Vegan Holiday Cooking
After 28 years of preparing vegan Thanksgiving, I have decided to share my best and easiest dinner. Here's my menu: an appetizer of celery & hummus dip, Tofurky with stuffing, gravy, butternut squash soup, Waldorf salad, cranberries, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes (or rice), corn or succotash, Brussel sprouts, cranberries, bread or rolls and margarine, and pumpkin pie.
Purchase a frozen Tofurky with stuffing and gravy, or make your own gravy from a recipe on the box. On Wednesday morning place the Tofurkey into the refrigerator to thaw. Wednesday, prepare your Butternut Squash Soup in a crock pot. Cool and refrigerate. On Thanksgiving Day. return to crock pot in the morning and heat on low. Determine what serving dishes you will need for tomorrow's meal.
Vegan Holiday Meal Options
Butternut Squash Soup
3 cups butternut squash, peeled & diced; 3 cups carrots, chopped; 2 stalks celery, chopped; 1 medium, yellow onion, diced; 3 cups water; 1 cup nondairy, coconut milk; 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice; 1/2 teaspoon thyme; 1/2 teaspoon salt; dash of pepper. Cook all day or 1 hour on high and 3 hours on low. Mash or blend to creamy or just slightly chunky. Serves 6.
Sweet Potatoes topped with Marshmallows and Pecans
Start at 6:00 AM for a 12:00 PM meal.
Start with your Sweet Potato Casserole. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine 1/3 cup of orange juice, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1-2 tablespoons of melted margarine, and 2 1/4 pounds (3 medium-large) of sweet potatoes or yams, thinly sliced (or use canned sweet potatoes). If using raw potatoes, bake, uncovered, about 40 minutes, until tender. Cool casserole, add chopped pecans or vegan marshmallows (Dandies by Chicago Vegan Foods) on top and refrigerate. (If using canned potatoes, mix ingredients, top, cover & refrigerate.) Later, around 11:30, remove from the refrigerator. At 11:45 place in oven (350 degrees), uncovered, for 15 minutes. Serves 6.
Green Bean Casserole
Around 7:00 AM, make your green bean casserole. Bake the casserole 20 minutes, then set out to cool. Top with French fried onions and refrigerate. At 11:30 remove from refrigerator. At 11:45 place in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Serves 6.
Easy Pumpkin Pie Recipe
At 7:30 remove 9" frozen pie shells from freezer. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. You can buy vegan frozen pie shells (Marie Callender or Wholly Wholsome). Put your Butternut Squash Soup into the crock pot on low. Clean Brussel Sprouts: wash, remove outer leaves & cut-off end stem; then refrigerate. Place you Succotash or Corn (canned or frozen) and your Cranberries (canned) into microwave-safe bowls. Refrigerate vegetables. Using thawed pie shells, prepare your Pumpkin Pie according to video directions, except that you will bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for one hour. A knife put into the center should come out almost clean; if not, bake an additional 15 minutes. [NOTE: If the exposed pie crust is too dark, cover only the crust with foil before the last 15 minutes of baking.]
Appetizer, Salad, and Mashed Potatoes (or Rice)
At 8:30 make your Gravy, if you need to, and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Clean and slice the celery for for your Appetizer. A great hummus to use as a dip for the celery that everyone will love is Sabra (brand) Roasted Pine Nut Hummus. Place the hummus into a small bowl into the center of a plate and surround with celery. Cover and refrigerate.
Next, make your Waldorf Salad by cutting up 4 apples, then tossed with lemon juice. Mix apple chunks with 1/2 cup raisins, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, one stalk of celery, sliced crosswise, and 2/3 cup vegan mayonnaise (try Veganaise brand). Mix in a few teaspoons of maple syrup to sweeten slightly, if needed. Tightly cover and refrigerate.
At 9:30, for Mashed Potatoes, peel 6 white potatoes and cut into chunks. Place in a pot of water on the stove. Or, if you choose to serve a rice dish instead, click here for recipes.
