Friday, November 16, 2012

VEGAN THANKSGIVING MENU

I am very excited to have Thanksgiving every year.  It is a great day to celebrate all that we've been given in this world and to really appreciate the love we share. I've had a few people ask me how you can have Thanksgiving without turkey?  Do you just eat salad?

There are so many easy and wonderful dishes for this holiday.  I've put together a menu using some recipes from friends, some of my favorite from the past (veganized, of course), and a few new additions.

Since this is PRE-Thanksgiving, I am not posting pictures of these.  If you make them, send me a pic and I'll post it here.

I hope you have a truly blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving!!

MENU

Appetizers: Fruit with Dip, Veggies with Dill Dip, Olive platter, Crackers
Beverages: Hot Cranberry Tea, Cranberry Cosmo, Pumpkin Pie Cocktail
Salads: Broccoli Salad with raisins, Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Spiced Pecans, Brussels Sprouts Pasta Salad
Mains and Sides: Sweet Potatoes with Maple-Orange Glaze, Green Bean Casserole, Corn Casserole, Baby Red Potatoes, Cranberry Sauce, Greens and Beans, Bread
Desserts: Pumpkin Coconut Ice Cream Pie, Fresh fruit with Whipped Coconut Cream

RECIPES

FRUIT DIP
1/2 container of Vegan cream cheese
1 t. vanilla
2 T. brown sugar
Mix all ingredients together until creamy.  Use for dipping berries, apples, bananas, grapes, pineapple, mango, etc. etc.

VEGETABLE DILL DIP
1/2 container of vegan cream cheese
1/4 c. vegan mayo
1 T. dried dill
1 t. sea salt
Juice from 1/4 fresh lemon
Cracked black pepper to taste
(I also like to add just a small bit of fresh or dried garlic, although if you make the dip ahead of time it can get overwhelming. It is optional.)
Mix all ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Use for dipping raw veggies such as cherry tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, sweet peppers, carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.

HOT CRANBERRY TEA
(thanks to Susie for this one--it is one of my favorites for the holidays and makes the house smell so good while it is warming)
Make in a stock pot or crock pot for holiday parties.
1 container cranberry juice
1/2 large can of pineapple juice
small frozen orange juice concentrate
juice from 1/2 a lemon
3/4 c. sugar/sweetener, water to fill
3 cinnamon sticks. Put it all in the pot or crock pot on low and simmer a few hours before get-togethers. Do not boil. Smells so good and is warm and comforting. (I have actually added tea bags to this before, too.)

CRANBERRY COSMO
Source: Alton Brown (love him!!!)
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/fresh-cranberry-cosmo-recipe/index.html

PUMPKIN PIE COCKTAIL
Source: CocktailTimes.com
Ingredients:
1 oz. coconut rum
1/2 oz. Kahlua
3/4 can pumpkin pie filling
2 oz. milk
Directions:
Blend all of the ingredients together with ice. Can be served as is, or in a graham-cracker rimmed glass.

BROCCOLI SALAD with raisins
(Thanks to Maria for this one. I veganized her recipe.)
In a large bowl, toss together
1-2 heads Broccoli and/or Cauliflower, chopped into bite size pieces
1/2 red onion, chopped finely
1 c. raisins
1/2 c. sunflower seeds
1/2 c. vegan bacon bits
For the dressing, stir together 1/2 c. vegan mayo, 1/2 c. sugar and 1-2 T. cider vinegar (taste as you go to make it as sweet as you prefer)
Toss dressing with other ingredients and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.

SPINACH STRAWBERRY SALAD with SPICED PECANS
For the salad:
Baby spinach
Sliced strawberries
Blueberries
Sliced white mushrooms
just a few slivers of finely sliced red onion
Toss all together

For the pecans:
2 c. pecans
2 T. vegan butter
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. orange zest
1 c. sugar
3/4t. vanilla
Place the pecans in a dry skillet and toast over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring and watching to be careful they do not burn. Add in butter and spices and stir until butter melts.  Stir in sugar and vanilla and cook until the sugar is thickened and glazes the pecans.  Spread out on wax paper to cool.

For the dressing:
1 c. seedless raspberry preserves
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1/2 c. olive oil
 1/4 of a red onion
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Process or blend all together until combined.  This may separate if you make it in advance, so I usually put mine in a lidded jar so I can shake it at the last minute.

