Monday, November 17, 2014

A Vegan Thanksgiving Feast in Under an Hour?

Maybe you are the only vegan in the household this Thanksgiving?  Maybe this is your first year hosting a Thanksgiving in your home?  Maybe you aren't so surefooted in the kitchen and are nervous about pulling off the perfect meal?  Or maybe you have to work Thanksgiving day (like me!) and can't figure out how you are ever going to be able to make a full on vegan feast after a full day at work? I give you a Vegan Thanksgiving Feast ready in under an hour!  

I did a trial run last night to make sure that it still tasted home made, because a lot of this meal is made from a package.  But guess what?  This semi-homemade feast had all of the flavors and practically none of the fuss of a scratch-made Thanksgiving.

So what do you need to make a full on vegan Thanksgiving meal in under an hour?

Here is what on the plate, clockwise from the top:

  • Whole Foods Market 365 Instant Mashed Potatoes -- the only ingredient on the box is potato! (I always make mine with less liquid than suggested on the package so my potatoes come out thicker.  And I do not shy away from adding lots of vegan butter to make them extra flavorful.)
  • Gardein Lightly Breaded Turk'y Cutlets (These come with gravy, but I opted for making homemade gravy)
  • Whole Foods Market 365 Organic Vegan Stuffing Mix (To make it taste a little bit more homemade, I made sure to add of my own touches to the stuffing by sauteing diced onions and celery in the oil recommended on the package instructions before adding the water.  On the big day, I might throw in some dried cranberries, too!)
  • Steamed broccoli tossed with olive oil, roasted garlic, salt and pepper. (Though on the big day I plan on making Garlic and Mustard Roasted Brussels Sprouts instead, because, although this broccoli was super yummy, I prefer brussels on Thanksgiving.)
  • And the whole thing is topped off with White Pepper Gravy

I also plan on purchasing premade cranberry sauce from the Whole Foods Market deli, as well as a premade vegan pumpkin or apple pie from the bakery, and a tub of the new SoDelicious Coconut Whipped topping.

I will say I feel a little bummed out that I won't be able to make everything from scratch like I normally would, but I am so thankful for these awesome and convenient (and really gosh darn tasty!) vegan options.

For those of you who do not live near a Whole Foods Market, or other health food store, hope is not lost!  I have seen these Gardein Turk'y cutlets (as well as their stuffed roast!) at Vons/Safeway and Ralph's/Kroger's as well.  And it seems that every grocery store in the world has instant mashed potatoes, a vegan friendly boxed stuffing mix, and premade cranberry sauce (double chack ingredients to be sure!).

That only leaves you with figuring out the pie!  And that can be fun to make on your own the day before.  My go to holiday pie is the Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie. It's pretty easy to make, especially if you use a storebought crust, and it taste pretty great, too.

Now go forth and create a tasty vegan Thanksgiving feast!  It doesn't have to cost a million dollars or mean you have to spend all day slaving away in the kitchen!  All it really means is that you will be spending more time with your family, friends, or loved ones giving thanks over a compassionate meal that doesn't revolve around a giant dead bird.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Veg Subs 2 Sneak Peek: Potacos!

You asked, and I listened.  Narrowly beating out Cheese Ball, Potacos was voted the most wanted sneak peak recipe from The Complete Guide to EVEN MORE Vegan Food Substitutions by the always amazing Celine Steen and me. (Now available for pre-order!)

*Gluten-Free Potential
*Oil Free Option
*Soy Free
The coolest thing about these, is that they have no "meat substitute"  The taco filling is just potato!  This is a perfect meal to feed someone on the fence about veganism who thinks vegans eat "weird" foods.  Nothing weird here.  Just potatoes and taco-y goodness.

For the Salsa Fresca:
1 green chile such as Anaheim, Pasilla, Hatch, or Jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 cup (160 g) diced red onion
1 cup (252) diced tomatoes
1/3 cup (5 g) chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon (9 g) minced garlic
1 tablespoon (15 ml) lime juice
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil, optional
salt and pepper to taste

For the Potacos:
4 medium russet potatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons (3 g) chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder or cayenne pepper, more or lest to taste
2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil, optional
1 cup (70 g) shredded cabbage
1 avocado
1 recipe Pepita Pignola Sprinkles

Make the Salsa Fresca: Mix together all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Make the Potacos: Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C, or gas mark 6.)
Place potatoes, cut side up, on a baking sheet and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Bake for 1 hour, or until fork tender.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool enough to handle.
Carefully scoop out the flesh of the potatoes, leaving about 1/4-inch (6-mm) of the flesh inside the skin to make a Potaco shell, and place in a mixing bowl. Add remaining salt, all of the spices, and the olive oil to the scooped out flesh and mix to combine.
Pile the taco flavored potato mixture back into the shells.
Top each Potaco with cabbage, Salsa Fresca, avocado, and top with Pepita Pignola Sprinkles.
Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 8 Potacos

Joni says:
Make mini versions of these using small red potatoes and serve as an appetizer.

