By Sara Andrews
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When I first went veg I found Thanksgiving to be a trial. Over time I realized that it can be a wonderfully joyous time to eat and share wonderful dishes – many of which, in my humble opinion, both mimic and exceed in quality the dishes many people are familiar with. In this post I’ll be sharing one of my regularly made classic Thanksgiving dishes as well as a brand new one I’ve already tested this year – and will also be making for Thanksgiving – that I first had at the Chicago Veganmania that took place in October of 2015.
The photo to the left is an example of of my holiday plate from a year or two ago. Shown are: Tofurkey and mashed potatoes with homemade mushroom gravy, rolls, cauliflower and broccoli, twice baked sweet potato with cranberries, and the almost but not quite so traditional green bean mushroom casserole.
Not So Traditional Green Bean Mushroom Casserole
Preparation time: 10 minutes, Cooking time: 20 minutes
I’ve been making this casserole for many years now and one of the great benefits is that it has even more veggies than the original Campbell’s soup version that many are familiar with. Most of the veggies and spices are fresh (not canned) and therefore the flavor is better and easy to tweak. This recipe calls for canned green beans – I prefer to use fresh green beans that are cut and steamed before addition to this recipe, but if you are in a hurry – frozen works a bit better than canned – and canned are an easy fallback. If you wish you can also make the french fried onions from scratch (especially useful if you are avoiding palm oil – which many commercial ones contain). There is an excellent recipe for those here. This recipe is slightly altered from one I found on vegweb.com years ago that can be found here.
- 1 1/2 cups of almond (or other non-dairy) milk
- 1 (2.5-ounce) cube veggie bouillon
- 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 3/4 cup chopped mushrooms or more! (button, crimini, portabello, whatever you like – I tend to use lots of veggies – I sometimes double the mushrooms)
- 2-3 carrots, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sage
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 2 or 3 tablespoons cornstarch or potato starch
- 2 or 3 tablespoons cold water
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can french cut green beans (see note about about fresh/frozen)
- 1-1/2 (14.5 ounce) canisters vegan French fried onions (or homemade ones) – if I buy commercially produced ones I usually use less
1. In a saucepan, heat the nondairy milk and veggie bouillon; stir until bouillon cube disintegrates. Just heat the milk, do not boil or scald it.
2. In a skillet, heat the oil. Add the onions, mushrooms, and carrots; saute until the onions are translucent. Add the herbs and spices (basil, garlic, marjoram, oregano, pepper, sage, salt, and thyme – and whatever other hearty herbs make you happy).
3. Make a thickener by combining cornstarch and cold water; mix well. Pour into the nondairy milk-bouillon mixture. Stir well, because this will coagulate pretty quickly.
4. Quickly add the can of green beans, the sauteed veggies, and about half of the French fried onions; stir well. Pour that mixture into a casserole dish or pan and top with remaining French fried onions.
5. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the French fried onions begin to brown. Remove. Eat. Enjoy.Makes: 6-12, Preparation time: 10 minutes, Cooking time: 20 minutes
Ghastly Gourd Parfait
Serves 5 (or more if you’ve just eaten a big holiday meal)
As much as we all love pumpkin pie I’ve been experimenting with pumpkin dessert alternatives – I’m ready for something new. I’ve tried the Vegan Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake which was pretty good but even though this next recipe isn’t a pie – it takes the cake.
- 14 ounces silken tofu, firm
- 2/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 can pumpkin
- 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- Put all of the ingredients into a blender (except the coconut oil).
- Blend all of the ingredients (except the coconut oil) together, and then on low speed, slowly add in the melted coconut oil.
- Set aside.
- 2 cups unbleached flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- 1 cup organic sugar (organic sugar is always vegan)
- 2 1/2 tbsp. ground dry ginger
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup safflower oil
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/4 cup soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- Sift the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
- Combine wet ingredients together in separate bowl.
- Mix the dry with the wet using a whisk.
- Roll the dough into little balls (about 1 inch in size). Slightly press down before cooking. Sara’s note: Make sure you have them far enough apart – perhaps using two pans so they have enough room to spread out without hitting each other. You need them to make them flat before baking otherwise they won’t bake well and will be too moist and won’t crumble.
- Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.
- Crumble the cookies in the bowl.
- Layer the cookie crumble and parfait mix into small dishes or parfait glasses. One layer of pumpkin, one layer of crumble, one layer of pumpkin, and then top with crumble.
- Decorate as desired – a dash of pumpkin pie spice – a strawberry – be creative. You could even put a bit of coconut milk whipped cream on top to get a pumpkin pie feel.
I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving meal! The animals give thanks when we chose plant based options.