Zel's Vegan NutGourmet

Zel Allen Goes Nuts for Good Health

Posts Tagged ‘Vegan Recipes’

VEGAN FOR THE HOLIDAYS GIVE-AWAY!

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on September 1, 2013

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HOW THE VEGAN FOR THE HOLIDAYS COOKBOOK WAS BORN

Many years ago I remember being bummed out when one of our kids brought a vegan friend over the house for dinner. At that time, it was a big deal because I had no idea of what to fix for them.

Now that I’ve been vegan for 24 years, the shoe is on the other foot, so to speak. Though things have changed considerably over the years, and many people have become pretty darned savvy about what’s vegan and what’s not, there are still some big gaps and big humps for vegans to overcome.

One of the major humps still plaguing vegans is the traditional holiday dinner, when the whole family comes together for the festivities. The lone vegan in a non-vegan family may be one of the lucky ones to have a vegan-savvy family that knows just what to cook to satisfy all tastes.

For the vegan whose family cooks the Standard American dishes for those big holidays like Thanksgiving, the struggle goes on.

That’s mainly why I created the Vegan for the Holidays Cookbook, but it was for me, too. I thought it would be fun to have a whole bevvy of holiday dishes in my repertoire that I could count on year after year and not have to struggle to come up with something special for the occasion.

I figured I wasn’t the only vegan who faced the quandary of what to cook for those special holiday meals–dishes that really stand apart from stuff I cook the rest of the year.

A FEW DISHES FROM VEGAN FOR THE HOLIDAYS

I also wanted to be able to share those special dishes that make the holiday dinners so divinely delicious and so very memorable. Here are a few dishes to stir your curiosity:

carrotwreath copyAlmond Thumbprint CookiesNew Year LogSanta's Favorite Panforte

There’s nothing like a tasty teaser to spark even more curiosity, so I want to share one of my favorite appetizers that appears in the Christmas section of Vegan for the Holidays. Truth is that this recipe is so versatile, it doesn’t have to wait for the holidays to arrive.

Because the ingredients are available year round, Tofu Tijuana Cocktail is a delight even in the middle of July. Actually, it’s a fabulous starter in July when avocados are in abundance and reasonably priced.

Another point of versatility is the inter-play between tofu and chestnuts. When chestnuts are in season, generally from October through December and sometimes January, they ought to be the featured item in this starter. And, if you’ve never ventured into the land of cooking and peeling chestnuts, check out the step-by-step Cooking and Peeling Chestnuts details that appeared in an earlier post Cooking and Peeling Chestnuts.

The thing about chestnuts is their ultra sweet flavor and soft and pleasing potato-like texture. Chestnuts are not like any other nut, yet they are still considered a tree nut, like walnuts or almonds. What makes them so different? For starters, they have a soft and starchy texture rather than a crunchy nature like other nuts. They are extremely low in fat–about 2% rather than the usual 50% to 80% fat in most other nuts. Chestnuts are starchier than other nuts with about 27% carbohydrates, while other nuts range in carbs from 12% to 32%.

When chestnuts are not in season, replace them with chunks of firm tofu and enjoy a delicious starter that looks elegant served in long-stemmed wine glasses or champagne flutes.

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TIJUANA TOFU COCKTAIL

Colorful and inviting, this zesty appetizer comes alive with bright colors, bold flavors, and a glamorous presentation. I created this recipe to spotlight fresh chestnuts, then replaced them with tofu for its ease of preparation. Either way, this is a delicious starter. If you enjoy chestnuts as much as I do, go ahead and substitute them for the tofu and you’ll find they add a pleasant sweet balance to the savory and spicy flavors.

Yield: 6 to 8 servingsTijuana Tofu Cocktail 2copy

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
1 1/2 cups diced firm tofu, or chopped cooked and peeled chestnuts
1 large avocado, diced
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 to 1 jalapeno chile, seeded and minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cilantro sprigs, for garnish
Lime wedges, for garnish

1. Combine the canned and fresh tomatoes, tofu, avocado, onion, cilantro, lemon juice, jalapeno, cumin, coriander, and salt in a large bowl and mix well.

2. To serve, spoon the cocktail into long-stemmed wine glasses, old-fashioned glasses, or glass dessert bowls and garnish each with a sprig of cilantro and a wedge of fresh lime perched on the rim. Serve with spoons. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve later.

Posted in Appetizers, Celebrations, chestnuts, Cooking and Peeling Chestnuts, Holiday Recipes, Vegan for the Holidays, Zel's Cookbooks | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

APPLES, ROOT VEGETABLES, & STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM MAKE CANADIAN THANKSGIVING IRRESISTIBLE AND MEMORABLE

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on October 7, 2012

Tami Noyes and hubby have been vegan since 2004 but welcome all diners to their table. When Tami started testing recipes for cookbook authors, she fell in love with vegan cuisine and is now the author of two beautiful cookbooks. American Vegan Kitchen is packed with familiar comfort foods we turn to for everyday dining pleasure. Her new book, just published is Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day! Tami considers sandwiches the best thing since sliced bread! When she’s not in the kitchen, Tami spends time blogging at Vegan Appetite.

