For my first two “Countdown” posts–Day 7 and, now, Day 6–I decided to address the Thanksgiving main dish, as it can be the trickiest for vegans, it seems. Nothing against “Tofurky” necessarily, but it has never been what I craved to grace the center of our Thanksgiving buffet.
This dish, on the other hand, is, to me, Thanksgiving personified. A rich and creamy–but healthy!–layered amalgamation of many of my favorite flavors of fall, this lasagna is THE BEST I have ever eaten, much less created. Wait, I think it’s the only lasagna I have ever created. I guess I figured I just couldn’t do any better!
This link will take you to my original post which includes a hyperlink to One Green Planet who generously published the recipe. Your soon-to-be favorite lasagna is just two clicks away!
For the next week leading up to my favorite holiday of the year–a feast that embodies the grateful life–I am going to post some of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes, one per day.
My hope is that you might find them to be perfect embodiments of how much we have to be thankful for.
This recipe for acorn squash stuffed with a creamy stovetop rice-and-greens casserole seems to be a favorite of the generous folks on Pinterest, and is so lovely–presented in it’s own edible bowl–that it could easily be the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving meal. But whether your serve it as an entree or one of the many sides that seem to characterize this holiday, it is sure to be a crowd pleaser!
Yield: 6 servings
This Indian stew-like melange is so flavorful and satisfying that it is absolutely divine on its own, perhaps served with basmati rice, some cashews and maybe a little fresh cilantro. However, I can attest to it being luscious eaten cold right out of a carton!
For an exquisite–but super-easy presentation–use it as the filling in my Sweet Potato Stack. Though drizzling an Indian dish with maple syrup may seem out of character, there is something about the hint of maple combined with the other ingredients that is absolute autumnal perfection!
Maharaja Mung Beans and Kale :
6 cups water
2 cups mung beans (rinse, pick over, bring to a boil, let sit for 30 minutes and then simmer 45 minutes more)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 bunch kale, thick stems removed, and leaves torn into bite size pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon Amchur (dried mango) powder (optional; you may substitute lemon zest, but it’s not quite the same)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (or mace)
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 large Roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup thick coconut milk
In a covered 4-quart saucepan, bring water and salt to simmering over medium-high heat. Add mung beans, turn off heat, let sit for 30 minutes, and then return heat to medium-high, place lid ajar, and simmer beans for about 45 minutes or until almost all of liquid is evaporated, but beans are still very moist.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large cast iron skillet over medium-high. Add onion and a pinch of salt and saute, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes. Add kale by handfuls, stirring and sauteeing until slightly wilted before adding the next handful. Stir in garlic and all remaining ingredients except tomatoes and coconut milk and saute, stirring, until heated through. Stir this mixture thoroughly into the mung beans followed by tomatoes and coconut milk. Heat through, stirring often, and serve immediately as is or in the Sweet Potato Stack.
Sweet Potato Stack:
Yield: 4 appetizer servings of 2 stack per person
2 slender sweet potatoes, baked (in a conventional oven or microwaved), cooled enough to handle, skin removed, and each sliced into about 8 1/2-inch slices
Generous 1/2 cup Maharaja Mung Beans and Kale, heated
4 teaspoons maple syrup
Garnish: 4 tablespoons chutney or the topping of your choice (I used 4 teaspoons prepared mint chutney plus 8 teaspoons chopped grilled apples because I had both on hand)
Optional: tiny pinches of sea salt as a “finishing salt”
Place 2 sweet potato slices on each plate. Top with rounded tablespoons of mung bean mixture and remaining 8 sweet potato slices. Drizzle each stack with about 1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup and then top with about 1 1/2 teaspoons of chutney or 1/2 teaspoon of prepared mint chutney and a teaspoon of chopped grilled apples as in the photograph.