To serve, toss salad ingredients all together with the dressing and top with the pecans.

BRUSSELS SPROUT PASTA SALAD
I use this same recipe, only I leave the dressing cold instead of hot and I blanch the pasta and sprouts in ice water to serve as a cold salad.
http://voyagetoveganism.blogspot.com/2011/12/gemelli-pasta-and-brussels-sprouts-with.html

SWEET POTATOES with Maple-Orange Glaze
2-4 large sweet potatoes or 2 large cans sweet potatoes
Steam or bake sweet potatoes ahead of time, peel, and cut into large chunks. Place sweet potatoes in baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.

MAPLE-ORANGE GLAZE
(approximate amounts based on 4 large potatoes)
1 c. orange juice
1 c. real maple syrup
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. vegan butter
1 t. cinnamon (or to taste)
Add all ingredients to a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and reduce until it is thick enough to coat a spoon. Drizzle glaze over sweet potatoes and bake until potatoes are heated through.

GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE
1 can vegan cream of mushroom soup OR 2 cups homemade mushroom cream gravy
1 t. soy sauce
3-4 cans of green beans (cut or French cut) or 1 1/2 pounds fresh, steamed to crisp tender
1 can French's French Fried Onions (or other brand of crunchy onions) DIVIDED.
Fresh cracked black pepper

Reserve about 1/4 of the fried onions for topping the casserole.  In a casserole dish sprayed with non-stick spray, stir the beans, soy, soup, pepper and 3/4 of the onions together.  Bake at 350 (or so) for about 25 minutes.  Top with reserved onions and bake another 5 minutes until they are crispy.

(Homemade mushroom gravy can be made with a simple flour and vegan butter roux, Better than Bouillon mushroom base and any unsweetened vegan milk.)

CORN CASSEROLE
I've tried and tried to come up with my own version of corn casserole, but this is the best one I've had. My whole family loved it.  You should really check out this great blog!
http://pleasepassthetofu.com/2012/09/25/double-corn-casserole/

BABY RED POTATOES
Boil baby red potatoes (cut in half) until soft.  Toss together with a little freshly minced garlic, melted vegan butter and fresh parsley.  You can serve this as small chunks of potatoes or you can make them into a great garlic mash by adding just a little unsweetened milk and mashing together.

CRANBERRY SAUCE
zest from an orange
1 c. orange juice
1 c. sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
12 oz. cranberries
Add orange zest, orange juice, sugar and cinnamon sticks to a pot.  Cook over medium heat until sugar is all dissolved.  Add the cranberries and cook until they pop open (these splatter, so cover loosely). Remove cinnamon sticks.  Pour mixture into your serving bowl and refrigerate at least 4 hours (overnight is better) for perfect consistency.

GREENS AND BEANS
Using 2 T. olive oil, saute together 1 clove minced garlic and 1/2 chopped onion just until soft. Stir in 1 can white beans and 1 T. balsamic vinegar or cooking wine. Add 1-2 bags of fresh baby spinach and toss together until just wilted but still holds its green color.  Season with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Serve with crushed red pepper.
(feel free to mix up your favorite beans and favorite greens)

BREAD ROLLS
Make ahead of time!
http://voyagetoveganism.blogspot.com/2011/10/whole-wheat-bread-or-buns-or-rolls.html

PUMPKIN SPICE ICE CREAM (PIE??)
(changed slightly, but credit is due to Cathe Olson's book Lick It!)
1 can full-fat coconut milk
1 can pumpkin
1/2 c. soy milk (vanilla or unflavored/unsweetened)
1/2 c. real maple syrup
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. pumpkin pie spice
2 t. vanilla
Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Cover and refrigerate a couple hours before freezing in ice cream maker according to directions.

If you can find vegan graham crackers, make a graham cracker crust for ice cream pie!
16 Graham squares
1/4 c. melted vegan butter
2 T. sugar
Mix all together and press into a pie pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes until all set. Let cool before filling with ice cream.  Then re-freeze until set.  

COCONUT WHIPPED CREAM
1 full-fat can coconut milk
Pour milk into bowl and refrigerate overnight.  The cream will separate from the clear liquid.  Carefully take the cream out and avoid getting any clear liquid.  Whip with a mixer until whipped cream texture (this may take 5-10 minutes depending on your mixer).
Serve with desserts or fresh fruit for dipping.

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