Vegan for the Holidays: Celebration Feasts for Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day
Vegan for the Holidays is just the cookbook we are all looking for this time of year. Zel covers all the details any holiday cook needs to throw the ultimate celebration. The book includes recipes for all the winter holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year. This book presents recipes that are traditional, but also inventive while bringing amazing flavor to any holiday table. From main dishes that include, Pistachio and Sweet Pea Torte with Roasted-Tomato Aioli, Pear and Butternut Bisque with Cranberry-Pear Compote and Sweet Potato Pie with Cashew-Ginger Cream. To tantalizing desserts, including Pear and Walnut Compote with Choco-Wafers, Chocolate Truffle Mousse with Cranberry Splash and Cranberry Apple Strudel. There are so many wonderful recipes for appetizers, soups, salads, mains, desserts and even beverages to inspire and enrich your holiday celebrations year after year.
What I truly love about this book, is that each recipe offers a whole-foods, oil-free healthy option that is in no way lacking in all the flavors you are looking for in holiday fare. Well, minus the few extra pounds you would normally gain! And these recipes are not just for the holiday season, but for anytime of the year.
Zel Allen, along with her husband Reuben, started an online publication called Vegetarians in Paradise where they share a variety of information pertinent to the vegan community. The Los Angeles based magazine features vegetarian basics, vegan recipes, vegetarian restaurants, vegan diet, and vegetarian food companies. Zel is also the author of The Nut Gourmet that includes 150 gourmet, plant-based recipes that showcases nuts in everything from sauces, soups, and spreads to entrees, salads, dressings and desserts. You’ll even learn how to make nutmilks, a delicious alternative to both dairy and soy milk for allergy diets.
I am looking forward to trying out all of the recipes in this fabulous book, but the two I get to share with you today are:
Yin-Yang Thanksgiving Pâté
Beautiful, healthy and oh so fabulous!
- 1¼ cups chopped carrots
- 1¼ cups chopped red bell pepper (about 1 large pepper)
- 1 cup raw or roasted cashews or macadamia
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1½ teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- Pinch cayenne
- 1 pound cremini or button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
- 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
- ¼ cup water
- ½ cup walnuts
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- To make the carrot pâté, put the carrots, bell pepper, cashews, lemon juice, ginger, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a food processor. Process for 1 minute, or until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the work bowl. Transfer to s small bowl and wash and dry the processor bowl.
- To make the mushroom pâté, cook and stir mushrooms, onion, garlic, and water in a large skillet over high heat for 3 or 4 minutes, or until the onion is transparent and the mushrooms are softened., Add 1 or more tablespoons of water as needed to prevent burning. There should be at least 1 tablespoon of liquid remaining in the pan.
- Transfer the mushroom mixture and remaining liquid into the food processor and add the walnuts, yeast flakes, lemon juice, sand salt. Process until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape the work bowl.
- To assemble, remove 1 tablespoon of each pâté and set aside. Spoon the remaining mushroom pâté onto half of a dinner plate. Using the back of a soon, form half of the yin-yang symbol.
- Spoon remaining carrot pâté onto the plate and form the other half. Place the reserved tablespoon of each pâté into the widest portion of the opposite color. Smooth the edges to form a circle.
- Makes 3 cups.
Pear and Walnut Compote with Choco-Wafers
Unbelievably easy to make and the perfect dessert to serve your guests during the holidays.
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 cup pitted dates, snipped in half
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon water
- 3 tablespoons golden raisins
- 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 fresh Anjou or Bosc pears, cored, cut into quarters, and sliced
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, firmly packed
- ⅓ cup dark raisins
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons coarsely ground toasted walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts, for garnish
- To make the wafers, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 17½ x 12½-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Put all the wafer ingredients in a food processor. Process until all the ingredients are well incorporated, the nuts are broken down to a fine, but slightly textured meal, and the mixture reaches a very thick, finely mashed, firm consistency, stopping occasionally to scrape down the work bowl.
- Spoon the wafer mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and use the back of the spoon to form it into a ¼-inch thick rectangle approximately 8 inches by 9 inches.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the wafer is set and almost dry to the touch but still soft. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. It will firm as it cools. When cool, cut into 2- or 3-inch squares and set aside until ready to serve, or put the squares in a ziplock bag and refrigerate.
- To make the compote, combine the pears, cranberries, brown, sugar, dark raisins, lemon juice, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and water in a 3- or 4-quart saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately decrease the heat to low and simmer 10 minutes, or until the pears are softened.
