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Thanksgiving

Roasted Cauliflower with Olives and Raisins

Roasted Cauliflower with Raisins and Olives

Whether you’re planning for the holidays or are simply looking for a healthy (and crave-able) dish to pack in some veggies in between, this cauliflower dish comes highly recommended.

While rather simple, the recipe has a complexity of flavors going on that gives it that must-reach-for-seconds quality.

Roasted Cauliflower with Raisins and Olives

It all starts with cauliflower, a cruciferous I love to make comparisons with to a giant-sized brain. (Anyone else ever think that?!)

The cauliflower gets caramelized in the oven (yum!), and then tossed with a sweet-and-salty combination of raisins and olives.

Olives and Almonds

Parsley adds a freshness and almonds finish it all off with toasty aromas and a nice crunch.

Seriously, so good.

Roasted Cauliflower with Raisins and Olives

This came as a collaboration with my friend Nicole from vestige HOME. It’s always a treat to cook up a lunch with her and then play around with her beautiful boards and wooden spoons in the photo process.

I definitely recommend checking out her work…certainly good holiday gifting inspo!

Cauliflower

Serve this as a side dish or have it for lunch alongside a hunk of crusty bread and a salad.

If you double the recipe, this would also work as a great dish to put on the holiday table.

It’s not “traditional” per-say, but I guarantee it’ll be a crowd-pleaser!

Roasted Cauliflower with Raisins and Olives

Throw a few extra olives on the side to munch on as you share this meal with friends/family, and enjoy.

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Winter Lentil Loaf

Winter Lentil Loaf

Hello winter.

I wasn’t quite ready for you. Even after you dragged your feet. And let 60-degree days creep into my December. I am still not prepared for your arrival.

I’m sorry. I wish I liked you. I really do. But for now, I cope with comforting foods. And warm blankets and faces and seven layers of sweaters.

Winter Lentil Loaf

As a vegetarian, sometimes you just need something comforting, and it’s not always as easy to identify those quintessential items as it is in the meat kingdom.

Sure, there is soup. Which I adore.

But sometimes I want mashed potatoes, and gravy, and something hearty. And wholesome, too, of course.

This meal satisfies all of the above.

Winter Lentil Loaf

You could consider lentil loaf akin to meatloaf…that is, if you don’t think meatloaf is yucky.

It looks a little dull, but if prepared right, it’s oozing with herbs and umami flavor and warmth that radiates up from your plate.

It also happens to be packed with some rather superb ingredients, like lentils and walnuts, and in this case, tomatoes and collards, too. Those latter two actually bring some color to this particular lentil loaf recipe.

Winter Lentil Loaf

I like to serve lentil loaf alongside some of my other favorite wintry dishes of comfort. However, the sides for this dish are endless.

It must also be mentioned, my absolute favorite is to sandwich the leftovers between two slices of whole grain bread with a healthy handful of sprouts and good smear of ketchup and/or mustard on top. No reheating needed.

Ketchup isn’t a bad condiment for it when hot, either. I’m always torn between that and a veggie gravy. Try them both out, and decide what appeals most to you.

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Butternut Kale & Cranberry Panzanella

Butternut Kale & Cranberry Panzanella

When looking for holiday recipes earlier last month, I came across this beautiful butternut adorned recipe from Cookie + Kate. I was seeking a veggie-centered side to bring to Thanksgiving. This one quickly made the cut.

Tossed with festive cranberries and a light, yet savory vinaigrette, this kale salad is the kind of side you want on your celebratory table. Among heavier eats, it continues to shine on its own. Yet, it won’t weigh you down even if it persuades you to go in for seconds.

Butternut Kale & Cranberry Panzanella

I offer this up now as a suggestion for the celebrations that remain as we ring out 2015. If you’re in charge of the salad for dinner, why not reach for something new?

Creamy squash. Crunchy pumpkin seeds. Chewy, sweet and sour cranberries. Flaky parm. And a hearty kale leaf at its center.

With so many layers and textures in one bowl, this is a salad destined for discussion.
Pumpkin seeds

Those layers also make this salad one that could satisfy you if eaten for dinner on its own. There are those rare days where I crave just a salad in my bowl and nothing else. This particularly applies after one too many hefty holiday meals.

In those instances, a simple spring green medley isn’t going to appease my palette. But this creation would.

