A Veggie-Full Thanksgiving

🍂🍁Celebrate this holiday season with a plate of delicious whole foods full of nutritional goodness🍂🍁. Kale Salad, Walnuts, and Dried Cranberries with Creamy Garlic Walnut Dressing: Fill a large salad bowl with freshly chopped kale, toss in some dried cranberries and toasted or raw walnuts that have been crushed with a knife, reserving 1/4 cup for the dressing. Tip: Kitchen scissors can be used to chop the kale right in the bowl.

Now all the salad needs is the dressing, which can be made up to 3 days before. 

The dressing is best with roasted garlic. To roast a head of garlic chop off the end and cover with olive oil (optional). Wrap tightly in foil and roast at 425 degrees for 25 minutes or until soft when squeezed. 

While the garlic is roasting give the walnuts a quick dry roast (optional). Take out a small skillet, set it on medium-high heat and let it get hot. Now toss in the crushed walnuts stirring the whole time to keep from burning. This should take 2-3 minutes. 

Combine the dressing ingredients using a standard or immersion blender or a food processor: 1/3 cup water (+ 1-2 TBS more to thin), 2 TBS fresh lemon juice, 1/4 cup walnuts, 1 TBS mellow white or chickpea miso, and 2 TBS nutritional yeast flakes (Try Braggs). Tip: Miso and Braggs nutritional yeast flakes (not from bulk) can be found at Whole Foods or a local natural foods market. Add 3-4 cloves of the roasted garlic, which can be squeezed out of its wrapper. Blend or process until smooth, add salt to taste. 

When it is time to make the salad, pour the desired amount of dressing over the salad and use your clean hands or salad tongs to massage the kale until it is wilted and the dressing is incorporated. This will help remove some of the bitterness of raw kale. Enjoy any leftover dressing over a warm bowl of brown lentils, a grain such as rice or quinoa, and steamed greens or roasted cauliflower florets.Savory Pumpkin Soup: In a soup pot, roughly chop and saute the following: 1 shallot, 2 garlic cloves, 1/4 fresh de-seeded jalapeno (optional), small piece of freshly peeled ginger and 2 celery ribs. Allow to saute 5 minutes and then add 1/4 tsp of cinnamon and cumin+ 1/8 tsp nutmeg. Next pour in about 2-3 cups vegetable broth (more or less to taste; can be a mix of water and broth), 1-1.5 cups pureed sugar pumpkin or canned pumpkin (not pie pumpkin), plus 1 very over-ripe banana. Allow soup to warm through and either use an immersion blender to puree soup in the pot or transfer to a blender (allow steam to escape from the top, covering with a kitchen towel and be careful not to get sprayed by the hot liquid). Pour into small bowls and serve with cornbread or crunchy roasted chickpeas (aka, garbanzo beans). 

More add-in ideas: Peanut or almond butter (1 TBS melted into the soup); crushed peanuts or a drizzle of coconut milk after ladling into bowls.Chocolate Pumpkin Bars: What else can you do with a sugar pumpkin? Roast it, scoop out the yummy filling and make these rich-tasting, no-bake bars. 

Measure 1 cup almonds and 10 pitted Medjool dates and grind in the food processor until it becomes one big clump (may take about 5 minutes). Press this almond-date mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Now in a bowl mash or process the pumpkin (canned pumpkin works just as well; not the canned pie pumpkin; about 1-1.5 cups), 1 very over-ripe banana, and a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg (to taste). Spread this over the almond-date crust. For the top layer melt a few dark chocolate squares (in the microwave or small pot on stove) with 2-4 TBS of soymilk and spread this goo over the pumpkin mash. 

Place bars into the fridge for about an hour, cut into squares, and enjoy. These bars will freeze for up to a month. 

To roast a sugar or pumpkin pie pumpkin (not a jack-o-lantern pumpkin): Using a good-quality knife, slice off both ends and slice the pumpkin in half. Scrape out the seeds (which can be saved and roasted for these chocolate-coated clusters from Half Baked Harvest) and place face-down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Preheat oven to 400 and bake 35-40 minutes or until fork-tender. Allow to cool then pull the skin away from the pumpkin flesh. Mash or puree using a fork, immersion blender or food processor. Stores in fridge for 5 days. 

Google “vegan thanksgiving recipes” and prepare to be overwhelmed. I have listed some of my favorites. The library is another option for vegan holiday recipe ideas.

  • Vegan cookbook author Nava Atlas has a book titled Vegan Holiday Kitchen which may be found at the library. Try her online blog Veg Kitchen for more Thanksgiving recipe ideas.
  • No need for the oven to make this delicious pumpkin pie recipe: No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake!
  • Try Angela Liddon’s award-winning vegan food blog Oh She Glows: Kale salad with vegan pecan parmesan and cranberries and A step-by-step guide for a vegan holiday meal
  • Huffington Post lists a wide array of Thanksgiving recipes around the web such as green bean casserole, fluffy white dinner rolls, homemade cranberry sauce, vegan gravy and tofu turkey, pumpkin bisque with maple cinnamon tempeh croutons, healthy cornbread + more pumpkin pie of course! 
  • For a more traditional spread head over to Ordinary Vegan to find recipes for farro loaf with mustard and brown sugar glaze, pickled cranberry sauce, and a sourdough vegan bacon stuffing.

Find The Colorful Vegan’s recipes on Facebook and Instagram!

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