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  • Writer's pictureNina Elliot

Friendsgiving Menu

Updated: Dec 27, 2019

Thanks to an invite from friends, I won't be cooking a Thanksgiving feast this year for the first time in years. This opened up the margin to be able to host a "Friendsgiving" at my place the day after. I know that we will most likely be experiencing a bit of a food hang-over from yesterdays turkey, so I have come up with a clean and delicious menu, one that is dairy-free, gluten-free, and contains no refined sugars. From the first bite to the last dessert, each item on the menu has been chosen for it's ability to be made in advance in order to make it as effortless as possible. I have posted my cooking schedule, which is totally doable as the week goes on.

So, if you are planning a feast for friends at any point during this holiday season, if it needs to be healthy (and food sensitivity friendly) and approachable, check out my spread! My hope is that it inspires you to set out those fancy plates, tie some rosemary sprigs to some napkins and enjoy the blessings of friendship at your dinner table.


Carrot Curry Soup

Veggie Tray with Pesto

Crackers with Crispy-Pecan Butter and Bacon

Beef Bourguignon

Roast Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Green Bean Casserole

Pumpkin Pie Bars with White Frosting

Mules, Apple Cider Mimosas


Sunday: Soak pecans in water and salt for 12 hours

Monday: Add pecans to dehydrator.

Tuesday: Make pecan butter, put in individual jars for party favor. Make pesto. Marinade the beef in wine. Drink any extra wine.

Wednesday: Make beef bourguignon & carrot soup. Make pumpkin bars and frosting. Store beef and carrot soup in freezer. Cool pumpkin bars, frost and refrigerate.

Thursday: Go to my friends house for Thanksgiving


AM: Make Green Bean Casserole, refrigerate: cook at 350 for 30 min before serving.

Create table setting, tidy house.

2pm: Warm Beef Burguinon in oven, Boil and Mash Potatoes

2:30 pm: Assemble Veggie tray with pesto, fry bacon to assemble with pecan butter on crackers.

Throw on lipstick. Guests arrive at 3:30



Crispy Pecans

Place 6 cups raw pecans in a bowl of fresh filtered water.

Add 1 tablespoon sea salt and allow to soak overnight.

The next day, drain and rinse the nuts.

Spread onto a dehydrator tray, or a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper, and dehydrate nuts on the lowest possible setting until crispy, about 12 hours.


Pecan Butter*

makes 4 cups

6 cups crispy nuts (see recipe above)

1 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup raw honey

1 Tablespoon salt

Add crispy nuts to food processor and pulse till the nuts are broken up to your preferred texture. Add the coconut oil, honey and salt. Blend until creamy and smooth. Add to a wide mouth ball jar.

*This makes an excellent party favor!

*I plan on buying gluten free crackers, spreading the pecan butter on the crackers and topping it with pieces of bacon as an appetizer


Pesto (dairy free)

2 cups fresh basil

juice of 1 lemon

2 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons pine nuts

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1/4 cup olive oil

Add all ingredients into a food processor and blend until creamy. I'll be serving this on my veggie tray along with olives, cucumbers, peppers, carrots and gluten free crackers.


Carrot Curry Soup (make in advance and freeze)

Serves 12

4 medium onions, peeled and diced

2 lbs carrots, peeled and diced

4 tablespoons avocado oil (or butter)

4 teaspoons curry powder

3 quarts (12 cups) chicken stock

1 teaspoon fresh grated lemon

1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

Sea salt

Creme fraiche to garnish*

*not dairy free

  1. In a large pot add avocado oil and bring to medium heat.

  2. Peel and dice the onions and add to pot.

  3. Peel and dice the carrots and add to pot. Saute everything over medium heat for 20 minutes, till the onions are translucent and soft.

  4. Add curry powder and chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cover pot and turn heat to medium low and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.

  5. Add lemon and ginger and salt.

  6. Cover and allow to simmer for another 10 minutes to allow the flavors to mingle.

  7. Remove from heat and with an immersion blender, puree the soup until very smooth. Taste and flavor with more salt if needed.

  8. Serve with creme fraiche as a garnish.


Beef Bourguignon - adapted from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

Serves 12-16

Begin 24 hours in advance with a wine marinade for the beef

6 lbs stew beef cubed into 2-inch pieces

4 cups red wine

4-6 cups beef stock (allow stock to just cover the beef)

Avocado oil (for browning the beef, the mushrooms and onions)

1/4 cup arrow root powder with 1/4 cup water to make slurry

Several small slivers orange peel

Fresh thyme

Green peppercorns

2lbs mushrooms

2lbs boiling onions

flat leaf parsley for garnish (optional)

  1. Marinade beef overnight in wine.

  2. Remove from wine and pat dry (don't discard the wine).

  3. Melt 6 tbsp oil into dutch oven and brown the beef in small batches and set aside.

  4. In a small bowl, make a slurry with arrow root powder and water. Mix well to remove any clumps, then add slurry to the pan. Cook the slurry in the oil, add wine from the marinade and add beef stock.

