Vegan Thanksgiving 3.0: The Food

I can’t believe Thanksgiving has already come and gone. I hope you all had a good one! We decided to make our vegan Thanksgiving spread yesterday since we had family obligations all day on Thursday. I got a little bit of a late start yesterday, but it came together pretty quickly and turned out really well. I’d say, it took me about 3 hours total to make everything, and that’s with a crappy oven and hardly any counter space (one day I will have a new-ish, more spacious kitchen … one day).

While I still opted for a traditional spread this year, I did make a few changes from last year. For example, instead of making Sweet Potato Balls, I just made simple roasted butternut squash and Brussels sprouts. Not only did it cut down on time, but the vegetables were a nice change in texture. I also changed up my Green Bean Casserole recipe from last year, and for the better.

But one major change from the past couple of years was that I made my own vegetable stock, and, wow, what a difference in flavor. I used the Simple Stock recipe from “Vegan Soul Kitchen,” and made it on Wednesday evening. (You can find the recipe here.) I poured the finished batch into large pitcher so it was ready to add to my dishes when needed. Prior to this, I had never made my own stock before, but I was so surprised at how easy (and cheap) it really is; I highly recommend it.

The Cumin-Cayenne Mashed Potatoes from “Vegan Soul Kitchen” were just as good as I remembered them. I had planned on making a mushroom gravy recipe, also from the same cookbook, but I ran out of mushrooms between the stock and the green beans. Instead, I just made a simple brown gravy that actually turned out really well.

I’ll post recipes for my gravy, along with my Green Bean Casserole, and Sage, Apple and Carrot Stuffing soon. I’ll also post dessert pictures.

I know it’s a little late, but I am so thankful for all of you coming to and reading my blog!

Vegan Thanksgiving 3.0: The Menu

Regular readers of this blog know that I’ve been excited for Thanksgiving for a few weeks now (I clearly need to find a hobby). But as excited as I’ve been, I’ve had a hard time getting my act together in terms of finalizing a menu and shopping for food. I think I’ve been too preoccupied by other cooking-related events leading up to Thanksgiving: We attended a Thanksgiving potluck with friends this past weekend, and I’ve got to make a couple of dishes for a meal my brother is hosting on Thanksgiving Day (this is why we’re pushing our vegan meal to Friday).

Last night, however, we finally made it to the grocery, list and menu in hand. After perusing the Web to find new recipes, I’ve decided to stick with what I know and have settled on a menu that is actually much simpler than what I’ve made in the past. I’m not making my Sweet Potato Balls since I made them for the potluck. In its place, I’m roasting butternut squash. And I’m using some help again for my stuffing. Overall, it’s going to be less fussy this year — I hope.

Here’s my finalized menu. I will post pictures and recipes (more detailed than last year) this weekend. I hope you all have a safe and happy Thanksgiving with lots of love and good food!

Dinner:

Green Bean Casserole
Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts
Cumin-Cayenne Mashed Potatoes (from “Vegan Soul Kitchen“)
Sage, Apple and Carrot Stuffing
Mushroom Gravy
Tofurky
Rolls
Cranberry Sauce (in a can, of course!)

Dessert:

Pumpkin Roll (from “Sweet Vegan“)

Butternut Rancheros

Can you believe it? Two new dishes and two back-to-back posts. I know, it’s crazy.

Our CSA items have been dictating our meals, so I needed to find a recipe that would be a great fit for the small butternut squash I received. The first place I looked was the Post Punk Kitchen website, where I found this Butternut Rancheros recipe. And, seriously, it’s one of the best dishes I’ve had in a while. The beans are so flavorful and pair perfectly with the roasted butternut squash.

I did change up a few things. The original recipe calls for cumin and coriander seeds, but I only had ground for both, so I just added it to the onions, jalapenos and garlic instead of roasting first. Also, the recipe calls for blending the onion and tomato sauce mixture before adding the beans, but I just left them whole. And, honestly, my only reasoning was that I didn’t want to have to wash my blender. Call me lazy. And I had some flour tortillas that needed to be eaten, so I threw them on the side, but they’re not necessary.

The dish comes together really fast. While the butternut squash is roasting in the oven (be careful slicing it!!), you can prepare the beans. And it’s really budget-friendly, too, if you have the spices on hand. I’ll definitely be making this dish again.

Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Soup

My friend, Erin, gave me a gorgeous butternut squash a while ago and it has been staring me in the face, begging me to turn it into something delicious. I love butternut squash, but I have only cooked with it maybe once or twice and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. After finding some carrots and celery in my fridge, I decided to turn it into soup. I found this recipe online a while ago, and decided to add a few ingredients to it to make it my own. It’s surprisingly flavorful despite its simple ingredients. What I like about it is that it’s not too sweet. I’ve had butternut squash soups in the past that were a little too sweet thanks to added brown sugar, and I would get tired of eating them after only a few bites. But I found myself devouring two bowls of this soup for lunch. It’s definitely a keeper!

Also, please be careful when cutting the butternut squash. The outer layer is extremely tough and requires a sharp knife and a steady hand. (I say this after slicing my fingers not once, but twice.)

Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 4 + leftovers

Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped (optional)
4 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 large butternut squash, peeled and chopped
5 cups vegetable broth (I used 5 tsp of Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base with 5 cups water)


1 tbsp dried sage
1 tbsp curry powder
1/2 cup vegan cream cheese or non-dairy creamer

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat and sauté the onions and garlic for about 3 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the butternut squash, broth, sage, and curry powder and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 25 minutes. Using an immersion blender or standard blender, blend the soup until smooth and creamy. Add the cream cheese or milk and blend again to incorporate.

Enjoy!