The short and sweet Veganomicon Thanksgiving 2017 recipe list

Cauliflower Pot Pie with Black Olive Biscuit Crust

Cauliflower Pot Pie with Black Olive Biscuit Crust (Image by Kate Lewis)

If you have a copy of Veganomicon resting somewhere, hopefully, this following little list will be of service. I’m incredibly grateful this year I’m attending a significant (30 or more) gathering of vegans that should be well appointed in the exclusively vegan eats department. But I’m not much of an advanced planner when it comes to holiday meals. Yesterday afternoon decided on making a mega batch of chickpea cutlets (old school), stuffing, gravy, and probably a great big apple pandowdy (that’s effectively a smashed apple pie) to rule them all.

But, I have a mix of feelings when it comes to Thanksgiving; with its mythical origins steeped in colonialism and the glorification of turkey slaughter, I’m not a fan. It can also be a rough time for folks struggling with the unrealistic ideals around family, food, and community that feel overwhelming this time of year.

Yet many vegans and non-vegans too are hungry to explore meatless options for the holidays. For a decade Veganomicon has supplied countless with Thanksgiving spirited recipes, so here is my non-exhaustive list of suggestions for a recipe or two to build the meal around, or bring to a potluck, or wrap up and rest on your lap as you take an early morning Greyhound for food with friends or family in some far off place.

If you’re in charge of cooking (or at least organizing) an entirely vegan Thanksgiving spread last minute (I’m jealous, really!), you may already have an excellent grab bag of recipes from many sources: favorite cookbooks, magazine clippings, or homemade vegan adaptations of traditional favorites. Or more likely, you’re bringing the vegan main dish option to an evening hosted elsewhere; hence this list skips over the appetizers and soups (I think once in my life I saw soup at a Thanksgiving) and focuses on the major players: sides, casseroles and pies and of course, some dessert.

Salad
Yes, salad at the Thanksgiving table! Yes, I’ve been very salad-centric the past few years; it’s a much-needed rest stop between servings of heavy starches.

  • Kale Tahini Caesar Salad (page 101); a hearty kale salad that will hold it’s own on a plate teetering with mashed potatoes and seitan roast.
  • Fennel & Hazelnut Salad (page 112); crisp, refreshing fennel and bitter greens with lots of toasted hazelnuts, just tell your kids it’s a Nutella salad (always works right?)

Veggie Sides and Gravy and Chickpea Cutlets

Sometimes this meal really about the sides, and sometimes everything is about the cutlets.

  • Rutabaga Puree (page 159); transform a bowling ball of a root vegetable into a silky puree and the mash potatoes will give this side dish the side eye with envy.
  • Roasted Cauliflower with Mint and Toasted Almonds (page 163); roasted cauliflower is sweet and gets fresh with a little mint. Or make the raw salad option for extra crunch.
  • Chickpea Cutlets (page 206); the chewy, hearty bean and wheat gluten patties with a hint of sage are an enduring cult hit, and they effortlessly work with cranberry sauce and gravy. They also play well served up alongside that Tofurkey or whatever seitan-yuba-tofu-cashew-aquafaba roast creation you’re fiddling with this year.
  • Mushroom Gravy (page 322); maybe you have your gravy situation all figured out. Or maybe you don’t, here’s an easy one for you.
  • Skillet Cornbread (page 341); old reliable when it comes to comforting cornbread goodness. Make the double corn for Thanksgiving, perhaps with a flourish of thinly sliced scallions or finely chopped red onion in for good measure.

Hearty Casseroles and Savory Pot Pies

The main attraction for all the right reasons. I’ve had many years of being the sole vegan at holidays and bringing along one or a few of these. And pies and casseroles are still a welcome addition if you are also slinging a Field Roast or Tofurky (or any of the fantastic turkey substitutes around now) or carving a turkey-shaped roast out of tofu.

  • Caramelized Onion-Butternut Casserole (page 241); is sweet, succulent, breadcrumb-topped autumn in a baking dish.
  • Almost All American Seitan Pot Pie (page 250); need a big savory pastry-crust topped pot pie to complete your table, then look no more. Go for the parsnip addition or try it with celeriac too.
  • Cauliflower & Mushroom Potpie (page 253); a veggie-loaded one pot wonder topped with a fluffy biscuit crust dotted with black olives. Beautiful when baked in an enameled cast iron pot!
  • Eggplant Moussaka (page 256); Greek flair with a lovely strata casserole of eggplant, zucchini, and potato with a tomato sauce with just a hint of cinnamon; the bright Mediterranean flavors are just what a beige and brown dinner spread needs about now.
  • Kasha Phyllo Pie (page 258); flakey phyllo on the outside, hearty and rustic buckwheat and sauerkraut on the inside. Think of it as a family-sized knish on a Mediterranean vacation.
  • Tempeh Shepherdess Pie (page 259); the perfect marriage of a mashed potato crust and savory veggies and tempeh are great all winter long but feel right at home on Thanksgiving, so do it!
  • Leek & Bean Cassoulet (page 265); stew and then bake this pretty leek veggie stew topped with hand-shaped round biscuits loaded with harvest flavors. Make sure to make a biscuit for everyone!

