November 23, 2011

Natural Foodie: Let the whole celebration be a plant-based feast

Thanksgiving presents endless opportunities for delicious vegetable sides.

By Avery Yale Kamila akamila@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

Tomorrow is one of my favorite holidays. It's a day to express our gratitude, gather together with family and friends, and enjoy a delicious meal. What could be more perfect?

click image to enlarge

Sweet Potato Biscuits are made with cooked potatoes and wheat flour for a healthy bread dish.

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Chocolate Pudding Pie in a graham cracker crust can be topped with coconut flakes.

Additional Photos Below

For those who prefer plant-based foods, Thanksgiving presents endless opportunities for delicious vegetable sides. Even better is that these days, every cook worth her kale seems to have a favorite holiday-worthy vegan entree.

Knowing that your menu for tomorrow's feast was likely drawn up weeks ago, today I offer you three vegan recipes that will complement your planned menu while adding extra pizazz to the veggie side of the table.

Plus, each is sure to put a smile on the face and a thank you on the lips of any guest who follows a plant-based diet, while showing all your guests that vegan food – and even tofu – can be quite tasty.

VEGAN PUMPKIN PIE

1 1/2 cups pumpkin, cooked and pureed

12 ounces silken tofu

2/3 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare an 8-inch or 9-inch pie plate by covering it with dough (see coconut pie crust recipe below).

Puree tofu in a food processor until smooth. Add the pumpkin, honey, vanilla and spices and blend well, scraping down the sides as needed.

Pour pumpkin mixture into pie plate. Bake for about 60 to 70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Cool briefly and serve.

COCONUT PIE CRUST

1 1/2 cups all purpose, unbleached flour

1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil

2 tablespoons raw sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons ice water (you might need more)

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Sift flour, sugar and salt together. In a food processor, add flour and slowly cut in coconut oil. (You can also cut in the oil using a pastry blender or knife.) Mix vinegar with ice water and slowly add it to the food processor as it mixes, until the dough forms a soft ball. Add extra ice water if needed, making sure not to create a sticky dough.

Using non-paraffin waxed paper, wrap the dough in a ball and refrigerate for 1 hour. Knead dough briefly (for less than a minute). Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough on a floured surface until it is about 12 inches in diameter (or wide enough to cover your pie plate).

Place dough on top of the pie plate and press to shape it to the plate. Trim any excess dough off the edges, and add your favorite crust design.

CHOCOLATE PUDDING PIE

1/2 cup raw cacao powder

5 tablespoons maple syrup

4 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil, melted

24 ounces silken tofu

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Coconut flakes or crushed walnuts, optional

Prepare pie crust (see graham cracker crust recipe below).

In a small bowl, mix together cacao powder, coconut oil and maple syrup until it is a thick chocolate sauce and all the lumps are gone. Using a food processor or blender, puree tofu until smooth. Add vanilla and blend. Add chocolate mixture and blend until completely incorporated, scraping sides as needed.

Pour pudding into pie crust. Sprinkle coconut flakes or crushed walnuts over the top, if using them. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST

16 graham crackers made without hydrogenated oil

2/3 cup unrefined coconut oil

Lightly oil an 8-inch springform pan.

In a food processor, pulse or grind crackers into large crumbs. Add oil and pulse until blended, being sure not to over-mix the crust.

Press the crust mixture into the springform pan, keeping the thickness of the bottom and sides relatively equal. Chill crust for 30 to 60 minutes before adding filling.

SWEET POTATO BISCUITS

1 1/3 cup non-dairy milk

4 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 3/4 cups sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 3/4 cup all purpose, unbleached flour

2 tablespoons baking powder

2 tablespoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Add lemon juice to non-dairy milk and set aside. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, combine sweet potatoes with oil. Add a bit of flour mixture to the sweet potatoes and blend. Then add a bit of milk and blend. Keep doing this in an alternating fashion until all ingredients are added and you have a soft, slightly sticky dough.

Place dough on a heavily floured work surface and knead briefly. Add more flour to the surface if needed and then press the dough into a rectangle about 1/2-inch thick. Sprinkle flour on top of dough. Cut dough with a biscuit cutter (or a water glass) and place biscuits on a lightly oiled baking sheet about 1/2 inch apart.

Bake 8 to 12 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm.

Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at: akamila@pressherald.com

Twitter: AveryYaleKamila

 

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Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Vegan Pumpkin Pie is made with silken tofu and goes into a crust made with coconut oil.

Photos by Avery Yale Kamila/Staff Writer

  


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