All the world is nuts about
What's in The Nut Gourmet
A VEGAN THANKSGIVING TO REMEMBER
For More Thanksgiving ideas click on
Turkeyless Vegans Hold Thanksgiving Feast
Revisiting a Vegan Thanksgiving
A Lavish Feast of Cranberries
Includes recipes below
Blessed with the abundance of fruits and vegetables reaped from the fields, vegans find it easy to give thanks at this time of year. Most will agree it's easier to live the vegan lifestyle today than it was even a decade ago. Paving the sometimes-challenging road to compassionate living are many stouthearted pioneers who deserve thanks. It's the season when deep spiritual feelings connect us to nature that turns seed into nourishing food and gives us reason to celebrate.
Thanksgiving arrives with expectations for a day of royal feasting. Friends and family gather at the vegan table to enjoy a jubilant celebration rich with savory, succulent flavors that bathe the taste buds with stunning treats of the harvest.
The season begs for dishes infused with aromatic herbs and spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Savory dishes take on a more festive air when sweetened with fresh and dried fruits. Sweet potatoes and squash reach new heights with a touch of spice and a hint of tart fruits like fresh cranberries or quince. Fragrant herbal bouquets of sage, bay leaves, and marjoram drift from the kitchen, ignite the senses, and invite us to join the festivities at the table.
Replacing the traditional turkey are two extraordinary main dishes that may become favorites at your Thanksgiving table. Either one will provide a hearty centerpiece for a memorable feast. The Sweet 'n Savory Stuffed Pumpkin makes a gorgeous presentation that features sweet accents of raisins and cranberries to contrast the well-seasoned savory stuffing.
The Savory Lentil Terrine commands attention with its tall torte stature. Packed with with barley, mushrooms, and almonds, generously laced with seasonal herbs and garnished with sliced pimiento-stuffed Spanish olives, the terrine is baked in a springform pan to create an inviting presentation served on a footed cake plate. Topping off this hearty entree are two delectable sauces to choose: a robust Mushroom Sauce mulled with red wine or a chilled, creamy Lemon Dill Silken Sauce.
Joining the stunning entrée on the plate might be the traditional trimmings like cranberry sauce or relish, sweet potatoes, peas or other favorite vegetables, and perhaps a tossed salad to round out the meal.
Consider a side dish that lends a rich burgundy hue to the offerings. Roasted Beets with Pomegranate Syrup, so easy to prepare and positively irresistible in flavor, can be prepared a day ahead and simply reheated.
For an exceptional pumpkin dessert, the Spicy Baked Pumpkin Mousse dotted with dried cranberries can't be beat. Laced with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cardamom and enriched with almond meal, this dessert is feather-light and easy to love. Even better, it's lavished with a warmed, tangy Lemon Ginger Sauce that makes this unique dessert a divine Thanksgiving treat.
The eyes are first to feast on the holiday table. Because we know expectations are high at this once-a-year event, we aim to earn extra compliments when we present foods so breathtaking they stop conversation mid sentence. A ravishing beauty, this entrée features a bright orange pumpkin that doubles as both the baking and serving dish. Baked inside the pumpkin shell are wholesome grains infused with savory herbs, vegetables, and hazelnuts that come to life with pomegranate syrup highlights. Look for the pomegranate syrup, sometimes called pomegranate molasses, in Middle Eastern groceries.
SWEET 'N SAVORY STUFFED PUMPKIN
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
1 8 to 10-pound (about 4.5 kg) pumpkin
1 cup (240 ml) water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/2 cup (120 ml) toasted or untoasted buckwheat
1/2 pound (225g) sliced mushrooms
4 stalks celery, sliced
2 medium onions, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5 slices of whole-grain bread, toasted and cubed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped, toasted hazelnuts
1/3 cup (80 ml) hazelnut or almond meal
1/3 cup (80 ml) black raisins
1/3 cup (80 ml) sweetened dried cranberries
2 to 3 tablespoons pomegranate syrup
1 teaspoon dried sage, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Fresh herbs (parsley, mint, basil, sage, fennel, or cilantro)
1 to 2 persimmons, sliced or wedges of fresh pomegranate
- Have ready a large, parchment-lined baking pan. Using a large, firm-bladed knife, cut a lid about 5 to 6 inches (12.5 to 15 cm) in diameter from the top of the pumpkin. Scoop out the pumpkin seeds and set them aside for future roasting. Set the pumpkin aside on the prepared baking pan while preparing the stuffing.
