avocado & quinoa stuffed acorn squash

Avocado & Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash / @loveandlemons

The year I first became vegetarian I truly missed the turkey part of turkey day. It seems like ages ago now, but back then I barely knew how to cook for myself, let alone embrace seasonal foods like squashes, brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes (you know, the kind without marshmallows).

Fast forward to now – I eat *mostly* vegetarian every day and whenever anyone asks me how I do it, my answer is almost always: avocado.

Avocado & Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash / @loveandlemons

In my opinion, avocados might be the world’s most perfect food. I eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (even dessert) – and now, thanks to Avocados from Mexico, I’ll be eating them for Thanksgiving dinner too. I’ve posted a lot of veggie side dishes so far this year, but if you’re looking for a fresh twist on a vegetarian main course, give this one a try. It’s stuffed with quinoa, black beans, green chiles and pepitas and diced avocados - all of my favorite delicious (and, by the way, healthy) flavors.

Avocado & Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash / @loveandlemons

Depending on the size of your acorn squash, you may have some of this avo-quinoa filling leftover. My leftover suggestion: make post T-giving tacos!

Avocado & Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash / @loveandlemons

For more recipes and ideas, check out Avocados from Mexico on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. We’re also giving a special Avocados from Mexico price pack worth approximately $200. To enter, leave a comment below telling me about your own Thanksgiving avocado recipe idea. Giveaway ends Dec. 5th. Open to US residents only.

Pistachio Cranberry Cookies

Pistachio Cranberry Cookies / @loveandlemons #vegan

I made a half batch of these cookies, which was clearly a mistake. I ate the last one for breakfast this morning and I could really go for another one right about now. Chewy, oaty, nutty… slightly sweet and warmly spiced… it’s the kind of cookie that’s just healthy enough to get by as breakfast but would be even more perfect as a 2pm snack. If only…

Pistachio Cranberry Cookies / @loveandlemons #veganPistachio Cranberry Cookies / @loveandlemons #vegan

This recipe is just slightly adapted from Amy Chaplin’s book At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen, which is hands down one of the most beautiful cookbooks I’ve ever held. I’ve been a fan of Amy’s for the longest time – among other things (like being Natalie Portman’s private chef), she’s the former executive chef of Angelica Kitchen, a vegan restaurant in NYC that I’ve adored for years. The book is full (really full) of vegan and vegetarian whole food recipes and ideas. Some great basics like miso mayo, homemade curry powder, and homemade kimchi to brownies, cakes, pies, stews, curries, pastas, and beautiful noodle bowls.

At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen by Amy Chaplin

One page is prettier (and more delicious looking) than the next – I had a hard time deciding which pages to show you but here are just a few of my favorites.

At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen by Amy ChaplinAt Home in the Whole Food Kitchen by Amy Chaplin

farmhouse farro salad

Farmhouse Farro Salad / @loveandlemons

I have a love/hate relationship with farro. It takes forever and quinoa is quicker but the chewy, nutty grains bring a real heartiness to this not-wimpy fall salad. The catch is that you have to pre-plan for farro – it’s easiest to make a big batch and keep it around all week. I’m not usually that organized but I happened to have made farro the day before my Farmhouse vegetables arrived so here we are… a grain salad with more veggies than could fit onto the subject line of this post.

Farmhouse Farro Salad / @loveandlemons

The basic components are roasted sweet potatoes, peeled carrot ribbons and diced apples with a decent amount of greens worked in too. (I mixed kale and salad greens together because that’s what I had – feel free to use one or the other if you don’t have both).

Farmhouse Farro Salad / @loveandlemons

Sweet, salty, crunchy, nutty… we ate this for dinner and then I ate it for lunch the next two days in a row. This would be a pretty addition to your Thanksgiving table and most of it can be made well in advance (see my make-ahead notes below).

Farmhouse Farro Salad / @loveandlemons

vegan cauliflower mashed potatoes

Vegan Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes / @loveandlemons #vegan

Hi, my name is Jack and I have a problem. A mashed potato problem.

It started when I was a child. Every holiday with my dad’s family, the mashed potatoes came out and it was a frenzy. My uncle Billy, my grandfather and I would load up, devouring what seemed like a truck full of mashed potatoes. Usually, I would end the meal with a plate of half eaten mashed potatoes and sadness that I could never finish them all.

Fast forward to today. Today I have a lovely wife who makes wonderful, healthy food – all full of vibrancy and flavor. But there has always been a bit of a hole in my heart that only mashed potatoes could fill. So when Jeanine told me that we were making mashed potatoes, I was both excited and hesitant. There had to be a catch, and there was – cauliflower.

Vegan Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes / @loveandlemons #vegan Vegan Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes / @loveandlemons #vegan

My fears were soon assuaged when we tried it. We mixed (roasted) garlic, olive oil and 1 part cauliflower puree with 2 parts potato put through a ricer.

Vegan Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes / @loveandlemons #vegan Vegan Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes / @loveandlemons #vegan

What we ended up with were some of the smoothest, lightest clouds of mashed potatoes ever. In spite of the lack of “butter lake,” I’m officially a convert. I still ended up overly full and staring at a plate bowl of half eaten potatoes, but happy to know that they’re back in my life.

Vegan Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes / @loveandlemons #vegan

kale & shiitake mushroom stuffing

Kale & Shiitake Mushroom Stuffing / @loveandlemons #vegan

Let’s get this Thanksgiving thing started, but first things first - do you call it stuffing or dressing?

Obviously, based on the title here, you know where I stand. My humble opinion is that dressing is what goes on salad and stuffing is my favorite carb-loaded Thanksgiving side dish… of course my version here isn’t actually stuffed into anything. Except for my mouth, I suppose.

Kale & Shiitake Mushroom Stuffing / @loveandlemons #vegan

This year, instead of going crazy with stuffing made of cornbread or poblano peppers, I’m keeping things kind of classic. This is similar to my moms traditional recipe except I fancied it up with a mix of mushrooms, my favorite nine grain bread, olive oil (instead of butter or vegan butter), kale and tons of fresh sage & rosemary. As I just typed that I can feel my mom rolling her eyes because this isn’t exactly a stuffing recipe on a budget.

Kale & Shiitake Mushroom Stuffing / @loveandlemons #vegan

Cost of shiitake mushrooms aside (although you can totally sub them for any mushrooms), this is pretty easy to make and it also reheats really well. I think it actually tasted better the longer it sat. It was also delicious the second day so by all means - make this in advance. See my reheating notes below…

Kale & Shiitake Mushroom Stuffing / @loveandlemons #vegan