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Thanksgiving Recipes from the Jazzy Vegetarian

Laura Theodore, host of "Jazzy Vegetarian"

Laura Theodore, host of “Jazzy Vegetarian”

Joe Orecchio

Laura Theodore is the host of Jazzy Vegetarian, which airs Tuesdays at 12:30 p.m. on OPB TV.

Holiday meals can be challenging when you are looking to serve a festive meal for vegetarians and omnivores alike. But fret no more! This jazzylicious Thanksgiving menu will please all diners that you are serving. A creamy carrot soup starts the meal with a flourish, followed by a kale and fig salad that will waken taste buds. The main course features acorn squash with a scrumptious savory stuffing served up with a yummy yam casserole and tangy broccoli on the side. Delectable homemade cookies, based on my Grandma’s 60-year-old recipe, make the perfect way to finish this menu on a festive note.

Jazzy Vegetarian Thanksgiving Meal Recipes

- Creamy Carrot Bisque
- Kale, Fig and Tomato Salad
- Savory Mushroom, Walnut and Celery Stuffing
- Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Yummy Yam and Cranberry Casserole
- Broccoli with Lemon Sauce
- Holiday Sandies Cookies

Creamy Carrot Bisque

Warren Jefferson

This stunning bisque is a colorful and elegant soup to serve to guests and family alike. Simple to prepare, this soup can be served year-round, as it is delicious served cold, too! The vegetables are blended to produce a thick, smooth pureed “bisque style” soup that is low in calories, high in nutrition and full of flavor. I like to make this soup a day in advance and store it tightly covered in my refrigerator. Before reheating, add more liquid, to taste, if the soup becomes too thick. Delish!

Ingredients (Makes 4 to 6 servings)

  • 5 large carrots, cleaned, peeled and rough chopped
  • 3 white potatoes, scrubbed, peeled and rough chopped
  • 1 to 2 cups cold, unsweetened soy, almond, coconut or rice milk
  • 1 to 2 cups cold vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon reduced sodium tamari
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian herb blend
  • 1 teaspoon organic brown sugar (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional, to garnish)


Steam the carrots and potatoes in a vegetable steamer over medium heat, until they are soft, but not mushy.  Once cooked, put the carrots and potatoes into a large mixing bowl. Add 1 cup of the cold soymilk, 1 cup of the cold vegetable broth and the seasonings. Pour half of the mixture into a blender and process it until smooth. Repeat. Pour the soup into a medium pot. Add more liquid (broth or soymilk) if the soup seems too thick. Cook over medium/low heat, stirring often, until the soup is heated through. Serve the soup garnished with a sprinkle of herbs or a generous sprinkle of fresh parsley.

Kale, Fig and Tomato Salad

Andy Ebberbach

Here is an unusual but yummy way to serve this popular year-round leafy green.

Ingredients (Makes 6 to 8 First Course Servings)

  • 2 to 3 cups cleaned and finely chopped kale
  • 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 ripe tomato, chopped
  • 2 to 4 large dried figs, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons salted roasted sunflower seeds
  • 3 tablespoons Sweet Balsamic Dressing (see recipe below)


Put the kale in a large bowl. Drizzle with 1 to 2 tablespoons of dressing and massage well with hands. This will break down the tough fibers of the kale and tenderize it.

Set the kale aside while preparing the rest of the salad. Put the lettuce, tomato, figs and sunflower seeds into a large salad bowl. Right before serving, add the kale and the additional dressing to taste and toss until the greens are evenly coated. Serve at room temperature.

Sweet Balsamic Dressing

Ingredients (Makes 6 to 8 Servings)

  • 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar or maple sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Place ingredients into a small bowl and whisk together until emulsified.

Savory Mushroom, Walnut and Celery Stuffing

This is my classic stuffing. Easy to prepare and so tasty!

Ingredients (Makes 6 to 8 Servings)

  • 7 slices sprouted whole-grain bread or other whole-grain bread, cut in cubes
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, with leaves, diced
  • 2 ½ cups diced cremini or white button mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium tamari
  • 1⁄4 cup vegan margarine
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Oil an 11 x 7-inch baking pan. Put the bread, Italian seasoning and salt in a medium bowl and toss to combine. Transfer to a large, rimmed baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the bread is slightly crisp. 

