Culinary Inspiration

Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving holidays can pose a unique challenge to those trying to follow a plant-forward diet. While plant-forward diets don’t entirely eliminate animal products, they do focus on incorporating more plant-based foods, including vegetables, fruits and tree nuts like walnuts. With the big main courses often centered on a meat dish, the plant-forward eater may feel a bit at a loss as to how to make traditional and festive recipes all their own for the holidays. Here are a few ideas on how to do that with the help of California walnuts.

Your Plant-Based Thanksgiving

Plant-Forward Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving Menu

Here is a plant-forward full-course menu you can happily enjoy and serve to your family this year.

Appetizer: Did you know that walnuts combine easily with beans to make a great meat alternative? This Butternut “Sausage” Tart features the unique flavor of walnut oil and a walnut “sausage,” which combines nuts and beans with dried herbs for a simply delicious savory appetizer.

Soup: For a warm start to a delicious meal, serve this Curried Walnut and Apple Butternut Squash Soup. The zesty curry and tart apple flavors will complement your salad and prepare your palate for the rest of your spread. Plus, every fall table could use some extra butternut squash! Or, try this dairy-free take on a Cream of Mushroom Soup. You’ll never believe what gives this soup its creamy texture.

Salad: Nothing says fall quite like figs and the earthy flavors of walnuts. This Arugula, Walnut and Fig Balsamic Salad is colorful and tasty and is a great complement to the other courses you will be serving.

Side dish: No Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving celebration is complete without cranberries. Try this side of roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Walnuts. If you must, this Zinfull Cranberry Relish is sure to satisfy that craving too.

Main course: This Ravioli with Butternut Squash, Walnuts and Chard dish will even have meat eaters asking for seconds. The seasonal butternut squash brings out festive flavors, and a browned butter sage sauce is the perfect complementary flavor.

Dessert: Gorgeous but simple, this Raspberry Walnut Tart contains sweet yet tangy jam and earthy walnuts for the filling with an easy homemade crust. If raspberry isn’t your favorite flavor, you can easily substitute apricot or strawberry preserves. But if you’re a Thanksgiving traditionalist and just can’t go without pumpkin pie, we’ve got you covered. Try this Walnut Pumpkin Cream Cheese Tart – a fun take on a seasonal classic.

For the host or hostess: Using ingredients from fall’s bounty, whip up some fresh Zucchini Walnut Bread or some Pumpkin Walnut Bread for the host or hostess.

With the right recipes, you can plan and serve a beautiful plant-forward Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving meal your family and friends won’t forget. For more inspiration, visit our collection of plant-forward recipes.

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