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.
• 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
• 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)
• 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
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.
• 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
• 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