For the last 2 years I dreaded Thanksgiving.  Everyone sitting around, stuffing their bellies with turkey (and stuffing) and cornbread and sweet potatoes with marshmallows and vegetables au gratin and pumpkin pie.  And for me? Salad...some steamed green beans...fruit salad...LOTS of wine.  I just couldn't bring myself to do a lot of prep and, to be honest, when non-vegans are preparing the meal, even with the best of intentions, the meal is generally not for vegans.

This year will be so much better!  I am not hosting, but I AM cooking!  I have been scouring vegan cookbooks, magazines, websites, you name it, and I found three delectable choices, right in the New York Times!

As with any recipe, I adapted these, created originally by Chloe Coscarelli, winner of the Food Network's "Cupcake Wars" even though her cupcakes were vegan. 

Yes, I know Thanksgiving is tomorrow, but better late than never!  Besides, no one eats until 4 earliest (ok, maybe 2) so you have plenty of time.  Keep reading, go food shopping, and cook!  See?  So easy.

Harvest-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
1 large yellow onion, small dice
1 cup cashews (I chose the raw ones)
2 TBSP olive oil plus extra for brushing
4 minced garlic cloves
1 cup bulgur (kasha)
1 can lentils, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup breadcrumbs (I made my own from gluten free bread)
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 tsp thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
6 portobello mushrooms, stems and grills removed
Salt and pepper to taste

Preaheat oven to 350 degrees
In a large skillet, saute the onions and cashews with the 2 TBSP olive oil over medium-high heat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and saute until the onions are lightly browned.  Then add garlic and cook a few more minutes.
In a large bowl combine the onion mixture with the bulgur, lentils, breadcrumbs, broth and herbs.  Mix and season again to taste.
Brush both sides of the mushroom caps with olive oil and place top side down on an oiled sheet pan.  Top each with a 1/2 cup of the lentil cashew stuffing and bake for 30 minutes or until stuffing is browned and mushroom juices are flowing!

Brussel Sprouts with Maple Syrup Glaze
1 1/2 lbs brussel sprouts, cleaned and halved
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper (I leave this out)
2 TBSP maple syrup
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped (pecans work too and are easier to find)

Preheat over the 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, toss the brussel sprouts, olive oil, salt and pepper together. (I find a large ziplock bag is great for this ~ shake and bake style!)
Spread the sprouts on a large foil-lined baking sheet (less mess) and cook for 30 minutes, stirring after 15.  After 30 minutes, drizzle on the 2 TBSP of maple syrup and cook for 15 minutes more.  Toss with nuts (and extra syrup if you choose ~ I did) and serve.

Chocolate-Pumpkin Bread Pudding
1 cup coconut milk (I used the lite)
1 15 oz can organic pumpkin
1/2 cup brown sugar plus 2 TBSP
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
10 cups cubed day old bread (I chose gluten free)
6 oz semisweet chocolate chips plus 3 oz (I used Divvies but Ghirardelli is also non-dairy)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13x2 baking dish.
In a blender, process coconut milk, pumpkin, 1/2 cup brown sugar, salt, vanilla and spices until smooth.  Transfer to a large bowl and toss bread cubes in the mixture, adding 6 oz of semisweet chocolate chips until the bread is coated.
Spread the mixture into the pan and sprinkle the remaining brown sugar and chocolate chips on top.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until top is lightly browned.  Serve right away or reheat for 8-10 minutes before serving.

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