creamy.

If you don’t have a high speed blender, raw squash will be tough to blend, so I recommend steaming the squash and celery very gently first. Then, blend away. You can serve it cool, or reheat on the stove post-blending.

Raw Walnut and Mushroom Stuffing


Best. Stuffing. Ever.

This recipe is far richer than my standard fare – it’s heavy on the nuts and oils that so many of you send me fretful emails about! But Thanksgiving is all about indulgence, and indulging on healthy, natural, straight-from-the-earth foods is the way to do it!


Though you won’t pull this stuffing piping-hot from the oven, you will find that the flavor profiles are reminiscent of the standard dish. It’s spiced with thyme and rosemary, and walnuts (ground up in the trusty food processor) help to make the dish cohere in place of bread. Finally, portobello mushrooms, celery, and carrots give the filling substance and texture – way better than the beef that used to lurk in my family’s recipe!

To begin, soak 2 chopped portobello mushrooms in:

¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup braggs
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

It’s best to marinate the mushrooms overnight, but 2-4 hours will do.

Next, blend in a food processor:

3 cups walnuts
1 tsp salt
2 tsp chopped thyme
1 ½ tbsps fresh rosemary, chopped finely
2 tbsps fresh chopped parsley
½ tsp dried sage

When the mixture has taken on a fine texture, add to it:

3 tbsps olive oil

Pulse until it begins to come together, like a nut pate. Mix this with:

1 ½ cups grated carrot
1 cup chopped celery

Add the mushrooms, using or reserving liquid depending on how “wet” you want the stuffing to be.

Next, coarsely chop:

½ cup pecans
½ cup raisins

Add the chopped nuts and raisins to the stuffing, chopping in some additional parsley sprigs.



Raw Cranberry Sauce


1 cup apple juice (freshly squeezed)
1 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed)
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
Dash allspice
Dash cloves
½ cup agave
1 tbsp grated orange zest
1 cup cranberries, whole

1/2 cup cranberries, halved
1 cup pecans or walnuts (or a mix), chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
1 tsp orange zest

First, blend together the apple and orange juices, the cinnamon, the nutmeg, the allspice, the cloves, and the whole cranberries. When mixture is thick, taste for sweetness and adjust as you like.

At this point, you can simply serve the sauce as is! It’s delicious. Keep in mind, though, that this is very much a sauce – it’ll be smooth and gravy-like in texture.

For a more textured cranberry sauce (in addition to the regular sauce), simply separate out one cup of the mixture. To this, add the half cup of halved cranberries, the chopped nuts, and the dried cranberries. Grate in the additional teaspoon orange zest. Let it soak overnight, until the cranberries sweeten and soften up. Top with additional cranberries and zest, and enjoy!


Acorn Squash Stuffed with Cinnamon-Scented Quinoa (serves 4)

When I was transitioning to veganism, stuffed squash quickly became a mainstay for me. I love winter squash of every variety, and I especially love it when it’s paired with a tasty, warm grain. Dishes like this one live little doubt that vegan entrees provide the heft and sustenance that critics claim are lacking in a vegan diet. And they prove that holiday entrees can be delicious, filling, healthy, environmentally conscious, and cruelty-free all at once. What could be better?


2 acorn squash, halved (with the seeds and pulp scooped out)
1 cup quinoa
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tbsp agave nectar
1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
1/3 cup pine nuts

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Place the acorn squash face down in a baking dish with enough water to reach 1 inch up the squash. Cook for thirty-five (or so) minutes, or until the squash is fork tender.

While squash is cooking, cook quinoa in water, according to the box instructions. When it’s ready, fluff it with a fork and add the cinnamon, agave, cherries, and pine nuts.

To serve, place one squash half on a plate, fill with a quarter of the quinoa mixture, and dust with more cinnamon if you like.

Note to food combining friends: this is, technically, a miscombined recipe (starches + nuts and dried fruits). This won’t affect some of you at all, and I think it’s quite delicious enough not to trouble even those among you who practice food combining. This said, it’s no problem to leave out the nuts and dried fruit if you like!


Holy yum!

Wondering about dessert? Well, truth be told, I failed you guys in this department. The week has simply been too nutty for me to experiment with a dessert recipe. I may yet manage to concoct something spectacular before the special day. If not, I leave you with these fun ideas for inspiration:

Kristen’s Holiday Chia Pudding

Michelle and Lori’s Gluten-Free, Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Julie’s Vanilla Bean Mousse

VeggieGirl’s famous fig-almond blondies

Susan’s Cinnamon Ginger Truffles

Or, you can simply whip out the food processors and a giant bag of frozen ‘naners, and make some banana soft serve. Show your family how great raw, vegan ice cream can be!

May you all try one – or a few of these treats for yourselves, and enjoy a perfect holiday.

And if you plan to get a headstart on your holiday shopping this weekend, my dear friend Sarma is having a buy one, get one free deal on gift cards this weekend over at the One Lucky Duck website. Go check it out!!


