The holidays are almost here. If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, or making a dish and bringing it to a family member’s house, you might want to consider making something that is delicious, cruelty-free and environmentally responsible. Something without meat in it, in other words. Even if you’re only having a small gathering this Thanksgiving, chances are pretty good that a vegetarian or vegan will be in attendance. But even if there isn’t, never fear: the dishes below are sure to be a hit with even the most avid meat-eaters. So make one, or two, or even all five if you’re so inclined.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Crispy Baked Tofu with Honey-Sesame Glaze (from Cookie & Kate)
1 ¼ cup brown rice, preferably short grain
Roasted brussels sprouts
1 ½ pounds Brussels sprouts
1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Fine grain sea salt
Extra crispy baked tofu
1 block (15 ounces) organic extra-firm tofu
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari* or soy sauce
1 tablespoon arrowroot starch or cornstarch
Spicy honey-sesame glaze
¼ cup reduced-sodium tamari* or soy sauce
3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 to 3 teaspoons chili garlic sauce or sriracha (depending on how spicy you like it)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds (I used black sesame seeds but regular white are fine as well)
Big handful fresh cilantro leaves, torn by hand
Prep work: Position your oven racks in the lower third and upper third of the oven.Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper for easy cleanup (and to prevent the tofu from sticking). Bring a large pot of water to boil for the rice. Rinse the rice in a fine mesh colander under running water and set aside.
Drain the tofu and use your palms to gently squeeze out some of the water. Slice the tofu into thirds lengthwise so you have 3 even slabs. Stack the slabs on top of each other and slice through them lengthwise to make 3 even columns, then slice across to make 5 even rows (see photos).
Line a cutting board with an absorbent lint-free tea towel or paper towels, then arrange the tofu in an even layer on the towel(s). Fold the towel(s) over the cubed tofu, then place something heavy on top (like another cutting board, topped with a cast iron pan or large cans of tomatoes) to help the tofu drain. Let the tofu rest for at least 10 minutes while you prep the Brussels sprouts.
Trim the nubby ends and any discolored leaves off the Brussels sprouts, then cut the sprouts in halves lengthwise. Toss the sprouts with a light, even layer of olive oil. On a large baking sheet, arrange the sprouts in an even layer, flat sides down, and sprinkle with sea salt.
Transfer the pressed tofu to one of your prepared baking sheets and drizzle with the olive oil and tamari. Toss to combine. Sprinkle the arrowroot starch over the tofu, and toss the tofu until the starch is evenly coated, so there are no powdery spots remaining. Arrange the tofu in an even layer across the pan.
To cook the rice: Once the water is boiling, add the rice. Let the rice boil for 30 minutes, then remove from heat and drain the rice. Transfer the drained rice back to the cooking pot and cover for 5 minutes. Remove lid, add a dash of sea salt and use a fork to fluff the rice. Set aside, partially covered, until you’re ready to serve.
To bake the sprouts and tofu: Transfer the pan of Brussels sprouts to the lower oven rack, and the pan of tofu to the top rack. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing the contents of each pan halfway through cooking, until the sprouts and tofu are deeply golden on the edges.
To make the glaze: In a small saucepan, whisk together the glaze ingredients (start with 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce or sriracha and add more to taste). Bring the glaze to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring often and reducing heat as necessary. Simmer until the glaze is reduced by about half (about 5 to 10 minutes; it’s about done when it starts bubbling up substantially). Remove the glaze from the heat and set aside.
To assemble: Divide the rice onto four plates. Top each plate with sprouts and tofu and drizzle with glaze. Finish each plate with a very generous sprinkling of sesame seeds and a small handful of chopped cilantro.
Caramelized Onion and Apple Cider Gravy (from Oh My Veggies)
4 cups thinly sliced onions (from about 2 medium onions)
1 garlic clove, peeled
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup hard apple cider
1 cup vegetable stock
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
Salt, to taste
Add the sliced onions, garlic, butter, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar to the insert of your slow cooker. Cover and set your slow cooker to low. Cook the onions for at least 8 hours, or up to 12 hours. The onions will be very soft and browned when they are finished cooking.
Remove the cover from your slow cooker. Add the cornstarch and stir until the onions are coated. Then stir in the apple cider, vegetable stock, thyme and the bay leaf. Cover, set your slow cooker to high and cook for an additional 1 hour.
After an hour, remove the cover from your slow cooker. Using a pair of tongs, remove and discard the thyme sprigs and the bay leaf.
