2 Showstopping Vegetarian Mains for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is amazing, but when you’re a vegetarian what do you put at the center of the table? I love sides as much as anyone, but it is nice to have a showstopper - a main - a kick-ass focal point that would put any turkey to shame!!

Two showstopping vegetarian mains for the holidays from www.goingzerowaste.com #vegetarian #holidays #thanksgiving #christmas #cauliflower #acornsquash

I love to have something that really ties the plate together, and I think both of these options would be a beautiful edition to your menu.

If you haven’t checked out my zero waste Thanksgiving guide make sure to grab a copy, it has an entire guide including a grocery list, menu, recipes, and even a cooking schedule!

Two showstopping vegetarian mains for the holidays from www.goingzerowaste.com #vegetarian #holidays #thanksgiving #christmas #cauliflower #acornsquash
Two showstopping vegetarian mains for the holidays from www.goingzerowaste.com #vegetarian #holidays #thanksgiving #christmas #cauliflower

roasted cauliflower:

I love this roasted cauliflower. It has this beautiful crust on it that makes more beautiful than a golden brown turkey!

45 Minutes / 400 Degrees / 4 Servings

  • 1 head of cauliflower

  • 2 tablespoons of flax meal

  • 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast

  • 1 teaspoon of salt

  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon of parsley

  • 1 teaspoon of mustard powder

  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika

  • 1 teaspoon of cumin

  • 1/4 cup of olive oil

  • 1/4 cup of water

  • juice of 1 lemon

  1. carefully remove all of the leaves from the cauliflower leaving the stalk fully intact

  2. place the cauliflower in a pan stalk side up

  3. mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl

  4. pour half of the mixture into the cauliflower and tap it to make sure the mixture is evenly dispersed through the cauliflower

  5. bake the cauliflower stalk up for 20 minutes

  6. take the cauliflower out and turn it so the florets are on top

  7. spread the rest of the mixture over the cauliflower

  8. since there’s flax meal, it might get a little congealed so feel free to add 1-2 more tablespoons of water

  9. bake for 25 more minutes until golden brown

  10. pull out of the oven and let it cool for half and hour

  11. slice into steaks and serve with a side of gravy

You can grab my gravy recipe in my Thanksgiving Guide!

Two showstopping vegetarian mains for the holidays from www.goingzerowaste.com #vegetarian #holidays #thanksgiving #christmas #acornsquash
Two showstopping vegetarian mains for the holidays from www.goingzerowaste.com #vegetarian #holidays #thanksgiving #christmas #cauliflower #acornsquash

stuffed acorn squash:

This is such a festive edition to the table and a complete celebration of fall produce.

30 Minutes / 400 Degrees / 2 Servings

  • 1 acorn squash

  • 2 cups of cooked quinoa*

  • 1/4 cup of toasted pecans

  • 1/4 cup of toasted cashews

  • 3/4 cup of shiitake mushrooms

  • 3/4 cup of granny smith apples or dried cranberries

  • zest and juice of one lemon

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • fresh sprigs of thyme

  1. slice the acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds and insides

  2. salt the acorn squash generously

  3. place the acorn squash flesh side down on a greased cookie sheet

  4. place in an oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes and the flesh is caramelized and fork tender

  5. chop the nuts

  6. sauté the mushrooms and the apples together until tender with the lemon zest and lemon juice

  7. add in the quinoa and the nuts and salt and pepper to taste

  8. once the squash is out of the oven scoop the quinoa stuffing inside

  9. top with fresh thyme and serve

Two showstopping vegetarian mains for the holidays from www.goingzerowaste.com #vegetarian #holidays #thanksgiving #christmas #cauliflower #acornsquash

If you make any of my recipes this holiday season, please tag me on Instagram! Be on the look out next week because I’m going to be sharing recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers, AND I’m going to be sharing an awesome giveaway…. it’s going to be good. ;)

Two showstopping vegetarian mains for the holidays from www.goingzerowaste.com #vegetarian #holidays #thanksgiving #christmas #cauliflower #acornsquash

How to Have a Zero Waste Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is going to be here before we know it! It’s probably my favorite holiday because it focuses on the most important things in life - friends, family, and food.

