Sunday, November 4, 2012

Countdown to Thanksgiving--Part 3 (Sweet Potato Casserole)

I have to say, I definitely have my favorite and least favorite dishes on the Thanksgiving table.  Some things I've loved from the beginning, some I still won't touch to this day, but this recipe is one that turned my tastebuds around!  

I never really liked sweet potatoes (go figure... this coming from the girl who loves every possible creation made from the starchy root vegetable that is the potato.  There was just something about sweet potatoes... probably the sweetness... or maybe no one made them right for me... Potatoes and Marshmallows...? REALLY?! EWW!  Finally one year my mom made this recipe... It was the first time I enjoyed DEVOURED sweet potatoes and it's the way I make them for special dinners.  (this recipe also changed my mind on baked sweet potatoes, suddenly after this recipe, I loved sweet potatoes!

I don't know where she got this recipe... but I have had to adapt it a little to make it vegan!  ENJOY!!

3 cups sweet potatoes, boiled and mashed
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup Earth Balance Coconut Spread
1/2 cup non-dairy milk

equivalent of 3 eggs (I used Ener-G, ground Chia seeds would also work)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 TBS lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup coconut
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup Earth Balance Coconut Spread

Preheat oven to 350 F and lightly grease a 13x9 inch pan, set aside.

Combine first 10 ingredients and spread into baking dish.

 Mix topping ingredients until crumbly and sprinkle over casserole.

Bake for 30 mins and serve warm.  

NOM NOM NOM!! So rich and sweet and delicious!!!  You and your family will be begging for this to be made throughout the year!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Countdown To Thanksgiving--Part 2 (Green Bean Casserole)

Green Bean Casserole is not exactly vegan in anyway shape or form...  But by making your own mushroom gravy and using some, fried onions from either Whole Foods or Trader Joes (WF I know for sure is vegan, rumor is Trader Joe's is too...), you can enjoy a favorite Thanksgiving casserole without the animal products!!  Side Note:  The first time I ever had green bean casserole was when I made this recipe last year so I have nothing to compare it to but it was DELICIOUS!!!!!

I found this recipe a few Thanksgivings ago and it was a "deconstructed" version and had to ask how to make it more "traditional".  It turned out great and I highly recommend making this version.  It takes a little extra time compared to the non-vegan version, but it's totally worth it.

For the Mushroom Gravy

1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 celery ribs, diced
4 TBSP Earth Balance, vegan margarine
4 TBSP flour
1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
salt and fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp thyme
Saute mushrooms and celery in olive oil until tender.  Season with salt and pepper.
Remove vegetables from the skillet. In the same pan melt vegan margarine.  Add flour and mix thoroughly over low heat.  You will get a golden roux.

Slowly add milk, while constantly whisking to avoid clumps.  Turn the heat up and continue stirring until gravy thickens up.

Once the sauce is thick, add mushrooms, celery, and thyme.

For the Casserole:
1lb green bean
Mushroom Gravy (recipe above)
Fried Onions (CHECK THE LABELS!!) or make homemade fried leeks! (Recipe to come!)

Rinse green beans and remove ends with a sharp knife or scissors.
Bring a big pot of salted water to boil and blanch beans (they should keep their bright green color and stay a little bit crispy).  To stop the cooking process, place beans in an ice bath (big pot filled with cold water and ice).
Drain beans and set aside.
In a 13x9 inch baking dish, combine the green beans and the mushroom gravy making sure to mix thoroughly.  Top with Fried Onions and bake in a 350 F for about 15 minutes.

**You can make this ahead of time, holding off on the onions, and refrigerate.  When you're ready, top with the fried onions, throw it in the oven and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until completely heated through.

(pre fried onions)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Countdown To Thanksgiving-- A Vegan Thanksgiving Recipe Series (Mashed Potatoes and Gravy)

Today is World Vegan Day! YAYYY! This also marks the beginning of World Vegan MONTH!  And to top it all off...  you have 20 days until Thanksgiving!  Are you beginning your meal plans yet? 

I challenged all of my friends on Facebook and my Twitter followers to try one vegan recipe at some point this month.  One of my friends posted this:  "This will be my husband's first thanksgiving as a vegan.... do you know any AMAZING recipes for the big day?"  I do! And I was going through all of my blog posts and realized that I hadn't posted some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes!? So this post (and the next few..) are dedicated to you Jenny!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it has to do with food.  Food is one of my greatest passions (clearly or I wouldn't do this blog!) so to have a day dedicated to it... UH HELLO?! YES PLEASE!  And a vegan one is not that hard to do successfully.  I suggest making food that you and your family are used to... Just swap out the non-vegan products for vegan ones!

For this post, we shall start off with something easy..

Mashed potatoes with Vegan Gravy.  (6-8 servings)

4 to 6 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup unsweetened rice milk

1/4 cup Earth Balance Roasted Garlic & Herb spread
**extra garlic powder/chives/herbs to taste**

Put the cut potatoes into a large pot, cover them with cold water, and add a large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Drain well. 

Meanwhile, in a small pot heat the milk and Earth Balance. While the potatoes are still warm, mash them (or beat them with electric mixer for smoother consistency) into a bowl. Stir in the warm milk/Earth Balance a bit at a time, until the potatoes are fluffy. Season with salt and pepper and gently fold in the chives, salt and pepper, garlic to taste. Serve immediately with gravy. 

Now, there are a multitude of ways to go with vegan gravy... Do you want brown "meaty" gravy, "chicken" gravy or mushroom gravy?  **There will be a recipe for mushroom gravy coming when I do green bean casserole!**

Gravy is probably one of the EASIEST things to make... EVER!

4 TBSP  Earth Balance- vegan margarine
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
4 TBSP flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Melt Earth Balance in pan over medium heat.
Add flour, stirring constantly for 2 minutes, you want the mixture to turn light brown but not burnt.
Add broth, salt and pepper and continue to stir for 3 minutes, sauce should be getting thicker.
Move to a gravy bowl and serve.

**you can add more flour/broth to make the consistency to your liking.

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