Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Another Cruelty Fee Thanksgiving

Our first meatless Thanksgiving was a vegetarian meal. As vegetarians, Al and I fell into our typical Italian kid food act. If there is a dietary loophole that we can abuse, we will. I think that for the first non meat Thanksgiving, we had a ton of vegetables with cheese and butter. We weren’t eating meat, but we were burying ourselves in fats! We had green bean casserole with Campbells cream of mushroom soup, breaded cauliflour parmesian, mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy, and probably some type of product resembling turkey. We’ve gone vegan since then and our diet has changed considerably and we think that it’s for the better.

Over the years, we have discovered many great recipes that have replaced the old ones, and there are many products that will aid in making a plain vegetable dish seem like a rich, gourmet meal. Here are some ideas to add to your vegan dishes.
  1. Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream; This is a soy product that is white and creamy exactly like sour cream, and is vegan! We use it on baked potatoes, or as a dessert like fruit with drizzled Agave Nectar. It can go either way.  I have been experimenting with it, and it can be used with mushrooms to make a stroganoff sauce, or used to moisten mashed potatoes instead of milk and butter. This year I will be creaming it up with some Yellow Miso for the backdrop of my crispy onion and green bean casserole.
  2. Yellow or Red Miso; This is a salty, fermented rice product. It can be used as a broth, or even substituted for a cheesy flavor in salad dressings. As I said, I will be using it in my green bean casserole, but I will also be using it as broth to moisten the dressing. Miso is a food that takes some getting used to, but once you get to know it, you will be adding it to everything. You will get some protein which is always a plus in a vegan diet, but you will get flavor! If you add a couple of tablespoons of red miso and a handful of herbs into your regular vinegar and oil salad dressing, you will get a rich, cheesy dressing. Try it!
  3. Braggs Nutritional Yeast (affectionately known as “nooch”); This is a flavorful additive to everything too. It is another product that tastes a little cheesy. I add it to my food, but I also add it to the top of casseroles. This will be the topping on my green beans.

Our Thanksgiving meal will consist of several items;

Burgers made of chickpeas, herbs and stone ground flour, smothered in mushroom gravy browned with Bragg’s Amino Acids

Mashed Potatoes creamed with tofutti

Green Bean Casserole with yellow miso, tofutti, and fresh herbs

Cornbread stuffing with celery, carrots, and yellow miso broth
Vegan lasagne made with squash, mushrooms, broccoli, and homemade chickpea ricotta, topped with sauce, olives, and nooch.

Homemade Cranberry / Orange sauce

Pumpkin pie topped with tofutti

We added the extra casserole to give ourselves the feeling of a feast, although we think that it will probably be lunch on Friday. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everybody!

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