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 Make Apple Cider Vinegar from Scraps

Remember that apple sauce recipe from Monday? Well I hope you saved your peels and cores because now it’s time to make some vinegar!

Yes, you can actually makes vinegar. I know it sounds super wild, but it’s honestly a piece of (apple) cake!

How to make apple cider vinegar from scraps from www.goingzerowaste.com #apples #applecidervinegar #acv #fallrecipes #cookingwithscraps

I’ve been making my own apple cider vinegar for almost three years now. You can use chunks of apples or just stick to using peels and cores.

Using the peels and cores is great because it takes a ‘waste’ product that would otherwise be composted and turns it into something delicious and yummy!

If you’re looking for more recipes that utilize scraps, check out this blog post on full of ideas for cooking with food scraps. 

How to make apple cider vinegar from scraps from www.goingzerowaste.com #apples #applecidervinegar #acv #fallrecipes #cookingwithscraps
How to make apple cider vinegar from scraps from www.goingzerowaste.com #apples #applecidervinegar #acv #fallrecipes #cookingwithscraps

the tools:

  • You need to make sure that you’re using a very clean quart sized jar!

  • rubber band

  • swatch of cloth

the ingredients:

  • 2 cups of apple peels and cores

  • 1 tablespoon of raw honey or 1 tablespoon of sugar

  • 3 cups of filtered water

how to make apple cider vinegar:

  1. place the apple pieces in the glass jar

  2. fill the jar with filtered water

  3. add in the raw honey and shake until it dissolves

  4. cover the jar with the swatch of cloth and a rubber band

  5. let the jar sit in a dark place for about 3-4 weeks

  6. stir it occasionally and make sure that the apple pieces are submerged

  7. after 3-4 weeks, strain out the apple pieces and compost

  8. leave the liquid in the jar for another 3-4 weeks

  9. then it’s ready to use!

*To speed up the process you use sugar instead of honey. To really speed up the process add 1/4 cup of existing apple cider vinegar with the mother. I keep using batches that I’ve made over the years over and over again as a starter.

I love using ACV to make a delicious vinaigrette which is perfect for topping this spinach, apple, walnut salad.

How to Make Iced Tea with Loose Leaf Tea

How has everyone been enjoying Plastic Free July? I'm curious to hear about your successes? Where did you miss the mark? Did you learn anything new?? 

When you start paying attention to plastic, you learn that it's sneaky! So, so sneaky. It can disguise itself as almost anything.

  • Chewing gum? Plastic.
  • Produce stickers? Plastic.
  • Paper cups? Lined with plastic. 
  • Tea bags? Woven with plastic. 

YES. You read that right. Tea Bags are woven with plastic! You're steeping your daily cup with a side of polypropylene. Delicious.

How to make iced tea with loose leaf tea from www.goingzerowaste.com
This is why I recommend loose leaf tea. With a tea strainer and a jar of loose leaf tea, you're prepared for a plastic free treat!

However, finding loose leaf tea available in bulk/without plastic packaging can be rough without a nice tea shop or extensive health food store. 

Thankfully you don't have to worry about that with Arbor Teas! I have been drinking Arbor Teas for several months now and I am so excited to be partnering with them to bring you my favorite iced tea recipe! 
This post was sponsored by Arbor Teas. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Please see my full disclosure for more information.
How to make iced tea with loose leaf tea from www.goingzerowaste.com

Also, I just have to give them a HUGE shout out for their plastic free matcha 1oz tins. If you watch my instagram stories, you know that I love to start my mornings with a cup of matcha and Arbor Teas is my brand of choice!

Arbor Teas dedication to sustainability is amazing. Did you know tea isn't indigenous to the US? All of it is flown over from Asia.

Arbor Teas has partnered with Carbon Fund to offset everything! But before the tea even gets to their Michigan headquarters they've sourced their teas from sustainable, organic, fair trade, bio dynamic farms. 
How to make iced tea with loose leaf tea from www.goingzerowaste.com

These farms aren't just interested in minimizing their impact on the environment, they're actively trying to have a positive effect on the environment! 

Once the tea gets to their solar-powered facility they package it up in compostable packaging. 

And, their packaging is COMPLETELY compostable down to the label! What I found to be so fascinating is that they used to send the tea in paper tubes and a kraft bag, but switched to cellulose (which breaks down in a backyard compost bin) to save on the weight of the package. 

How to make iced tea with loose leaf tea from www.goingzerowaste.com

The switch to cellulose reduced the weight by 60% which means a lower carbon footprint! 

Y'all. This is a company that has thought about everything! But, don't take my word for it just let me list all of their certifications: USDA Organic, Fair Trade Certified, Green America Certified Business, Carbon Free Certified, Certified Compostable Packaging, International Green Industry Hall of Fame. 

How to make iced tea with loose leaf tea from www.goingzerowaste.com

Arbor Teas has the plastic free tea market on lock! No plastic bags, no plastic packaging, no plastic tea bags. 

You know I love their matcha, but their Pomegranate White Tea is my go to summer drink - especially for parties!
I like to make a gallon of tea for parties. I personally think this Pomegranate White Tea is so delicious it doesn't even need any sweetener.
How to make iced tea with loose leaf tea from www.goingzerowaste.com

Being from Arkansas, we're pretty die hard on the sweet tea, but I think garnishing with some sweet fruit or even a lemon wedge does the trick! 

It's really important to note that you brew white teas with simmering water not boiling water. You're looking for 180 degrees or when the bubbles start to form on the bottom of the pan. 

Now there are two ways to make the iced tea. 

  1. The night before
  2. The - oh crap - guests are coming over in an hour

I'm going to show you how to make both! 

How to make iced tea with loose leaf tea from www.goingzerowaste.com

the night before: 

  • 1 Regular 1.5 oz bag of Pomegranate White Tea
  • 16 cups of water  
  1. Bring 16 cups of water to a simmer approx 180 degrees
  2. Remove the pot from the heat
  3. Add in the loose leaf tea
  4. Let it steep for 2-3 minutes 
  5. Strain out the tea leaves
  6. *OPTIONAL* If adding in sugar, add it now
  7. Store the tea in a sealed container in the fridge and it will be nicely chilled for the following day! 
How to make iced tea with loose leaf tea from www.goingzerowaste.com

the party's in an hour: 

  • 1 Regular 1.5 oz bag of Pomegranate White Tea
  • 8 cups of water  
  • A lot of ice
  1. Fill your 1 gallon container with ice
  2. Bring 8 cups of water to a simmer approx 180 degrees
  3. Remove the pot from the heat
  4. Add in the loose leaf tea
  5. Let it steep for 2-3 minutes 
  6. Strain out the tea leaves
  7. *OPTIONAL* If adding in sugar, add it now
  8. Pour the hot water into the gallon container with the ice. The hot water will melt the ice and dilute the tea mixture to the perfect level leaving you with a refreshing treat and ready to party! 
Pick up a pack of Pomegranate White Tea from Arbor Teas!
What's your favorite type of loose leaf tea? I have a little tea diary of all of the types of tea I want to try next. Up next on my list is the Silver Needles White Tea and the Genmaicha Green Tea.