Some of us vegetarians find Thanksgiving a little unforgiving. After all, the entire day is based around eating a Turkey. Here are a few vegetarian freindly dishes that all eaters at the dinner table will enjoy.
Yes, lasagna seems more trattoria than Plymouth Rock, but packed with butternut squash, walnuts, and sage, this white lasagna is perfectly Thanksgiving-ish.
- 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 3/4 cup toasted walnuts
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped sage
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 15-ounce containers of ricotta
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 8 ounces grated fresh mozzarella
- 8 ounces goat cheese
- 12 fresh pasta sheets
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss squash in olive oil, maple syrup, and salt and roast on a baking sheet for 30 minutes, or until squash is lightly browned and tender.
2. Turn oven to 350 degrees. Remove squash, dump in a bowl and gently toss with walnuts and sage.
3. Mix ricotta with other ingredients.
4. In a buttered 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish spread 2/3 cup ricotta and cover with pasta sheets. Spread with 2/3 cup ricotta and 1/3 of filling, then sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese. Repeat layering 2 more times. Top with remaining 3 pasta sheets, remaining ricotta, and remaining cheese.
6. Cover baking dish with foil and bake lasagna in middle of oven 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes more.
7. Let settle for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
Savory Pumpkin Tamales with Goat Cheese and White Beans
This recipe came about one Thanksgiving when I was playing around with ideas for a centerpiece holiday meal that didn’t include a large formerly-alive winged creature or its facsimile made of tofu. These are fun to make with with a group (more fun when wine is involved) and somehow just feel kind of special.
I serve them with a spicy homemade mole sauce that has plenty of dried cherries added to it, but there is a wide array of sauces and salsa that would work just as well.
- 2 cups masa harina (if your masa mixture contains salt and baking powder, omit them below)
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
- 1 1/3 cups warm vegetable stock
- 1 cup butter (or a healthy vegan margarine)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 leeks, washed and sliced, pale parts only
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 1/2 cup cooked white beans
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup feta or goat cheese, crumbled
- 1 pureed chilpolte pepper in adobo sauce (or favorite hot sauce) to taste
- salt to taste
24 corn husks, plus extra for steaming and tying
1. Carefully separate husks and cover them with hot water—let soak for at least 1 hour.
2. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add leeks and garlic and cook until leeks are soft. Gently stir in beans, 1/2 cup pumpkin, cheese, and add chilpolte and salt to taste. Let cool.
3. To make the dough: Mix masa harina in a bowl with enough warm stock to make a soft dough—be careful not to make it sticky.
4. Beat butter in a separate, large bowl on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add masa harina mixture and pumpkin puree to butter gradually, beating on medium speed and scraping sides as needed. Blend until well mixed and light in color. Stir in cinnamon and maple syrup.
5. Use 24 large husks to wrap tamales and reserve smaller husks to tear into strips for tying the ends of tamales and for lining the steamer.
6. Pat husks dry and place on work area, with narrow end at bottom. Place about 2 tablespoons of dough in the center of husk and spread into 4-inch square. Leave room around the edges for folding.
7. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling down the center of the dough. Fold husk in half lengthwise, and wrap the other side around to enclose filling. Fold up bottom (the narrow end) of husk to cover the seam and tie a strip of husk around the tamale to hold it together. (The top can stay open.)
8. Add enough water to a rice cooker or stockpot with a steaming rack, to simmer for one hour.
9. Line steaming rack with extra husks and stand tamales upright with open end on top, in rack. Use extra husks (or crumpled foil) to help tamales stand straight if there is extra room. Cover tamales with extra husks to help steam.
10. Cover and steam over simmering heat, about one hour. Let tamales stand few minutes to cool before serving.
CHERRY MOLE SAUCE
This sauce is smoky, spicy, sweet, and dark … like adding a little noir to the feast. Serve with pumpkin tamales, and employ it year-round for all your mole needs.
Cherry Mole Sauce
- 4 dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded
- 4 cups warm water
- 1/2 cup light oil
- 1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 4 whole canned plum tomatoes, drained
- 2 3/4 cups (or more) water
- 1 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1. Submerge the chiles in warm water and soak until soft, about two hours – set 1 cup soaking water aside and roughly chop chiles.
2. Heat oil in heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add pumpkin seeds, almonds, dried cherries, and sesame seeds and sauté until toasted, about 12 minutes.
3. Place mixture in food processor with chile, reserved chile liquid, and plum tomatoes. Puree until almost smooth.
4. Return mixture to skillet and add 2 3/4 cups water. Bring to a boil while whisking. Turn heat down add chocolate and stir until melted.
