No Harm, No Fowl: Vegan Thanksgiving 2011!

Last year I was an omnivore, and the centerpiece of my Thanksgiving table was a giant turkey breast. It was roasted over fennel, and had a bacon lattice over the top. It was decadent for sure, and fattening for certain. Never again! Bring on my all-vegan Thanksgiving, which was even better than last year: just as delicious, no one died, and it isn’t killing us from the inside, either.

Bacon Wrapped Torkey, from the Happy Herbivore. (Just assume when I say “bacon” it’s fake-bacon.)

Root Veggie Mash (potato, turnip and rutabaga), my idea!

Polenta Stuffing from Appetite for Reduction.

Honey Wheat Rolls (more hardcore vegans than me can use brown sugar rather than honey. Also, sub out the butter for applesauce! You’re welcome!) from November’s Vegetarian Times.

Everything together, including Cranberry Sauce, Green Beans with Almonds, Bacon, and Garlic, and Mushroom Gravy all over that mash!

Pumpkin Cheesecake from Happy Herbivore. I even made the pumpkin myself! And I topped it with a cream sauce made from 1/4 cup cashews, 2 tsp maple syrup, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of rice milk. My husband took one bite of this and announced it to be “perfect.” It really was the best pumpkin dessert I’ve ever had, and I can’t believe it’s not terrible for you. Because it is just as amazing as any full-fat counterpart. Beautiful!

This year I’m so thankful for my family, friends, and of course, the decision we made to eat a plant-based diet. It’s given us back our health, and brought me happiness in so many different ways. Not only did I lose weight (and my husband, did, too) but we’re doing something great for our long-term health, for animals, and for the environment.

I know that this is just the beginning of the adventure, and I’m so excited for what next year will bring. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Swedish Meetballs

Man, back in the day Swedish Meatballs were my jam. I used to make them all the time, with a recipe that would horrify anyone, not just vegans. First–bag of premade frozen meatballs. Add to that a jar (A JAR) of premade beef gravy, and a cup of sour cream. Throw in some instant rice and you have yourself a meal. Also, please let me state that I was a teenager when I was doing this, so I obviously didn’t know better. And you should be happy that I was at home making hideous Swedish Meatballs instead of…whatever it is normal teenagers do.

Anyway, now I’m a vegan and I know better, so I’ve made delicious Swedish Meetballs for you to enjoy guilt-free. No cans of gravy for you, mister!

Swedish Meetballs (serves 4):

  • One half recipe of Happy Herbivore’s Meatless Balls (teehee) or any recipe you like that makes 12 meatballs. You can even just cook some undoctored Gimme Lean in ball form and call it a day.
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup veggie broth (or more, if you like a thinner sauce)
  • 1 T liquid aminos or soy sauce
  • 2 T vegan Worcestershire sauce (I usually make the Happy Herbivore version)
  • 2 T cashews (they don’t need to be raw, you can use whatever)
  • 2 T onion flakes
  • 1 T red wine vinegar
  • 2 T vegan mayo
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  • 1 T cornstarch (use two for a SUPER THICK sauce)
  • 3/4 cup water

First, make your meatballs. I usually just make a ton and then freeze them in useable amounts, so I already had meatballs ready when I started this tonight. Easy!

Now, assemble the sour creamy secret sauce: take the cashews, onion flakes, and water, and place them in your food processor/blender. Let them sit for about 15 minutes. Now, add the red wine vinegar, mayo, nutritional yeast, and cornstarch. Blend until really smooth. The sauce should still be quite thin, that’s what you want. It’ll thicken when you add it to the mushrooms.

Okay! Now start your mushrooms. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a large-ish skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic for about 3 minutes, until soft. Add the thyme, salt and pepper. Now, add in your mushrooms. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Then add the veggie broth and liquid aminos and lower to a simmer for about 10 minutes. With the heat on low, add the creamy sauce to the mushroom sauce and stir until thickened to your liking.

Serve over rice or noodles, with the meatballs on top. I like to have asparagus with this dish, too, or some bread. Or if you’re feeling all IKEA that night, have some lingonberries!

Baked Chimichangas!

Mmm…mmm…chimichangas! It’s fun to say. And fun to eat!

I love me some baked burrito. I love how it makes the outside all crispy, the bottom all mushy, and you can eat it with a fork! And a knife! And put pretty three colored sauces on top! I filled this one with brown rice, black beans, anasazi beans, tomatillo salsa and vegan chorizo. That recipe is so awesome, and makes TONS. I don’t even know what to do with the rest of it! Maybe some bowls, since I’m all out of tortillas now.

The sauces on the top are a little more tomatillo salsa (just from a jar, I KNOW), some quick salsa (no onion), and some onion cashew crema that I made up myself! Actually, out of desperation, since I totally messed up the cashew sour cream recipe from Vegan Brunch. Oops!

Onion Cashew Crema:

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked for an hour at least
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp mild vinegar
  • 1/2 of a small sweet onion
  • 2 T dehydrated onion flakes

Now, put all ingredients in a blender and whip them up! Try to get most of the bits of cashew all ground up–this isn’t easy, so give it some time. When it’s done, just pop in the fridge to cool down. Makes a ton–at least a cup. I only used about 1 T to top these burritos–er–chimis, so now I don’t know what to do with the rest of it. The cashews make it a little bit diet unfriendly, but it’s worth it. I mean, you’re probably only putting about two or three extra grams of fat on there. Don’t sweat it! You need to eat fat to live! TO LIVE.

So, yay! Thanks again for the awesome dinner, Happy Herbivore!

VegNews Mac & Cheese…tested, and happily, approved!

I must be the only person on the planet who craves mac & cheese in 90 degree weather. With 100% humidity. Thanks, Kansas. Also, if you were wondering, my hair DOES look frizzy. So if you see me out on the street, just avert your eyes.

Anyway, I was interested in trying VegNew’s “best mac & cheese on the planet” because it’s nutritional yeast-free, even though I love the nooch and I’m always happy to have it in my life. Also, I was stubbornly confused about how potatoes, carrots, onions and cashews would make anything that looked passably like cheese. And you know what? THEY DO. This is the BEST faux mac I’ve had (not like I’ve had a ton, but still). I really like my Spicy Mac, but this is a pleasantly simple dish, for when you are craving mac and cheese in it’s purest form.

Notice the bread crumbs? I thought there were way too many, but it ended up tasting just right. Also, look a little closer…closer…yes…those are homemade crumbs! From homemade bread! *Pats self on back*

I think I’d be misleading you if I didn’t say that this dish is high in fat. It calls for a whopping 7 tablespoons of margarine, which equals about 80 grams of fat. UGH. Even when you split it into 8 portions like I did, it’s still a lot for the portion-size. And when I cooked it, I took about 3 tablespoons out (one from the breadcrumbs, two from the sauce). I think I could probably take even more out of the sauce by pureeing some white beans in with the veggies. I’d like to get this down to two or three tablespoons total, so I could eat a larger portion and not feel that heavy greasy ache in my stomach. Do you get that, too?

Despite the whopping fat content, this recipe is definitely a keeper, and will be on heavy rotation when fall and winter come. I’ll probably serve it then with some sweet potatoes, squash, or sauteed spinach. OOH! I can’t wait!