Recipes for a Plant-Based Thanksgiving 2013

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Forks Over Knives Plant Based Thanksgiving 570x299 Recipes for a Plant Based Thanksgiving 2013

Every year, about  a month before the Thanksgiving holiday, I start planning my menu for the big day. Some years I want my old favorites, and some years I like to stir things up–choosing recipes that, while unusual to my upbringing, still reflect the flavors of the season. This year I look forward to traditional flavors done in a new way—cranberries and pears in the Autumn Wheat Berry Salad, or spices like cinnamon and nutmeg in The Sweet Potato Bisque. Whatever my menu, I like knowing that I am enjoying great tasting food that is also truly healthy.

Photos by Sylvia Vale

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Autumn Wheat Berry Salad
From Forks Over Knives ­— The Cookbook
Serves 4

Wheat berries are one of the heartiest grains, which gives them a long cooking time along with their exceptional health benefits. Use quinoa or millet for a gluten-free (and somewhat quicker-cooking) alternative.


• 2½ cups wheat berries, soaked overnight
• ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
• ¼ cup brown rice syrup
• 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
• ½ cup chopped green onion (white and green parts)
• 2 tablespoons minced tarragon
• 1 Bosc pear, cored and diced
• ½ cup fruit-sweetened dried cranberries
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Bring 5 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan and add the wheat berries. Return to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook until the wheat berries are tender, about 1¾ hours. Drain the excess water from the pan and rinse the berries until cool.

Combine all the other ingredients in a large bowl. Add the cooled wheat berries and mix well. Chill for 1 hour before serving.

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Sweet Potato Bisque
From Forks Over Knives ­— The Cookbook
Serves 6

This sweet and savory soup could almost be a dessert soup, as ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon are spices you find in many sweet potato and pumpkin pie recipes. The onion and garlic temper the sweetness, however, with a savory boost in this comforting recipe.


• 1 large onion, peeled and diced
• 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
• 1 tablespoon grated ginger
• 1 tablespoon thyme
• ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
• 6 cups Vegetable Stock (recipe follows), or low-sodium vegetable broth
• Zest and juice of 1 orange
• 1½ cups unsweetened plain almond milk
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Place the onion in a large saucepan and sauté over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add water 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time to keep the onion from sticking to the pan. Add the garlic, ginger, thyme, nutmeg, and cinnamon and cook for 1 minute. Add the sweet potatoes, vegetable stock, and orange zest and juice and bring the pot to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, covered, for 25 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender.

Puree the soup using an immersion blender or in batches in a blender with a tight fitting lid, covered with a towel. Return the soup to the pot and add the almond milk. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until heated through, and season with salt and pepper.

Vegetable Stock
From Forks Over Knives ­— The Cookbook
Makes about 6 cups


• 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
• 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
• 2 celery stalks, chopped
• 8 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
• 8 sprigs parsley
• ½ cup green lentils, rinsed


Scrub the vegetables and chop them roughly into 1-inch chunks.

In a large pot, add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, parsley, and lentils and cook them over high heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add water 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time to keep the vegetables from sticking to the pan.

Add 2 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Strain the stock carefully and discard the solids.

Note: Vegetable stock keeps for up to a week in the refrigerator and several months in the freezer. Freeze stock in ice cube trays, and then keep frozen stock cubes on hand to add to dishes that call for small quantities of stock or water. Low-sodium vegetable stock can also be purchased from your local supermarket.

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Mixed Winter Vegetables with Spicy Poppy Seed Sauce
by Darshana Thacker
From Forks Over Knives ­— The Cookbook
Serves 4 to 6

This is a nourishing dish showcasing the rich taste of Indian curry—it’s perfect when paired with steamed rice. The word curry comes from the southern Indian word kari, which means “sauce”—and if you’re used to cooking with store-bought curry powder, you’ll be amazed by the flavor in this homemade sauce.


• 1 cup green beans, trimmed, cut into ¼-inch pieces
• 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
• 1 medium potato, chopped (about 1 cup)
• 1 cup cauliflower florets
• ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
• 3 tablespoons white poppy seeds
• 1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
• 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
• ½ teaspoon grated ginger
• 18 teaspoon ground cloves
18 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• Pinch ground cardamom
• ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
• ½ teaspoon turmeric
• 1 medium tomato, chopped (about 1 cup)
• 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
• 2 tablespoons raw cashews, finely ground (see chef’s note)
• ½ tablespoon fresh lime juice
• 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro


Steam the green beans, carrots, potato, and cauliflower in a double boiler or steamer basket for 8 to 10 minutes, or until tender. Set aside.

In a dry skillet over medium-low heat, toast the cumin seeds for 2 minutes. Add the poppy seeds and toast for another 2 to 3 minutes until the poppy seeds begin to brown. Remove from the heat and let cool. Combine the toasted seeds, onion, garlic, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, and turmeric in a blender and process into a thick paste. Add the paste to a large skillet and cook on medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the tomato to the blender and puree until smooth. Add the tomato puree and salt to the onion paste in the skillet and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cashew powder and cook for 2 minutes. Add the steamed vegetables, lime juice, and 1½ cups of water and bring the mixture to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and serve garnished with the cilantro.

Chef’s note: Use a spice grinder to grind the raw cashew nuts into a fine powder.

