A Vegan Thanksgiving Run Through Part 2

My plate piled high with meat-free and dairy-free goodness!

I covered the Butternut Squash Lasagna in Part 1 so now I have to cover the wild rice pilaf, Brussel sprouts, whipped sweet potatoes, red cabbage and pies!

For vegan holiday ideas in general I would highly suggest checking out Oh She Glows, which is where I adapted the Wild rice pilaf with cranberries, apples and pecans. Her recipe called for apricots instead of apples, but I cannot get enough of the combination of cranberries, apples and pecans. When I make this again for real Thanksgiving I will in fact be adding more of these ingredients because I could have used more cranberry, apple and pecan in ratio to the wild rice! Although I’m not a huge fan of raisins, the addition of golden raisins adds just the right amount of sweetness to counteract the tartness of the cranberries and adds even more color to a beautiful dish. (I wish I had a picture to do this one justice!)

I absolutely love Brussel sprouts and this is a fairly easy way to do them, with Balsamic glazed shallots (you could also use a sweet onion).

Brussel Sprouts with Balsamic Glazed Shallots

Ingredients: (serves 6)

1/2 cups thinly sliced shallots

2 cloves sliced garlic

1 pound (one bag) of Brussel sprouts- with stems cut off and sliced in half

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vingegar

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large saute pan, heat up the oil. Then add the shallots and garlic and saute for a minute or two on medium high heat. Add the balsamic vinegar and turn down the heat to medium. Stir the shallots to make sure they get evenly coated and the balsamic doesn’t all burn to the bottom of the pan. After a couple more minutes add the brussel sprouts to the pan (in batches depending on the size of your pan.) Spinkle with salt and pepper to taste. The crispier you can get the edges of the sprouts without burning them the better they taste but do not overcook them till they are mushy! If you aren’t serving them right away then under cook them and reheat them in the oven before serving.

My Vegan Whipped sweet potatoes with walnuts are another Thanksgiving staple at our meal and utilizes vegan cream cheese and nutmeg whipped with baked sweet potatoes and topped with roasted walnuts for added crunch to an almost dessert like side dish. (In fact you could probably add this to a pie crust and bake it for a sweet potato pie!) I don’t add any sugar to any of my sweet potato dishes because sweet potatoes are, you guessed it, already sweet! Baking them before whipping them with either a standing or handheld mixer brings out a really caramel like depth of flavor that when added to the tangy-ness of Tofutti or other vegan cream cheese, is superb.

To serve 4-6 people bake 2-3 medium to large sweet potatoes in foil at 400 degrees F for 40 minutes. Let them cool, then it is up to you whether you want to include the skin or not (I like the nutrient value but it does alter the texture a little.) In a large bowl put the potatoes, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and 3-4 ounces of vegan cream cheese and whip until fluffy and airy. Either fold in 1/2 cup of roasted or toasted walnuts, or just add them on top. Something I haven’t done yet but want to do is add some cayenne pepper for a spicy kick (which is what I do with my sweet potato “fries.”)

I love that on Wednesdays some major news sources have food and dining sections that include restaurant reviews and recipes. The Cider Braised Red Cabbage with Apples recipe came from NPR’s website in their series called Kitchen Window. I had never cooked red cabbage before so this was a new experience but I think it was pretty successful and very colorful!

Now to one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving – the pies!

Thanks to Kathy at Healthy Happy Life, this was one of the simplest desserts I have ever made in my life because she came up with a Four Ingredient Vegan Pumpkin Pie! Both my pies were a little more than four ingredients but that is because I used canned pumpkin instead of pie mix and I added a pecan strusel topping to one of them.

Below is the evolution of my pies –

I made one Pumpkin pie with strusel pecan topping and one Pumpkin cheesecake pie. The ingredients I used were cashews, Tofutti cream cheese, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, lemon juice, pumpkin, and two frozen vegan pie crusts (for the topping I used pecans, oats, brown sugar, earth balance butter.) I also made a pumpkin chocolate sauce at the last minute using some almond milk, dark chocolate chips and pumpkin puree because one of my friends brought over some Soy Dream Vanilla Ice Cream. That is it!

Because I added the topping to one of the pies, it didn’t set as well as the cheesecake pie, but I think an hour of so in the fridge before serving would have worked nicely. Now here is where I feel a little in-authentic – I didn’t make a homemade crust. I was making a dinner for 13 people with some chopping help from my housemates and I didn’t make the pies ahead of time, so I opted for a store bought frozen vegan pie crust – which was actually really delicious (thanks Earth Fare!) Depending on how much cooking I am doing the day before and of Thanksgiving, I will or won’t make a homemade crust. But since this was such an easy pie recipe, it couldn’t hurt to put a little more work into it… or not 🙂

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