A Low Waste Thanksgiving

We all know being 100% zero waste in our society can feel almost impossible but I’m here to share how we are cutting our waste by more than half from last year. I’ve planned out the menu, made my list and did the grocery shopping. Now I’m here to share our Thanksgiving menu.

We cut out the paper plates and plastic utensils and opted in for our everyday dish ware. We also thrifted a nice fall tablecloth to cover the kid art stains on the kitchen table instead of buying disposable plastic or paper one.

I bought as much package free food as I could from our local zero waste shop and the produce stand. I also decided to do an untraditional Thanksgiving and have no turkey. We are sticking a mostly plant based Thanksgiving course which really gives me a new challenge, especially since I’ll be cooking for my in laws.

Our dinner menu:

  • Cashew cheese spread with fresh bread
  • Cranberry almond salad
  • Stuffed butternut squash
  • Mashed potatoes w/ homemade gravy
  • Green bean casserole
  • Roasted Carrots
  • Pumpkin Cheesecake

What I bought and how to make it:

Cashew cheese spread

  • Nutritional yeast
  • Cashews
  • Lemon juice
  • Smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper
Find the recipe I will be using here. It’s quick and simple. I’ll soak the cashews the night before and make the spread in the morning, then I’ll just stick it in the fridge until it’s ready to be served as an appetizer. I’ll serve this with a nice fresh loaf of bread from our local bakery that we buy Wednesday.

Cranberry Almond Salad

  • Spinach
  • Cranberries
  • Almonds
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Garlic
  • Salt and pepper
I don’t have an exact recipe I’m following for this, though I’m sure there are plenty. Pretty straightforward make the cranberry’s, use the seasonings as the dressing and throw it all together. I like to keep the dressing on the side so you can store the leftover salad for later.

Butternut squash

  • 2 butternut squash
  • Olive oil
  • Quinoa
  • Vegetable broth
  • Spinach
  • Garlic
  • Oregano
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Chickpeas
  • Orange
We are substituting our turkey for this main entree and I’m really excited to stick with all these fall veggies. Find the recipe I’ll be using as my guide here. I don’t normally follow recipes to a T. I don’t measure out my seasonings and sometimes I omit an ingredient completely or replace it with something else. Make them yours!

Mashed potatoes

  • Almond milk
  • 6 potatoes
  • Vegan butter
  • Green onions
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
No recipe here, I scrub the potatoes rub some olive oil, salt and pepper on them then stick them in the crockpot for 4 hours. I love my mashed potatoes with the skin but some people prefer the skin peeled. This is one of the first things I will start prepping Thursday morning. Once they cook for 4 hours I use my masher, pour in some milk, mix in some butter and serve with green onions and homemade gravy.

Homemade Gravy

  • Avocado oil
  • Vegetable broth
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Flour
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Salt
  • Almond milk
This is a recipe I use from the minimalist baker. If you haven’t seen her page, go check her recipes, they are bound to make you want to eat more vegetables.

Green Bean Casserole Green beans

  • Salt and pepper
  • Garlic
  • Vegan butter
  • Almond milk
  • Flour
  • Vegetable broth
  • Crispy fried onions
Another minimalist baker recipe I am knocking off, I’m telling you her website will make you hungry for veggies.

Roasted CarrotsCarrots

  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Maple syrup
This is just an extra easy side I wanted to throw in. The maple syrup makes them more of an extra dessert and the kids really love them. Just mix all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and lay them out on a baking sheet. Cook at 350 for about 20 minutes and you can flip about half way as well.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

This is wear I stop at my cooking – with my job, the kids and prepping the house I knew I had to cut corners somewhere. I still wanted a nice homemade dessert instead of store bought, so I ordered one from my friend who owns a local bakery at Southern Crumbs and Cakes. This is the only dish that won’t be vegan but, the stress of not having to make a homemade desert (when I can count how many deserts I’ve made homemade on one hand) is worth it.

I hope this guide helps you and encourages you to keep the holiday season going with the environment in mind and lots of love, laughter and food.

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