5. Simmer until sauce darkens, about 15 minutes. You can add water 1/4 cup at a time if sauce gets too thick.
6. Salt to taste.
Stuffed Pumpkin with Quinoa, Butternut and Cranberries
Small edible pumpkins and winter squashes make gorgeous serving dishes. Sugar pie pumpkins are easy to work with and readily available in the autumn months. Sweet Dumpling and acorn squash can also be used, or if you’re in a hurry, serve the quinoa stuffing on its own. Protein-rich quinoa is an easy-to-prepare grain that makes a nice change from rice or couscous. From “The Earthbound Cook,” serves 4 (with leftover stuffing).
3 tablespoons olive oil
About 1 cup diced yellow onion ( 1/4-inch dice)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 cup quinoa, rinsed in cold water and drained
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup dried, unsweetened cranberries
4 small edible pumpkins, Sweet Dumpling squash or small acorn squash (1 1/2 to 2 pounds each)
1 1/2 cups diced, peeled butternut squash
1/4 cup pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds), pine nuts, or chopped walnuts, toasted
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, and heat over medium heat. When it is hot, add the onion and ground cumin and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Add the quinoa to the saucepan and stir to coat the grains. Add the stock and raise the heat to high. When the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low, add the cranberries, and cover the pan. Cook at a slow simmer until the liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the top off each pumpkin, reserving the tops, if desired, for decorative effect. Or cut squashes in half. Scoop out and discard the seeds and fibers. If the pumpkins do not sit flat, trim a small slice off the bottom to create a flat base. Place the pumpkins on a rimmed baking sheet and set it aside.
Place the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet, preferably nonstick, and heat it over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the cubed butternut squash and cook without stirring until the squash is browned on the bottom, 2 minutes. Toss to turn the pieces (or use a spatula to accomplish this) and cook, stirring frequently, until the squash is just tender, about 2 minutes more. Set aside.
When the quinoa is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the toasted pepitas, cinnamon and lemon juice. Add the butternut squash, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Divide the quinoa filling among the pumpkin shells; do not pack the mixture. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and roast until the quinoa is hot and the flesh of the pumpkins is tender when pierced with a skewer or fork, 45 to 60 minutes. Avoid overcooking, because the pumpkins may collapse. If you intend to use the pumpkin tops, add these to the oven during the last 15 minutes of cooking.
Serve immediately, with the tops (if using) leaning against the stuffed pumpkins.
Vegan Vegetable Pot Pie Recipe
It’s been autumn for a mere few days now, and I’m already forsaking tomatoes and tender greens in favor of things that scream ‘starch’ and are best achieved by spending time in the oven. It’s the time when kitchens start to transition from bright and succulent dishes to ones that provide carbohydrates and comfort. No doubt, some gene memories nudging us to start bulking up for the upcoming battle against the winter months’ bleak fields and frigid temperatures. (Gene memories seem unwilling to recognize indoor heating and the modern supermarket. They’re smart.)
Which leads me to perhaps the ultimate in comfort foods: The pot pie! The meat pot pie has a colorful (if not cruel) history. The ancient Romans were fond of flaky pies with live birds beneath the crust. Oy. By the time the dish drifted to America in the 19th century, the flavor of the day was robins. (And I always thought that ‘four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie’ was a metaphor.)
But for those who shun eating animal parts – not to mention live birds – there is no need to sacrifice pot pies! This recipe, adapted from a recipe for Chique Pot Pie on VegWeb provides all the warm, toasty comfort of a pot pie…no chirping creatures required.
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 large carrots, diced finely
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed finely
- 1 1/2 tablespoon flour
- olive oil, as needed
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon basil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup peas
- 6 ounces firm tofu (you can substitute seitan or fake chicken here if you like)
- 3 cups flour
- 2/3 cup cold water
- 1 1/3 cups olive oil (or mix olive and canola)
1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Heat vegetable broth in a medium sized sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add carrots and potatoes. Add flour and stir continuously until dissolved.
2. Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil and spices until soft and transparent. Add onion mix to the vegetable broth mix, then fold in the peas. Simmer for 15 minute until the vegetables are soft and the broth is thick. Add tofu.
3. Mix crust ingredients, and separate the dough into two pieces. Roll out both halves in between plastic wrap and place bottom into a 10-inch casserole dish – you can also skip rolling and press it in with your fingers.
4. Pour filling onto the crust-lined dish. Add the top pie crust on. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the crust is golden.
5. Remove from oven, let stand for 10 minutes. Serve. Enjoy the birds outside.
Sweet Potato Patties with Spinach and Cranberries
A platter piled high with Sweet Potato Patties with Quinoa and Cranberries in the middle of the table will elicit many thanks. Especially if you serve it with an uncooked cranberry relish, like this:
Raw Cranberry, Ginger and Orange Relish
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 large orange, seeded, but with the peel, chopped
- 12-ounce bag of cranberries
- 1/2 cup sugar
Chop ginger, orange, and cranberries in a food processor, using pulses, until you have a finely chopped relish. Remove to a bowl, stir in sugar, and chill for an hour.