Sunday, November 24, 2013

Vegan Thanksliving Menu

Whether you're cooking a small vegan meal at home, creating a large vegan thanksliving feast, or participating in an event or gathering where both vegan and non-vegan items will be served, it's nice to have a selection of recipes to choose from.

Some vegans choose to make thanksgiving traditional food vegan style, while others embrace totally new flavors and dishes.  I'd like to think I do a combination of the two, but truth be told, I'm probably more in the first camp.  Here's what my thanksliving spread looked like in 2011:

This year, I will be making some items to be included in a larger gathering, so I need to make sure all of my vegan feast desires are met with my own dishes.  These are the important ones in my house:

Roasted Seitan
Adapted from TVZ

Cooking/prep time: 2.5 hours

1.5 c. vital wheat gluten
.25 c. nutritional yeast
.5 c. garbanzo flour
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
4.25 c. vegetable broth
2 T. liquid aminos or soy sauce
2 T. olive oil
.25 t. cumin
1 t. each salt & pepper
1 T. parsley

Mix all the dry ingredients together in one bowl, 3 cloves garlic, 1.25 c. vegetable broth, 1 t. soy sauce, 1 t. olive oil, cumin, and salt and pepper together in a separate bowl.  Now combine both the wet and dry bowls, and knead for 10-15 minutes.  Cut the ball of seitan in two loaves, and shape accordingly.  Put loaves in oiled baking dish with the remaining ingredients.  Cover with foil and cook at 350 for an hour.  After an hour, flip the loaves over, and cook for an additional 45 minutes.

Vegan Cashew Mashed Potatoes

Cooking/prep time: 8 hours to soak, 1 hour actual fuss time
Make ahead: the cashew milk will stay good a few days in the fridge before the big meal

2 c. Raw cashews
2 lbs. potatoes, evenly cubed
0.5 c. Vegan cream cheese
0.25 c. Vegan margarine (optional)
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2T. Dill
Salt and pepper

For this recipe, you need to make the cashew milk first. The raw cashews need to soak in 2 c. Water for at least 6 hours, I like to let mine soak overnight.
The next morning, drain off the water, rinse the cashews and add 2 c. Fresh water with the cashews in a blender. Pulse on high until smooth and creamy. My blender has a "frozen drink" setting, and I've found that by doing that cycle twice I get great nut milk.

While you're fussing with the blender, you should be bringing a large pot of water to a boil on the stove. Add the cubed potatoes, and cook at medium heat for the desired tenderness.  I like my potatoes to be not too mushy, so I find they're just right when I can easily slide a fork's times into each piece.

Drain the water, and return the potatoes to the pot. Add the garlic, about 1 c. Of cashew milk, and the cream cheese and margarine, if using, and mash it all together with a potato masher or an electric mixer. Personally, I prefer the hand masher, leaving some lumpy bits of potato! Add dill, and salt and pepper to taste.

For this recipe, I use pre bagged crumbs, just because it is easy.  Feel free to use fresh bread. Just read your ingredients. If you're buying pre bagged, the cornbread flavor is often the vegan one!

Cook time: less than 30 minutes

1 bag stuffing bread crumbs
0.5 c. Vegan margarine
1 medium onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
1 c. Mushrooms, chopped
1 c. pine nuts (toasted)
2 c. Vegetable broth
1 tsp each: parsley, sage, salt, black pepper

I like to sautée my veggies first, and melt the butter with the spices in a saucepan. Meanwhile, I stir the broth into the bread crumbs. Then I add it all together and pop in the oven for about 15 minutes.

Cranberry Orange Sauce
Adapted from Anna Thomas' New Vegetarian Epicure

This is one of the things I make for Thanksliving each year that Mia loves. She generally starts talking about it in October!

Cook time:15 minutes, plus time to cool.
Make ahead: easily done the night before!

1.5 lbs fresh cranberries
1 c. Orange juice
0.5 c. Water
0.5 c. Red wine (whatever I will drink during dinner- but remember, I am a fan of the drier wines)
1.5 c. Sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
0.5 tsp ground cloves

Put everything in a pan over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Allow it to cool before serving. 

Sauteed Kale
This is my own invention, and is addictive.  I never liked kale or any cooked greens growing up, they always seemed so slimy.  Then later, when I went vegan, I tried to like them, but it seemed like there was so much oil they didn't taste healthy.  I decided since kale was so darn good for you, I was bound and determined to eat it.  I concocted this recipe and everyone in my family loves it.  On top of this, it is super easy.

