Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes: Bell Pepper Soup, Polenta Loaf, and Apple Crumble

Categories: Beet Reporter
When you hear the word "Thanksgiving," no doubt the first image that comes to mind is a big fat glistening roast bird. But if you think about it, most of the stuff that usually surrounds that slab of turkey on your Thanksgiving plate is plant-based. Traditional mashed potato, green bean, cranberry, and stuffing dishes are all just a few ingredients away from being vegan, so it doesn't take much effort to make your holiday table totally animal product-free.

But the world of vegan cuisine offers a lot more interesting stuff than bland white potatoes whipped up with soy milk. You can make some delicious soups, scrumptious healthy desserts, and some grain, lentil, or nut loaves that make great turkey replacements. Here are a few "out of the box" holiday-ready recipes from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, author, chef, and creator of the new 30-Day Vegan Challenge program.

Spicy Red Bell Pepper Soup
This creamy, zesty, and colorful soup will make a great precursor to the rest of your Thanksgiving feast, and its flavor zing will provide a nice contrast to the safer, more traditional flavors of the holiday. It's a great idea to make it the night before your gathering so the flavors have a chance to mingle and meld.

4 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
6 cups vegetable broth
1-1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Sautee the bell peppers, carrots, onion, and garlic in a few tablespoons of water or vegetable broth in a large soup pot over medium heat. Cook and stir the vegetables for about 10 minutes, or until they're soft. Add the 6 cups of vegetable broth, cayenne, red pepper flakes, and salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the veggies are tender (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat.

Put cashews in a high powered blender and blend on high power. Add about 1/2 cup of the broth from the soup and continue to blend until the mixture becomes a thick cashew cream. Then add the rest of the soup contents to the blender and blend until smooth. Season to taste, blend again, and then return to the soup pot to heat. Serve hot.

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