Desserts
There shall be desserts on Thanksgiving, and there shall be many of them. Make one or make them all, these are generously sized cake and pies that supply necessary vegan dessert calories after an intense workout of eating casseroles all day.

  • Pumpkin Crumb Cake (page 401); a sheet of fragrant pumpkin cake topped with a nutty crumble topping is what 5-year-old pumpkin-pie hating me would have run to with open arms and mouth.
  • Smlove Pie (page 405); caramel, chocolate, pecans. Go against the tyranny of pumpkin spice and bring on what every kid really wants.
  • Apple-Peanut Butter Caramel Bars (page 371); ooohhheee gooey bar cookies if you don’t feel like a pie (you’ve been eating a lot of pie today) with fall vibes (caramel + apples) with what we want all year round: peanut butter.

But if you want pumpkin pie, and need and Isa and Terry style pumpkin pie, you’ll have to look through our recipe-packed homage to pie: Vegan Pie in the Sky. I promise it’s worth it. With plenty of great winter pies (apple, pecan, pear, and so many cheesecakes) it will keep you busy baking the next few chilly months.

 

Veganomicon 10 Year Anniversary edition is HERE

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Bigger. Bolder. And better after 10 years!

The all new and improved 10 Year Anniversary edition is out now. Perhaps you’ve had our classic in your kitchen for years or are new to plant-based meals, this time-tested classic is ready to take you into another 10 years of vegan home cooking.

You’ll find 25 new dishes and updates throughout for more than 250 recipes (everything from basics to desserts), stunning color photos, and tips for making your kitchen a vegan paradise. Plus it’s thick and substantial enough for all your tofu pressing needs (kidding, please get a real tofu press and make better tofu at home!). All the recipes in Veganomicon have been thoroughly kitchen-tested to ensure user-friendliness and amazing results. Veganomicon also includes meals for all occasions and soy-free, gluten-free, and low-fat options, plus quick recipes that make dinner a snap.

 

Make the all-new Veganomicon yours via:

Can’t wait for the book and hungry now? Download our restaurant-worthy recipes for Seitan Piccata or a warm and soothing Acorn Squash Soup garnished with pan seared shiitake mushrooms.

Seitan Piccata with Mashed Potatoes

Seitan Piccata with Mashed Potatoes

 

Enter the Protein Ninja

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Hello there beautiful, I have a new book coming out in February: Protein Ninja.

Do you to yearn to bake chewy cookies, or savor big entree bowls piled high with veggies, noodles or grains and savory sauces, or top a bountiful salad with an extra-brawny handmade veggie burger, or fill your kitchen with the aromas of freshly baked granola? And what if these weekday staples also provided just a little extra protein to boost your weekday hustle, be it a push out a few extra squats at the gym, take the stairs instead of the elevator at work, a yoga session’s chatarunga with more chachung!, or lift with ease and grace toddlers/dogs/wallabies or stacks of vegan cookbooks.

Protein Ninja, my new cookbook out this February, is about just that: sneaking in a touch of extra plant based protein for active people of all activity levels. She’s the stealthy sister of last year’s Salad Samurai, my ode to big, filling salads packed with fruits, nuts, homemade dressings, and more vegetables beyond lettuce. I LOVE making seriously kickass salad recipes, yet soon after found myself missing my other kitchen obsessions: baking, burgers, bowls, and breakfast foods.

My year of the salad was also a year of hitting the gym with new-found purpose: free weights three times a week made my workout routine at long last give me results. I felt the boost in both my yoga practice and scaling the seemingly infinite staircases of the New York City subway system. And with weighty workout soon came adding vegan protein powders into my diet. But instead of just tossing these powders–unflavored, simple hemp, pea, and brown rice–into a blender, my chef-brain saw “hey, new ingredient here!” and many months later, the recipes of Protein Ninja came to life.

Protein Ninja investigates sneaky ways to add planty proteins (hemp, brown rice, pea protein, beans, tofu, etc.) into everyday meals, snacks, and treats. True, I do have a few smoothie bowls (decadent-tasting smoothies you eat with a spoon…think ultra healthy breakfast ice cream) but it’s all about the savory meals, breakfasts, muffins, cookies, savory and sweet scones too.