Cook:prep time: about 30 minutes

1-2 lbs Kale
1 vegetable bouillon cube (to make 2 cups vegetable broth with)
2 c. water
Optional: fresh ground black pepper, sliced garlic (1-3 cloves) to taste

I drizzle the tiniest bit of olive oil in the bottom of the pan, then stuff as much kale as possible in the pan.  I traditionally make this dish in my large, 3 inch deep, glass lidded pan.  Sometimes, the only kale you can get has a lot of thick stems.  If there are a lot of these, I would trim some of the woodiest parts away.  Generally, if you buy a large bag of kale, the stems therein will cook just fine.

On top of the kale, I place the bouillon cube, and pour the water.  Then I cover the pan with the lid, turn on the stove top to a medium heat, and cook for 10-15 minutes.  The longer you let it cook, the softer and gooier it will get.  Mia prefers it when I cook it for 15-20 minutes, but Rob likes it better on the raw-er side, approximately 10 minutes.  15 seems to be a nice compromise.

Try to resist lifting the lid.  Keep that steam in! Stir when you're ready to serve!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
This has been such a hit in my house lately that we needed to include it in our celebration!

Cook/prep time: 30 minutes

8 c. Brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed, and sliced in half if large
3 t. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 T. Nutritional yeast

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, place the sprouts on a cookie sheet, and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast, toss, and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Sweet potato pie parfait
Listen, I love me some pumpkin pie, but I haven't had the best of luck with vegan recipes for one. This year, I am bypassing the scorn, and for dessert, the vegan option will be a recipe from No Meat Athlete Matt Frazier's new book.

Cook/prep time: less than 2 hours
Make ahead: this is great to make the night before and keep in the fridge.

2 medium sweet potatoes
0.5 block firm tofu, drained and rinsed
1 t. Cinnamon
0.25 t. Ginger
0.5 t. Nutmeg
2 t. Vanilla extract
Pinch or two of salt
1-2 t. Agave nectar
0.25 c. Rolled oats
2 T. Chopped almonds
2 T. Cacao nibs
2 dates, pitted and chopped

Bake the sweet potatoes for an hour at 400 degrees for 1 hour, then let them cool for 30 minutes.
Scoop out the insides of the potatoes, and add to a blender with tofu, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, agave, and a pinch of salt. Purée untill completely smooth, and chill.

Combine the remainder of the ingredients to make the topping in a sauté pan over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently to toast. Remove and allow to cool.

To serve, place a half a cup in a bowl of the sweet potato mixture, and sprinkle topping on. This will serve 5 vegans, or one vegan and 10 veg curious people who will also be eating pie.

Biscuits If I am so inspired, I will make Lindsay Nixon's 3-ingredient biscuits (see her video here), but if I'm short on time, Bisquick is vegan, and will make up biscuits in a pinch.

I anticipate that these dishes will be eaten by vegan (me), vegetarian (Mia), and mostly veg curious omnivores (Rob & family).  I want to make enough for me to have leftovers on Friday for a midnight sandwich, but not any more than that. So, I need to think about non-veg appeal and portion sizes when I do my shopping.

I would be remiss if I didn't note here that Thanksgiving this year falls on the first night of Hanukkah, something we celebrate in my house. We will talk about latkes next week, I promise!

Shopping list for Thanksliving:

2 Onions

1 bunch celery
3 Carrots 
1 c. Mushrooms
1.5 lbs. Cranberries
2 lbs. Kale
8 c. Brussels sprouts
2 Sweet potatoes
2 lbs. Potatoes
2 dates

vital wheat gluten
Nutritional yeast
garbanzo flour
Box vegetable bouillon cubes
1 bag stuffing bread crumbs

liquid aminos or soy sauce
olive oil
Agave nectar

Orange juice
Red wine

Vegan cream cheese 
Vegan margarine (earth balance)
Firm tofu

2 c. Raw cashews
1 c. pine nuts
Rolled oats
2 T. Chopped almonds

salt & pepper
ground cinnamon
ground cloves

Ground Ginger
Vanilla extract
Cacao nibs

Task list for Thanksliving:
Wednesday, make cashew milk, cranberry sauce, and parfaits.
Thursday morning, Go for a run, preheat oven to 350. Make seitan, and put in oven. Chop all veggies, and potatoes on to boil. Blend cashew milk. Flip seitan. Watch some of the Macy's day parade. Make stuffing. Put sprouts in the oven, mash potatoes, steam kale, mix biscuits and bake.
Serve, eat, drink, and laugh!

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