Best Friends Blog

Favorite Thanksgiving recipes from the Best Friends founders

Each November, as part of the American tradition, we pause and give thanks. At Best Friends, as is the case all year long, we’re thankful for all of you. As animal advocates, you passionately give so much of yourselves as you stand with us as voices for the voiceless. How could we also not be thankful for our animals, who give so much to us each and every day of the year?

As you probably know, not all of the Best Friends founders are American by birth, but they have all adopted America as their new home. So Thanksgiving may be a newer tradition for some, but we thought it might be fun to share with you some of our favorite recipes for this time of year.

You’ll notice that the recipes are an interesting mix, and are not exactly your classic Joy of Cooking Thanksgiving spread. It’s worth noting that here at Best Friends, we prefer to skip the baked bird, and let the turkeys do what they do best — wander around Angel Canyon being the delightful animals they truly are.

We wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving this year, from our Best Friends family to yours.

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Francis Battista
Best Friends Animal Society


Silva Battista’s Favorite Holiday Roast and Mushroom Gravy

Silva Battista, Best Friends founderSilva says, “Francis does most of the cooking in our home, but when it comes to holiday gatherings, I love this cruelty-free centerpiece seitan roast and gravy. These recipes are not mine, but worth sharing. They come from Best Friends employee Jon Dunn.”

Cornbread Stuffed Seitan Roast

Easy Cornbread


1-¼ cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt (optional)
1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (Almond works great here)
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 vegan egg (either a replacer product, or a flax egg*)


1. Heat oven to 400 F
2. Grease 8 or 9 inch baking dish.
3. Combine dry ingredients. Stir in milk, oil and egg replacer, mixing just until dry ingredients are moistened.
4. Pour batter into prepared pan.
5. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

*To make a flax egg: Combine 1 T flaxseed meal and 3 T water. Mix thoroughly, and allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes. Over time, you’ll see the mixture become gloopy, almost exactly like an egg white!

Cornbread Stuffing


1 onion, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sage
½ tsp thyme
2 tsp parsley
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups whole wheat bread, cubed
2 cups corn bread, cubed
¾ – 1 cup vegetable broth


1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Saute onion and celery in the oil until onion is translucent. Allow to cool.
3. Mix rest of dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, using your hands to mash up all the cornbread and bread with the spices.
4. Add in the saute mixture.
5. Add the broth until all of the mixture is moist.
6. Put into a baking dish and bake for 20 minutes.

Seitan Roast


2 cloves garlic
2 cups cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, roughly chopped
¾ cup cooked pinto beans, rinsed and drained (canned are just fine)
1½ cups good vegetable broth
3 tablespoons tamari (you can use regular soy sauce)
½ teaspoon liquid smoke
2 tablespoons olive oil


2½ cups vital wheat gluten
⅓ cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
Fresh black pepper


  1. In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the garlic until it’s chopped up, add the beans and mushrooms, and process until they are in tiny pieces. Make sure you don’t over-process here. We’re not going for bean purée. Some bean pieces are fine — just nothing bigger than the size of a pea.
  3. Mix the wet into the dry, and mix with a spoon until the mixture comes together.
  4. Once you have a ball, get in there with your hands and knead for a minute or two. You’ll start to see the strands of gluten forming.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Now, time to roll out the seitan. Using your hands or a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle, roughly 12 × 10 inches. The seitan may tear as you roll, but it’s not a big deal. Simply grab a tiny bit from the end and cover it up. Seitan dough at this point is forgiving, so don’t stress.
  7. Now, place your prepared stuffing in the lower third of the seitan rectangle. Make sure it’s spread nice and evenly. Begin rolling the seitan up until it’s a log shape. Pinch the seam to seal it up.
  8. Use enough aluminum foil to completely and tightly cover the seitan log. Tightly twist the ends, just like a Tootsie Roll. Place in the oven on a baking sheet. During cooking, you need to roll this guy around a bit, every 15 minutes or so. This ensures even cooking and prevents overcooking on the side touching the baking sheet.
  9. Check your roast after an hour. The log should feel firm. (Check with an oven mitt, or tongs, or something, but not with your bare hands.) If it still feels squishy, leave it in for another 10 minutes and check it again.

Easy Mushroom Gravy


1 medium onion, roughly diced
8 oz. cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, roughly chopped
4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced to ¼-inch or so
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup canola oil
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups good vegetable broth
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon sage
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Sauté the onion and cremini mushrooms on medium heat in a saucepan along with the canola oil and a pinch of salt. Cook down until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms have lost their moisture.
  2. Turn down to medium-low heat, add the flour, and stir until everything is covered and combined. You want the flour to be incorporated, and all the veggies to be covered in a thick paste. Let it cook for a minute or so.
  3. Add the vegetable broth and stir. Bring back up to a boil and allow the mixture to thicken. Once the mixture has thickened, turn off the heat and let cool for a few minutes.
  4. While that’s cooling, add olive oil to a small frying pan on medium heat. Sauté the shiitakes until they are lightly browned. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  5. Pour the cooled, thickened sauce into a blender. Add in the garlic powder, thyme and sage, and process on high until smooth. Return the mixture to the saucepan, and turn the heat back on to bring the sauce back to hot.
  6. Once hot, add the shiitakes to the gravy and serve.


