Festive Thanksgiving Torte Recipe (2024)

Recipe from Ann Schreifels

Adapted by Tara Parker-Pope

Updated Oct. 11, 2023

Festive Thanksgiving Torte Recipe (1)

Total Time
1 hour 30 minutes
Prep Time
30 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
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As a transplanted American living in Paris, Ann Schreifels had the task of hosting Thanksgiving, a holiday the locals didn't celebrate, in a city that is arguably the culinary capital of the world, to a guest list that included meat eaters and vegans.

Her solution: Try to please everyone.

"The result was accolades from around the table," says Ms. Schreifels. "And every time I serve it (and I mean every) someone asks for the recipe and says, 'I'm going to serve this to my family and see if they can tell it doesn't have meat in it.'" —Tara Parker-Pope

Featured in: Vegetarian Thanksgiving: A Festive Vegan Torte

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Yield:16 wedges or 8 large wedges

  • 3large sweet potatoes
  • 2cups cooked green lentils
  • 1cup oats
  • 1cup walnuts
  • 1cup cooked brown rice
  • 115-ounce can of chickpeas
  • 2teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1tablespoon peanut or almond butter (I use peanut butter)
  • 16-ounce can of tomato paste
  • cup vegetable broth (or water)
  • salt and pepper (optional)

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (16 servings)

267 calories; 7 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 1 gram monounsaturated fat; 4 grams polyunsaturated fat; 41 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams dietary fiber; 4 grams sugars; 12 grams protein; 304 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Festive Thanksgiving Torte Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 10-inch springform pan and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper, and then lightly grease the parchment. Peel the sweet potatoes and slice lengthwise on a Japanese mandoline into ¼-inch slices. Arrange the sweet potato slices in the pan, fanning from the center and overlapping the pieces. Spread the lentils into an even layer over the sweet potatoes and gently press to pack.

  2. Step


    In a food processor, pulse the oats and walnuts until a coarse meal is formed. Pour into a large bowl and set aside. Combine the cooked brown rice, chickpeas, poultry seasoning, garlic powder, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, nut butter, and tomato paste in the food processor and purée into a smooth mixture. Add to the large bowl with the oat and walnut meal, and fold together until completely incorporated. Add the vegetable broth or water gradually, and stir. Add just enough to create a spreadable consistency.

  3. Step


    Gently drop dollops of the mixture over the lentils, and spread into an even layer. Cover the springform pan with foil and bake for 40 minutes, until the edges appear cooked and slightly dry. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes, until the top is dry to the touch. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. When the springform pan is cool enough to handle, flip the torte out onto an ovenproof serving dish.

  4. Step


    Broil the torte until the sweet potatoes begin to caramelize. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving. Can be served warm or at room temperature, garnished with fresh herbs.



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Cooking Notes


Bell's poultry seasoning is Rosemary, oregano, sage, ginger, marjoram, thyme and pepper


To make the layers a little stickier, I mixed about 1/4 of the purée with the lentils and spread it on the sweet potatoes, then added the rest of the purée. Had no problems flipping it out onto a platter. This can be a little dry so I'd recommend serving it with sour cream or Greek yogurt, flavored as you like.


Strangely, some versions of this page don't include the amounts for the tomato paste and extra broth/water. The amounts should be:
1 6-oz can of tomato paste
1/3 cup veggie broth (or water)


Have made twice now. Great flavor. First time followed recipe to letter. French lentil layer a little dry and a lot fell out. Second time tried flax seed egg and it improved moisture and the lentils did not fall out. Also cooked lentils with bay leaf and a garlic clove. This will become a staple for dinner parties. Many complements on presentation.


Tomato paste, and water or vegetable broth, aren't listed in the ingredients. How much of each?


Yes, this can definitely be made the day ahead of time. But I usually make the three parts ahead of time, then assemble and cook the day of the dinner. But it holds up very well so there's no issue simply reheating the entire thing. I would leave it in the springform pan though so it keeps its nice shape.


What size is a "large" sweet potato? In US supermarkets, sweet potatoes are enormous. Three large ones could feed a family of 8. I have a feeling this recipe is actually calling for smaller sweet potatoes.


I tried out this recipe this weekend and it turned out great! It was easier to make than I supposed based on reading the instructions. I also made slight modifications to the author's original which turned out well too: I added a layer of sliced pumpkin (cut the same way as the sweet potato) in the middle with some spices sprinkled on it (cloves, nutmeg). I also served it accompanied by a caramelized balsamique vinegar glaze.
Will definitely make it again!


Strangely, there seem to be two pages that list the recipe. This one has the missing ingredients:
But if it doesn't show correctly, its one 6-oz can of tomato paste and 1/3 cup broth or water.


