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!

Hot Salad Niçoise

 

Does anyone in the world eat more Salad Niçoise than I do? Probably the French, I’m guessing, but I have to come in a close second.

I compiled this dish from the basic ingredients for a Niçoise: Potatoes, onions, green beans and cherry tomatoes. Then I went a little crazy and threw in some summer squash. And roasted it in the oven at 400 degrees for about an hour. I topped it with some sauteed spinach, and the chickpea mixture and green goddess dressing from Appetite for Reduction.

I’m not going to say that this turned out great. It turned out okay. I will probably make it again in the winter, when I’m craving this salad but can’t bear to eat lettuce when it’s -17 degrees outside. But it was really missing something, I’m just not sure what. And the summer squash was not good. NOT GOOD.

 

Are You Sure This Isn’t Chicken?

Oh, Trader Joe’s. Is there anything you can’t do?

Because seriously–wouldn’t you think that was chicken? It has almost the exact same taste and texture as dark meat chicken. And while I didn’t really enjoy the dark meat before I became a vegan, it’s nice to have a little reminder of my former life now and then. My husband was completely fooled, except for the fact that he knows we don’t eat meat! It also has a really good health profile (high in protein, low in fat) and is unbelievably easy to prepare. Two minutes in the microwave! That’s it!

I also made the Easy Mac & Cheese from Happy Herbivore as a side, and then made my own version of her Dijon Green beans to go with it. The beans were SO GOOD. And also pretty easy!

Easy Dijon Green Beans (makes 4 servings as a side dish):

  • 3 cups of frozen green beans
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste
  • 2 T white wine
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup veggie broth

Heat one tsp of olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute, until fragrant. Add the thyme, pepper flakes, and salt, stir for a few seconds. Add in your green beans, and cook until the frost comes off. Then, pour in the wine. When the wine reduces, add in the veggie broth & dijon and cook until the beans are hot all the way through and the sauce is no longer liquidy.

I really wanted to make biscuits to go with this, too, but I was too lazy!

Southern Home Cookin’

My husband thought this dinner tasted just like something your granny would make. But I guess she’d have to be your kick-ass vegan granny, which would be amazing. Of all the vegans I read about, senior vegans are the best. They went vegan in 1922, you dang whippersnapper!

Are you listening? I have two words for you. VEGAN. BACON. And BITS. Which makes it three, but you get the idea. Yeah. Happy Herbivore strikes again! I love these bacon bits. They were incredibly easy to make, totally fat free, and look and taste just like bacon. My clothes and hair even smell like bacon just like the (bad) old days!

So I smothered those bits all over some green beans. And made her baked beans (which seemed to be missing something, though I don’t know what), and hybridized the corn pudding/cornbread recipe. You see, I DID have silken tofu–yesterday. And then I went on some sort of crazed double-batch brownie extravaganza. Delicious,  unnecessary, and it stole my ingredients for corn pudding!

What I did was make half a batch of cornbread, added the full amount of jalapeño, corn, onion and turmeric, and baked it at 350 for 30 mins. That way both it and the beans were done at the same time. It turned out fairly well, if a little dense. I’ll try to get it right next time!

Finally, a use for my Thai Holy Basil!

And what a great use for it! Oh baby. My husband rated this dinner a “9.5” on the vegan scale. Which is impressive, since he usually isn’t that fond of green beans or tofu. I think the real standout here was the Pineapple Rice, which I didn’t even make with fancy rice at all. Just with plain old short grain brown rice. You’d think that wouldn’t work, but it gave the whole deal a lot of creaminess–almost like you’d doused it with coconut milk.

Also, pineapples. Is there anything they can’t do? I think I should belong to some sort of tropical fruit fan club. And the more I get to mix it into dinners, the better.

But what about that basil? You know, I didn’t notice the taste too much. I think it has sort of a basil and licorice taste to it, but my plant had gotten rather withered in the 100+ degree heat we’ve been experiencing lately. So maybe if you had a nice, robust thai basil plant, it would give off more characteristic flavors? Oh well. I will for sure be making this dish again!

Recipes from Appetite for Reduction.

Salade Niçoise

There is literally no angle in which this photo does not look weird. But I kinda love how it looks like I put this delicious salad on the wall. Salade Niçoise! I don’t know how to say it, but I do know that I’ve always wanted to eat it. However, even before the whole vegan thing, I didn’t eat fish. So this tuna-smothered salad was never meant for me.

Until now! And honestly, the chickpea mash with capers is so close to tuna, it sorta weirded me out. I felt like I shouldn’t be eating it, but there I was, loving every minute of it. The flavors are so complicated, yet everything comes together in a fantastic way–I wonder if that’s why all the ingredients are typically kept unmixed? That, and it looks gorgeous that way.

My only problem was my red onion was so strong, I thought it was going to wrestle me from the table and steal my wallet. I could smell the onion in the house for hours after dinner. Sheesh! Quiet down, onion!

Salad courtesy of Appetite for Reduction.