If you don’t get around to putting this recipe on your holiday list, save it as a start for 2016. It has all the nourishing elements you need to fulfill any sort of healthy eating oriented goals. You could also throw some chickpeas or salmon on top for an extra oomph if salad-for-dinner makes you nervous.

Butternut Kale & Cranberry Panzanella

Have other veggie-centered suggestions for the holidays? Shoot them my way. I’m always looking for ideas!

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Harvest Squash and Wild Rice Pilaf with Pecans and Cranberries

Harvest Squash and Wild Rice Pilaf with Pecans and Cranberries

I craft a lot, a lot of recipes. And I’m always dreaming up more in my mind. Yet, every year, Thanksgiving comes around, and rarely do I have a clue of what I’m going to make.

Usually, the winning idea arrives last minute (fashionably late). Often, it’s after a few Google searches, and several emails from my sister inquiring about what I’ll be bringing to the family feast. Usually she gives up. And often I show up with a surprise. Which means, it needs to be good. Great. Worthy of all turkey-eaters to save some vegetarian room on their plate.

Harvest Squash and Wild Rice Pilaf with Pecans and Cranberries

This year, I was given some time in advance to think. Well, actually, required to set aside some time to choose a Thanksgiving dish to share recipe.

I hosted a Friendsgiving this past weekend, which was perfect for practicing my holiday cooking skills before the real deal rolls around.

This heaping bowl of thyme-infused rice and squash goodness got gobbled up in no time. If I had to give it an alternate name, I’d call it Healthful Holiday Party-in-a-Bowl. It’s a true celebration of fall’s best festive flavors.

Harvest Squash and Wild Rice Pilaf with Pecans and Cranberries

Here, nutty rice pairs with creamy squash and a sweet-meets-tart punch of flavor from the cranberries. Buttery, pan-roasted pecans add a crunch, while thyme drives that classic Thanksgiving feel that we all know and love. I sautéed the onion in butter to richen things up, and finished it off with parsley to add a complimentary freshness. The result, as previously mentioned, is a T-day party-in-a-bowl. Are you ready to celebrate?

Harvest Squash and Wild Rice Pilaf with Pecans and Cranberries

If you’re not sure what you’re bringing to the Thanksgiving table yet, I’m throwing this into the recommendation hat. It serves as a great vegetarian main dish that leaves you satisfied with all of its festive goodness.

If you do have a recipe already picked out, this needn’t be reserved solely for the holidays. Healthy and wholesome, I’ll certainly be bringing this to the table again this season. Cheers.

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Brussels Sprout Sliders

Brussels Sprout Sliders

If Thanksgiving meal scheming is still taking place in your head, I’m recommending these sliders fill a spot on your menu.

If not, save them for your next holiday gathering. Just don’t forget them.

Brussels Sprout Sliders

Know once you do bring this dish into creation, forget isn’t even possible. NY Times inspired, this recipe makes brussels sprouts one memorable app. If you think like I do, the name alone could’ve told you that.

Brussels Sprout Sliders

As soon as I saw the word “sliders” paired with “brussels sprouts”, this went on the must-make list. Genius!

The New York Times Well blog never fails to round up a solid number of inspiring recipes for its annual “Vegetarian Thanksgiving”. It’s a feature I look forward to every year, and one from which I almost always put to use.

This year, it has me thinking, what other endless combinations of veggie-driven sliders can I create? Thanks for the excellent idea, New York Times. This blog post goes out to you, as does one of the “thank you’s” I’ll be voicing in my head on Thanksgiving.

Brussels Sprout Sliders

These surpassed my expectations, and held together rather easily with the help of a few toothpicks. I did modify the recipe to double the marinade intended for both the sprouts and the tempeh.

Maybe I gave the sprouts too heavy of a dip, but I quickly ran out of the liquid magic that infuses them with flavor in the oven. Perhaps you could give them a lighter coating. Although, I suggest you just double the marinade as suggested below, and allow them to enjoy a nice soak. I found this method to create a rather delicious solution.

Brussels Sprout Sliders Slightly salty, slightly smoky, slightly tangy from that grainy, textured mustard, this is a recipe that layers on all of the best flavors destined to make brussels sprouts a star.

If you didn’t think brussels sprouts could be addicting, then give this a try. Report back because I want to hear the results. Although, I’m pretty sure I already know the answer.   Continue Reading…

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