Holiday Dinner for Everyone? It's Complicated!

Vegan, vegetarian (lacto-, ovo-, or lacto/ovo-vegetarian, whew!) Keto, low salt, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free, soy-free. Help! It seems like everyone at the table wants something different. What’s the Family Menu Manager to do?

Try some of these as secondary entrees or side dishes and even the pickiest eater will be pleased. The "give me meat" folks won't even notice the difference and the "I need a special diet" diner will be happily satisfied.

Thanksgiving for Everyone

Vegan Lentil Loaf (Vegan, gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, contain soy and walnuts)

Ingredients Vegan-Thanksgiving-Lentil-Loaf-1

1 1/2 cups Timeless Green Lentils
2 onions, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
3/4 cup walnuts
1 large carrot, cut into small pieces
1 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoon tomato paste
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon unsweetened almond or soy milk
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoons rosemary
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and black pepper


  1. Cook the lentils according to the instructions on the package. Then put about 6 tablespoons of the cooked lentils aside. You'll need them later on to give the lentil loaf a bit more texture.
  2. Saute the onion and garlic for about 2 minutes. Then add the chopped carrots and cook them for another 3 minutes.
  3. Put all ingredients except the spices into a blender or food processor and blend until you have a sticky but chunky mixture. It's very important that you make sure to not overdo it, so you still got some texture.
  4. Add the reserved lentils and season with thyme, oregano, salt, pepper, and fresh parsley.
  5. Place the mixture into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper. Make sure to let the parchment paper overlap the loaf pan, so it's easier to remove the lentil loaf once it's done.
  6. Bake the vegan meat loaf for 60 minutes at 350° Let the lentil loaf cool down for a bit in the loaf pan before serving it.
  7. Best if made the night before and reheated at 350°F for 20 minutes to serve.

This recipe from Vegan Heaven.

Savory Lentil Torte (Vegan, Vegan, gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, contain soy and walnuts)

Ingredient list in the image to the right.

Lentil Torte-3Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F degrees. Lightly grease a 10-inch springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Lightly grease the paper.
  2. Peel the sweet potatoes. Using a mandoline, slice into 1⁄4-inch slices. Fanning from the center and overlapping, arrange the sweet potato slices. Spread the lentils into an even layer on top of the potatoes, gently pressing.
  3. Blend the oats and walnuts into a coarse meal. Add the mix into a large bowl.
  4. Blend cooked brown rice, chickpeas, poultry seasoning, garlic powder, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, nut butter, and tomato paste into a purée.
  5. Fold the purée into the oat and walnut meal. Add vegetable broth gradually. Stir until spreadable.
  6. Dollop the mixture over the lentils. Spread evenly across.
  7. Cover the pan with foil. Bake for 40 minutes (the edges should be slightly dry).
  8. Remove foil. Bake for 15 minutes (the top should be dry).
  9. Remove from the oven. Allow it to cool enough to touch.
  10. Flip the torte out onto a serving dish that can go back into the oven.
  11. Broil the torte. When the sweet potatoes begin to caramelize, it’s time to remove the dish. Garnish with herbs.

This recipe from the New York Times: Recipe from Ann Schreifels, adapted by Tara Parker-Pope 

Stuffed Delicata Squash (Vegan, gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, contain cashews)

Ingredient list in the image to the right.

Stuffed Delicata SquashPreparation

  1. Place the cashew pieces in a bowl and cover with cool water to soak in the fridge for four hours.
  2. Drain the soaked cashews and combine with the chopped mint, lemon juice, water and salt in a blender. Purée, pausing to scrape down the sides of the canister with a spatula as needed, until completely silky-smooth. This process may take longer if you use a lower-powered blender but stick with it; that creamy texture is important.
  3. Stir in the cucumber pieces by hand.
  4. Store in an air-tight container and keep refrigerated prior to serving.
  5. For the filling, heat olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat before adding the shallots and jalapeno. Cook until translucent, then add the cumin and mustard seeds. Cook until the entire mixture is highly aromatic, about a minute.
  6. Add the lentils and broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 30 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed and lentils are tender.
  7. Add the coconut milk and vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Keep the pot partially covered and simmer for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed. Cover and keep warm.
  8. As the lentils cook, preheat oven to 375°F degrees.
  9. Cut both squash in half lengthwise and scoop out (but reserve) seeds.
  10. Place each half with the cut sides down on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a fork easily pierces the flesh.
  11. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 5 minutes before handling.
  12. Reduce oven to 250°F degrees and toss the reserved seeds with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt and roast for 10 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent them from burning. Once golden and crisp, remove from oven and allow to cool.
  13. Flip the roasted delicata squashes up to turn them into boats and spoon the warm lentils inside.

This recipe from the New York Times: Recipe from Hannah Kaminsky, adapted by Tara Parker-Pope