I know that Black Friday shortly follows kicking off the ultimate consumerism push, but in my mind there’s at least a brief moment of serenity and gratitude that takes place.

How to have a zero waste thanksgiving from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #thanksgiving #zerowastethanksgiving

I’ve hosted Thanksgiving every year since moving to California. This year will be my 5th time hosting, and I LOVE it!

Yes, Justin and I, did Thanksgiving for two in the tiny home. We did the full spread and feasted on leftovers for a week. It was magical.

When we lived in larger spaces, we’ve on average hosted around 6 people, and I expect it to be about the same this year. So, I’m sharing all of my low waste secrets PLUS a handy Thanksgiving Guide with a printable menu for your table, a grocery shopping list, recipes, and timing. Be sure to snag a copy!

make a plan:

Pick out how many dishes you’d like to create and don’t go overboard! If you’re like me, you wind up with 15 different dishes you want to make. Scale it back.

I like to have four nibbles, one main, one starter, four sides, rolls, and two desserts. You can download my zero waste Thanksgiving cheat sheet below with all of my recipes and prep-tips!

prepare yourself:

It’s no surprise that grocery shopping can be one of the most wasteful aspects of putting on an event like this.

When you’re prepping food in a zero waste way, you don’t get very many shortcuts. Often you’re cooking from scratch. While that’s not a super big deal most meal nights, it can get a little out of hand at Thanksgiving.

I don’t mind cooking the meal from scratch because I think it tastes better and I’m confident in the food I’m eating. I know the ingredients because I put them there!

Growing up with an allergy, cooking (mostly) from scratch was pretty common place anyways.

focus on simple:

In order to avoid being chained in the kitchen for 48 hours, I keep it very simple. I keep it to a 20% / 80% ratio - 20% WOW! and 80% simple, simple, simple.

Simple food is delicious food, but it relies heavily on amazing ingredients. As you’re creating your plan avoid getting carried away with elaborate recipes.

Pick one or two elaborate recipes, ideally things that can be prepped if not completed a day or two before.

Keep the other dishes to ones with few ingredients and few steps.

how much to serve:

Identify how many people are coming over and then make a shopping plan based on that number. This is an amazing illustration by Brittany Holland-Zeller and is a perfect guide! Although… I always eat more than one piece of pie.



hit up your farmers market:

Armed with a plan and an idea of how much you should buy, it’s time to start shopping.

I like to go to the farmers market to stock up on all of my favorite fall ingredients. The farmers market is where I do 90% of my shopping because produce is the STAR of the show.

Even though there’s a turkey on my table, I keep my Thanksgivings very plant forward.

the main:

Most of my family is omnivorous, so I still do a Turkey. But, I will be creating a few veggie show-stopping mains for you this month! I’ll be creating a whole roasted cauliflower and a stuffed acorn squash that’s almost too pretty eat.

I have yet to find a way to bring a whole turkey home without the plastic bag. This year, I’m trying a turkey breast for the first time. I ordered it from a local butcher shop that let’s me bring my own containers, so we’ll see if it works!

I have been able to get a whole chicken to-go in my own container before and I think that’d be a lovely center piece for a table. Especially when you’re hosting a smaller group, but my husband would not consider it.

How to have a zero waste thanksgiving from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #thanksgiving #zerowastethanksgiving

other foods:

When it comes to the other ingredients, I hit up the bakery and the bulk bins for nibbles! Check out this blog post for the Ultimate Guide to Zero Waste Grocery Shopping. If you want my recipes and tips and tricks when it comes to preparing the meal make sure to check out my guide.


When it comes to drinks, I opt for local. That’s really easy for me to say though, because I live near Napa.

But, I try to offer white, red, and sparkling. I also pick up a growler or two for beer and then I like to have alcoholic beverages like iced-tea available.

Check out this blog post if you want to know how to make iced-tea for a party from loose leaf tea. 

How to have a zero waste thanksgiving from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #thanksgiving #zerowastethanksgiving

setting the table:

Thanksgiving and Christmas are two of the holidays where people typically break out the nice china and the cloth napkins.

Being a zero waster, this is an every day affair and shouldn’t come with any surprises. To make clean-up easier, try to start the meal with an empty dishwasher and an empty washing machine so everything can be loaded after dinner.