Transfer the contents of your slow cooker to your blender and blend on high until the gravy reaches your desired consistency. Depending on the size of your blender, you may have to work in batches, being very careful when transferring and blending hot liquids.
Return the gravy to the slow cooker. Taste and add salt, if desired. Keep the gravy warm (set your slow cooker to either the warm or low setting), until you are ready to serve it. Alternately, the gravy can be made 1 to 2 days in advance, refrigerated in an airtight container and then reheated before serving.
Garlic Parmesan Mashed Potato Casserole (from The Speckled Palate)
3 lbs. russet potatoes, scrubbed, peeled and diced into 1” cubes
5 garlic cloves, whole
1 teaspoon kosher salt, (to season put in water for the diced potatoes)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk
1 ¾ cups parmesan cheese, shredded and divided
1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Using a sharp knife, chop the scrubbed and peeled potatoes into 1” cubes.
Fill a large saucepan or Dutch oven with water, then add the potatoes to the water. Place the garlic cloves in the water, as well.
Season the water with a teaspoon of salt.
On the stovetop, heat the water and potatoes over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes.
Drain the potatoes, and place back in the saucepan.
Measure out the butter, milk and 1 cup of parmesan cheese on top of the potatoes.
Using a hand mixer on a low speed, slowly blend the ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray, and set aside.
Transfer the mashed potatoes into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the additional ¾ cup cheese on top of the casserole.
When the oven is preheated, transfer the casserole to the oven.
Bake for 25 minutes, then turn up the heat to 425°F. Bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the cheese has browned.
Remove from the oven, and let cool slightly.
Serve warm, and enjoy!
Vegan Sourdough Bread Stuffing (from Vegan Huggs)
1 pound sourdough bread (about 12 cups) cut into bite-sized pieces (about 1/2-1 inch)
1/4 cup vegan butter , divided
1 large onion , diced
1 cup celery , diced
4 cloves garlic , minced
12 ounces mushrooms , sliced (about 4 cups)
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon ground sage
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 cup fresh parsley , chopped (+ more for garnish)
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt , more to taste
Fresh ground pepper , to taste
2-3 cups low sodium vegetable broth (more if needed)* See note
Preheat oven to 350° F (176° C) and lightly grease a 3-Quart Casserole Dish.
Spread bread cubes onto a baking tray and place in oven until they are dry & toasted. About 15-20 minutes. Move them around occasionally and keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. Place the toasted cubes in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Increase heat to 375 degrees F
In a large pan, add 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add onion, celery & garlic, sauté until softened. About 5-6 minutes.
Add mushrooms, remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, fresh parsley, dried thyme, dried rosemary & ground sage, sauté for 6-7 minutes. Until mushrooms are softened & their moisture is cooked down a bit.
Add 2 cups of broth, salt & pepper to the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes to combine flavors.
Remove from heat and slowly add the mixture to the bowl of bread cubes, using a ladle. Toss gently to combine. Keep adding broth until desired moisture is achieved. The bread should be very moist, but not soggy. Let the bread sit a minute to determine if it needs more broth. Make sure all of the liquid is absorbed into the bread. If more moisture is needed after the pan is emptied, just add plain vegetable broth to the bowl. Taste for seasoning and add more as needed.
Place mixture into a greased casserole dish and wrap tightly in foil.
Place in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until heated throughout. Remove foil and bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until lightly brown & crispy on top. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.
Vegan Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Cranberry Apple Chutney (from Joyful Healthy Eats)
6 (1″ thick) cauliflower steaks (I used about 2 heads of cauliflower)
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt & pepper to season
Cranberry Apple Chutney:
1 tablespoon grape seed oil
1 cup diced yellow onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 large granny smith apple, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup apple juice or apple cider
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon course ground mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground clove
1 cinnamon stick
salt & pepper
optional: garnish with chopped pecans and fresh sage
Roasted Cauliflower Steaks:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Place cauliflower steaks on a baking sheet.
Drizzle with olive oil and rub into cauliflower. Then season each cauliflower steak with salt & pepper.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven. Gently flip the cauliflower steaks and bake an additional 15 minutes until slightly browned.
Cranberry Apple Chutney:
Heat a medium saucepan to medium high heat. Add grape seed oil and onions. Saute until onions are translucent.
Add in garlic and ginger. Saute for 30 seconds.
Next add in apple, cranberries, apple cider vinegar, apple juice, maple syrup, mustard seed, allspice, clove and a cinnamon stick. Season with salt and pepper and stir.
Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. About 5-7 minutes.
Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until the cranberries burst and begin to break down until they for a sauce, will be about 10-15 minutes.