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  2. This is a question for the stuffing. You mentioned soaking the mushrooms in 1/4 cup Bragg’s and then a tbsp of apple cider vinegar. Could you be more specific on what sort of Bragg’s product you mean? Obviously not the vinegar, but they have a lot of other products.

  3. Great menu, Gena!

    I made a raw vegan apple pie, vegan mashed sweet potatoes, a high raw vegan pumpkin pie, and a stuffed butternut squash dish and fed it to my skeptical, omniverous counterparts. Planting seeds…

  4. HI! I LOVE YOUR SITE AND WOULD LIKE TO SUBSCRIBE TO IT. HOWEVER WHEN i TRIED TO I GET A MESSAGE THAT SAYS:The feed does not have subscriptions by email enabled.


  5. Hi Gena- I made your stuffing and everyone loved it! This is huge since my husband’s family is a “meat at every meal” kind of family! My husband and his dad went in for seconds :). Hurray.

  6. I made the stuffing and the soup and both are amazing, but the soup in particular is like nothing I ever tasted before, sooooo good even my husband loved it! Making the salad and acorns tonight. Why keep these dishes just for Thanksgiving? Thank you so much for developing these amazing recipes!
    And after spending ages trying to process the stuffing in my mini food processor and getting very frustrated with it, I decided to splurge and get a Vitamix (factory restored to save some money). Hopefully now I will be able to make more of your recipes with a lot more ease!


  7. i want this all…i wish i could spend all day in the kitchen creating your thanksgiving recipes, they look sooooo amazing. im definitely going to try them in due time…

  8. Okay, so I just made the cranberry sauce. IT IS SO GOOD. For real. I added in an extra half cup of cranberries and a handful of pecans and blended, then added the orange zest after. This is the best cranberry sauce in the world. I can’t wait until tomorrow so I can eat more of it!

  9. OH MY GOSH. I am so going to be making this cranberry sauce to introduce some raw versions of familiar dishes to my family. And maybe even later in the week I will make the stuffing!

  10. Gena, I love your posts.. I get some amazing ideas. All your food looks fabulous. Im making stuffed acorn squash this year for our main entree.. Using millet instead of quinoa.. but very similar!

    Thanks for sharing all your recipes 🙂

  11. The cranberry sauce sounds great! My Mom is trying desperately to make a few dishes for me this Thanksgiving. I eat low fat raw, so that can be little bit tricky.

    I might just have to send her over here for the recipe. 🙂


  12. I just sooo bookmarked that raw walnut & mushroom stuffing recipe for next raw day…I know its past Thanksgiving, but stuffing remains seasonal well through the winter. And it looks so good! I love the nut-heavy stuff.

  13. I am out of time for experimenting for my families’ dinner plans but I am logging the stuffing for later AND the cranberry sauce!

    I am sure by next holiday season I will be way better prepared!

    THANKS for such a great spread!

  14. Congratulations Gena, on a menu that positively sings; an edible hymn for Thanksgiving and everything we have to be grateful for.

    Well done, and love to you during this (I gather!) klazy time.

    S X

  15. Wow! If you didn’t mention to guests that this was a semi-raw meal, and just put it out, people would think call it ourmet!! I’m itching to get to the kitchen now, but, alas, I’m stranded at work. Very impressive!

  16. Oh, man. Everything looks so delicious! This almost makes me wish that I didn’t have my menu all planned out & my grocery list prepped for my shopping tonight. 😉 Perhaps these dishes will make their way onto my Christmas menu… YUM!

  17. OH…swoon. That stuffing should be like, UN-stuffing. It would be a travesty to hide it in anything. Except the acorn squash, maybe, haha. I will put out a call for sympathy here–I will not only not have a Thanksgiving such as this (or even a turkey-fied one, for that matter), but I will be on a PLANE the whole day! AIRPLANE FOOD for Thanksgiving! But then I have a week in Japan on the other end of that ride. Ok, ok–sympathy fail.

    Well done, as always! Thanks so much for these recipes–they look spectacular, and I should know, for a couple of ’em! xo

  18. Everything looks amazing – especially that stuffing! Seriously, I bet that is even more delicious than any ‘traditional’ soggy bread based stuffing. Thank you for sharing your beautiful and inspirational menu!

  19. i have been awaiting this post! i want to come to your thanksgiving. 🙂

    so, i was just chatting with my mom yesterday about how i want to prepare a dish for thanksgiving this year, because in addition to finding turkey and mashed potatoes bland and boring, i’m not interested in cranberry sauce made with splenda or stuffing made with factory-farmed beef (my family just won’t listen to me sometimes). my mom told me we have too much food as it is, and she would make a medley of steamed vegetables (filling lol). but, this post just inspired me to make something anyway, and i think it’s going to be that stuffing. because why shouldn’t i try and share that part of myself with my family? and on the most food-focused day of the year, why shouldn’t there be something i will really and truly enjoy on the table? thank you for the recipes and the inspiration, gena. 🙂

    two questions: for how long do you marinate the mushrooms? and do you think this would benefit from being made the night before and soaking overnight, or could i make it the morning of?

    happy (almost) thanksgiving!