As the fall colors build and the leaves fall, our taste-buds turn to apples and cinnamon. Made with mostly whole grain, this cake is a healthier alternative than some others. The addition of cashews creates a rich and delicate cake batter. We enjoy this lightly spiced apple-dotted cake for breakfast, an afternoon snack, or for dessert. For even more indulgence, top with maple frosting after cooling.

APPLE CAKE
Yield: 1 (6-inch) cake

3/4 cup nondairy milk
2 tablespoons cashew pieces
2 tablespoons nondairy vanilla yogurt
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
1 teaspoon maple extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
120 g (1 cup) whole wheat pastry flour
60 g (1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 cup peeled, diced apple

Spray a 6-inch cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the milk, cashews, yogurt, oil, flax seed, and extracts in a blender and process until completely smooth.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan. Bake the cake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan and let cool on a wire rack. Garnish with powdered sugar if desired.

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Author of more than 20 cookbooks (many best sellers), Robin Robertson has been vegan since 1988. She was a chef and caterer and presently consults and contributes a regular column to VegNews Magazine. She has been a contributing editor and columnist for Vegetarian Times and contributed to numerous magazines. Bold flavors and global cuisine is her passion as well as writing and teaching about healthy plant-based cuisine. Her newest cookbook Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker has just been released. Visit Robin Robertson’s Global Vegan Kitchen for more awesome website and a peek at her library of cookbooks. The following recipe is from Robin’s new Vegan Slow Cooker book.

MAPLE-DIJON GLAZED ROOT VEGETABLES

This dish is ideal for Thanksgiving dinner – or anytime. I like to use more carrots because they’re popular and colorful, with a lesser amount of turnips and parsnips, but you can change the ratio however you like.

Slow Cooker Size: 4-quart
Cook Time: 6 to 8 hours on Low
{gluten-free}
{soy-free}

4 large carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 medium turnip, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 shallots, halved
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Lightly oil the insert of the slow cooker. Combine the carrots, turnip, parsnip, and shallots in the cooker.
2. In a small bowl, combine the oil, maple syrup, water, and mustard in a cup, stirring to blend, then pour it over the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine.
3. Cover and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours, or until the vegetables are soft. Stir once about halfway through the cooking time, if possible. Serves 4

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Debra Walton subscribes to the Hippocrates mantra to let food be our medicine. She holds a nursing degree, but though she is the mom of 5 “awesome children” and granny to 9 little ones, she is working on furthering her education seeking degrees in Health, Healing, and Nutrition. Debra follows a plant-based diet and teaches food preparation and nutrition to spread the word about the health benefits of a vegan lifestyle. Look for more delicious recipes on Debra’s delightful blog The Health Seeker’s Kitchen.

TENDER GREEN BEAN WITH MUSHROOM & LEMON PEEL

Serves 6 as a side dish.

Sauté:
1 Portabello Mushroom, diced
2 tab. yellow onion diced
1/4 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. olive oil
salt & pepper

Steam:
1 lb. fresh tender green beans
1/4 cup water

Sauce:
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tab.Vegenaise
1/8 tsp. dried dill
Rind of 1 lemon (I use a lemon zester to make long thin slices)

Cook mushroom, onions and oregano in olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Cook until mushrooms look soft and turn color. Remove from pan.

Add 1/4 cup water to pan you cooked mushroom in. Add green beans and simmer with lid on until water has disappeared. Remove green beans and put in bowl.

Mix sauce well and stir into green beans. Add mushroom mixture.
Add rind of lemon to green beans and mix. Enjoy.

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NON-DAIRY RAW STRAWBERRY BANANA ICE CREAM

Ingredients:
Cashew cream (recipe below)
14 regular pitted dates (soak in water until soft and reserve 1/4 c. water)
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (about 1 very large orange)
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 2 large lemons)
1 cup sliced bananas (about 2 small)
1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries (keep frozen)

Cashew Cream
1 1/2 cups raw cashews (soak in water for 2-4 hours)
1/2 cup water

Drain soak water and place cashews in blender. Add 1/2 cup water and blend until smooth.

Directions:
1.) Make cashew cream and leave in blender.
2.) Drain dates reserving 1/4 cup liquid and add both to cashew cream. Blend until smooth.
3.) Add remaining ingredients to blender and blend until smooth.
4.) Put ice cream in Cuisinart ice cream maker. In about 10 minutes ice cream will be ready to eat or put in freezer for an additional hour for a more firm texture.
5.) You can also pour ice cream into a container and freeze until ready.
6.) Enjoy!!

