Saturday, November 18, 2023

A Fully Vegan ThanksLIVING Feast

A Fully Vegan ThanksLIVING Feast

Maybe it's your first holiday season eating plant-based. Or, maybe, it's your thirtieth! Or, maybe, it's your first-time cooking for a vegan family member. Or, maybe, you just love cooking and as long as it tastes good, it doesn't matter that it's vegan! Whatever your reason, these recipes are perfect for the season. Scroll on down for an entire feast of recipes from soup and salad to start, to sides, a show-stopping stellar main dish, and even a no-fuss dessert.

I hosted a ThanksLIVING Brunch at Tanaka Farms in 2022, and was excited to do it again in 2023, but we got rained out, so I thought I would gather up all the recipes here to share, instead. Plus, a bunch of links to other holiday-friendly recipes to make sure there's something for everyone.

Let's start with the original menu...

Massaged Kale and Quinoa Kale Salad
Yield: 8 side dish servings
The tahini in the dressing for this salad gives it a nice rich flavor, while the cranberries add an unexpected sweetness. This salad tastes great warm or cold, which makes it the perfect dish to bring to potlucks or pack for lunches. 

1 cup (168 g) white quinoa, uncooked 
1/2 cup (84 g) red quinoa, uncooked 
3 cups (705 ml) water or low-sodium vegetable broth 
8 ounces (227 g) chopped curly or lacinto kale 
1/2 cup (45 g) sliced or slivered almonds (toasted or raw) 
1/2 cup (80 g) raisins or dried cranberries (really any dried fruit will work here. Chopped dried apricots is also nice)
1/2 cup (128 g) tahini (See “Veggie Bite” below) 
2 tablespoons (30 ml) soy sauce, tamari, or Bragg Liquid Aminos 
2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice 
1 tablespoon (10 g) minced garlic 

In a fine mesh strainer, rinse quinoa. Strain out as much excess water as possible. (If you buy prewashed quinoa, you can omit this step.) Place quinoa in a dry pot with a lid, and heat over medium heat to lightly toast the quinoa, stirring constantly to prevent burning, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add water or vegetable broth, raise the heat and bring to boil. Immediately lower heat to low, cover, and cook 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to stand, covered, 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork.

While quinoa is cooking, blanch kale. Bring a pot of water to boil, drop in kale, give it a quick stir and then quickly remove it and place into an ice water bath to stop the cooking. 

Once quinoa is cooked, place it in a mixing bowl, along with kale, almonds, and raisins. 

In a small bowl, whisk together tahini, soy sauce, lemon juice, and garlic. Toss the dressing with the salad to coat. Serve immediately or refrigerate. 

Veggie Bite: Tahinis vary in texture and thickness, from very liquid-y to very thick. The measure in this recipe assumes that you’re using a more liquid tahini. If yours is very thick, you may need to thin it out with water or vegetable broth to reach the consistency of a pourable milkshake. If you have a rice cooker, use it to prepare the quinoa. Use a 2-to-1 ratio of liquid to quinoa and follow the instructions on your rice cooker.

Smoked Pumpkin Bisque
Yield: 4 Servings

I love using fresh pumpkin in savory dishes, and this smoked pumpkin bisque is just overflowing with holiday flavor.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder (optional)
3 cups vegetable broth
3 cups smoked pumpkin puree*
3/4 cashew cream (see recipe)
salt and pepper to taste
*If you are not smoking your own fresh pumpkin, you can replace with 1 (15 oz) can plain pumpkin puree and add in 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke instead.

Heat the oil in a large pot on medium high heat. Add in the onion and garlic and cook until browned, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the paprika, cinnamon, sage, chipotle, broth, and pumpkin. Stir to combine. 

Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Using an immersion blender (or carefully transfer the soup to a tabletop blender) blend until smooth. Add in the cashew cream and stir to combine.

Serve with a swirl of Cashew Cream, a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds, and a pinch of paprika, and sage leaf as garnish.

Cashew Cream

This simple recipe can be used as a base for many recipes, whether using to add a creamy texture to soups, or on its own as a condiment. You can add different flavorings (vanilla for sweet applications, lime and cilantro for savory applications, for example) to suit your needs.

Raw cashews

Soak desired amount of cashews in water overnight. Rinse. Add to blender, add water to blend.
More water for a thinner cream, less for a thicker cream. Add additional flavorings as desired.

Herbed Compound Butter

Veganized and adapted from a recipe by Melissa Clark for New York Times Cooking., this butter just takes "bread and butter" to a whole new level. It also makes a great host gift, as long as you can keep it refrigerated.