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Shepherd’s Pie | by Judy Micklewright
From Forks Over Knives ­— The Cookbook
Serves 6 to 8

The most popular version of this dish is made with minced meat, as well as a large quantity of dairy. The Shepherdess’s Pie (a vegetarian version) is commonly made with cheese, butter, milk, and/or cream. This plant-based version uses a wide variety of flavorful vegetables. The recipe makes a full six to eight servings—and it reheats well at the end of a busy weekday. Its flavors intensify overnight as the vegetables and mushrooms meld into the sauces. For best results, use a deep-dish pan rather than a shallow one, but avoid using any type of dish that will crack under broiling heat. I use a 3-quart clay baker (4 inches deep, with a 3-inch-tall lid), which is easy to clean—just soak it without any soap and the food comes off easily. Plus, food rarely gets stuck to it during cooking, even when cooking without oil.


For the Potato Layer:

• 4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (about 9 large), quartered
• 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
• 4 cups Vegetable Stock, or low-sodium vegetable broth
• 2 cups unsweetened plain almond milk
• 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
• 3 tablespoons thyme
• ½ teaspoon white pepper
• Salt to taste

For the Mushroom and Gravy Layer:

• ½ medium onion, peeled and diced (about ¼ cup)
• ½ pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
• 1½ teaspoons thyme
• ½ teaspoon minced tarragon
• 3 tablespoons red grape juice (no sugar added)
• ¼ cup brown rice flour
• 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
• 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
• 2 teaspoons 100% pure maple syrup
• Pinch of ground white pepper or freshly ground black pepper

For the Tomato Layer:

• One 24-ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes (see chef’s note)
• ½ medium onion, peeled and diced (about ¼ cup)
• 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
• 1 tablespoon oregano
• 2 tablespoons basil
• 1 cup peas
• 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch slices
• 2 cups cauliflower florets (from about 1 medium head)
• 2 cups green beans
• Salt to taste


To make the potato layer:

Place the potatoes, garlic, and vegetable stock in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Drain the potatoes, reserving the cooking water. Return the potatoes to the pot, cover, and keep over low heat, shaking periodically, for about 5 minutes or until dry.

Add the almond milk, mustard, thyme, and pepper. Mash until only a few small lumps of potato are left. Season with salt.

To make the mushroom and gravy layer:

Add 1 cup of reserved potato liquid and the onion to a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, thyme, and tarragon and simmer for another 10 minutes, or until all the liquid is reduced. Add the grape juice to deglaze the pan and cook until mostly reduced, about 5 minutes.

Combine the brown rice flour, an additional 2 cups of reserved potato liquid, and the mustard in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour into the pan and cook, stirring constantly until it thickens. Remove from the heat. Stir in the soy sauce, maple syrup, and pepper.

To make the tomato layer:

Add the tomatoes, onion, garlic, oregano, basil, peas, and carrots to a large saucepan and sauté for 10 minutes. Add the cauliflower and green beans and cook for another 5 minutes. Drain any excess water and season with salt.

To assemble the casserole:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Spread the tomato later in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Pour the mushroom and gravy layer over the tomato layer. Spread the potato layer over the mushroom layer.

Cover the dish with a lid or aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and broil for 10 minutes, or until bits of the potato layer turn golden brown.

Chef’s notes:

I’ve used different types of potatoes for this recipe and I’ve found that Yukon Gold potatoes yield the most flavor and the creamiest texture. If Yukon Golds are not available, use any medium- to high-starch potato. Be sure to not over-mash the potatoes, which will create a gummy consistency.

If you can find the San Marzano crushed tomatoes that come in a glass jar, use them instead of canned. The tomato sauce layer has to be thick, or the potato layer will sink into the dish.

If you want to vary the vegetables, try this dish with zucchini, parsnips, or eggplant.

Save any extra sauce and gravy that will not fit into the dish and keep it on hand for serving reheated leftovers.

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Pumpkin Bread Pudding | by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
From Forks Over Knives ­— The Cookbook
Serves 8

Chewy bread in a decadent, creamy pumpkin custard, this is the perfect dessert to put front and center on the Thanksgiving table. Serve with Vanilla Bean Whip (recipe follows).


• 1¼ cups pumpkin puree (a little over ½ of a 15-ounce can)
• 1 cup unsweetened plant-based milk
• ½ cup 100% maple syrup
• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoons cornstarch
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
• ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
• ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
• 18 teaspoon ground cloves
• 8 slices stale whole wheat bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
• ½ cup golden raisins
• Serve with Vanilla Bean Whip (recipe follows)


Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Have ready an 8 x 8-inch nonstick or silicone baking pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, plant-based milk, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add the cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves and whisk well. Stir in the bread cubes and raisins, and toss to coat completely.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and firm to the touch. Serve warm.

Vanilla Bean Whip | by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
From Forks Over Knives ­— The Cookbook
Makes 2 cups

This is a light and fluffy cream with lots of vanilla flavor, and you’ll want to top everything with this whip. Cobblers, cakes, your cat—everything! If you don’t have a vanilla bean handy, then use 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract instead. But definitely seek out some vanilla beans—you don’t want to miss out on their pure vanilla flavor. This whip isn’t quite as firm as traditional nondairy whipped topping, but you should definitely be able to scoop it out.


• One 12-ounce package extra firm silken tofu, drained
• ½ cup cashews, soaked overnight and drained
• ½ cup 100% pure maple syrup
• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• Pinch salt
• 1 vanilla bean


Combine the tofu, cashews, maple syrup, lemon juice, and salt in a blender. Puree until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the blender to incorporate all the ingredients.

Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise with a sharp knife and scrape the seeds into the blender. Blend the mixture until very smooth.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for several hours in the refrigerator, or until firm.

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Del Sroufe

Del Sroufe

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