The team at Oryana Community Co-op in Traverse City shares a vegetarian Northern Michigan Thanksgiving dinner, celebrating plump squash, farm-fresh apples and each other. Don’t miss these delicious dishes celebrating Northern Michigan food and drink.

Snowflakes are slowly falling as dusk settles over Traverse City, but the warm lights of Oryana’s 10th Street market welcome shoppers inside, where aisles of thoughtfully sourced foods wait to be taken home and sliced, stirred, sizzled and, most importantly, shared for one of the most important meals of the year.

We asked Oryana’s talented cooks and bakers to create a vegetarian Thanksgiving feast—hearty, comforting and doable dishes to share with all of you. And while you may still serve turkey this year (and we have a sidebar of local meat producers on page 25), these recipes will surely find a way to your table alongside the carving board: an acorn squash bursting with fresh herbs, wild rice and toasted pecans; steaming bowls of vegetable stew; a crunchy, colorful coleslaw and an apple cake roll with a thick swirl of cream cheese filling.

People with glasses in hands

Photo by Liam Kaiser

People outside of Oryana

Photo by Liam Kaiser

With full plates and glasses, a small group sits down outdoors under a string of lights in Oryana’s gazebo, each wrapped up in warm blankets and excited to enjoy the meal. As we celebrate another Thanksgiving in the midst of the pandemic, we’re grateful for the simple act of passing a plate, seeing a loved one’s smile and the gift of time spent together. Cheers to you and yours this holiday season!

People under gazebo

Photo by Liam Kaiser

Related Read: Searching for more Thanksgiving and holiday recipes? Visit our Northern Michigan Food & Drink page.

Oryana’s Vegetarian Thanksgiving Menu

SOUP | Three Sisters Stew
SALAD | Holiday Slaw
ENTRÉE | Stuffed Acorn Squash with Wild Rice, Dried Cranberries & Goat Cheese
DESSERT | Harvest Apple Cake Roll with White Chocolate Ganache

Three Sisters Stew

Serves 10, Yield 1 gallon

  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1 1⁄2 Tablespoons garlic, minced 2-pound butternut squash, washed, peeled, deseeded and diced
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup leeks, washed and sliced
  • 1 14.5-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes or diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can of pinto beans
  • 1 1⁄2 cups sweet corn, fresh or frozen
  • 1-quart veggie stock
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1⁄2 pound green beans, fresh or frozen
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh parsley
Thanksgiving stew

Photo by Liam Kaiser

Three Sisters Stew Directions

1. Sweat the onions and garlic in a stockpot until the onions are translucent.
2. Add remaining ingredients (except green beans and parsley) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and gently simmer for 30–45 minutes until squash is tender.
3. Add green beans and cook for 5 minutes to retain color.
4. Add fresh parsley and serve.

Holiday Slaw Recipe

  • 1 heaping cup green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 heaping cup red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 small daikon radish, shredded
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 1⁄2 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1⁄2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt black pepper to taste sliced almonds, optional
Thanksgiving slaw

Photo by Liam Kaiser

Holiday Slaw Directions

1. Toss the cabbage together in a bowl and season with salt. Toss again and let sit for a few minutes to allow the cabbage to soften a little.
2. Add the daikon, carrot, shallot, pomegranate and parsley and toss together.
3. Add the vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly. Taste and add more vinegar, salt or pepper as needed. Sprinkle with almonds if desired before serving.

Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe

Serves 6

  • 3 acorn squash
  • 1/3 cup butter, divided into thirds
  • 1⁄4 cup local maple syrup
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced small
  • 1 cup celery, diced small
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, diced small
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped 2 cups wild rice, cooked
  • 1 cup toasted pecan pieces, or any preferred nut
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 3⁄4 cup goat cheese, or feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Thanksgiving Stuffed Squash

Photo by Liam Kaiser

Stuffed Acorn Squash Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Wash acorn squash. Using a sharp knife, cut each squash in half starting at the stem and going to the bottom. Remove seeds (they can be roasted and eaten).
3. In a roasting pan, add 1⁄2-inch of water then arrange squash halves cut side down in pan. Bake uncovered for approximately 30–40 minutes.
4. Remove squash from oven, turn squash so the cut side is facing up and brush the cut sides of the squash with 1 3⁄4 Tablespoons of melted butter and all of the maple syrup. Lightly salt and pepper them.
5. While squash is baking, sauté the onions, celery and red bell pepper in 1 3⁄4 Tablespoons melted butter, cooking for approximately 2–3 minutes. Add fresh herbs and remove from heat.
6. In a medium bowl, mix the wild rice, veggies, toasted pecans and cranberries. Then gently fold in cheese.
7. Divide rice mixture between squash halves filling the cavity.
8. Drizzle remaining butter over the tops of the squash and bake again uncovered for approximately 25–30 minutes until the temp reaches 165°F.

Note: The squash can be prepared ahead of time (steps 1–7) and baked right before serving (step 8).

Harvest Apple Cake Roll with White Chocolate Ganache

Serves 8

Apple roll for thanksgiving

Photo by Liam Kaiser

For cake roll:

  • 1 1⁄2 cups Fuji or Golden Delicious apples, diced small and divided
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3⁄4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg


For filling:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1⁄2 cup butter
  • 1 cup confectioner sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract


For white chocolate ganache:

  • 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
  • 8-ounce bar of white chocolate

Harvest Apple Cake Roll Directions

1. Pull the cream cheese and butter for the filling out of the fridge to soften.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
3. Beat eggs and sugar with paddle attachment in a mixer until thick, about 5 minutes.
4. Add applesauce and mix to incorporate.
5. Chop the apples and add 1⁄2 cup to the mixer. Reserve the remaining 1 cup of apples for the filling.
6. In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add to the wet ingredients in mixer and beat until just moistened.
7. Pour batter into a 1/2 sheet pan (18×13 inches) lined with parchment paper and coated with cooking spray.
8. Bake for 5 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake for another 5 minutes.
9. Remove from oven, invert pan onto parchment paper, then roll the cake up from the long end. Place in fridge to chill for about 30 minutes.
10. With paddle attachment on the mixer, beat all filling ingredients until smooth and creamy. Add remaining apples (1 cup).
11. After the cake has cooled, unroll and spread the filling on it. Roll back up, wrap in plastic wrap and chill.
12. Combine heavy cream and white chocolate in a double boiler. When the chocolate has melted, mix. Drizzle over top of the finished cake roll and put in the fridge overnight to set.

Carly Simpson is the associate editor of Traverse Magazine and editor of MyNorth’s popular email newsletter The Daily Splash. Subscribe free at You can reach out to her at

Liam Kaiser is a visual storyteller whose work documents people and our experiences in the world. He’s got a strong love for the outdoors and the grit that comes with it. You can follow his adventures on Instagram @LiamKaiserCreative.

Photo(s) by Liam Kaiser