  5. Bring to a boil while scraping any bits off the bottom of the pan.

  6. Return meat to the pan, add thyme peppercorns and orange peel.

  7. Cover dutch oven and place in to a 300 degree oven for 3-4 hours till meat is tender.

  8. 30 minutes before serving, rinse, slice and brown the mushrooms by adding 3 tablespoons of avocado oil to a pan and sautee over medium-high heat.

  9. Remove mushrooms from pan, add more oil and saute onions until they are caramelized, about 10 minutes. Stir mushrooms and onions into beef and cook for another 45 minutes in oven to ensure the flavors meld.

  10. Salt to taste. Garnish with parsley.


Green Bean Casserole by Megan Gilmore (Detoxinista)

1 yellow onion, sliced thinly

1 tablespoon coconut oil, or butter

2 cups parsnips, chopped

10 oz. mushrooms, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt

1 lb. fresh green beansT

  1. Melt a pat of coconut oil, or butter, in a large skillet and add the sliced onions. Saute gently over medium-low heat for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until caramelized. Use a splash of water, as needed, to prevent sticking.

  2. Once the onions are tender and golden in color, remove from heat and set aside in a bowl for later.

  3. Fit a steamer basket into a saucepan, and fill with one inch of water. Add the 2 cups of chopped parsnips, and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Cover and reduce the heat to low, steaming for about 8 minutes, or until the parsnips are easily pierced with a fork.

  4. Transfer the steamed parsnips to your blender container, and set it aside.

  5. Using the same steamer basket and saucepan, break the pound of fresh green beans into one-inch pieces, and toss them into the steamer basket. Bring to a boil, then cover and steam for 6-8 minutes, until the green beans are bright green with a bit of crunch. Note: At this point, cook the green beans to be as tender as you like– if you prefer them softer, steam them longer. The baking process later will not make them any more tender, so this is your chance to achieve the texture you like.

  6. Transfer to a 8X8 glass baking dish

  7. Once the onions have finished caramelizing, you can use the same pan to saute the mushrooms and garlic. Melt another pat of coconut oil or butter and saute the garlic for 3 minutes, then add the mushrooms. Cook for about 6 minutes until liquid is released from the mushrooms.

  8. Make the Creamy filling: Spread half the mushroom mixture into the baking dish with the green beans, and pour the other half, along with any liquid into the blender container with the steamed parsnips.

  9. Into the same blender container, add 1 1/2 cups water, 1 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup nutritional yeast to the cooked parrsnips and mushrooms. Blend until smooth and creamy.

  10. Put it all together: pour the creamy sauce over the cooked green beans and mushrooms in the glass baking dish and stir to coat well. Smooth with a spatula and top with the carmelized onions to finish

  11. This can now go in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes OR be stored in the refrigerator ready to be cooked on the day of the feast.


Pumpkin Bars-by Megan Gilmore (Detoxinista)

(these are not terribly sweet. The almond flour produces a brownie like texture and the frosting perfects it.)

makes 12 bars

1/4 cup arrowroot starch

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

Mix ingredients into a bowl, it will be crumbly at first, keep mixing until it comes together. Spread into an 8X8 dish, press down with your fingers if needed. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Cool completely before frosting and slicing.


Sweet Potato Frosting by Megan Gilmore (Detoxinista)

1 large sweet potato (white flesh)

1/2 cup maple syrup (room temperature)

6 Tablespoons melted coconut oil

2-4 Tablespoons water

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1/8 teaspoon of salt

  1. To prepare the sweet potato, peel and cut it into 1-inch chunks. In a pot fitted with a steamer basket, bring 1-inch of water to a boil and steam the potato chunks until fork-tender, about 10-15 minutes. 

  2. Transfer the steamed potato chunks into a 1-cup measuring cup and mash them with a fork to tightly pack the cup all the way to the top.

  3. Transfer the mashed sweet potato to a blender, and add in the maple syrup, coconut oil, 2 tablespoons of water, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and salt.

  4. Blend until silky smooth.

  5. If the mixture isn't blending well, add more water 1-2 tablespoons at a time until very smooth. Be careful not to add too much water or the frosting will be too runny.

  6. Once smooth, transfer the frosting to an airtight container to store in the fridge. 

This frosting will thicken overnight and can be spread over your favorite cakes, bars, or cookies. Be sure to keep the frosting refrigerated for best texture, though it can sit out at room temperature for several hours for serving.

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