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Posted in Canadian Thanksgiving, cashews, Celebrations, Holiday Recipes, Side Dishes, Vegan Desserts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

GLAZED RUTABAGAS & CARROT-RAISIN MUFFINS FOR A DIVINE CANADIAN THANKSGIVING!

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on September 30, 2012

Sam Houghton, the creative Quantum Vegan blogger, took on a curious challenge the moment she bought a vegetable she didn’t know what to do with. Today’s familiar mantra is “Search and ye shall find,” –the internet, that is, and that’s exactly what Sam did. The result is an innovative, yet easy recipe that makes rutabagas a stand-out side dish for the Canadian Thanksgiving celebration.

Healthy muffins are always a nutritional bonus, but how about muffins that are delicious, chock full of sweet raisins, shredded carrots, chunky walnuts, AND are really healthy! Serve them for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning and enjoy a great start to the festive day.

Sam’s lively blog features a host of recipes, product reviews, and book reviews. Her Lifestyle feature offers a glimpse into everything from eating disorders to all manner of vegan living. You can also find Sam on Twitter and Facebook.

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Rutabagas were on sale recently and I decided to buy one, as I am often wont to do with sale vegetables. Of course, once I had it on hand I had no idea what to do with it, and for once my cookbooks didn’t have many suggestions. But it’s the beauty of today’s social media world that you can put out a call for rutabaga recipes on twitter and have half a dozen responses before lunch time. Thanks to cookinvegan, I settled on a maple mustard glaze that sounded amazing.

MAPLE-MUSTARD-GLAZED RUTABAGAS
serves 2 as a side

Ingredients
1 pound rutabaga, peeled and cut into chunks

1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp. mustard seed
1 tbsp. olive oil

Directions
1) Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a bowl big enough to hold the rutabaga, mix all the glaze ingredients together until well blended.

2) Add the rutabaga pieces and mix until well coated.

3) Spread the rutabaga on a baking sheet, drizzling with any remaining glaze. Roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring once, until the glaze darkens and the rutabaga is tender.

I wound up making two separate batches of glaze and turning one into a marinade for tempeh a la Veganomicon. I added about 6 tbsp. of water to the glaze to make it a marinade and marinated 1/2 block of tempeh for an hour before panfrying it for about ten minutes. The flavor took really well and some green beans were all we needed to complete the meal!

So now that I know how tasty rutabaga is, I’ll be using it more in the future!

WHEAT-OAT CARROT MUFFINS
Substitutions in baking don’t always work out the way you intend them to. Sometimes you wind up with a total mess, while other times you get a nice surprise. I’d put these muffins somewhere in between. The substitutions I made were out of necessity, and the only complaint I had was that they didn’t rise very much. So they were a success, albeit a bit of a “rustic-looking” success!

The original recipe came off the back of a box of Hogsden Mills hot cereal and called for some of the cereal as a dry ingredient. The rest was pretty simple, and the only non-vegan ingredients were some milk and an egg, so adapting it was a snap. However, I found myself in an interesting position the second time I wanted to make a batch. We were very nearly out of both whole wheat pastry flour and spelt flour, my two go-to flours for muffins; and there wasn’t a whole lot of the dry cereal left, either. The only thing to do was improvise.

I looked around at what we did have and wound up swapping wheat bran for the cereal and oat flour for the regular flour. I also added some raisins, which weren’t included in the original muffin recipe. As usual, I used maple syrup instead of sugar and applesauce instead of oil–both of which I’d tried the first time around and had success with. The result was a dense and tasty muffin that was good with all sorts of different “toppings:” almond butter, sunflower butter, raspberry jelly and even chocolate raspberry peanut butter!

As sort of an added bonus, these are healthy muffins that don’t taste healthy. There’s very little sugar and a lot of whole grains, plus the carrots and raisins. The batter winds up very chunky and can just about support a half a cup of nuts, but I wouldn’t add anything else for fear of them falling apart. Also, if you don’t have any oat flour hanging around, you can make your own by grinding regular oats in a blender (about 1 1/4 cups to make 1 cup of flour).

Wheat Oat Muffin Batter

Wheat Oat Muffins with Carrots & Raisins
Author: Sam
Recipe type: snack
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 35 mins

Serves: 6-12

Ingredients
1 cup wheat bran
1 cup oat flour
2 Tbsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp maple syrup
½ cup nondairy milk
1 Tbsp ground flax seeds mixed with 3 Tbsp water
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup shredded carrots
½ cup raisins
½ cup chopped walnuts, optional

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 400F. Grease or line a small 12-cup or a large 6-cup muffin tin.

In a large bowl, combine the wheat bran, oat flour, baking powder and baking soda, stirring well to combine.