There’s no denying it, protein seems to be in the center of the plate of nearly every nutrition post or another big fat bullet point on many packaged foods. What is really astounding now is that the buzz…the mainstream buzz beyond the vegan niche…is increasing around plant-based protein. Back in the good old days we called it vegan protein. Whatever the name, it’s clear that interest in protein from compassionate and less planet-eating sources is growing.

Plant-based protein is clearly important to me, but why ninja? Like any high-school kid in the 80’s, I thought ninjas were cool. Then at 14, when visiting Venezuela for the first time, I went to ninja school. I was for a short period I was a teenage Venezuelan ninja. My dojo was not in some mist-shrouded temple in a forested mountain village in Japan: my ninja school was in the tropical sprawl of bustling little city a few hours outside of Caracas, near a little park populated with mango trees and iguanas, down the street from my cousins’ house. For a few fleeting weeks every high school summer vacation I hid my face in a black scarf, scaled some ropes, learned a few aikido moves requiring pinching, but most tropical nights just got incredibly sweaty doing 2 hour sessions of aerobic exercise in a heavily padded black cotton gi. Though an entirely awesome experience, today I’m only qualify for missions about writing cookbooks with ninja in the title.

Feel relieved that YOU don’t have to train to enter the dojo of sneaky protein cookery: you only have to pre-order Protein Ninja from these fine book slingers below.

B&N

IndieBound

iBookstore

Amazon

 

#OnCookbookWriting | Teenage #ProteinNinja Cookbook

Green hemp smoothie, hemp protein berry muffins, and precious iced coffee

Green hemp smoothie, hemp protein berry muffins, and precious iced coffee

A little while ago, I almost posted a tweet along the lines of “writing a cookbook is like being lowered slowly into a pit full of spiders”. I stopped short of sending it out, not wanting my mom worry too much about what the NYC subway system is like these days.

What exactly that means I couldn’t tell you: only except that I’m in deep. Writing my 8th book in 10 years of cookbook-mongering, I still sometimes feel like I’m exploring a damp, vast cavern guided only by the flicker of a cheap lighter and a vague memory of a map I glimpsed for a few minutes before stumbling around that old cookbook writing labyrinth.

And what is this dark writing landscape? It’s a crazy pile of recipe research, writing, grocery shopping (never ending it seems), testing, and writing it all again. With rapidly advancing deadline in August. So little time and so many recipes to visualize, write out, test, re-write, test again (if necessary). And then there’s all the other stuff I need to write, such as readable and entertaining headnotes or ingredient descriptions. Don’t even get me started about the mad dash to the finish line that is food photography.

I’m not in it totally alone. I have an amazing recipe-ninja assistant and a small special-opts task force I emotionally lean on daily. While I’m sure there are some cookbook authors happily typing and cooking away on desert (or please yes dessert) islands, I cannot create without the loving support of some precious humans/cats/dogs/goat.

The name of my new book is Protein Ninja: after all these years, my publisher at last has allowed me to have “ninja” in the title of a book. It only took writing a best-selling book about salad with “samurai” in the title name first. My inner 12-year old is raising a katana high for victory.

What is Protein Ninja? A (hopefully) impossible to live without recipe collection of things I eat every day: muffins, scones, cookies, pancakes, soups, stews, salads, collard wraps, spreads and dips for toast or vegetables or fruits, granola, and smoothie bowls that I’d easily just as eat for dinner as for breakfast.

The uniting thread for these recipes is a boosted protein content from either the addition of vegan, unflavored protein powders or a fusion of whole foods: beans, nuts, tofu, seitan…the usual suspects. There will likely be a touch of nutritional analysis, but not too much. Remember kids, I’m a not a doctor, just a lady who loves to create piles of dirty dishes in the kitchen.

These recipes are written in between the breathing moments of a full time job, hitting the gym, going to hardcore punk shows, meditation, and connecting with some humans and animals I’m rather fond of. And if I’m lucky, sleep. But there are some really cool things I’m discovering too! I’m having fun baking again after over a year of salad making. I’m refining my cookbook writing work-flow, something that is always evolving anyway every time I hit the manuscript treadmill. And I’ve truly enjoyed exploring some of these “new” vegan basic protein powders–hemp, brown rice, pea–which I believe most any vegan can learn to love when properly prepared.

Alight, my morning caffeine slap is hitting my nervous system and it’s time to hit the pavement for a morning run. Hope you’ve savored this little update, stay tuned for more.

Hey L.A. Salad Samurai Dinner at Mohawk Bend Sept 15th

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Join me and Chef Adam Levoe (Golden Road Brewing) for an evening of 4 courses of 3 hearty salads (appetizer, entree and main), 1 dessert from Vegan Eats World, and 4 super exciting beer pairings (the beer is optional if it’s not your thing). We’ll also have copies of Salad Samurai available too! Check out the event page for more about Mohawk Bend, and contact authors@mohawk.la to make reservations (seating is limited!).