- Combine the water and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt in a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the buckwheat, and when the water returns to a boil, cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and steam 15 minutes. Transfer the cooked buckwheat to a large mixing bowl.
- Combine the mushrooms, celery, onions, and olive oil in a large, deep skillet, and cook and stir over high heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until softened and lightly browned. Add the mixture to the bowl with the buckwheat.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (Gas Mark 5). Add the toasted bread, garlic, carrot, bell pepper, hazelnuts, hazelnut meal, raisins, cranberries, pomegranate syrup, sage, pepper, and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt to the bowl and stir well to distribute flavors evenly. Adjust seasonings if needed.
- Spoon the mixture into the cleaned pumpkin and cover it with the pumpkin lid. Bake for 1 to 1/2 hours, or until the pumpkin feels soft when gently pressed. Remove the baking pan from the oven and transfer the pumpkin to a large serving platter.
- For a picture-perfect presentation, remove the pumpkin lid and lean it, standing against the base of the pumpkin. Garnish the base of the platter with fresh herbs and decorate with sliced persimmons or wedges of pomegranate.
- Serve with a large spoon so guests can scoop out some of the pumpkin along with the stuffing.
Served on a footed cake plate, this elegant and inviting lentil terrine is the embodiment of earthy flavors. Comprising the hearty entrée are lentils, mushrooms, onions, barley, and almonds baked with herbs and seasonings that result in a scrumptious main dish. Topping it off is a tangy, wine-mulled mushroom sauce served on the side.
SAVORY LENTIL TERRINE
WITH MUSHROOM SAUCE
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
1/2 cup (120 ml) pearl or pressed barley
5 cups (1.25 liters) water, divided
1 3/4 teaspoons salt, divided
1 pound (450g) button mushrooms, chopped
2 large red onions, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup (240 ml) brown lentils
1 1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
Freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup (160 ml) chopped almonds
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons psyllium seed husks
10 to 12 sliced pimiento-stuffed Spanish olives
2 oranges, sliced, slices halved
- Have ready a large baking sheet and a 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan. Remove the collar from the springform pan. Place a sheet of parchment paper over the base, replace the collar, and snap it into place. Trim the excess parchment with scissors and set the pan aside.
- Combine the barley, 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) of the water, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt in a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and steam for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the barley is tender and all the liquid is absorbed. Transfer the cooked barley to a large mixing bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (Gas Mark 5) degrees. In a large bowl, combine the mushrooms, onions, olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon of the remaining salt and toss together to coat with the oil. Transfer the mixture to the baking sheet and roast for about 35 minutes, until onions and mushrooms are very tender. Set aside.
- In a 3-quart (3 liter) saucepan combine the remaining 3 1/2 cups (840 ml) water, lentils, poultry seasoning, bay leaf, and the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, marjoram, and pepper. Bring to a boil, uncovered, over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, and simmer about 25 minutes, or until the lentils are tender and no more than 1 or 2 tablespoons of liquid remain.
- To assemble the terrine, add the roasted onions and mushrooms and the cooked lentils to the bowl with the barley. Stir well and add the chopped almonds, soy sauce, and psyllium seed husks. Toss together until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared springform pan, pressing to pack the mixture firmly. Arrange the sliced Spanish olives over the top, cover with aluminum foil, shiny side down, and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 15 minutes. Cool 10 to 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the springform pan. Place the springform pan on a large serving platter, and remove the collar.
- Garnish the edge of the platter with half slices of oranges and sprigs of fresh herbs. Serve with the Mushroom Wine Sauce and/or Lemon Dill Silken Sauce on the side.
- Combine the mushrooms, 1 3/4 cups (420 ml) of the water, soy sauce, red wine, and lemon juice in a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Stir the cornstarch and the remaining 3 tablespoons of water together in a small bowl or cup and add it to the gently bubbling sauce a little at a time, stirring constantly for about 1 minute, until thickened to desired consistency. Serve the sauce on the side. Makes about 2 1/4 cups (540 ml).