Add the nondairy milk, maple syrup, flax seed mixture, applesauce and vanilla. Stir until moistened. (Batter will be thick.)

Fold in the carrots, raisins and walnuts (if using). The batter should look chunky and “rustic.”

Divide the batter equally between the prepared muffin tins. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until the tops are browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. These don’t rise very much, but they’re tasty and hearty!

Posted in Breakfast Dishes, Canadian Thanksgiving, Holiday Recipes, Side Dishes, Vegan for the Holidays, walnuts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

CORNBREAD, BUTTERNUT, CANNELLINI, & ARTICHOKES FOR CANADIAN THANKSGIVING

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on September 29, 2012

Today’s tempting Canadian Thanksgiving recipes come from a true Canadian who lives in Ontario. Lisa Turner, a vegetarian for 22 years, knows how to treat a vegetable with love and creativity. In these irresistible recipes she incorporates a medley of flavors, colors, and textures to reflect the foods of the harvest celebration. Lisa blogs at Lisa’s Kitchen where she specializes in Indian cooking with vibrant flavors and dazzling colors. Lisa’s recipes for Canadian Thanksgiving are just as delectable for our U.S. Thanksgiving.

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH, HERBED CANNELLINI, AND ARTICHOKES WITH FENNEL AND PARSLEY SALAD

Making a healthy vegetarian entrée look like a gourmet dish isn’t the result of elaborate and technical procedures. Rather, it’s the product of quality ingredients, simple but appealing food combinations, and inviting contrasts in color and texture, all assembled with care, attention, creativity and a love for food. Of course, a fancy menu-style name might impress your guests as well!

This lovely meal, for example, is no less elegant and delicious for all its true simplicity and ease. Tender roasted golden orange butternut squash is mixed with a baked casserole of creamy cannellini beans, delicate artichokes, sweet cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs, and served with a fresh crunchy and slightly tart fennel and parsley salad for a meal that is stunning for its visual appeal, wonderful taste and wholesome nourishment … all with no more than twenty minutes of preparation, apart from the roasting time, and only a little attention and care during the cooking.

As is so often the case when I cook with squash, I was inspired by the fact that I could no longer stand looking at the uncooked squash that I picked up on a whim a little while ago and that just sat forlornly in my pantry ever since. I adapted the recipe itself from one given by a self-described “Dog Shaman” from South Africa who otherwise advocates a vegan diet for dogs. I don’t endorse canine veganism myself (and I know my cat would strongly disapprove of a feline equivalent), but I’m quite happy to try his human food.

Salad:
• 1 fennel bulb, cored, trimmed and sliced
• 1 large cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• juice of 1 lemon
• 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
• fresh ground black pepper to taste

Squash and Cannellini:
• 1/2 cup dried cannellini beans (1 1/2 cups cooked or 1 14 oz can)
• 1 butternut squash, halved, seeded and scored into bite-sized pieces
• olive oil
• leaves from 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
• leaves from 1 sprig of fresh thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
• fresh ground black pepper

Other ingredients:
• 5 or 6 large oil-marinated artichokes, coarsely chopped
• 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
• 1/2 cup dry white wine
• small handful of torn fresh basil leaves, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
• 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
• fresh ground black pepper
• olive oil
• vegan Parmesan cheese (optional)

Instructions:
• Rinse the beans and soak overnight covered in several inches of cold water with a little lemon juice added. Drain and add to a medium saucepan. Cover with fresh cold water or vegetable stock, and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the beans are soft. Drain and mash gently with a potato masher. Set aside.

• Prepare the salad in advance to allow the lemon juice and olive oil to mellow the strong flavour of the fennel. Combine all the salad ingredients in a bowl and toss gently. Set aside at room temperature, tossing again occasionally.

• Pre-heat an oven to 400°. Prepare the squash by cutting in half lengthwise, scraping out the seeds, and scoring deep crosses at bite-sized (about 1-inch) intervals into the flesh. Place the halves on a baking sheet open side up and drizzle the squash with olive oil, a few sprinkles of water, rosemary, thyme and fresh ground black pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 40 to 50 minutes or until the squash is tender and browned.

• Meanwhile, combine the beans, artichokes, tomatoes, wine, basil, oregano, salt and pepper in a small oven-safe casserole dish. Drizzle with olive oil. After the squash has been roasting for 10 to 15 minutes, place the casserole dish uncovered in the oven beside the squash and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated and the beans are still moist but not dry. Remove from oven and set aside until the squash is finished.

• Remove the cooked squash from the shell and stir into the bean mixture. If using, scatter the vegan Parmesan cheese on top and place the casserole dish under the broiler for a minute or two.