1 cup vegan butter
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, more to taste

In a bowl, mash together butter, shallots or garlic, herbs, lemon juice, pepper and salt. Spoon the butter onto a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap, form into a log and wrap well. Chill for at least 3 hours before using.

Orange Cranberry Sauce with Rosemary

Yield: About 3 cups

Adding a sprig of rosemary gives this tangy ThanksLIVING staple a bit more depth. (Tastes great on a leftover sandwich, and also on a bagel with cream cheese!)

3/4 cup fresh orange juice, from two oranges
1/4 cup water
1 cup unbleached sugar, like Zulka
4 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Zest of one orange
Sprig of rosemary
Pinch salt

In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring the orange juice, water and sugar to a boil. Add the cranberries, orange zest, nutmeg, rosemary, and salt. Return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and boil gently for 10 to 12 minutes, until most of cranberries have burst. If needed, mash with a spoon or potato masher to mash the cranberries. Transfer to a serving bowl. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Dijon Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Yield: 4 servings

Even if you don't care for brussels sprouts, give these a try. The marinade is so flavorful you will totally forget you are eating this high protein, high fiber, calcium rich, mini cabbage!

1 pound (454 g) Brussels sprouts
1/4 cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (84 g) maple syrup
2 tablespoons (30 g) Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons (30 g) minced garlic

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4). Have ready a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment or aluminum foil.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together olive oil, agave, mustard and garlic. Toss in brussels sprouts to coat.
Spread evenly on baking sheet in a single layer. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, until tender.

Green Bean Almondine
Yield: 4-6 servings

Simple, elegant, and tasty way to serve green beans!

1/4 cup vegan butter
1/4 - 1/2 cup sliced almonds, to taste
2 tablespoons finely diced shallot
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
Zest of 1 half lemon
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a pan (with a lid) over medium heat, melt butter. Add almonds and shallot. Sauté about 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes more.

Add in trimmed beans and toss to coat. Continue to cook and toss for about 5 minutes. Cover and turn heat to very low. Allow to cook, covered, for an additional 5 minutes to soften. Toss with salt and pepper, to taste.

Garlic Smashed Potatoes

Some folks insist upon perfectly smooth mashed potatoes with absolutely no lumps. I'm not that person. If I want perfectly smooth mashed potatoes, I'll make them from a box. Ha! I like the potatoes to taste like potatoes, so I like to leave the skins on, and leave in some of those lumps!

4 large russet potatoes
½ cup plain soy creamer
¼ cup vegan butter
¼ cup vegan sour cream
1 head of roasted garlic (see below)
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Wash potatoes and cut them into approximately one-inch chunks. Place chunks into the boiling water and cook until tender, usually 10-15 minutes. Drain and return to pot. Add in the creamer, margarine, sour cream and garlic. Smash with a potato masher until you get your desired consistency. I like mine with lots of lumps. Serve nice and warm smothered with Earth Balance and Mushroom and Onion Gravy. For cheesy garlic smashed potatoes, try adding in a quarter cup of nutritional yeast.

Roast Your Own Garlic!
With a knife, cut the top off of the whole head of garlic, exposing just the tips of the garlic cloves. Place on a sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. Wrap the entire clove in the foil and bake for 30-35 minutes in an oven preheated to 400 F. Remove from oven, let it cool to the touch. Squeeze each clove out and use in garlic smashed potatoes, eat them on their own as an appetizer, spread onto bread, or add into any recipe calling for garlic when you want a milder, roasted flavor. To roast more than one head of garlic at a time, use a muffin tin!

Cracked Black Pepper Gravy
Yield: About 3 cups

Super simple and easy to throw together in just a few minutes, this multi-purpose gravy will satisfy all your gravy cravings. You can change it up to suit your needs by switching out the liquid with different types of broth. Better than Bouillon No-Beef base for brown gravy, for example. Made with milk (Silk Next Milk works great here!) for the perfect gravy to pour over those biscuits for breakfast...mmm...especially with some ground up veggie sausage thrown in.

1/4 cup neutral-flavored vegetable oil (or vegan bacon grease, or vegan butter)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups water, or vegan milk, or broth
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, optional
lots of black pepper, to taste
salt, to taste

In a small pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add in the flour and stir to combine to make a roux. Continue to cook until golden. Add in the water (or broth) and stir to mix completely. Add in nooch, if using, pepper and salt to taste. Continue to stir until thickened. It should only take a few minutes. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Harvest Butternut Squash and Wild Rice Stuffing with Cranberries

Whether you serve this up as a side dish or use it to stuff your holiday roast, this wild rice dressing is full of holiday flavor.

