UNT Chef Recommends Vegan Holiday Meal Options

Roasted Turkey
Photo credit StrikingPhotography/GettyImages
By NewsRadio 1080 KRLD

DENTON (1080 KRLD) - A lot of people will be spending time in the kitchen today preparing meals for their holiday guests - and some of those guests could be vegans. Preparing meals to meet the dietary restrictions of people who don't any eat animal products can still include some Thanksgiving favorites.

"For our Thanksgiving celebration we did a mushroom and dumpling dish. It's kind of a play on chicken and dumplings. It was a big hit," said Chef General Manager Matthew Ward at the Mean Greens Café on the UNT Campus in Denton. It's the school's all-vegan dining hall. "Mushrooms are a very big meaty type of vegetable that you can use as a substitute to satisfy that meat craving that someone might have."

Ward also prepared some traditional desserts to help students celebrate Thanksgiving. "We made a pumpkin and sweet potato souffle, which is a great option," Ward said. "It's one of those classic Thanksgiving dishes you would have at your table during the holidays.  You can source the vegan marshmallows if you want to do that. And of course, you can still make your mashed potatoes...but just make sure you're putting a plant-based milk into your potatoes."

There are ways to find last-minute vegan recipes. "Do your research. Go to supermarkets and really pick the brains of those people in the supermarkets. They're very knowledgeable and will put you in the right direction," Ward said. "There is a plethora of options on the internet. Google is a great resource to get deep into the vegan movement."

He offers this vegan recipe for a vegan pumpkin pie:

Mean Greens Holiday Pumpkin Pie


1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree

1 cup coconut milk

1/3 cup maple syrup

4 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

3 tablespoons corn starch

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 prepared and par-baked 9-inch pie shell



1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, coconut milk, syrup, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, corn starch, salt, and vanilla until very smooth. Pour into the par-baked pie crust and carefully transfer to the oven.

3. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the pumpkin pie filling has set. Be sure to check half way through baking and cover the crust edges with foil or a crust shield if they are getting dark. It’s okay if it still jiggles a bit, it sets while it cools overnight.

4. Remove from the oven and let the pie cool completely. Transfer to the refrigerator to set up overnight. Serve chilled with dairy free whipped cream, candied cranberries or homemade vegan caramel sauce.