Saturday, November 21, 2015

Thanksgiving Sides & Desserts

Last year, we were lucky enough to have my husband’s family come out to California to spend Thanksgiving with us. Even though I don’t eat animals, I am not one to force family members out of their holiday traditions…so, we had a vegan + turkey Thanksgiving. Basically, I made my in-laws a turkey and made everything else—salad, sides, desserts—vegan. I can only comment on the former, but the recipes were too delicious not to share! These work great for meals throughout the holiday season.

Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season!

Clockwise from 6 o'clock: 
(Outside circle) Mushroom Pecan Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Beets, Persimmons, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Caramelized Pear and Endive Salad, Vegan "Turkey" Roll, Apple Pear Cranberry Gluten-free Crumble, Vegan Pumpkin Pie
(Inside circle) Mushroom Red Wine Gravy, Turkey Gravy, Crispy Scallions, Turkey, Red Wine (Two Hands Angel's Share Shiraz)
*Cranberry Sauce & Vanilla Bean Ice "Cream"  also made, but not pictured

Mushroom Pecan Stuffing

1 loaf (approximately 1 pound) artisan bread (or other hearty bread), crusts removed and cut into 1-inch cubes, dried on sheet pans on the counter, uncovered, overnight or a couple days, if possible
¼ cup olive oil
8 ounces of mixed mushrooms (e.g. cremini, button, shitake), roughly chopped
¼ cup fresh (or 1 Tablespoon dried) sage leaves, chopped
1 large leek (white part only) or 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
16 ounces vegetable stock (To make excellent homemade stock, see Vegetarian Stock Recipe)
3 ounces of roasted, chopped pecans
2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a food processor, pulse mushrooms several times until roughly chopped; transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a soup pot, stock pot, or Dutch oven. Add mushrooms, stirring frequently until they have cooked down and the moisture has cooked away and they have browned (about 5-10 minutes). Add the sage, onions/leeks, celery, garlic and cook about 10 minutes until vegetables have softened.
  4.  Add stock and pecans; bring to a boil. Add bread cubes and stir until liquid has been soaked up and ingredients are evenly dispersed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Transfer to a 13” x 9” baking dish; cover with aluminum foil and bake 30 minutes.
  6. Remove foil and cook until golden brown on top (about 15 minutes).
  7. Remove from oven and cool 5-10 minutes, then sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Mashed Potatoes
See the Vegan-Vegetarian Holiday Menu post for this recipe and other great holiday recipes.

Roasted Beets

Beets (approximately 1 large beet/person)
Olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Clean and trim beet greens and stems leaving only about 1” of stem still attached to the beets. Place in a single layer in a cake pan or baking dish.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss or stir until the beets glisten. There should not be so much oil that it puddles in the pan.
  4. Add about ¼-inch water to the baking dish and then cover tightly with foil. If beet are large, bake for 60 minutes (if small, try 40 minutes) then remove from over and test doneness by stabbing with a fork. If the tines go in easily with only a little resistance, they are done. If not, recover and return to over for 15-20 minutes at a time until they are done.
  5. Remove from oven and cool enough to be able to handle the beets. At this point, trim the skinny root and stem ends completely and the peel should slide off in your hands. 
  6. Cut beets into desired shape/pieces for serving and place in a mixing bowl. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil, and season with a bit more salt and pepper.

Serve warm or at room temperature. These are great on their own or as part of a salad. Beets pair well with citrus, avocado, and/or mint flavors.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
See the Vegan-Vegetarian Holiday Menu post for this recipe and other great holiday recipes.

Caramelized Pear and Endive Salad with Hazelnuts

Vinaigrette Ingredients
1 Tablespoon of maple syrup, agave or honey (*many don’t consider honey vegan)
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

Salad Ingredients
2 Bosc pears that are still firm, cored and cut into ¼-inch thick slices
1-1/2 Tablespoons EarthBalance or other vegan “butter”
1-1/2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Belgian endives (trim bottoms, separate leaves, washed and dried in a salad spinner)
1 head frisée lettuce (remove dark green outer leaves which are very bitter; use only pale yellow inner leaves. Pull leaves apart, wash and dry in salad spinner)
6 cups (approximately 8 ounces) arugula leaves (washed and dried in a salad spinner)
Seeds (arils) from 1 medium pomegranate (about 4 ounces if buying pre-seeded)
½ cup roughly chopped, roasted hazelnuts
Freshly ground black pepper
*Optional: crumbled blue cheese on the side

  1. Vinaigrette: Add sweetener, vinegar, oil, a pinch of salt and pepper to a jar with a tight-fitting lid; shake vigorously until well combined. Alternatively, whisk together sweetener and vinegar. Slowly whisk in oil. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Pears: In a heavy 12-inch sauté pan or skillet that is heated over medium-high heat, add butter and melt swirling to coat the entire bottom of the pan. Add sugar and swirl until it starts to turn golden brown. Add pears and stir to coat well with the sugar-butter mixture. Stir occasionally until pears are slightly browned but are not yet mushy (roughly 3-4 minutes). Spread pears out on a plate to cool.
  3. Salad: If you plan to go through all of the salad at dinner, add the greens to a large mixing bowl toss all of the greens with just enough dressing to coat (dressing should not pool in the bottom of the bowl). If not, dress salad in the same manner but in individual portions. Top with pears, hazelnuts, and (if desired) blue cheese. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Caramelized Pear and Endive Salad with Hazelnuts

Mushroom Red Wine Gravy
See the Vegan-Vegetarian Holiday Menu post for this recipe and other great holiday recipes.