Yield: 2 healthy servings (easily doubles)
Sundays always have me thinking about school lunches for the work week ahead. Wait. Who am I kidding? Sundays are hardly the only day I am thinking about nutritious and delicious school lunches that will fuel me throughout some long (but gratifying) days at the high school where I teach art, but not over-fill me. Our new breathless schedule this year leaves no time for being sluggish!
Last year, we had alot (alot!) more planning time, so I was able to walk down to the cafeteria and purchase lunch on a daily basis: hummus, raw vegetables, cooked greens and baked sweet potatoes being some of my favorites. But this year, due to district cost saving measures (larger and more classes taught by fewer teachers = less dollars), I had to figure out a different system because I literally don’t have time. (The common refrain from teachers is that we never see each other anymore.) So far, I have been packing my little “bento box” storage containers with a half a bagel spread with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter for my morning snack, some kind of vitamin-packed leftover for mid-day–sometimes two kinds–and an apple, and it is working out just fine. Oh, and I start my day (at 5:30a.m.) with a glass of diet cranberry juice at home and a glass of unsweetened soymilk in a travel cup. I also keep a carton in the fridge at school.
One week’s leftoves included this Tempeh and Kale Filling which was ”tempting” hot in a taco and a quesadilla. But I can also attest to it being quite scrumptious cold right out of the carton! So I hope you might find uses for it in your busy week!
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small or half of a large onion, diced
1 package tempeh (any flavor)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (Chipotle for a spicier flavor; Ancho for a milder one)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Sea salt and pepper to taste
8 ounces kale, rinsed *thick stems removed, and torn into bite size pieces (I add it to the skillet slightly damp to provide more moisture to the mixture)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon light miso
1 tablespoon Liquid Aminos
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/4 cup vegan sour cream
4 ounces Roma tomatoes, diced
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high. Add onion and saute, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes. Crumble tempeh into the skillet, add remaining tablespoon of olive oil, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, sea salt, and pepper, and saute, stirring almost continually, until tempeh is nicely browned in places. Add kale and garlic and saute, stirring, until kale is slightly wilted, but still bright green. In a small cup or bowl, whisk together light miso, Liquid Aminos, nutritional yeast, and vegan sour cream, and stir into tempeh mixture until completely incorporated. Stir in tomato, remove from heat and use immediately as a filling in warm, soft taco shells or in a pan-griddled quesadilla. Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container.
Based on Actor’s Studio host’s James Lipton’s famous “Q & A”–after the Proust Questionnaire–“Vegan Q & A Tuesday” is The Blooming Platter’s first Tuesday feature on a creative force in the vegan culinary world. Read more about “Q & A Tuesday” HERE.
(See below for Robins’s Linguine with Thai Pesto recipe.)
Robin Robertson has written more than twenty cookbooks, including the bestsellers Quick-Fix Vegan, Vegan Planet, Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker, Vegan Fire & Spice, Nut Butter Universe, and One-Dish Vegan. A longtime vegan and former restaurant chef, she writes the Global Vegan column for VegNews Magazine and has written for Vegetarian Times, Cooking Light, Natural Health, and other magazines. Robin lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Her website is www.robinrobertson.com.
1. What is your favorite word?
2. What is your least favorite word?
3. What turns you on?
Preparing a special meal for friends.
4. What turns you off?
Being out of a needed ingredient I can’t find locally — especially when craving a certain recipe.
5. What sound or noise do you love?
“Mmmmmm…..” (when someone eats my food)
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
The crash of a glass or plate falling – especially when full of drink or food.
7. *What makes you curse in the kitchen?
Burning my arm on a hot pan usually does the trick.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I’d like to own a B &B (but only if I didn’t have to do all the work myself!)
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Anything that involves numbers.
10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
*Lipton’s question #7 is always “What is your favorite curse word?”–and the answers are always colorful– but I reworded it since this is a “family show.”