Faith Maloney’s Root Vegetable Bake

Faith Maloney, Best Friends founderIngredients:

4 cups peeled and diced mixed root vegetables, such as turnips, parsnips, beets and rutabaga
2 cups peeled and diced regular or sweet potatoes
1½ cups light coconut milk
½ cup nutritional yeast
½ teaspoon each of thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary and smoked paprika
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder or all-purpose flour
2 15-ounce cans kidney beans or any fancy beans of your choice, rinsed and drained
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large saucepan, add enough water to cover all the root veggies and potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook the veggies until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and place into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the coconut milk over medium heat and whisk in the nutritional yeast and spices. Heat almost to a boil and then add the arrowroot powder or flour. Continue whisking and cook until the sauce thickens.
  4. Add the beans and sauce to the mixing bowl with the root veggies and stir to combine.
  5. Place the mixture into an oiled casserole dish. Bake covered for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 20 minutes.


Cyrus Mejia’s Tofu Quiche

Cyrus Mejia, Best Friends founderIngredients:

1 lb. tofu (blend half till smooth, crumble other half)
1 small onion, chopped fine
¼ lb. mushrooms sliced
2 tablespoons soy “bacon bits”
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Sprinkling of paprika
1 unbaked pie shell


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sauté the onions and mushrooms in the oil for 10 minutes. Add the soy bacon bits in the last few minutes.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients together, then fold along with the mustard and sautéed mushrooms into the tofu. Pour into the pie shell. Sprinkle paprika on top and bake for 45-60 minutes, until set.


Carragh Maloney’s French Bread (adapted from a Pinterest recipe)

Carragh Maloney, Best Friends founderIngredients:

1½ cups warm water (110 degrees)
1 tablespoon agave syrup
1½ teaspoons salt
1½ teaspoons active dry yeast
3½ to 4½ cups flour
Optional: add rosemary, garlic or olives


  1. Combine water, agave, salt and yeast. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until there is a foam on the top.
  2. Knead in the flour (I use a bread hook in my mixer) until the dough is no longer sticky.
  3. Form into a loaf and cover with a towel for 10-15 minutes while preheating your oven to 425 degrees.
  4. Cut slits across the top of the loaf with a blade or sharp knife.
  5. Put in the preheated oven and spray water inside the oven around the loaf with a spray bottle. Close the oven immediately.
  6. Cook for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy!


Francis Battista’s Rosemary Garlic Roasted Potatoes

Francis Battista, Best Friends founderIngredients:

5 lbs. red potatoes
¾ cup minced garlic
1 cup fresh rosemary leaves
¼ cup olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Preheat the roasting pan and olive oil.
  2. Wash (don’t peel) the potatoes and, depending on size, cut into quarters or sixths.
  3. Parboil the potatoes in salted water (not too much), just until you can pierce with a fork.
  4. Drain the potatoes and spread in the hot oil, taking care not to splash or burn yourself. The hot oil seals the potatoes and prevents them from getting soggy (as they would if added to cold oil).
  5. Spread the garlic and rosemary over the potatoes and roll them in the oil with a spatula.
  6. Roast for 45 minutes or until golden brown, turning once or twice to spread the goodies.*
  7. Add sea salt to taste and serve.

*Crunchy pan scrapings are the cook’s guilty-pleasure bonus!

Jana de Peyer’s Whole Cranberry Sauce

Jana DePeyer, Best Friends founderIngredients:

1 package (12 oz.) fresh cranberries
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
¾ cup sugar


  1. Mix the orange juice and sugar in a medium saucepan. On low heat, stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat and bring to a boil. Add the cranberries and return to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat and boil gently for about 10 minutes, until the berries soften and your sauce begins to thicken, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let cool. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

Note: If you like your cranberry sauce with more zing, you can add a small amount of ground cloves and/or fresh ginger to taste.

Gabriel de Peyer’s Tennessee Cider (from the Jack Daniels cookbook)

Tennessee Cider with cat figurinesGabriel says, “I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving as much as I celebrate ‘pilgrim departure day’ from England. Here’s the festive holiday beverage I use to toast the occasion. This is very much American.”


1 oz. chilled Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey
4 oz. sparkling cider
Thin green apple slice


Mix the Jack Daniels and cider. Garnish with the apple slice.

Note: Please drink responsibly.

Gregory Castle’s “When Almonds Show Gratitude for Rice”

Gregory Castle, Best Friends founderBecause they wasted nothing at the original Thanksgiving:

  1. Slice one ⅜-inch-thick piece of rice bread.
  2. Spoon out one tablespoon of almond butter.
  3. Use the index finger of your right hand* to remove the dollop of almond butter from the spoon and place the dollop in the center of the rice bread slice.
  4. Using a knife, spread the almond butter evenly over the rice bread slice.
  5. Using the index finger of your left hand, remove the remnants of the almond butter from the knife.
  6. Place the remnants of the almond butter on top of the lightly spread almond butter on the rice bread slice.
  7. Using the knife in your right hand, remove all un-transferred almond butter from your left index finger.
  8. Using the knife in your left hand, remove all un-transferred almond butter from your right index finger.*
  9. Place the remnants (now on the knife) in the center of the lightly spread almond butter on rice bread slice.
  10. Embed a stalk from a single sprig of organic parsley in the center of the rice bread slice, using added remnants of almond butter to reinforce the parsley stalk.
  11. Flick the parsley sprig with the index finger of your right hand to release the fragrance of parsley and serve immediately.**

*Note that lefties may reverse hands throughout.
**Wonder whether remnants of tablespoon and knife handle should have been incorporated into this traditional Thanksgiving recipe.

  • Virginia Abreu de Paula

    Thank you for so many recipes! Great.

  • Jeanne Modesitt

    Food banks all across the country are in need of food. Please consider donating a bag or two of food (canned beans, peanut butter, bread, etc) to your local food bank. And if your local food bank accepts pet food, please also donate pet food. Thank you.

  • Lynn

    Lets give thanks for all living things on Thanksgiving… Not eat them These recipes from Best Friends sound tasty. Thanks for sharing!!