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A “Plant Slant” Thanksgiving

Here’s a question to ponder: What if your Thanksgiving turkey was merely the side dish? What if you served crowning jewels of colorful fruit and vegetable plates that took center stage, and you set the turkey off to the side as almost an afterthought? It’s not an entirely bad idea for Thanksgiving, and it’s certainly not a bad idea for a daily habit. In fact, there’s a name for this way of eating – It’s called the “Plant Slant.”

The “Plant Slant” diet – Photo via Blue Zones Project

We’ve been volunteering with our local Blue Zones community health project, and one of the central tenets of the Blue Zones  pledge is to adopt a “Plant Slant” diet. This means eating modestly each day, with a full emphasis on fruits and vegetables. According to the Blue Zones project, “You can eat meat if you want to, but try considering it as a condiment and make sure you buy the leanest, finest meat you can afford. Limit [meat] portions to the size of a deck of cards and don’t exceed serving it more than twice a week.”

This advice also happens to fit in with the USDA’s My Plate recommendations to make fruits and vegetables the majority of your food intake. How do you get your protein? The Blue Zones project, which has tracked success in communities with healthy populations and long life spans such as Okinawa, Japan, notes that “the cornerstone of most centenarian diets is beans, favorites including fava, black, soy and lentils.”

So what are your side dishes going to look like? We’ve got a few ideas, like this heirloom apple/sweet potato tian:


Or this honey/balsamic roasted red kuri squash:

Or these pomegranate-lacquered sweet potatoes:

But don’t take it from us; check out some of the gorgeous Thanksgiving sides from our talented friends:

Cranberry-Walnut Conserve from Liz the Chef, via Recipe Renovater

Dorothy’s Award-Winning Southwest Stuffing from Shockingly Delicious

Green Bean Casserole from Scratch (no soup here!) from In Erika’s Kitchen

Prosciutto Cranberry Brussels Sprouts from Cooking on the Weekends

Mushroom and Thyme Quinoa Pilaf (and more quinoa recipes) from Family Spice

Mustard-Maple Brussels Sprouts with Candied Pepitas and Pomegranate Seeds from Cara’s Cravings

Sweet Spiced Winter Squash Casserole from Jeanette’s Healthy Living

Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Soup with Smoky Maple Pepita Brittle from Gluten-Free Doctor

Balsamic and Rosemary Glazed Fingerling Potatoes from Sippity Sup

Candied Southern Sweet Potatoes from Bibberche

Pumpkin and Pancetta Risotto with Freshly-Grated Parmesan from California Greek Girl

…and if you’re looking for some way to make it a whole bunch more fun, check out this Mashed Potato Martini Party video from Average Betty and Presley’s Pantry.

Is your table full yet? At this point, you’ll be saying, “Turkey? Who needs turkey?”

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17 Responses to A “Plant Slant” Thanksgiving

  1. Laura @ Family Spice November 16, 2012 at 11:23 am #

    Yummy! Yummy! I really love your gorgeous apple and sweet potato gratin. Thanks for the link and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. averagebetty November 16, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    I’m all about the sides on Thanksgiving and would be thankful for an entire meal of the deliciousness that is this post — no bird required 🙂

  3. Jean Layton November 16, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    This is a fabulous way to host a vegetarian Thanksgiving. My favorite part of Thanksgiving is always the sides, and desserts.
    thanks for including my soup recipe

  4. Dorothy at ShockinglyDelicious November 16, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    Thanks for including my stuffing! Love stuffing in all its glory, and all of the side dishes. Wonderful post!

  5. Cara November 16, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

    Thanks for featuring my recipe! Everything here looks so yummy – off to check them out!

  6. Suzi November 16, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

    Sounds like a GREAT Thanksgiving meal to me!!!!! Tell me this is what we are doing.

    • Jeanne November 16, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

      Thanks everyone! And Suzi, well, I’ll do it if you want to propose it to everyone else first! ; )

  7. Stephanie, The Recipe Renovator November 16, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

    Thanks for including the link to my blog and Liz’s chutney. I can’t believe I haven’t heard the term Plant Slant before… so great and completely how I used to eat before going mostly vegan. I also have an entire vegan Thanksgiving menu on my blog if your readers are interested. These recipes look incredible.

    • Jeanne November 16, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

      Thanks, Stephanie! I’ll go check it out. And yes, I like the phrase – easy to remember! ; )

  8. Lana November 16, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    This sounds like a great idea for Thanksgiving as it reflects the way we eat almost every day:) I LOVE sweet potatoes and that tian with apples looks amazing!
    Thanks for the link love:)
    Have a great holiday – I hope to see you soon:)

    • Jeanne November 16, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

      Thanks, Lana – Hope to see you soon!

  9. Sara November 18, 2012 at 8:26 am #

    Great blog Jeanne, very professional and in a whole other class than mine! I like your premise here, and this particular post is an encouragement to me to get with the program and eat more healthily on a regular basis. I’ll be stopping by again to take a longer look at all your recipes. Those sweet potato buns in a previous post caught my eye right away too.

    • Jeanne November 18, 2012 at 10:03 am #

      Thanks, Sara – Great seeing you yesterday!!

  10. California Greek Girl November 19, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    I wish I had this earlier or I would have changed Thanksgiving in the Greek -American tradition forever! But, I will make sure o save this for dinners and next year! What a selection of beautiful and nutritious recipes! Thank-you for the link!

  11. Alaiyo Kiasi November 19, 2012 at 4:31 pm #


    I was just approving your post on Triberr and decided to pop in a read the whole article. I like this post because in my home, our Thanksgiving table features vegetables and no turkey. Thanks for reminding me of how nice it is to celebrate the bounty.


    • Jeanne November 19, 2012 at 10:12 pm #

      Love it! Thanks for stopping by, Alaiyo!


  1. Thanksgiving, Done Simply. For Real. - Jolly Tomato - November 26, 2013

    […] an emphasis on the plant-based foods with a “Plant Slant” Thanksgiving. Bonus: Your table will be so colorful you won’t need lots of fancy […]

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