Lemon Dill Silken Sauce
1 12-ounce (340g) box soft silken tofu
1 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon minced fresh dill, or 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Combine all the ingredients in the blender or food processor and process for about 1 minute, or until smooth and creamy. Makes about 1 cup (240 ml).
If at first beets seem too mundane for the Thanksgiving table, rest reassured they will be admirably appreciated when properly dressed in a coat of thick, tangy-sweet pomegranate syrup (sometimes called pomegranate molasses) available in any Middle Eastern grocery. Occasionally, Italian delis will stock this item.
ROASTED BEETS WITH POMEGRANATE SYRUP
Yield: about 6 servings
6 medium beets
1 tablespoon organic canola oil
3 to 4 tablespoons pomegranate syrup, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (Gas Mark 5) and have ready a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 32.5 cm) baking dish.
- Peel the beets and slice them about 1/4-inch (.5 cm) thick. Cut them into bite-size chunks and put them into a large mixing bowl.
- Add the canola oil and toss to coat the beets evenly. Add 2 tablespoons of the pomegranate syrup and salt and toss well. Transfer the beets to the baking dish and roast, uncovered, in the preheated oven for about 25 to 35 minutes, or until they are fork tender. Remove from the oven and add up to 2 tablespoons pomegranate syrup, if desired, and toss well. Serve warm or chilled in an attractive serving bowl.
No matter how delicious and succulent the entrée, a stunning dessert frequently receives the standing ovation. While guests sometimes need coaxing to come to the table for the meal, they practically race to be seated for the sweet finish. Breaking away from the traditional pumpkin pie with its calorie dense crust this dessert falls somewhere between a feather-light mousse and a creamy, rich quiche. On the lighter side, but not light on flavor, the lusciously sweet, spice-laden pumpkin treat is garnished with dried cranberries and topped with tangy Lemon Ginger Sauce.
SPICY BAKED PUMPKIN MOUSSE
WITH LEMON GINGER SAUCE
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
1 3-pound (1.4 kg) pumpkin, butternut, or kabocha squash
2 cups (480 ml) ground almonds or hazelnuts
1 1/4 cups (300 ml) organic sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 tablespoons flaxseeds
6 tablespoons water
1/4 cup (60 ml) sweetened dried cranberries
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees (Gas Mark 5), line a baking pan with aluminum foil, shiny side down, and have ready a 9-inch springform pan (23 cm). Remove the collar from the springform pan and place a sheet of parchment paper over the base. Replace the collar and snap it into place. Trim the excess parchment with scissors and lightly oil the sides of the springform pan.
- Wash the pumpkin and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the squash feels soft when gently pressed. Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds, and scoop the flesh into a large mixing bowl.
- Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees (Gas Mark 6). Add the ground almonds, organic sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, ginger, cardamom, and salt to the baked pumpkin and mix well.
- Combine the flaxseeds and water in a blender and blend on high speed for about 1 minute, or until they become thick and viscous. Stir the thickened flaxseed into the seasoned pumpkin and mix well to incorporate it completely.
- Spoon the pumpkin mousse mixture into the prepared springform pan. Sprinkle the cranberries over the top and lightly press them into the surface so they are embedded but quite visible. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the pudding is firm when lightly shaken.
- Cool 20 to 30 minutes and loosen the edges with a heat-resistant rubber spatula. Remove the springform collar, and serve slightly warm or chill and serve cold. Serve with warmed Lemon Ginger Sauce. Refrigerated, the mousse keeps well for 3 or 4 days.
Lemon Ginger Sauce
1 cup (240 ml) plus 2 tablespoons water, divided
1/3 cup (80 ml) plus 2 tablespoons organic sugar or light brown sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Combine the 1 cup (240 ml) of the water, organic sugar, lemon juice, ginger, and cinnamon in a 1 or 2-quart (1 or 2 liter) saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer about 2 minutes, or until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Combine the cornstarch and the remaining 2 tablespoons of water in a small cup or bowl and stir to a thin paste. Add the paste to the gently bubbling liquid and stir constantly for about 1 minute, or until the sauce thickens. Serve warm. Refrigerated, the Lemon Ginger Sauce keeps well for 1 week. Makes about 1 1/3 cups (320 ml).
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