• Toss the fennel and parsley salad one more time and serve with the squash, cannellini and artichoke mixture. For an added special touch, reserve the squash shells and scoop the squash, cannellini and artichoke mixture into the shells for serving.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

CLASSIC CORNBREAD

Considering it seems that I put hot chillies and/or jalapeños in pretty much everything I make, my regular readers might be surprised to learn that my very favorite cornbread consists of little more than cornmeal. But my regular readers will also know that I love the sweet taste and crunch of cornmeal, and this dense and filling bread will satisfy any cornmeal craving. For a satisfying snack, serve slices of this cornbread with a bit of vegan butter. It also goes well as a side with any spicy Mexican meal.

Simple, dense and filling, classic cornbread loaded with plenty of cornmeal flavor and crunch — a great snack or addition to Thanksgiving or a spicy Mexican meal.

Ingredients:
• 3 cups coarse yellow cornmeal
• 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
• 3 tablespoons sesame oil or olive oil
• 1/4 – 1/2 cup brown sugar, honey or other sweetener, to taste
• 2 – 3 cups of water

Instructions:
• Preheat an oven to 325° and grease a loaf pan with oil.

• Combine the cornmeal, flour and salt in a large bowl. If you are using a dry sweetener, mix in to the dry ingredients. Add the oil and rub it into the dry ingredients with your hands. If you are using a liquid sweetener, add it now and stir to combine. Gradually stir in the water until the mixture resembles a thick cookie dough — you may not have to use more than 2 cups of water.

• Heat the prepared loaf pan until hot but not smoking. Transfer the batter to the pan and bake for 30 minutes. Increase the heat to 350° and bake for another 50 to 60 minutes or until the bread begins to brown and small cracks form on the top of the loaf.

• Remove the bread from the oven and cool on a metal rack for 10 minutes. Gently remove the loaf from the pan and cool for another 30 minutes on the rack. Cut into 3/4-inch to 1-inch slices and serve.

Makes 8 to 10 slices

Posted in Canadian Thanksgiving, Celebrations, Guest Posts, Holiday Recipes, Main Dishes, Salads and Salad Dressings, Side Dishes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

TREASURED VEGAN DELIGHTS FOR CANADIAN THANKSGIVING!

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on September 28, 2012

Today’s post is from guest host Dianne Wenz, VLC, HHC, AADP, a Holistic Health Counselor, Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Plant-Based Nutrition Specialist. Dianne coaches people from across the country to help them improve their health and wellbeing, and she helps people make the dietary and lifestyle changes needed to go vegan. Dianne lives in New Jersey, where she runs the busy MeetUp group Montclair Vegans. Through the group she hosts monthly potlucks, runs charity bake sales and organizes guest speaker events. An avid cook and baker, Dianne also teaches cooking classes to local clients. She writes the weekly Meatless Monday column on the New Jersey website Hot From the Kettle and is a contributing writer on ChicVegan To explore more of Dianne’s endeavors, visit Dianne’s website and blog at Veggiegirl

Growing up I was never very fond of Thanksgiving. I wasn’t too crazy about any of the food that was served, but I felt that I needed to fake it and pretend that I liked every morsel of it. But now that I’m an adult, and a vegan, it’s become my favorite time of the year. The foods that I despised as a child are now some of my favorites. I usually invite my vegan friends over, and we have a feast fit for royalty. While the menu changes from year to year, stuffing, stuffed mushrooms and roasted Brussels sprouts are so well loved that they’ve become Thanksgiving traditions.

MUSHROOM AND SPINACH STUFFING

Ingredients:
• 1 Tbsp. olive oil
• 1 lb. assorted mushrooms (like chanterelle, shIitake, and crimini), sliced
• 1 large onion, diced
• 2 to 3 cups celery stalks, chopped
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
• 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
• 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
• 8 oz. baby spinach leaves
• 10 cups 1-inch cubes day-old bread with crust
• 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
• 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
• 1 cup vegetable broth (plus more, if stuffing is too dry)

Directions:

1. Heat olive in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced mushrooms and sprinkle with a little salt. Sauté until mushrooms are tender and beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Remove mushrooms from heat and set aside in a large bowl.

2. Add onions and celery. Sauté until vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Add all herbs and sauté 1 minute longer. Add the spinach and toss until just wilted, about 1 minute. Add vegetables to bowl with mushrooms.

3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Divide bread between 2 rimmed baking sheets. Bake until bread is crusty but not hard. Transfer to very large bowl and cool.

4. Lightly oil a 13” x 9” baking dish. Stir vegetable mixture into the bowl with the bread cubes. Add the broth, salt and pepper, tossing to combine even. Add more broth, ¼ cup at a time if the mixture seems to dry. Transfer stuffing to prepared dish.

5. Bake stuffing uncovered until cooked through and brown and crusty on top, about 50 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes and serve.

ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH TOASTED ALMONDS

Ingredients
• 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
• 1/8 cup olive oil
• ½ teaspoon sea salt
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 1/2 cup slivered almonds

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cut the Brussels sprouts in half and remove any stems and brown leaves.
3. In a large bowl, toss together the Brussels sprouts, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the sprouts out in 9” x 13” baking dish or roasting pan
4. After 20 minutes, stir the Brussels sprouts with a spatula or large spoon to prevent burning and ensure all sides roast evenly. Add the almonds to the dish with the sprouts.
5. Continue to roast the Brussels sprouts for about 20 – 25 more minutes, until they are browned and fork tender.

STUFFED MUSHROOMS

Ingredients
• 12 to 16 large cremini or button mushrooms, stems removed and chopped
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• Salt and black pepper
• 1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until softened, 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms stems and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring until the mixture is softened, and well combined, about 3 minutes.
3. Remove from the heat and mix in the breadcrumbs. Add more olive oil if the mixture seems to try.
4. Stuff the mushroom caps with the stuffing and arrange in a greased shallow baking pan. Bake until the mushrooms are tender and the stuffing is hot, about 20 minutes

Posted in almonds, Appetizers, Celebrations, Guest Posts, Holiday Recipes, Side Dishes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

THE PERFECT BITE FOR CANADIAN THANKSGIVING!

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on September 27, 2012

Thanksgiving guests might arrive desperately hungry and raring to eat. No worry! With Cobi Kim as your vibrant video host you’ll have the “perfect bite” ready to tame those growling tummies. Cobi’s guest post features her stunning video with all the details you’ll need to create Thanksgiving Won Tons. Visit Cobi’s Veggietorials blog where visitors can learn how to assemble her colorful vegan delights with ease.

Turn your Thanksgiving or any holiday leftovers into the perfect bite! Check out my video to see how to whip up an easy Quinoa & Cauliflower Mash that tastes like creamy mashed potatoes, but has more fiber per serving. Oven Roasted Butternut Squash gives a sweet balance to the savory fillings like Vegan Stuffing with Collard Greens. Roll it up and fry it to savor the day after Thanksgiving without eating another turkey sandwich. I dipped my hot won ton pockets of goodness in cranberry sauce for a sweet and tart twist or smother them with gravy.

THANKSGIVING WON TONS

QUINOA & CAULIFLOWER MASH

1 cup steamed or roasted cauliflower

1 cup cooked quinoa

2 tablespoons vegan butter

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

3 cloves garlic

Salt to taste

Puree until almost smooth, but do not over process.

Oven Roasted Butternut Squash

1 small squash, cut into small cubes

Olive oil

Salt

Nutmeg

Cinnamon

Arrange squash in an even layer on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Spray squash lightly with olive oil and sprinkle a little salt, nutmeg and cinnamon to taste. Roast for 35-45 minutes in a 400-degree oven. Puree and adjust seasoning.

VEGAN STUFFING MIX- I always doctor mine up with onions, celery and water chestnuts. I added some cooked collard greens after I fluffed the stuffing.

Field Roast, Tofurky or your favorite faux meat

Wonton Pi or Mandu wrappers, Egg roll-Spring roll-Lumpia wrappers If you’re trying to keep it plant based, check the ingredients to avoid ovo/lacto. I use a local brand made without animal products.

Posted in Appetizers, Celebrations, Guest Posts, Holiday Recipes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

MORE TASTY DISHES FOR CANADIAN THANKSGIVING

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on September 26, 2012

Following are two recipes for a delicious Canadian Thanksgiving by guest host Carolyn Scott-Hamilton of The Healthy Voyager website

Carolyn is the author of The Healthy Voyager’s Global Kitchen: 150 Plant-Based Recipes From Around the World. Because Carolyn loves to travel the globe, she has embraced cuisines of the world and has tasted the exotic herbs and spices that make international foods so compelling. Her recipes, foreign foods she has veganized, take the reader to far away places. Call it armchair travel with one hand in the kitchen.

MAPLE CHIPOTLE SWEET POTATO BISQUE

Makes about 4 servings

4-5 small/medium sweet potatoes
1 cup plain soymilk (keep extra on hand if you want to thin out the soup a bit)
1 chipotle pepper in adobo
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup vegan sour cream
4 tablespoons softened vegan butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash and peel sweet potatoes, then cube and boil until fork tender. Add cooked sweet potatoes in a large bowl.

In a food processor or using an immersion blender pulse the soymilk and chipotle together. In a saucepan bring the soymilk and chipotle mixture to a simmer on low. Then add the maple syrup, sour cream, butter and salt and pepper to the milk mixture. Pour the soymilk mixture over the cooked sweet potatoes and again use the immersion blender or a hand mixer to mix the ingredients together.

MUSHROOM WELLINGTON

Makes 6 servings

Filling:
1/4 cup basmati rice
1 lemon, zest only
1 onion, finely chopped
2 1/4 cup brown cap mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pastry:
9 ounces ready-rolled puff pastry
vegan gravy, to serve

Cook the rice and lemon zest in a pan according to packet instructions, until tender. Drain well.