  20. Wow, this is really a masterpiece of a menu!! The arugula salad and quinoa-stuffed squash in particular look amazing. Question. . .I’ve always found whole, uncooked cranberries to be unpleasantly sour – do the juice and spices in your raw cranberry sauce do enough to mellow out the sourness?

    • Great question, Amy. The answer is that they will still be super tart, but yes, soaking them for a night or so is likely to mellow them out quite a bit. I found that, mixed with the dried cranberries and the nuts, that they were totally palatable. But if you’re nervous, just leave them out and use the dried fruit and nuts alone with the “sauce.”

  21. I always lurk but rarely comment, but today I’m commenting…WOW!

    That menu is fit for a (Raw) king! What beautiful food. The quinoa-stuffed squash looks so fancy, the soup looks so creamy, and the stuffing looks incredible…I love the idea of marinating the shroooms for the stuffing, and I bet the addition of sage makes the dish taste very authentic.

    Thanksgiving dinner at your house looks like it will be quite a decadent feast…what time should I be there? *smile*


  22. Thanks so much! These recipes looks simple and delicious!

    The walnut and mushroom stuffing looks unbelievable… I would just make that anyway! Same with the quinoa. Yum!

  23. Thank you so much! I’m definitely having the stuffing on my Christmas menu this year.

  24. Great menu Gena! And it doesn’t look like it would take too much time either! Everything looks beautiful.

    In my family we never plan or make dessert. We always put out a lot of fresh fruits and then on holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas we buy some tarts. I am curious to see how my in laws will be!

  25. Holy yum, indeed – I’m enticed by ALL of your offerings and recipes!! Man oh man, are you fabulous.


  26. Wow… this is quite an impressive spread, Gena! The cranberry sauce looks especially festive, and I’m sure it tastes fantastic.

  27. Simply delicious! You are so creative. Thank you for taking the time to share your creation and ideas. Happy Thanksgving. Much love. Jill

  28. Wow, Gena. What.A.Post.

    It just kept going and going and going….the more I scrolled, the better it got! It ended with desserts, a sorta fave thing of mine 🙂 I made a no bake vegan pumpkin pie that the the Pure Girls told me inspired theirs and just reposted it today if you need any more desserts in your world 🙂

    Anyway though…I love the cranberries. And the acorn squash w/ quinoa. Your stuffing looks amazing. The beets must be mandolin’ed which I am scared of (even though I purchased the one you recommend) b/c I nearly sliced my thumb off 1st and last time I’ve used it 🙂 but I digress…

    Your food & ideas & sentiments are all First Rate, thank you!

  29. Gorgeous! I bought acorn squash, quinoa and dried cranberries to try something similar this week. I always make cranberry sauce to bring to dinner and would love to try to make it raw. I wonder if a food processor would work since I still don’t have a Vita Mix. I have two bags of cranberries, so I’ll try with one and just cook the other if it doesn’t work!

    Thanks for putting so much thought and effort into this, Gena.

  30. You had me at: There are some folks who like to spend four hours basting a bird or half a day freezing pastry dough. Let them.

    These days, if a meal takes more than 20 minutes to prepare, I better be hosting a dinner party! 😀

    I agree with you too about so many of the “holiday recipes” containing nuts. But I figure, I rarely eat them the other 11 months out of the year, so…I indulge without guilt. (although I do notice a difference in my energy level)

    I’m all over that baked squash stuffed with cinnamon quinoa! Mmmm, I can almost taste it. But, I rarely cook my quinoa any more. So easy to sprout! Check it out —> Sprouted Quinoa: The Mother Grain

    Hope you have a blessed holiday, Gena.


  31. Amazing. Everything is so colorful, fresh, and of course, seasonal! I love stuffed squash, too 🙂 I can’t wait to try that stuffing out! Thank you!

  32. Looks wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing! I’m such a simple girl, so a big salad and some cooked veggies make me happy on Thanksgiving. My mom does the cooking because the majority of my family eats turkey. Ick.

  33. All the food looks great!!! Thanks for mentioning our pumpkin pie recipe! 🙂 Your stuffing looks amazing!! I will be getting all my information together for you this week!! Thanks again for everything 🙂

  34. Love this post! I won’t be making anything this year but this will be bookmarked for years to come. I will likely make the acorn squash dish soon on my own anyway!

  35. i LOVE this menu! thank you so much for sharing it with us 😀
    i might have to whip some up these up this week 😉
    hope you’re having a great night!

  36. I have to say, with all the pie, pastry and stuffing recipes floating around, I couldn’t really picture a “Gena-fied” Thanksgiving until this beautiful post. Are you sure you won’t visit the East Side on Thursday and convert my husband’s family? 🙂 All these recipes look delicious – especially the fresh salad and stuffing. You incorporate such wonderful spices and flavors and I’m sure these dishes are so incredibly satisfying and fabulous. Thanks for the inspiration!