- To thicken the juice in the pan, combine the cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl or cup and stir until smooth. Stir the paste into the simmering compote a little at a time, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute, or until thickened to desired consistency.
- To serve, spoon the compote into small dessert dishes and garnish each with the walnuts of desired. Tuck two wafers into the center or sides of the compote.
This Giveaway is now closed..thanks to all who participated!
And now for the GIVEAWAY and Good Luck!
To enter the contest, leave a comment sharing some of your favorite Vegan Holiday Dishes. Also, if you have one you would love to see veganized, let me know that too! Don’t forget to leave your contact information so I can let you know if you win. =)
You MUST leave each entry as a SEPARATE comment or only one comment will count.
- Like Vegetarians in Paradise on Facebook and leave a comment on their wall
- Like Virtually Vegan Mama on Facebook and leave a comment on my wall.
- Subscribe to Virtually Vegan Mama
- Follow Virtually Vegan Mama on Twitter
- Follow Virtually Vegan Mama on Pinterest
- Follow Vegetarians in Paradise on Twitter
- Follow Vegetarians in Paradise on Pinterest
- Tweet about this giveaway and tell me that you tweeted in the comments section; “I just entered to win Vegan for the Holidays! @virtveganmama @Vegparadise”
- Share this giveaway on your Facebook Page and tell me that you did so in the comments section
- Pin it
All entries must be completed no later than Sunday, November 24th 2013, at 11:59 p.m. EST.
Winner will be announced on Monday, November 25th 2013, on my blog, and the winner will also be notified via the email address they provided in the comments section.
Giveaway open to U.S. and Canada residents only. =)
Can’t wait and you need this book now. Well, don’t fret, you can buy it here: Vegan for the Holidays: Celebration Feasts for Thanksgiving Through New Year’s Day
With the cool weather here and fall in full-bloom, my craving for warm and hearty soups is here. I made this soup and sat on my back deck basking in all the colors as the sun peaked through the leaves like fire. In Georgia you get the cool crisp falls with an extra added warmth from the sun which we didn’t get up north. I’m so glad I live in a world where there is fall and of course warm soups to enjoy. Just look at the beautiful colors that my hubby captured early one morning last week.
But, fall is over for a lot of you and it’s winding down here in Georgia. It’s snowing up North and a cold front is coming in here tonight! But I am holding on to the last hints of my favorite season with this post and this soup. This soup just looks like fall to me, but it can also warm your stomach and your soul in the cold winter months to come. There are very few ingredients and it can whipped up in a short amount of time – who doesn’t love simplicity when it comes to cooking?
You can get all fancy with this soup and use different mushrooms if you want. I will definitely be doing this! This soup is great on its own, or with a half sandwich or a salad. You can add more vegetables to this soup or add some beans. It’s also a great base for a hearty casserole. I will be using this to make a vegan version of a traditional Thanksgiving side that I love – which of course I will share shortly. =)
A vegan cream of mushroom soup has been on my mind for some time – so here it is. =)
- 16 oz button mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup sweet onion, diced
- ½ cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 4 hours
- 4 cups vegetable stock, plus 2 tablespoons
- ½ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk of choice (I used almond milk)
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 4 tbsp no-salt seasoning (I used Benson’s Table Tasty)
- 1 tablespoon flour
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- ground paprika, for garnish
- Heat a medium soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the diced onions and two tablespoons of vegetable stock and stir. Water saute the onions, adding small of amounts of veggie stock when needed to prevent sticking, for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add sliced mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add a little veggie stock if need, but the mushroom will add enough liquid you will probably not need to do this. Raise heat to high and add white wine, cook for five minutes stirring often.
- Add 4 cups of vegetable stock to pot and stir. Cover and simmer on low-heat for 15 minutes.
- In a food processor or high-powered blender, puree soaked cashews (drained of water) and ½ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk of choice (I used almond milk). Add 1 cup of soup and puree until smooth and creamy. Slowly whisk in soup and cashew puree to the pot and stir.
- In a small bowl, add one tablespoon of flour. Whisk in 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable stock until smooth. Slowly whisk into soup and simmer for an additional 5 minutes or until desired thickness.
- Remove from heat and season with freshly ground pepper, to taste. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with ground paprika and fresh chopped parsley.
Thank you to Wendy over at Healthy Girl’s Kitchen for turning me on to Benson’s Table Tasty. It’s my new go-to and by far my favorite no-salt seasoning! Wendy has a great post on No-Salt Seasonings that I recommend checking out.