Robin’s Linguine with Thai Pesto
Redolent of garlic, lemongrass, and pungent herbs, this Asian-style pesto makes a fabulous fusion dish when combined with linguine. Most of these ingredients, including the slender, hot Thai chile, are available in supermarkets. Thai basil can be found in Asian markets, as can any of the other ingredients that your regular market may not stock. To make this gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta or rice noodles. This recipe is from Nut Butter Universe by Robin Robertson © 2013. Used with permission.
2 large cloves garlic
1 Thai bird chile, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, chopped
1 teaspoon natural sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup Thai basil leaves
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup parsley leaves
1/3 cup peanut butter
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
12 ounces linguine
1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
Combine the garlic, chile, lemongrass, sugar, and salt in a food processor and process to a paste. Add the basil, cilantro, and parsley and process until finely ground. Add the peanut butter, water, and lime juice and blend thoroughly, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Set aside.
Cook the linguine in a large pot of salted water just until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the water.
Toss the pasta with the sauce, adding a little of the hot pasta water, if necessary, to thin the sauce. Garnish with peanuts and serve immediately.
Find my recipe at One Green Planet.
BTW, they are quick too, as they bake a mere 4 minutes for a texture transformation!
With fresh Smashed ‘Buttah Beans in the fridge following a trip to the farmer’s market, some of my new homemade goat cheese on hand for another purpose, some freshly made Smoky Nooch-Roasted Pepitas, AND some south’ren salsa that came as a gift, the creation of this super easy quesadilla was all but inevitable.
Yield: 1 serving (easily multiplies)
1/2 teaspoon vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
1-6 to 8-inch whole wheat or flour tortilla
1/4 cup smashed butter beans (I whip cooked butter beans with vegan butter, fresh minced sage, and sea salt and pepper to taste)
1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons Vegan Goat “Cheese” (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon salsa, prepared or homemade (for this recipe I like a southern-inspired variety like Georgia Peach and Vidalia Onion)
2 teaspoons Smoky Nooch-Roasted Pepitas
Garnish: fresh sage sprig
To make each quesadilla, melt 1/2 tablespoon vegan butter in a cast iron skillet over medium high. Spread half of tortilla first with 1/4 cup goat cheese then with butter beans. Fold in half and saute 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Top with remaining 2 teaspoons of goat cheese, salsa, and pepitas. Garnish with a sprig of fresh sage and serve immediately. (Note: you may top with 2 teaspoons of vegan sour cream if you prefer.)
Vegan Goat Cheese
14 ounces extra firm tofu
2 tablespoons light miso
2 tablespoons beer
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Optional: 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Sea salt to taste
Process all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor until completely combined and creamy-stiff. Chill, covered, in refrigerator until read to use/serve. (When serving as an appetizer, may be formed into balls or logs and rolled in finely chopped cashews or parsley.)
Thanks to Alisa Fleming and Go Dairy Free for publishing my “Vegan Brazilian ‘Chicken,’ Cauliflower, Peanut, Cashew & Coconut Milk Stew” on her popular website!
Yield: 8 tacos
I hail from the American South… make that the Deeeeeep South. Though I have lived in Virginia longer than I have lived anywhere else, my earliest culinary roots were in MS with a side of TX.
Down there, folks like their butterbeans cooked slow and long, just like they tell their stories. They cook their peas and beans with what will go unmentioned here, but think cute pink snout.
With beautiful local butterbeans and sweet potatoes (kept in cold storage until summer) in my Saturday farm market bag, and having recently dined on vegan Mexican food, I woke up last Sunday morning thinking that a butterbean, sweet potato, and tempeh ”bacon” hash stuffed in a taco shell would be some ‘kinda good for dinner. And I was right!
If I had had corn tortillas, I would have used them for the taco shells as a reference to cornbread, de rigeur in the South for sopping up butterbean “pot liquor.” But, alas, all I had was flour ones leftover from our restaurant meal, and the end result was still delicious.