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and tamari and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender, adding a bit of water as needed to prevent sticking. Melt the margarine in a small saucepan over medium heat.

Put the water in a small bowl or measuring cup and add the bouillon cube. Stir until dissolved to make a strong vegetable broth.

Put the bread and walnuts in a large bowl and toss until well combined. Add the mushroom mixture, margarine and 1⁄4 cup of the broth and stir gently until thoroughly combined. Add as much of the remaining broth as needed so the mixture is moist but not soupy. If the mixture still seems dry after adding all of the broth, add a small amount of water. If using for stuffed acorn squash, proceed as directed in the recipe.

If serving stuffing as a side dish, transfer to the prepared pan. Spread in an even layer and smooth the top with a spatula. Cover and bake for about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes to crisp the top. Serve immediately.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Andy Ebberbach

Ingredients (Makes 4 Servings)

*This recipe is easily doubled for 8.

  • 2 small acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups Mushroom, Walnut and Celery Stuffing, prepared and ready to bake


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Put the squash halves cut-side up in the prepared pan. Brush 1⁄4 teaspoon of the oil over the upper surface of each squash half. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spoon 1 cup of the stuffing into each squash half.

Cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the squash is fork-tender. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the optional vegan cheese over each squash half and bake, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the stuffing is brown and crispy and the vegan cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Yummy Yam and Cranberry Casserole

Andy Ebberbach

A classic winter holiday meal calls for a sweet potato or yam casserole, and you can use either in this dish. This easy dish is best assembled well before baking so the yams become infused with the flavors of the maple syrup and cinnamon.

Ingredients (Makes 4 to 6 Servings)

  • 6 medium/large yams or sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1⁄4- to 1⁄2-inch thick
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (or less, to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1⁄2 cup pecan or walnut halves


Steam the yams until crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup, the oil, cinnamon, salt and cayenne. Toss gently until the yams are evenly coated. Arrange the yams in overlapping layers in a 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Scatter the cranberries and pecans over the top, then drizzle with the remaining maple syrup. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours if time permits.

Put the pan in a cold oven. Set the heat to 375 degrees F and bake for about 50 minutes, or until the yams are caramelized and tender.

Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Broccoli with Lemon Sauce

Andy Ebberbach

Ingredients (Makes 4 Servings)

  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon tamari
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder, plus more as needed
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt (optional)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup chopped sweet red pepper, for garnish


Steam the broccoli until almost soft, but still bright green, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Put the oil, lemon juice, tamari and garlic powder in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

Pour the mixture over the broccoli and toss until the broccoli is evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Garnish the plate with the sweet red pepper. Serve immediately.

Holiday Sandies Cookies

Peter Capozzi

Ingredients (Makes 24 to 26 Cookies)


  • 1 cup homemade oat flour (SEE NOTE 1)
  • 1/2 cup ground walnuts (SEE NOTE 2)
  • 2 tablespoons vegan confectioner’s sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cold vegan margarine
  • 2 to 2 1/2 teaspoons cold nondairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • ½ cup confectioner’s sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large cookie sheet with unbleached parchment paper.

Put the oat flour, walnuts and 2 tablespoons sugar into a medium mixing bowl. Whisk together. Add the cold margarine and vanilla. Combine using a dough blender or large fork. Add the cold nondairy milk 1 teaspoon at a time, until the mixture becomes the consistency of soft dough.

Form into a log. Put the dough log in the refrigerator and chill for 20 to 30 minutes, or until almost firm to the touch.
Slice into ¼-inch slices. Place on baking sheet and form each cookie into a crescent shape. Bake for 7 minutes, then turn the heat down to 300 degrees F. Bake 10 to 12 minutes more, or until slightly golden around the edges.

Meanwhile, pour confectioner’s sugar into a medium-size bowl.

Remove the cookies from the oven, cool 4 minutes, then roll each cookie in additional confectioner’s sugar. Place on pretty serving tray.

Store leftover cookies covered in the refrigerator.

NOTE 1: To make oat flour, place 1 1/2 cups rolled oats in a blender and process until consistency of coarse crumbs. Proceed with recipe as directed.

NOTE 2: For ground walnuts, place 3/4 cups chopped walnuts into a blender and process until consistency of coarse crumbs. Proceed with recipe as directed.

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