I was excited to try this based on other reviews but disappointed with the result. The sweet potato layer did not cook through all the way and ended up raw and crunchy in several areas. The amount of sweet potatoes called for is way too much which is why they did not cook through. Suggest blanching the sweet potatoes in salted water (blanching also prevents discoloration), and brushing with melted butter +spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, or cayenne?) or maple/agave syrup prior to caramelizing.


I think you're right, US medium should be fine. The key is to ensure the bottom of the pan is covered with a nice sweet potato layer. Depending on the thickness of your slices, you want to have about 1/4 to 1/2 inch worth of potatoes. But it's pretty forgiving - go for the looks!

Debbie R

Are the chickpeas added with the liquid from the can?


Tonight's dish I replaced green lentils with red lentils.
Substituted black beans for chickpeas.
Overall again a delicious dish.

Passion for Peaches

Recipe worked, but flat in flavor and unpleasantly pasty in texture. Was OK first time served, room-temp -- the bland flavor improved by yogurt/garlic/olive oil raita on the side. But when reheated this torte smelled a lot like dog kibble does when you pour warm water on it! Will feed the rest to the dogs.

Suggested tweaks: pomegranate molasses added to purée, stir chopped nuts into purée for texture, use cashew butter and stir in cashew pieces. Something to brighten flavor and improve texture!


I have looked at the ingredients list and the amount of water, tomatoe paste and veg. broth are NOT added. Please update this recipe so it csn be properly cooked. Food is expensive!

rc from canada.

Really not great. Vegetarian daughter gamely had a piece, but proclaimed it tasting like dog food. So sorry. I wanted this to work so much. Followed the recipe and even anticipated the lentils falling out. The sweet potatoes were impossible to sort out like the picture. Unfortunately this ended up in the compost. tragic.


The recipe as written results in a pasty texture of the bottom layer and the lentils tend to fall out as noted by others. Adding a beaten egg (or egg replacer to remain vegan) to the lentils worked well. Chopping the walnuts and mixing the base layer very well with a stand mixer, rather than pureeing improved the texture substantially. I also added 2 stalks finely chopped celery and ~1/2 cup dried cranberries to the base layer, and increased poultry seasoning to 2 1/2 tsp.


I’ll definitely be making this again! It was very flavorful and beautiful. I like someone else’s comment about adding a flax egg binder to the lentils. (I’m even considering using the oat base layer recipe for a veggie burger, or adding a few additional herbs like fennel seed for a veggie sausage.)


This recipe is tricky and not worth it. I got pulled in by the pretty picture but in the end we didn't even finish what was on our plates. I followed the recipe exactly.


Lentils all fall out when you release springform. Suggest that lentils need to be almost over cooked and ‘stodgier’ to retain form.


I followed the recipe and the sweet potatoes did not get fully cooked, so the sweetness did not come out. Another commenter said that they cooked potatoes first; it seems that would be better.

Ruth Bolan

This is the first time NYT cooking has let me down. This torte was really bland and dry. The first time I make a recipe I always follow the directions exactly - big mistake! I should have read the notes first. 1. You have to mix something with the lentils or they just fall out: an egg, some garlic 2. I would glaze the potatoes with something to give it more flavor:maple syrup, a sprinkle of cayenne pepper, paprika. But as I write this, I know I’m not going to make this dish again - ha!


To make the layers a little stickier, I mixed about 1/4 of the purée with the lentils and spread it on the sweet potatoes, then added the rest of the purée. Had no problems flipping it out onto a platter. This can be a little dry so I'd recommend serving it with sour cream or Greek yogurt, flavored as you like.


This was delicious and well liked. It's clearly a very unique flavor. An updated more elegant Moosewood type recipe I was rushing and accidentally mixed the lentils in with the other wet ingredients. It turned out well Super healthy for vegans and diabetics alike, though it benefits from cranberry sauce on the side. Not as hard to make as it sounds, and an effort worth repeating.


This was delicious! My notes: Used white sweet potatoes- blanched ahead and salted, adding fresh herbs; Used red lentils instead of green cooked until mushy; cooked lentils and rice ahead- frying before boiling with garlic to seal flavor- spiced as usual; Braggs aminos doused liberally instead of soy sauce; fresh chopped herbs instead of poultry seasoning. So good but upon finishing noticed it needed a little acid or kick. Recommend Frank's or Ketchup. Yes is meat-loafy. IMO YUMMY!


Isn"t that a yam and not sweet potato?


I made a modification. I put the sweet potato in the spring form and cooked them 35 minutes before adding the rest of the filling. They added a great sweetness that way.

Sally L

Sweet potatoes way too much and did not cook through. Would also follow the direction to do something to bind the lentil layer. Pretty dry.


Bummer. Not delicious. Much work for no taste.


This should not be a featured recipe. The texture was unpleasant, the taste was incredibly bland, and the cooking instructions did not allow for the potatoes to be fully cooked without burning the entire dish.

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Festive Thanksgiving Torte Recipe (2024)


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