Thanksgiving 2013

This was our 17th vegan Thanksgiving so I don’t want to hear about how you have to eat turkey on Thanksgiving because it’s tradition. This is our tradition. More often than not in years past we’ve cooked a huge feast just for us but this year we were happy to have some friends join us for dinner. It was nice to have good company and nice to share the cooking. They brought a fabulous salad with roasted beets, mandarins and an orange vinaigrette, mac & “cheese” and an apple crisp. Since we had guests I didn’t spend a lot of time taking pictures but I did get a quick shot of the salad.

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We made a pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce and the main course – a vegan wellington filled with apple-sage stuffing, greens, maple-glazed seitan and roasted butternut squash and topped with sage-walnut gravy. The wellington was something new this year but we regularly break out the puff pastry for holidays.

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I didn’t follow any particular recipe for the wellington but here’s a general idea on how it came together. First, make some puff pastry according to this recipe but substitute Earth Balance or other vegan margarine for the butter. Don’t worry about the cake flour either, just use regular all-purpose flour. Or do what I did and use about a third white whole wheat flour. (Hey, it’s got 3 sticks of Earth Balance but it’s got some whole grains so it’s healthy right?)

For the stuffing: I sauteed a little minced onion and diced apple in oil then added some day-old bread slices that I chopped up along with salt, pepper, fresh sage and thyme. Then I added vegetable stock until the consistency was to my liking.

For the greens: I sauteed kale with garlic and olive oil then added a little fresh thyme and lemon juice at the end.

For the seitan: Fry seitan cubes until brown then quickly mix in a tamari/maple syrup mixture at the end.

For the squash: Peel, seed and cube a butternut squash, then mix with olive oil and salt and roast until tender.

To put it together: Roll the puff pastry into a large rectangle, about 15″ x 20″. Spread the stuffing over about the middle half, top with the greens, then the seitan, then the squash. Brush some water onto one side of the puff pastry, fold the opposite side over the filling then close it up and seal it. Fold the ends on top then flip it over onto a baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes.

It’s a fair bit of work, but well worth it for a holiday meal. Same goes for the pumpkin pie that Darlene made, mainly using the recipe in Vegan Pie in the Sky with an almond crust. The pie was amazing and had not just fresh pumpkin but sweet potatoes in it as well. And the crust was made with almonds and white whole wheat flour – again with the healthy whole grains!

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We love having Thanksgiving leftovers the next day too!

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Fried Rice

We wrote about this many times on our previous blog and it’s still a go-to meal when we need something quick and/or when we need to use up some leftovers. In this version I stir-fried onion, carrot, beet greens, tofu, garlic, ginger and cashews, then threw in some roasted asparagus left over from last night’s dinner. Once all that stuff was happy I added about 3 cups of cooked brown rice, then about 2 tsp. of sesame oil and 1/4 c. of soy sauce (we use the Trader Joe’s variety that’s fairly low in sodium). And that’s it. Delicious. The kid ate a big bowl of it too so that’s an added bonus.

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Early Thanksgiving

We’re fortunate to have a nice little vegan Meetup group here in Central Virginia. And we had a good turnout for the Thanksgiving themed potluck we hosted this weekend. It was awesome to have such a huge spread of delicious vegan food. Our contribution (well, Darlene’s really) was a fabulous pot pie with seitan, sweet potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, kale and beets. She went all out on the crust too, using a full two sticks of Earth Balance. Hey, we like to splurge for the holidays. Plus it fed thirty-some people.

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If you’re looking for ideas for your own vegan Thanksgiving feast, check out the archives of our former blog. And here are a few more pics from the great potluck spread this weekend. I took the pot pie picture but credit goes to our friend Tom for the rest of these pictures, which I swiped from him because they’re better than the ones I took.

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Pizza

We now bring you another installment of the Mark Bittman love-fest. Darlene has become the pizza master ever since watching this video. The key is using the food processor for the dough, something we hadn’t considered previously. She’s been experimenting with adding more and more whole grain flour to the dough and the latest iteration that really comes out good is half spelt flour and half white whole wheat flour.

As for toppings, you can really do whatever you like. Remember our veggie burgers? We had some left over and they got crumbled and put on these pizzas. There were also potatoes on one (for the kid) and kale on another (for the grown-ups). We often make pizza without cheese and it’s great that way; we’ve also been experimenting (and would like to more) with homemade vegan cheeses but sometimes we do go the more processed route and use either Teese or Daiya (these had Teese). What are  your favorite pizza toppings?

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