Alternative food choices for a vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, lactose-free Thanksgiving.


Syble Heffernan

Juniors Allison Brogdon, Zac Oschner, and Nirvana Mendoza gather around the table. for their all vegan and gluten-free Thanksgiving dinner. They said they loved every bite.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which means turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and at least eight selections of pies. Well, at least that’s what it means for some.  However, alternative diets such as gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan are quickly on the rise.  People are choosing these diets for various reasons, from solving health problems to saving the planet.  Here are a few vegan and gluten-free recipes that were prepared and reviewed by students.


The ultimate vegetable lentil loaf


2 1/12 cups water or vegetable broth

3 tablespoons flaxseed meal

1/3 cup water (6 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons olive oil  or steam saute using 1/4 cup water

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 small onion

1 small red bell pepper, finely diced

1 carrot, finely diced or grated

1 celery stalk, finely diced

1 sweet potato

1/2 cup black beans

1/2 cup connelli beans

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup quina and rice blend

3/4 cup oats (GF oats if needed)

1/2 cup oat flour  or finely ground oats (or any kind of flour)

1 heaping teaspooon dried thyme

1/2 teaspooon each garlic powder and onion powder

1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper

cracked pepper and sea salt to taste


3 tablespoons organic ketchup

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup


Rinse lentils and add 2 1/2 cups of water in large pot.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Once done, remove lid and set aside to cool (do not drain), they will thicken a bit upon standing, about 15 minutes is good.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a small bowl combine flaxseed meal and 1/3 cup water, set aside for at least 10 minutes, preferably in the refrigerator.  This will act as a binder and will thicken nicely upon sitting.

Prepare vergetables.  In saute pan heat oil or water over medium heat.  Saute garlic, onion, bell pepper, carrots and celery for about 5 minutes.  Add spices mixing well to incoporate.  Set aside to cool.

Using an immersion blender or food processor, blend 3/4 of the lentil mixture.  Alternately, you can mash the lentils with a potato masher or fork.

Combine sauteed vegetables with the lentils, oats, oat flour, grain mix, and flax, mix well.  Taste, adding salt, pepper, and spice as needed.  Place mixture into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper, leaving it overlapping for easy removal.  

Prepare your glaze by combining all ingredients in a small bowl, mix until incorporated.  Make each tablespoon heaping.  Spread over top of loaf and bake in oven for 45-50 minutes.  Let cool a bit before slicing.

Student reviews:

Nirvana Mendoza- “It has a really good flavor, but I’m a big texture eater.”
Flavor rating- 8/10 Texture rating- 5/10

Zac Ochsner- “I liked it, it was really good.  I noticed the beans in it.” 7.5/10

Allison Brogdon- “It was kinda mushy but tasted way better than normal meatloaf to me.” 7/10


Vegan mashed potatoes


6-8 medium yukon gold potatoes (if large, cut in half)

1.5 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

5-6 cloves roasted garlic (or sub minced garlic sauteed for 3 minutes in olive oil)

3-4 tbsp vegan butter (such as Earth Balance), melted/softened

1/4 cup fresh chives for topping


Place potatoes in a large saucepan or pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, add 1 tsp of sea salt, cover and cook for 25-30 minutes or until very tender. They should effortlessly slide off a knife, when pierced with a knife.

While the potatoes are cooking, chop up your chives and measure your butter.

Once tender, drain your potatoes and place them back in the hot pot off the heat for 1 minute to evaporate any additional water. Then transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Mash your potatoes using either a potato masher or hand mixer until fluffy.

Add in butter, garlic, salt, black pepper, and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Lastly top with chives, stir and serve as is or with your favorite gravy

Student reviews:

Nirvana Mendoza-  “You can’t tell they don’t have any milk or anything in them, I love me some good potatoes!” 10/10

Allison Brogdon- “They tasted exactly like real mashed potatoes.” 9.5/10


Easy vegan gravy:


1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon vegan butter or margarine

3 cups vegetable broth

2 tablespoons miso paste

2 tablespoons warm water

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


In a sauce pan melt margarine, add flour and stir. When smooth add vegetable broth. Dissolve miso paste in warm water. Add miso water, soy sauce, onion powder and pepper. Stir until desired thickness is achieved. Serve warm.

Student Reviews:

Zac Ochsner- “Tasted like normal old gravy.” 8/10


The very best gluten-free vanilla cake


2 cups all purpose gluten free flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1/4 cup + tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt

10 tbsp unsalted butter at room temp

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

4 egg whites + 1 whole egg at room temp

1 1/3 cups of buttermilk at room temp


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 8-inch round cake plans and line the bottom of each with a round of parchment paper (trace the perimeter of the cake pan on the parchment, then cut out the circle). Set the pans aside.

Into a medium-size bowl, sift the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, baking soda, and baking powder. Add the salt, and whisk to combine well. Set the dry ingredients aside. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium-high speed for at least 3 minutes, or until very light and fluffy. Combine the egg whites, egg and buttermilk in a small bowl, and whisk to combine well. To the large bowl with the butter and sugar mixture, add the dry ingredients in 4 equal portions, alternating with the buttermilk and egg mixture in 3 parts, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing to combine between additions.

Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared baking pans and smooth each into an even layer with a spatula. Place the baking pans in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the pans and continue to bake until cakes are lightly golden brown all over, have begun to pull away from the sides of the pan and do not jiggle in the center at all.  It should be about another 10 minutes of baking after rotation.

Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool in pans for 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting and serving.  Use any frosting.

Student reviews:

Zac Ochsner- “You really couldn’t tell it was gluten-free.”  Rating 8/10


Vegan Gluten Free Brownies


3 tablespoons chia seed meal
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon water
1 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup agave nectar
3 tablespoons vegan margarine
1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cocoa powder


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly oil a baking dish.

Beat chia meal and both amounts of water together in a bowl; let stand until thick, about 5 minutes. Blend raw sugar and agave into chia seed mixture with high speed blender. Add vegan margarine and vanilla extract; blend.

Mix brown rice flour, almond meal, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Stir cocoa powder into the flour mixture. Add chia meal mixture and stir until combined; pour into prepared baking dish.

Bake in the preheated oven until the top is dry and the edges have started to pull away from the sides of the pan, 45 to 55 minutes.

Student reviews:

Nirvana Mendoza- “I love me a good brownie, and this was a good brownie.”

Zac Ochsner- “They were the most perfect brownies I’ve ever had.”  10/10

Allison Brogdon- “They were the best thing I ate out of all the things. How do you even make brownies like this?” 10/10


There were also two dairy-free ice creams served.

Coconut milk vanilla ice cream reviews

Zac Ochsner- “It was great, I’d definitely eat it again.” Rating- 9/10

Nirvana Mendoza- “Bomb diggety and it won’t make me sick from the milk!” Rating- 10/10

Allison Brogdon- “Probably in my top three favorite ice creams.” Rating- 9/10


Salted caramel cashew milk ice cream reviews

Zac Ochsner- “It was even better than the coconut ice cream which I really liked.” 10/10

Nirvana Mendoza- “I’m down.” 10/10