Thanksgiving 2015: Sweet Potato Pie Topped with Marshmallows & Homemade Candied Pecans


Look at that gorgeous pie! Sweet potatoes buried under Dandies marshmallows and homemade candied pecans. A great dish for Thanksvegan…I mean Thanksgiving! It was a big hit this year.

I have been making my mother’s recipe for years – it calls for crushed pineapple and orange juice. But this year, I went with something a bit different. I found a recipe by Tyler Florence for Whipped Sweet Potatoes and Bananas. I thought the bananas were a nice touch so I put my own spin on the sweet potato part with my homemade vegan butter and maple syrup and nixed his topping. In my version the topping is perfectly vegan mini marshmallows browned them to perfection and homemade candied pecans. Oh, hello deliciousness!

A few notes: (1) Bake the bananas with the skins on! (2) A 9″ pie plate does the trick for these measurements. (3) Either make the pie part ahead of time or the day of. If made ahead, don’t get upset when it looks like there are brown spots in the mix. The bananas turn a bit but they get covered with the marshmallows so it doesn’t matter. Perhaps a tablespoon of lemon juice next time. Bring to room temperature before placing in the oven. If making right before serving, leave the oven on and after assembling the pie top with the marshmallows, pop it right back in. Either way, bake it until the marshmallows are browned.

Sweet Potato Pie
3 big sweet potatoes or yams
2 bananas, unpeeled
1/4 cup vegan butter, room temperature
3 tablespoons maple syrup
Salt, a big pinch

Dandies, Enough to cover the top of the pie!
Candied pecans (recipe follows), use as much as you want and snack on the rest!

Preheat the oven to 400.

Prick the yams and place them on a baking sheet lined with nonstick foil or parchment paper. (Makes cleanup easier!) Bake for 50 minutes to an hour, depending on your oven and how big the yams are. At the 50 minute mark, check to make sure they are already soft. Then, place the unpeeled bananas on the sheet and bake for 15 minutes more. Everything should be soft!

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut the skins down the middle and squeeze into a large mixing bowl. Cut the top off the banana and peel down one side. Squeeze the banana into the same bowl. Add the butter, maple syrup and salt. Season with a pinch of salt. Use a potato masher to start mashing and then switch to a whisk to whip everything together. Use a spatula to spoon it into the pie dish and smooth out the top.

Top with marshmallows and bake for 20 minutes at 350 or until the marshmallows are browned. Sprinkle with candied pecans. Enjoy!


Candied Pecans
1 cup pecans
1/4 cup coconut sugar

Line a baking sheet. Coarsely chop the pecans and toast for 10 minutes in a 300 oven until fragrant. Let cool.

Place the pecans and sugar together in a small pot and turn the heat to medium. Use a wooden spoon to coat the pecans with the sugar. Be sure to stand there and mix as the sugar is melting. Don’t walk away because sugar burns easily. It should only take a few minutes. (It will kind of look more coated then melted.)

Turn the pecans back out onto the baking sheet, spread them out and let them cool completely. Break up the big clumps and store in an airtight container until ready to use. This can be done up to a week in advance.

Thanksgiving 2014: Baked Rosemary Pecan Tofu with Homemade Gravy, Shredded Brussels Sprouts, Twice-Baked Corn Bread Stuffing & Orange Cranberry Sauce


Thanksgiving 2014 is almost here! This is my practice run and my contribution to the vegan Thanksgiving universe. There are so many menus to choose from and so many possibilities including past ones on this blog.

This year, I created a new cornbread stuffing based on my Great Grandma Leeza’s but better because the cornbread is homemade and gluten-free. I also made a lovely rosemary pecan crust (which could easily be used on tempeh and on any night of the week) and instead of the usual roasting of the Brussels sprouts, I shredded them and cooked them on the stovetop. Gravy and orange cranberry sauce round out the meal.

Our sweet, savory, memorable, traditional, and comforting Thanksgiving meal is our way of celebrating thankfulness. And this year we adopted a flock of turkeys! Check out this amazing way to save a bunch of turkeys.