Heat the onion and mushrooms and fry for 3-4 minutes, or until softened. Stir in the cooked rice, herbs and cranberries until well combined. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

For the pastry, cut an 8-inch x 12-inch rectangle from the puff pastry. Spoon the rice mixture down the centre of the pastry. Bring the sides of the pastry together and seal with oil or melted vegan butter. Chill for 30 minutes.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until crisp and golden-brown. To serve, place one slice of the Wellington onto each of six serving plates. Top with gravy.
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Posted in Celebrations, Guest Posts, Holiday Recipes, Main Dishes, Soups | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

CANADIANS CELEBRATE THANKSGIVING DAY OCTOBER 8!

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on September 24, 2012

Canadian Thanksgiving is coming soon and I wanted to offer our friends to the North some tasty, festive recipes for their celebration of the early harvest. Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October. This year their celebration falls on Monday, October 8, just two weeks away.

In the next couple of weeks, I’ll be posting several delectable recipes for Canadian Thanksgiving from a number of guest contributors, vegan bloggers who really know how to dish up lavish, mouth-watering foods that will make the harvest celebration for our Canadian neighbors just as special as our November holiday.

Following is a very unique main dish from my book, Vegan for the Holidays. The stunning entree borrows its beautiful structure from a traditional Moroccan dish called bistilla.

THANKSGIVING PHYLLO PIE

Stately, delicious, and aromatic, this is the dish that will change the minds of those who snicker at the thought of a vegan thanksgiving dinner. Like a typical Moroccan Bistilla, this delicious entrée is completely encased in phyllo dough. Uniquely different is the plump filling of whole grains, nuts, vegetables, and all the herbs and spices that say Thanksgiving. Prepare the filling a day in advance to make assembly more convenient.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Filling
3 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup wild rice
1/2 cup pearl barley
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup whole raw almonds, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup raw walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup raw pecans, coarsely chopped
2 small russet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
2 large carrots, coarsely shredded
2 stalks celery, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 large or 2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 large zucchini, chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Freshly ground pepper

Crust
12 sheets phyllo dough, at room temperature
1/4 cup canola oil

Garnishes
Ground cinnamon
1 to 2 tablespoons coarsely ground roasted pistachios
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint or parsley
1 small tomato, cut into a rose

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. To make the filling, combine 3 1/2 cups of the water, rice, barley, and 1 1/4 teaspoons of the salt in a 3-quart saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to low and cook for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the rice and barley are tender and all the liquid has been absorbed.

3. Meanwhile, place the almonds, walnuts, and pecans in a single layer on a 17 1/2 x 12 1/2-inch rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Immediately pour the nuts onto a plate to cool.

4. Put the potatoes in a 1-quart saucepan with water to cover. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium and simmer 5 to 7 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Transfer the potatoes to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon and mash them.

5. Cook and stir the mushrooms, onion, bell pepper, carrots, celery, garlic, sage, cinnamon, allspice, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, and the remaining 1/4 cup water in a deep, 10 to 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened and beginning to brown. Add 1 or more tablespoons of water as needed to prevent burning.

6. Add the tomatoes, zucchini, raisins, chickpeas, the remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and pepper to the skillet, Cook another 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes are broken down.

7. Add the rice mixture, toasted nuts, and mashed potatoes to the skillet and mix thoroughly. Adjust the seasonings and set aside.

8. To make the crust, place a dish towel horizontally on your workspace. Unroll the phyllo dough and place it on the dish towel. Cover it with another dish towel to prevent the phyllo from drying out. (Each time you remove a phyllo sheet, cover the dough with the dish towel.) Pour the canola oil into a small bowl and place it nearby. Lightly oil a 10-inch ovenproof skillet.

9. Remove one sheet of phyllo from the stack, and place it into the prepared skillet, allowing the ends to drape over the side of the skillet. Gently brush the phyllo with oil, including the portion that drapes over the side. Repeat with eight more sheets of phyllo, draping each of the sheets in a different direction to form a circle around the skillet.

10. Spoon the filling into the phyllo crust, packing it firmly. Lift up the edges of the draped phyllo sheets and place them over the filling. Place the remaining three sheets of phyllo on top of the pie, one at a time, brushing each with the oil. Tuck the ends of the three sheets down into the sides of the skillet. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the crust is golden.

11. To serve, invert the pie onto a large serving platter or tilt the skillet to slide it onto the platter. Garnish the top with the cinnamon, pistachios, and mint and place the tomato rose in the center if desired. Cut the pie into wedges with a serrated knife and remove each wedge with a pie server.

Posted in Celebrations, Holiday Recipes, Main Dishes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

VEGAN FOR THE HOLIDAYS ARRIVES WITH GOOD CHEER!