If you don’t have enough dishes, chairs, or anything else for your party be sure to call a friend or family member to see if they could bring any over.

serving and decor:

When it comes to serving dishes, I really like to serve in containers that have lids. It makes clean-up an absolute breeze! Make sure to check out my guide to storing leftovers where I cover this in more detail

As far as other decorations go, I find a few festive gourds, candles, and maybe even a vase with fresh autumnal flowers does the trick.

avoid food waste:

Thanksgiving can be a very wasteful holiday when it comes to food waste. So, make sure you’re not over buying food, and be prepared to send people home with leftovers.

Get my tips for utilizing your freezer to avoid food waste, and grab some ideas for repurposing your leftovers. I have a fun blog post coming out next week so stay tuned!

Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year? Don’t forget to grab my guide, and let me know what some of your best zero waste tips and tricks are for Thanksgiving?

5 Fall Hiking Essentials

When the sun starts setting early, you can cue my winter blues. As we approach winter, I lose all motivation to get things done. And, I DON’T EVEN LIVE IN A PLACE WITH REAL WINTER.

Our winters range from 20-60 degrees. Lord, bless me, if I ever move to the East Coast.

In order to cope with my disdain for fall and winter, I am trying to embrace the seasons and everything they give us - like squash.

Five fall hiking essentials from www.goingzerowaste.com #hiking #fall

Part of living a zero waste or more holistic lifestyle is living with the seasons. While I’ve embraced that in terms of food (I freaking love squash), I haven’t necessarily embraced that on other levels.

This year I’m truly making it a goal to honor the seasons and appreciate them for what they are. One of my goals is to get outside. Rain, shine, fog, cold, whatever the day brings I’m trying to spend more time in nature.

When I’m in nature, I feel so much better. I love being among the trees and away from large swaths of concrete.

So, I wanted to round up 5 of my favorite things for getting out in nature this fall!

I’m super excited to share this post with you because it was sponsored by tentree. All thoughts and opinions are my own. For more information please see my disclosure policy.

Tentree was founded in 2012 with a goal to deliver well-crafted, sustainable clothing and with each purchase 10 trees would be planted.

Five fall hiking essentials from www.goingzerowaste.com #hiking #fall #sustainableclothing

To date they have planted more than 24 million trees!! Yes, you read that correctly 24 MILLION trees and counting. These trees have been planted in Canada, United States, Nepal, Madagascar, Haiti, Senegal, and Cambodia.

Not only are these trees providing clean air and absorbing carbon, they’re also helping to build local economies.

In the past, over 80% of Madagascar had been deforested. The removal of the mangrove trees threatened the wildlife, created erosion problems, and even desertification inland.

They have planted 10 million trees in Madagascar the majority being mangrove trees. These trees capture and absorb more carbon dioxide than any other trees in the world.

Five fall hiking essentials from www.goingzerowaste.com #hiking #fall #sustainableclothing

But, they also plant fruit trees which provide food to local villages as well as other trees that provide fuel and lumber.

The goal is to fully restore the mangroves to help avoid erosion and restore the coasts so wildlife can inhabit them once again.

This is only one of their many projects. Check out all of the other amazing ways tentree is working to plant trees and help communities.

I’m so inspired by the work tentree does and I’m extra excited to be working on this post with them!

Five fall hiking essentials from www.goingzerowaste.com #hiking #fall #sustainableclothing

5 Fall Hiking Essentials:

1. easy layers:

Living in the bay area it’s freezing in the morning, warm by two, and then by four the fog rolls in and it’s freezing again.

Five fall hiking essentials from www.goingzerowaste.com #hiking #fall #sustainableclothing

Dressing in thin but warm layers is essential for me. I find it cumbersome to carry really thick sweatshirts, so I really like this thinner cumulus sweatshirt.

Under the sweatshirt I’ll either wear a tee or a long-sleeve shirt… sometimes both.

One of the things that makes tentree standout is their stellar selection for men. I’ve picked up a few pieces for Justin, and he wears them everywhere.

He has a little bit of a thicker hoodie the irvin zip and then pairs it with their drifter tees. They’re his go-to tees for any occasion not just hiking.

Some of their clothing is a blend with recycled polyester. While I’m not a huge fan of plastic in clothing, if it’s going to be there I’m really glad that it’s made from recycled plastic bottles.