Pepita Pignola Sprinkles
2 tablespoons (16 g) pepitas (pumkin seeds)
2 tablespoons (15 g) pignolas (pine nuts)
1 tablespoon (15 g) nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder or cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon smoked salt

Add all ingredients to a spice grinder (or coffee grinder) and grind until a coarse mixture is formed.
Preheat a dry pan over medium heat. Add spice mix and toast for 1 to 2 minutes, until toasty and fragrant.
Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cooler Fall Weather Means it's Time for Comfort Food: Country Fried Seitan Steaks with Mashed Potatoes and Pepper Gravy

One of Dan's favorite pre-veg meals was chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes.  The mashed potatoes are easy, replace the butter with Earth Balance, and the milk with Almond Milk.  But making a Dan approved chicken fried steak was a bit more challenging.

I have a few versions floating around in a couple of different books, like this one form 500 Vegan Recipes, but the gravy always had mushrooms (Dan is a staunch mushroom hater) or beans, or sour cream, or something else that prevented it from being the flavor he was after.  He wanted plain white gravy.  The kind they usually make with sausage or bacon grease and pour over biscuits, or, of course, chicken fried steak.

Okay. So, I need to stop over thinking it.  Come up with a simple gravy.  Easy enough.  And that was that.

Pepper Gravy 
Super simple and easy to throw together in just a few minutes.  You can change it up to suit your needs by switching out the liquid with different types of broth.  Better than Bouillon No-Beef base for brown gravy, for example. 
1/4 cup canola oil (or vegan bacon grease, or vegan butter)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups water (or broth)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, optional (I like it better with the nooch, Dan likes it okay, but prefers it noochless)
lots of black pepper, to taste
salt, to taste 
In a small pot, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add in the flour and stir to combine to make a roux.  Continue to cook until golden.  Add in the water (or broth) and stir to mix completely.  Add in nooch, if using, pepper and salt to taste.  Continue to stir until thickened.  It should only take a few minutes.  Keep warm until ready to serve. 
Yield: about 3 cups

The chicken fried steak was a little trickier, because Dan doesn't really like seitan all that much.  He'll eat it, but it's not his favorite.  He thinks it's too wheat-y.  Ha. Well, yes.  It is.  So I knew I had to do it differently.  So I added TVP to the mixture, and pressed it really flat, using the foil lined pan to help it hold it's shape while it baked.  By golly, it worked!

Country Fried Seitan Steaks 
The recipe below makes 8 dinner sized pieces of country fried seitan.  They reheat well (I have had leftovers twice now!) so don't worry.   
For the steaks:
1/2 cup TVP granules
1 cup boiling vegan beef flavored broth
1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup vegan beef flavored broth
1/4 cup vegan worcestershire
2 tablespoons canola oil 
For the breading:
1 cup (125 g) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teasoon dried mustard
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup soy, coconut, or almond milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice 
Reconstitute the TVP in the boiling broth. Pour the broth over the TVP in a heat safe bowl, cover, and let stand for 10 minutes.
Line two baking sheets with foil.
In a medium mixing bowl, add the flours, onion and garlic powder, parsley, and pepper.
Add the broth, worcestershire, and oil to the reconstituted TVP, and mix together.
Add the wet to the dry and knead together until a uniform dough is formed.
Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and set aside to rest for 20 minutes.  While dough is resting you can preheat your oven to 350 F, and prepare your fry station.
In a shallow dish, mix together all of the breading ingredients, except for the milk and lemon juice.
In a separate shallow dish mix together the milk and lemon juice and let it curdle.
After twenty minutes has passed, press the dough pieces flat into uneven patties that are no thicker than 1/4-inch thick.  Use the foil on the pan to help them keep shape.  You should be able to get 4 patties on each pan.
Cover the whole pan loosely with foil and place in the oven to bake for twent minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to tough.
Add enough oil into the bottom of a frying pan to equal 1/4-inch deep.
Carefully take one patty and dipp it in the milk mixture, then into the flour mixture, then carefully into the hot oil.  Fry until golden and crispy, about 3 minutes, per side.
Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil. 
Yield: 8 pieces

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2012 Copyright/Permissions/Disclaimers

All recipes written by me, Joni Marie Newman, unless otherwise noted. Please feel free to refer to or link back to any of my recipes, but please ask for permission, or remember to give credit when reprinting recipes in their entirety. I do provide links to affiliate programs (such as Amazon) in which I receive a small commission for items purchased. I do not provide paid reviews. All reviews done on products or books are of my own unsolicited opinion. On occasion I may receive a book or product to review. I will note when this is the case, but rest assured, it will not affect the authenticity of my review. Thanks!--Joni