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on September 17, 2012

My shiny new cookbook, Vegan for the Holidays: Celebration Feasts for Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, has formally arrived this month and I couldn’t be more excited! It’s a beauty!

After a few years of dabbling in a fun and deliriously wild exploration of holiday kitchen alchemy, I gathered up my multitude of little pieces of paper and tiny recipe notes and popped them into the oven.

And –would you believe–out popped this beautiful book of recipes for killer-delicious celebration dishes! Vegan for the Holidays makes Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day a divine season of grand feasting.

Vegans need never feel deprived and never have to resort to a mere salad while others at the Thanksgiving table chatter enthusiastically about the turkey. Now we can feast on awesome dishes like Savory Lentil Terrine with Mushroom-Wine Sauce or Pistachio and Sweet Pea Torte with Roasted Tomato Aioli.

Perhaps, the Thanksgiving Phyllo Pie will be the centerpiece dish at your family celebration.

Bask in the sweet paradise of Santa’s Favorite Panforte for Christmas or rich and savory Potato Latkes and Vegan Sour Cream for Hanukkah.

Dine on sumptuous servings of Mac ‘n’ cheese and Jamaican Jerk Tofu for Kwanzaa. Conclude the year with the dazzling, sweet and spicy Apricot, Date, and Hazelnut Sticky Pie on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.

For a mini tour, take a little peek inside Vegan for the Holidays:

Vegan Holidays Peek copy

For more information and to order Vegan for the Holidays, visit my Vegetarians in Paradise page http://www.vegparadise.com/veganholidays.html

Here’s an easy holiday appetizer that puts yuletide spirit on a plate and unveils your hidden talent as a sculptor. Make it mildly spiced or crank it up to muy picante with extra jalapeno chiles and a pinch of cayenne. Just remember to thaw the peas, then you’ll be ready to let the food processor do the work.

JOLLY GREEN CHRISTMAS TREE

Dip
1 pound frozen peas, thawed
1 (150ounce) can cannelloni or Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons organic sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 to 1 jalapeno chile, seeded and coarsely chopped’1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powdfer
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Pinch cayenne (optional)

Ornaments
1/4 red bell pepper, finely diced’1/2 carrot, finely diced
1 green onion, white part only, sliced (optional)
1 whole star anise, or 6 whole cloves

1. Put the dip ingredients in a food processor. Process until smooth and creamy, stopping occasionally to scrape down the work bowl.

2. Spoon the mixture onto a large platter and use the back of a spoon to form the mixture into the shape of a large Christmas tree. Decorate the tree with the bell pepper, carrot, and the optional green onion. Place the star anise at the top or arrange the cloves into a radiating star. Serve with baked tortilla chips, bean ships, toasted pita wedges, or your favorite crackers.

Posted in Appetizers, Holiday Recipes, Main Dishes, Uncategorized, Vegan Desserts, Vegan for the Holidays | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Peanut Butter & Banana Creamy Dreamy “Ice Cream”

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on September 2, 2012

I know I’m not alone when I find myself staring into the fruit bowl with the ripening half-bunch of bananas full of dark spots. Unless you’re the rare individual who consumes the entire bunch of bananas before they reach that point, you, too, have probably had many moments of staring at speckled bananas and thinking “Darn! Right now I don’t have the time to bake up a batch of muffins.”

My favorite remedy is to carpe diem and peel those softies. I then cut them into 1-inch long chunks, put them on a metal pie pan, and tuck them into the freezer. The banana chunks can go to sleep in the freezer for ages until you’re ready to put them to work.

If you’re still enjoying some pretty darned hot weather like I am in Los Angeles, you can whip up a delicious dessert that takes no advance prep. Gather up those bananas, some dates, peanut butter, lime juice, and vanilla extract and toss them into the food processor.

You’ll have to fiddle with the processor a bit, stopping, redistributing, and starting again several times, but the end result is pure nirvana for us peanut butter nuts.

CREAMY DREAMY PEANUT BUTTER AND BANANA “ICE CREAM”

Yield: 4 servings

4 frozen bananas, cut into 1-inch chunks
3 heaping tablespoons crunchy or creamy peanut butter
10 to 15 pitted dates
1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Prepared vegan chocolate syrup (optional)

1. Combine all the ingredients, except the chocolate syrup, in a food processor. Pulse and process several times. Because it takes time to break down the frozen bananas, you’ll need to stop the machine several times and use a firm spatula to redistribute the ingredients.

2. Be persistent and within a few minutes, you’ll be able to process the mixture into a thick and creamy, ice-cream-like dessert that will feel refreshingly cold as it glides down your throat.

3. Spoon the mixture into 4 dessert dishes and top with the chocolate syrup, if desired.

Posted in Nut Desserts, Nut Recipes, peanuts, Uncategorized, Vegan Desserts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
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