2 cups uncooked wild rice blend
5 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons refined coconut oil
1 pound cubed butternut squash (about 3 cups)
2 cups diced white or yellow onion
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 ounces chopped kale (about 2 cups tightly packed)
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup pecans
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Salt and Pepper to taste

Prepare the rice in a rice cooker using vegetable broth instead of water. If you do not have a rice cooker, bring veggie broth to a boil in a pot with a tight-fitting lid. Stir in the wild rice. Return to a low simmer, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until broth has been absorbed.

While rice is cooking, heat coconut oil over medium high heat in a large pan or deep pot with a lid. Add in butternut squash, onions and garlic. Toss to combine. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until squash is fork tender and onions are translucent and fragrant.

In a large bowl (or in the pan if you have enough room) add cooked rice, cranberries, pecans, kale, cinnamon, salt and pepper to the butternut squash and toss to combine. Serve.

Stuffed Seitan Roulade

This center of plate roast is sure to have your guests bellies full of holiday flavor.

2 cups vital wheat gluten
1 cup wheat flour
½ cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup refined coconut or olive oil
4 cups Harvest Butternut Squash Stuffing

In a mixing bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Add water and oil and knead for 5 minutes until an elastic dough is formed. Lightly cover and let stand for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Roll or press dough into a large rectangle. Use a rimmed baking sheet as your guide. Spread stuffing evenly on top of the dough leaving about a one-inch border on all sides. Roll up tightly and place seam side down on a large sheet of aluminum foil. Wrap tightly in foil. Place seam side down on a baking sheet and bake for 90 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes before unwrapping. Slice and serve.

Seitan En Croute

Time to take it to the next level! Add a beautiful crust to this roast guaranteeing this will be a center of the table showstopper at your next holiday get together. (You can use this en croute technique on any seitan roast!)

1 prepared Seitan Roulade
1 package (2 sheets) vegan puff pastry
3 tablespoons melted vegan butter
Fresh herbs, such as rosemary, sage, and thyme, optional

Thaw puff pastry according to package directions. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment. Preheat oven to 400 F.

Lay roast in center of baking sheet. Carefully stretch one sheet of puff pastry over the entire roast, tucking in the edges under the roast. Cut the remaining sheet into strips and arrange in a basket weave lattice over the top, tucking the ends under the roast. Brush the entire top with melted butter. Top with sprigs of fresh herbs, if using.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown and flaky. Remove from oven and serve.

Rustic Fuji Apple Tart
Yield: 2 tarts (4-6 servings)

2 sheets vegan puff pastry
3 Fuji apples, peeled, cored & thinly sliced
1/2 cup vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
Additional butter, for brushing
About 2 tablespoons sugar, for dusting

Thaw puff pastry according to package instructions. Into a pot over medium heat, add sliced apples, butter, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves.

Add apples, and carefully stir to combine, and cook over medium heat until apples slices are tender but still whole. About 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 425 F. Have ready two rimmed baking sheets lined with parchment.

Lay out a sheet of puff pastry on the lined baking sheet. To the center of the square, add half of the cooked apple mixture. Fold the edges over to create a crust edge. You can use your fingers, a fork...feel free to be creative with your shaping. Brush edges with melted butter and sprinkle edge with sugar. Repeat with remaining puff pastry and apple mixture.

Bake for 12 to 20 minutes, or until crust is puffed up and golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving. Serve topped with vegan ice cream or whipped cream.

Additions & Variations:
-Use extra puff pastry to cut out shapes to place on top of the apple mixture.
-Sub pears for apples!
-Create hand pies by cutting your puff pastry into smaller squares, adding the filling to one half, folding on the diagonal and sealing with a fork. Make sure to cut a slit in the top to vent.

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2012 Copyright/Permissions/Disclaimers

All recipes written by me, Joni Marie Newman, unless otherwise noted. Please feel free to refer to or link back to any of my recipes, but please ask for permission, and remember to give credit when reprinting recipes in their entirety. I do provide links to affiliate programs (such as Amazon) in which I receive a small commission for items purchased. I do not provide paid reviews. All reviews done on products or books are of my own unsolicited opinion. On occasion I may receive a book or product to review. I will note when this is the case, but rest assured, it will not affect the authenticity of my review. Thanks!--Joni