I added this note to the recipe, but I want to reiterate. There are many brands of no-salt seasonings, so you might have to adjust the amounts you are using for this soup. For example, Mr’s Dash has A LOT of pepper, so I would not use 4 tablespoons in this soup. Use your intuition peeps and season to taste. =)
Have you ever tried Benson’s Table Tasty? What do you think about it? If not, what’s your favorite no-salt seasoning?
Chickpea Waldorf Salad (vegan, gluten-free)
I don’t normally find time to post two recipes in one week anymore, but you are all in luck! I have two great recipes to offer you this week. Yesterday, you had the pleasure of getting some awesome Eggplant Stacks which you can find HERE. Today you get one of my all time favorite recipes – without that nasty o’le chicken – but chickpeas instead. I absolutely adore chickpeas – hands-down my favorite bean. Chickpeas are so versatile and I use them in SO MANY recipes. It’s like the superhero of all beans isn’t it? What can I chickpea not do? I know, I’m being seriously corny here, but I do love my chickpeas!
I served this recipe at my daughter’s Lily’s 6th Birthday Party and by the time I had a chance to grab a plate for myself it was all gone!! That’s when you know a recipe is that good. It’s a vegan dish that you can proudly serve at any party, potluck, get together, or just for you!
If you don’t like the idea of using store-bought vegan mayo, make a tofu mayo instead or a cashew mayo. There are a ton of recipes out there for these. You can also use half the amount of vegan mayo or leave it out all together and just use the tarragon vinegar for a dressing. I like it just the way it is for a party because a simple store-bought vegan mayo is easy to use if you are making tons of food for a party like I did.
I really want to get my daughter’s birthday cake recipe and tutorial up. I planned an all-out Safari Themed Party and would love to share my ideas with you – it was definitely a success! Here’s a picture of the cake so you can check it out…
I hope you enjoy my version of the traditional Waldorf Salad, it’s super easy to make and totally awesome.
- 2 cups Red Delicious apples, chopped
- 2 cups Bartlett pear, chopped
- 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- ½ cup celery, chopped
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- ½ cup red grapes, halved
- ⅓ cup unsweetened dried cranberries
- ½ cup vegan mayonnaise (Earth Balance Mindful Mayo)
- ¼ tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp dried tarragon leaves
- 2 tbsp tarragon wine vinegar
- Sea Salt (optional)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ground nutmeg (optional)
- Combine apples, pears, celery, walnuts, cranberries and grapes in a large serving bowl, set aside.
- Combine mayonnaise, tarragon wine vinegar, dijon mustard, and tarragon leaves in a medium bowl; mix well. Toss with apple mixture and season with sea salt(optional) and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Chill before serving. Sprinkle with ground nutmeg (optional) right before serving for a fall twist. Serve on top of fresh salad greens or on rolls.
Baked Eggplant Stacks (vegan, gluten-free)
Before we get to the recipe, I want to tell you about this gourmet sauce that the good people over at Rose Romano’s Italian Gourmet Toppings shared with me. I can honestly say, this is one of the BEST jarred sauces on the market. It’s worth trying out if you are not into making your own sauces and want a truly gourmet sauce to liven up your dishes.
“My food is basic. Italians don’t smother their food in their sauce. They use sauces to complement and enhance their food, and not overpower it. And I wanted a Gourmet Topping that would be worthy of that tradition. And I’m proud to say that Rose Romano’s is.” – Rose Romano.
This sauce was the perfect complement to my dish. It combines all the flavors I love in a good sauce. It was sweet, mild and low-sodium so you can really enjoy all the delicate flavors it has to offer. It tastes like you simmered your own sauce all day and no one would guess it came out of a jar. It is also all natural and does not contain any synthetic preservatives. Take a look at the ingredients…
Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), Fresh Red Bell Peppers, Fresh Onions, Brown Sugar, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Fresh Basil, Fresh Garlic, Sea Salt, Fruit Juice for Color, Citric Acid, Spices.
Perfectly simple and perfectly delicious.
A big thank you to Rose Romano’s for sharing this wonderful sauce with me and my readers!
I posted the picture of these Eggplant Stacks on Facebook and it created quite a buzz!! So, at 7:23 am in the morning, I am writing away to share this with you all before the day gets away from me. And caring for three small children, it will do just that.
I guess everyone loves Eggplant as much as I do!
