Your Holiday Game Plan
A truly successful meal starts with a solid plan. Here’s what we recommend making ahead.
2 to 3 months ahead:
- Make stock for Orange Marmalade Roast Turkey & Grain-Free Jus and store in freezer
3 weeks ahead:
- Purchase all nonperishable ingredients
- Order a turkey
1 week ahead:
- Make Salted Caramel Cashew “Cheesecake”; store cheesecake in freezer and extra date caramel sauce in fridge
- Chop nuts for Butternut Squash Lasagna and Whole Roasted Cauliflower; store in an airtight container
3 days ahead:
- Make Pomegranate Tahini sauce for Whole Roasted Cauliflower
- Make Grain-Free Pumpkin Whoopie Pies and frosting; refrigerate cookies and frosting in separate containers
- Make salad dressing for Harvest Salad; cover and refrigerate
2 days ahead:
- Season turkey and keep covered in fridge
- Wash and prep all vegetables; store separately in containers
- Make cauliflower ricotta and béchamel for Butternut Squash Lasagna
The day before:
- Assemble Butternut Squash Lasagna; keep covered in fridge
The morning of:
- Assemble Grain-Free Pumpkin Whoopie Pies; store in refrigerator
- Thaw Salted Caramel Cashew “Cheesecake” for 1 hour on counter then keep in fridge
- Roast squash and fennel for Harvest Salad; cover and refrigerate
- Steam cauliflower for Whole Roasted Cauliflower; cover and refrigerate
- Remove turkey from fridge an hour before roasting
The day of:
- Roast turkey, prepare jus and assemble/finish remaining dishes
Accommodate Nearly Any Restriction
Throwing multiple dietary restrictions into Thanksgiving planning can send even the best cooks into a tailspin. Choose the right mix of dishes and you can make anyone feel comfortable and satiated at your holiday table.
No need to add a faux turkey substitute for vegan guests as long as there’s a hearty dish filling enough to be an entrée. Our Butternut Squash Lasagna with Cashew Cauliflower Béchamel and Harvest Salad with Roasted Grapes & Pistachios provide options, or try making your own appetizer platter using plant-based nut cheeses.
All the recipes in this section are dairy-free (that makes it easy!). Vegan butter, like Miyoko’s Creamery, is a great option to have on hand for spreading onto rolls (if serving bread). In general, cashew or hemp milk can replace whole milk in savory dishes, while almond or oat milk works well with sweets. To replace heavy cream, try coconut milk.
Gluten-Free / Grain-Free / Paleo
We've avoided using grains in this meal, so all the recipes are entirely gluten-free, grain-free and Paleo. Most supermarkets stock a variety of gluten-free and grain-free specialty breads for making turkey stuffing or serving at the table, if you wish. And if you're still looking for sides that fit the picky-eater bill, visit cleaneating.com/holidaysides.