By 10:00, the pies should be out of the oven and set aside to cool. Remove Tofurky from the refrigerator and place in an oven-safe pan or casserole dish. Baste according to package directions. Around 10:15, place into a 350 degree oven (covered) for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove Green Bean and Sweet Potato casseroles from the refrigerator. At 11:15 begin cooking the white potatoes in the pot, on high to boil, then reduce to low, until potatoes are soft. Next, put about 1" of water into a small pot and boil. Add a vegetable bouillon cube and the Brussel Sprouts. Reduce heat and cool 15-20 minutes, until tender. Remove to a serving bowl. Remove the Tofurky from the oven, uncover, and baste again (11:30). Place Tofurky, Green Bean Casserole, and Sweet Potato Casserole into the oven.
At 11:35 serve your Appetizer. Set your table including salad dishes and small soup bowls or cups. Place a lettuce leaf on each salad plate, then a scoop of Waldorf Salad; also put the Cranberries and the Bread & Margarine on the table. Place the Gravy into the microwave and microwave for 1 minute, until warm. Then, microwave the Corn or Succotash, until warm. At 11:45 remove Tofurky and casseroles from oven. Drain and mash your potatoes. Add nondairy milk, margarine, and salt & pepper while mashing. Place Mashed Potatoes in a serving bowl. Spoon the soup into cups or bowls, or place the crock pot and ladle on the table for guest to serve themselves. Place all food on the table except the Pumpkin Pie: serve as dessert.
In December in America the national holiday is Christmas. Even though I am not religious, I would never give up the tradition of the family meal and gift exchange. In my opinion, this is the "Reason for the Season." After all, Santa and the Christmas tree are not religious symbols.
In your home you may have a traditional meal you prepare. Almost any meal can be veganized! Here are some of my suggestions for holiday food based on my traditions: apptizers, mushroom soup, Tofurky with potatoes and vegetables, cookies, and vegan eggnog or mint hot chocolate.
In my home, after opening presents, I would prepare pancakes made into a face and decorated with fruit (an orange slice for a mouth, a cherry nose, blueberry eyes, and pineapple chunks for the hair). With that I would usually have vegan sausage, additional fruit, and juice, tea or coffee.
Here is a good recipe supplied by Celestial Seasonings Tea Co. called Nutcracker Sweet Latte. In a medium saucepan, gently heat, over low heat, 2 1/2 cups of nondairy milk until warm but not boiling. Add 2 tea bags of Nutcracker Sweet Holiday Black Tea and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, remove tea bags, and add 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla syrup (or 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla + 1/4 teaspoon of agave). Whisk the milk to a foam and pour into coffee cups and sprinkle with cinnamon. Serves 2.
Vegan Black-Eyed Peas
New Year's Eve--New Year's Day
Traditionally in many families, it is customary to eat a particular food that will bring you good luck all year. The tradition when I grew up was to eat sausage and sauerkraut on the first day of the year. Click here for a recipe for Mini Dogs & Kraut that will allow you to do that on New Year's Eve.The hot dogs in the recipe could easily be substituted with vegan sausage.
In part of the Southern U.S. the tradition is to eat Black-Eyed Peas for good luck. Here's an easy vegan recipe: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a little vegetable oil, fry 1 chopped onion, then add 8 slices of chopped Boca bacon. Stir in two cans of drained black-eyed peas 1 teaspoon of dry mustard, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 cup maple syrup, and salt & pepper to taste. Place all ingredients into a 1 1/2-quart casserole dish. Add 2 cups of water. Cover and bake for 30 minutes; uncover and bake 30 minutes more. Serves 6.
Easter Morning Fancy Fruit Cup
In the spring our favorite holiday is Easter with the Easter Bunny hiding eggs and bring sweets in baskets. If you must dye real eggs, use eggs from pasture raised, free range eggs. My preference is to purchase plastic eggs to decorate with stickers and fill with treats. The eggs are hidden for the egg hunt.
In our house is the important meal on Easter, to be eaten before any sweet treats. I prepare a fancy fruit cup in a stemmed glass, a vegan sausage croissant, and fried potatoes. Vegan Sausage Croissants are easy to make using refrigerated croissants. Heat frozen, vegan link sausage in the microwave for 1 minute. Then, roll each sausage in a croissant and bake according to package directions.
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