When I came home to my parents house for Thanksgiving, I walked out to the garden one morning to scope out what was left. What I unsurprisingly found was a lifeless plot of land filled with nothing but chunky clumps of slightly frosted dirt. That is, except for a small but thick row of swiss chard stretched across the garden and still standing strong. I bundled up a huge bag to take back with me to good ol’ Philadelphia. And this is what inspired me to create the following recipe. A green-centered dish using up the last of the garden’s harvest. That’s a combination you really can’t beat. Enjoy.
Sauteed Swiss Chard with Chick Peas
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1/2 large onion, diced
-2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
-4 cups swiss chard, leaves roughly chopped, stems diced
-1-15oz. can chick peas, drained
-Scant 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
-One large orange, juiced
-Salt, to taste
Heat oil in large skillet. Saute garlic and onions until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add crushed red peppers, and saute another 2 minutes. Stir in chick peas. Add swiss chard, and salt to taste. Cook 8-10 minutes until leaves are tender, stirring frequently. Add orange juice. Saute another 2 minutes, or until stems are tender.
Time for something a little lighter after all of the heavy holiday deliciousness.
Let’s go with quinoa, always a favorite grain. Cool, crunchy, nutty, and nutritious. You can read more about this superfood here. Or you can just trust me in that it tastes awesome, needs only minimal sprucing up, and is packed full of that good-for-you-stuff we’ll just generally categorize as nutrients. Tossing quinoa with chewy baked tofu, creamy avocado, and whatever else that’s inspiring me at the moment creates one of my frequent go-to lunches. Quadruple the recipe and serve it to your pals, or just make some extra quinoa for yourself and set it aside for breakfast.
Quinoa Salad with an Asian Flair
-1 cup of cooked quinoa (I always go for the red kind…and could anyone tell me where to find the black variety!?)
-3 oz. baked tofu (about 1/4 cup)
-1/3 avocado, chopped
-1 rounded tsp. soy sauce
-1/2 tsp. sesame oil
-2 Tbsp. chives, diced
-Sriracha, to taste
-Ground pepper, to taste
Place cooked quinoa in a bowl. Chop baked tofu into cubes. Sprinkle dash salt over the avocado. Toss cubed tofu and salted avocado with quinoa. Drizzle soy sauce and sesame oil over top, and add chives. Add sriracha and fresh ground pepper, to taste. Serve warm or cold.
With the pumpkin pie already covered by another family member, I set out to find a different dessert I could bring to the family Thanksgiving celebration. I had been eyeing the VegNews Pecan Pie Truffles featured on the New York Times for sometime, so I settled on making a slightly modified version. Although not typically a fan of pecan pie, I knew this recipe looked good. And indeed, it certainly didn’t disappoint. These balls were packed with flavor, infused with all the goodness of maple syrup, buttery toasted pecans, and a kick of spiced rum. A chocolate covering made these extra decadent, allowing them to stick out among all the other dishes on the dessert table. This one’s a keeper. Move over Christmas cookies.
Pecan Pie Balls
(Yields about 24 truffles)
-2 1/2 cups pecans, toasted and finely chopped
-1 cup graham cracker crumbs
-1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-2 tablespoons maple syrup
-1/4 cup spiced rum
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
In a medium bowl, stir together pecans, graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and salt until well combined. Add maple syrup, spiced rum and vanilla, stirring thoroughly. Use your hands to make sure the mixture becomes fully incorporated.
Form mixture into 1-inch balls, then place on a parchment sheet-lined cookie sheet and freeze for 2 hours.
In the top of a double boiler or in a medium stainless steel bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water, melt chocolate. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Dip the frozen balls into the melted chocolate, then place onto prepared baking sheet. Let sit for 5-10 minutes or until firm.
Hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful Thanksgiving and some fabulous holiday food as well!
Who doesn’t look forward to pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving? If you’re like me, it’s the creamy pumpkin filling of the pie that keeps you excited for dessert, despite already being stuffed to your tummy’s content. With the following recipe, I decided to skip the pie crust (who cares about crust when you’ve got pumpkin? Oh, and coconut too!) and create an even creamier version of the holiday treat. The pumpkin custard creates a cross between pie and crème brûlée, with a smooth, heavenly texture and all those beloved flavors of pumpkin pie. It’s probably one of the best desserts I’ve eaten in a long time. Nope. Not lying. Did I mention it was vegan too?
Vegan Pumpkin Custard
( Serves 8 )
Prep. time: 20 minutes, Chill time: 2 hours
-2-14 oz cans coconut milk
-2 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
-2 tsp. agar
-1/4 cup agave syrup
-2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. brown sugar
-2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
-1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
-Dash of salt
-Vegan whipped cream, optional
Whisk all ingredients together in a medium-sized pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer 15 minutes. Divide mixture between 8 ramekins. Cool in refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving. Serve, adding a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.