Tentree is continually looking for new ways to close the loop and incorporate more innovative materials into their fabrics. If you don't have a guppy bag, you can pick one up to help you reduce the amount of micro-plastics that poly products prduce from being washed

But, the majority of their clothing is made with natural fibers like organic cotton and hemp. Natural fibers are great because they’re breathable. It makes it easier to regulate your body temperature so they help you stay both warmer and cooler.

Justin’s top picks:

Kathryn’s top picks:

2. the coziest of all pants:

To be honest, you’ll find me in these bamone sweatpants way more when lounging around the house than on the trail because they are so WARM!

I’ve worn them on one or two colder days, but they’re a little too warm for the current season. As we approach colder months, I will be incorporating them more.

I know that most people reading this post it will be cool enough to wear these, so I wanted to include them.

tentree is offering 20% off to all Going Zero Waste readers and is valid until December 5th, one-time use 'GOINGZEROWASTE20' shop now

Justin’s top pick:

atlas pants.jpg

Kathryn’s top pick:

3. homemade trail snacks:

Trail snacks are must!! I always make sure to bring a full water bottle and a couple of munchies. I think it’s nice to sit down and really enjoy the scenery.

I’m a goal driven person. Even when my “goal” is to be in nature, all I want to do is get to the finish line as fast as possible. You feel me?

I want to be at the end! I to be “finished” so I tend to have blinders on, and my body drives me to accomplish that goal.

Five fall hiking essentials from www.goingzerowaste.com #hiking #fall #sustainableclothing

So, it’s really nice just to take a break and enjoy being in the middle. It’s kind of a metaphor for how I feel about life.

Just make yourself the nice dinner, sit down, enjoy it, and be in the moment without any distractions. I’d hate to live my entire life running from goal to goal without ever truly enjoying being in the middle…

Because let’s be real 98% of life is being in the middle.

My current favorite water bottle is this one because it has a sweet detachable cup I can use to pour water for Nala! I like to store my trail mix in a stasher bag.

My current favorite trail mix:

  • 3 Tablespoons of Almonds

  • 3 Tablespoons of Pecans

  • 3 Tablespoons of Peanuts

  • 3 Tablespoons of Pepitas

  • 3 Tablespoons of Dried Blueberries

  • 3 Tablespoons of Dried Raisins

  • 3 Tablespoons of Chocolate Chips

Five fall hiking essentials from www.goingzerowaste.com #hiking #fall #sustainableclothing

4. beanies:

When it’s windy, I get ear aches. Totally not a fun experience when you’re a couple of miles in and you just have to walk all of the way back with aching ears.

You also use 10% of your body heat from your head, so if it starts to get chilly, wearing a hat is a great way to regulate your body temperature when the fog unexpectedly rolls in an hour early.

One of the simplest things I can do to prevent chilly winds from getting me down is wear a beanie. And, to be honest… I’m not a huge beanie person.

Five fall hiking essentials from www.goingzerowaste.com #hiking #fall #sustainableclothing

But, when I saw this beanie with a pom pom. I just knew it was a must!! I also really like their cable knit beanies. I would love it if tentree started making cable knit ear bands though. I need it.

Justin has always been a fan of beanies, and he’s always wearing this organic cotton one because it’s so cozy!

As it gets colder, I’ll definitely need some of these cozy mittens!

Justin’s Picks:

Kathryn’s Picks:


5. nala!!

Is it even worth hiking if your furry friend can’t come with you!? I get exercise. She gets exercise. My mental health improves doubly because nature AND puppies.

It’s a winning combo y’all.


So, there’s one thing that’s also critical for me on nature walks and it’s not so much something I bring with me, but something I don’t bring…

I keep my electronics OFF. I have them on my person incase of an emergency, but they’re stowed away because I will be checking email, taking photos, listening to a podcast, basically doing something other than what I’m supposed to be doing….

Five fall hiking essentials from www.goingzerowaste.com #hiking #fall #sustainableclothing

Which is NOT being connected with technology.

I just like to listen to nature.

What are some of your goals for this fall and winter season?

tentree is offering 20% off to all Going Zero Waste readers and is valid until December 5th, one-time use 'GOINGZEROWASTE20' shop now