- 2 medium eggplants, sliced lengthwise into ½ inch slices (18 slices)
- 1 (16 oz) Rose Romano’s Italian Peppers Marinara with Red Bell Pepper
- 1 (9 oz) bag of baby spinach, rinsed
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp olive oil or vegetable stock
- sea salt (optional) and freshly ground black peppers
- dried parsley flakes
- dried basil flakes
- ¾ cup raw cashews, soaked in water 4 hours
- ¼ cup pine nuts, soaked in water for 4 hours
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- ½ tbsp mellow white miso
- ½ tsp onion powder
- non-dairy milk, for thinning
- sea salt (optional) and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
- Place eggplant slices on non-stick baking tray, baking mat or parchment lined tray. Lightly brush both sides of slices with olive oil. Alternately, you can brush each slice with vegetable stock. Sprinkle both sides of slices lightly with dried parsley, basil and salt (if using) and black pepper.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping once halfway through, until golden brown on both sides. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Decrease oven to 375 degrees F.
- Drain soaked cashews and pine nuts. In a food processor or high-powered blender, add remaining ingredients and process until smooth and creamy. Use some non-dairy milk to thin it out if needed. You want a ricotta-like consistency. If it is too thick, when you bake the stacks the cashew ricotta will harden.
- Heat a medium non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add spinach and balsamic vinegar. Toss until wilted and most of the water has evaporated, 2-3 minutes. Season with sea salt (optional) and fresh black pepper. Set aside.
- Lightly spray a non-stick baking tray with cooking spray, or line a tray with a non-stick baking mat or parchment paper. Make your stacks. Begin with eggplant on bottom, ladle sauce on top, baby spinach and then cashew ricotta. Repeat to make two layers ending with an eggplant slice, tomato sauce and a dollop of cashew ricotta (makes 6 stacks).
- Bake in 375 Degree F preheated oven for 20-30 minutes or until heated through.
Now you have a light and healthy meal to enjoy tonight for dinner. These eggplant stacks are bursting with flavor and will rock your world! You are definitely going to enjoy this recipe and it will be in your rotation for sure!
Enjoy and have a great day! Please share your thoughts to liven up this place!
Spanakopita is one of my all-time favorite things to eat. I wanted to try and create a healthy version of this traditional Greek dish with little to no-oil and make it vegan. Removing the feta and olive oil seems somewhat sacrilegious, it’s such a staple of the traditional recipe and Greek cooking! However, you are not even going to miss it with my version of this recipe. I have added much healthier ingredients and it is full of flavor. You will be singing me praise after you make this – trust me.
It looks like a lot of ingredients, but it’s really easy to make. I actually took some step by step pictures for you!
Mash up your beans, it’s fun to do. =)
Saute some yummy, super healthy ingredients.
Layer your phyllo dough and brush with your flaxseed mixture.
Layer your spinach mixture on top.
Top with remaining phyllo dough and flaxseed mixture.
Bake in preheated oven.
And Voilà! There you have it – Delicious and Healthy Vegan Spanakopita! Enjoy!
- 12 sheets phyllo dough
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 1 cup green onions, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (15) oz can no or low sodium garbanzo beans, drained and mashed
- 2 (10) oz packages frozen cut spinach, thawed
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- ⅓ cup kalamata olives, chopped
- ⅓ cup tahini
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 tbsp fresh oregano, minced
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
- Black pepper, to taste
- Flaxseed Mixture:
- 4 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 2 tbsp flax seed meal
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly spray a 9×9 inch square baking pan with cooking spray.
- Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, green onion, garlic and two tablespoons water. Water sauté on medium-low for 5 minutes, adding a tablespoon of water when necessary to prevent sticking, until onions are translucent.
- Add the spinach and cook for 5 minutes, or until excess water has evaporated. While spinach is cooking, add remaining lemon juice, maple syrup and flaxseed meal to a small bowl. Stir to combine, set aside and allow to thicken. Add the remaining ingredients, except the phylllo dough, and cook an additional 5 minutes on medium to medium-low heat. Remove from heat and set aside. Allow to cool slightly.
- Place 1 sheet of phyllo dough on the bottom of the baking dish. Lightly brush sheet with the flaxseed mixture using a small pastry brush. Lay another sheet of phyllo dough on top, brush with flaxseed mixture, and repeat process with 4 more sheets of phyllo. Spread spinach mixture into pan, then layer remaining 6 sheets of phyllo dough, brushing each with flaxseed mixture.
- Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Cut into squares and serve while hot.
Hi, I'm Jennifer! I am the author and photographer of Virtually Vegan Mama. This site will chronicle my journey creating great tasting vegan cuisine. My goal is to make a plant-based diet so easy and delicious to follow that the whole family can incorporate it into their lives. I’m building a family cookbook and sharing it with you.
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