While virtually any salsa would be delicious–tomato or corn or why not tomato and corn?–just keep the volume turned down a bit on the heat, so as not to overwhelm the other flavors. Still, it’s customary for southerners to enjoy their beans and peas with a hot pepper chow-chow, so I recommend some salsa for a little kick-me-up.
This is one heck of an easy and tasty recipe, regardless of where you live!
1 pound sweet potato, diced (I leave the skin on)
2 cups fresh, raw butterbeans
2 large bay leaves (or 4 small)
2 tablespoons canola oil
8-6 inch tortilla shells (corn or whole wheat)
7 ounces tempeh ”bacon” (I use a variety called Tempeh Smoked Maple ”Bacon”)
1/4 cup vegan sour cream (I use Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
Garnish: 1/4 cup vegan sour cream, 1/4 cup salsa (homemade or prepared), 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Optional: 8 lime wedges
Place sweet potatoes and butterbeans in a large microwave safe bowl, add bay leaves and salt, cover with plastic wrap, and cook at full power for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain. (Alternatively, you may simmer the potatoes and beans, partially covered, on top of the stove until tender, adding 5 to 10 minutes to the cooking time, if necessary.) Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Fry tortillas, loosely folded in half, 3 to 4 at a time for a couple of minutes on each side, or until lightly golden. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate and keep warm while preparing filling. In same skillet, fry tempeh bacon for a couple of minutes on each side, or until crispy, reducing heat if cooking too fast. Quickly, with the end of a spatula or even side of a fork, cut each tempeh strip into bite-size pieces. Add the drained sweet potatoes and butterbeans, and saute, stirring continually and gently, for 2 to 3 minutes to combine flavors. Fold in the 1/4 cup sour cream, smoked paprika, thyme, and black pepper, and heat through. Adjust seasoning, including salt, if necessary. Serve 1/8th of filling in each taco shell garnished with approximately 1/2 tablespoon salsa, 1/2 tablespoon vegan sour cream, a pinch of smoked paprika and, if desired, a lime wedge.
If you crave crabcakes but not the crab, and if, like me, you haven’t been able to enjoy that particular blend of deep sea flavor, creamy interior, and crispy exterior in far too long, then you have come to the right place!
Navitas Naturals Nori Powder and Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) are my no-longer-secret ingredients for this new recipe for Vegan Crabcakes! (Just click on the orange link to go directly to the Navitas Naturals website for the delicious recipe.)
So many of my recipes do not try to be anything they are not. In other words, I was never such a meat/chicken/seafood devotee that, now, as a vegan, I seek to imitate those flavors on a regular basis. BUT, there are some dishes that I like the notion of–most often because of the texture, a spice blend, or maybe a sauce–but like MUCH better veganized; think buffalo wings, seafood gumbo, chicken salad, egg salad, etc. Crabcakes fall squarely–or roundly, as it were–into that category.
These crabcakes are held together by a faux mousseline. Mousseline is a sauce traditionally made with whipped cream. I snagged this tip from America’s Test Kitchen who recommends making a shrimp and cream mousseline to hold crabmeat together in a cake in order not to “deaden” the flavor through the use of mayonnaise or egg. I make my mousseline out of TVP and soymilk (but feel free to use your favorite unsweetened non-dairy milk.
The mixture bound together nicely, but was difficult to flip in a skillet, and required way too much oil, mess and calories. So, I baked my second batch and found them perfect. No flipping is involved, and they hold together beautifully when moved by spatula from pan to plate. They also have a very appealing mouth-feel that is not unappetizing due to a texture that is too soft.
I hope you find my Vegan Crabcakes to be deeply satisfying in every way!
Many thanks to Navitas Naturals for publishing this recipe on their website…and for offering such a spectacular product!!
Note: you may substitute 2 Nori sheets for the 2 teaspoons Nori Powder in the stock if the powder is difficult for you to access, though it is sold online. If using Nori sheets, let them steep for about an hour in the hot stock before straining out, returning the stock to a simmer, and proceeding with recipe.)