Crispy Scallions

Scallions, sliced 1/8-inch thick
Flour (any type)
Freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable or canola oil

  1. Heat a small-medium saucepan filled 1/3 -1/2 the way with oil over medium-high heat while doing the following steps.
  2. Season flour with plenty of salt and pepper.
  3. Toss scallions in seasoned flour.
  4. Drop one flour-coated scallion into the oil to test the heat. It should bubble vigorously and turn golden within a few seconds when the oil is the right temperature. Use a Chinese deep frying skimmer (or similar tool) to remove the scallion and place on a plate covered with a paper towel. Use this method to cook scallions a handful at a time.
  5. Chinese Deep Frying Skimmer
  6. After removing the scallions from the oil, sprinkle with salt.

Serve as a topping for Brussels sprouts, other roasted vegetables, soups, or on sandwiches made from Thanksgiving leftovers.

Front-Center: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Scallions. Clockwise: "Turkey" Roast, Rustic Mashed Potatoes + Mushroom Red Wine Gravy, and Roasted Beets.

Sweets: (Clockwise from top-center) Vegan Pumpkin Pie topped with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Cranberry Sauce, and Apple Pear Cranberry Gluten-free Crumble.

Cranberry Sauce
See the Vegan-Vegetarian Holiday Menu post for this recipe and other great holiday recipes

Vanilla Bean Ice “Cream”

1 vanilla bean (or 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract)
1-1/2 cups boiling hot water or other liquid
1-1/2 cups raw (unsalted, unroasted) cashews
1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon sweetener (agave syrup is best, but maple syrup or sugar work as well)
pinch of salt

  1. Slice vanilla bean open lengthwise and use the back of a knife to scrape the seeds from the pod. Put the seeds and the pod into a 1-quart or larger container and add hot water, steep for at least 15 minutes. Add cashews and soak overnight, if you have time, or for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Remove vanilla pod (not seeds), and add vanilla-cashew mixture to a blender with remaining ingredient (sweetener and salt) and blend at high speed until completely smooth when the blended mixture is rubbed between two fingers.
  3. Pour mixture back into the quart container and refrigerate overnight or until cool.
  4. Pour into an ice cream maker and proceed according to basic instructions for whatever model you have.

Serve with pumpkin pie and/or the apple cranberry crumble. This can be made a few days ahead if needed. Obviously, store in the freezer (in an airtight container). Keeps 1-2 weeks before forming ice crystals.

Apple, Pear, Cranberry Gluten-free Crumble

Crumble Topping
1-1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
½ cup quinoa flour (or substitute all-purpose flour), add whole quinoa to a coffee grinder to make flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon freshly grated (or ¼ teaspoon ground, powdered) nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 Tablespoons EarthBalance or other vegan “butter”, cut into ½-inch cubes
¼ cup chopped pecans (or pecan pieces)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh lemon zest (See how to zest a lemon)

Fruit Filling
1 pound (approximately 2 large) green apples, cored, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 pound (approximately 2 large) red apples, cored, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 large ripe pear, cored, cut into ½-inch cubes
½ cup fresh cranberries, roughly chopped
¼ cup dried cranberries
2 Tablespoons EarthBalance or other vegan “butter”, cut into ½-inch cubes
¼ cup brown sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated (or ¼ teaspoon ground, powdered) nutmeg

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a food processor, pulse oats, flour, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and lemon zest a couple of times to mix. Add butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly.
  3. In a mixing bowl, stir together all fruit filling ingredients. Pour into a 13”x9” rectangular baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray or greased.
  4. Top fruit filling mixture with crumble topping and place into oven. Cook for roughly 45 minutes until topping is nicely browned and fruit mixture is bubbling up in spots. Rotate pan halfway through cooking.
  5. Cool to slightly warm before serving (can be room temperature). This dessert can be made the day ahead as well, just make sure to cool to room temperature before covering or the topping will get soggy.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

See the Vegan-Vegetarian Holiday Menu post for this recipe and other great holiday recipes

To make the leaves on top of the pie, or any other design you wish, use a cookie cutter to cut the shapes you’d like out of the leftover pie dough scraps. Bake the pie for 15-20 minutes before placing the cutouts on top or they can sink into the batter.
Finally, if you're still searching for holiday recipes, check out previous posts:

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