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Notes: These measurements serve 4 to 6 people. The cornbread should be made the day before. Both the cranberry sauce and gravy can be made ahead of time. I chose to make the Brussels sprouts on the stovetop so all of my kitchen stations were being utilized and everything was ready at the same time.

Rosemary Pecan Tofu
1 package of extra firm tofu
Flour, about a 1/2 cup
Vegan milk, about a 1/2 cup (use unsweetened vegan milk)
2 cup pecans
2 sprigs of rosemary

Press the tofu for as long as you have time for and then cut it into 8 rectangles.

Take the rosemary off the sprig and place in the food processor with the pecans. Process until they are a fine meal. Set up a breading station by pouring each element into a bowl.

1 – flour
2 – vegan milk
3 – rosemary pecan mixture
4 – lined baking sheet for crusted tofu

Dredge the tofu in the flour, then the milk, and then the pecans. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes in a 350 oven.

New Year’s Day Gravy (makes about 1 cup)
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons tamari
1 sprig of rosemary
2 to 3 tablespoons chickpea flour (or other flour)
2 to 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (or more, to taste)

Place ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil. Whisk together until the gravy is thick. If it gets too thick, add water.

Twice-Baked Cornbread Stuffing
I use 3 cups of the cornbread for the stuffing. Save the rest for later. I also use corn flour for this version because I like that is (a) gluten-free and (b) kind of crumbly.

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup corn flour
1/2 cup vegan sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 flax eggs (1 flax egg = 1 tablespoon ground flax + 3 tablespoons water)
1 cup vegan milk
1/4 cup oil

Preheat the oven to 400. Make the flax eggs.

Mix the cornmeal, corn flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add in the flax eggs, milk and oil. Mix well.

Pour into a small baking dish and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

1/2 onion
1 leek
2 cloves of garlic
2 stalks of celery
2 carrots
2 tablespoons dried herbs (sage, marjoram, rosemary, thyme)
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1/4 cup fresh parsley
Salt, to taste
3 cups cornbread

Sauté the vegetables in oil or water with a pinch of salt until all are soft. Rub the dried herbs in between the palms of your hands and then add to the vegetables. Finely chop the parsley and mix into the vegetables.

Break up the cornbread into a crumble and mix with the vegetables.

Turn out into baking dish and press down. Bake in a 350 oven for 30 minutes or until the top starts to brown.

Orange Cranberry Sauce
2 cups of fresh organic cranberries
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup maple sugar
The zest of 1 orange

Bring to a boil. You will start to hear the cranberries start to pop, lower the heat. Then use a spoon to press out all of the cranberries that haven’t popped. The sauce will get thick. If you like the texture, stop here. I like it super smooth, so I put the sauce through my Foley food mill to take out all of the skins.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
1 dozen small Brussels Sprouts
2 shallots
1 tablespoons grapeseed oil
Big pinch of salt

Shred the Brussels sprouts. Thinly slice the shallots. Place into a saucepan with the oil and a pinch of salt. Bring up the heat and cook until the mixture smells great and starts to brown.

Plate it up and enjoy!

Sweet Potato Lentil Burgers


Another veggie burger? Yes! You can’t have too many great veggie burger recipes. This is the kind of recipe I like to make ahead of time and freeze so we can have burgers on a weeknight and all I have to do is turn the oven on. I like to serve these on toast with mashed avocado.

makes 6 burgers

2 large sweet potatoes
1 cup cooked French lentils
1/2 yellow onion
1 large carrot
1 garlic clove
Salt, a pinch
1 cup cooked quinoa

Poke a few holes in each sweet potato with a fork and bake the potatoes in a 400 oven for about an hour. Cook the quinoa and the lentils while the potatoes are baking.

Dice the onion and carrot and mince the garlic. Add to a pot with 1/4 cup water and cook until softening, about 10 minutes.

Peel the skin from the sweet potatoes and mash right in the pot with the onions and carrots. Then add the lentils and quinoa and mix well.

Take half of the mixture and pulse it the food processor until mushy. Add back to the rest of the mixture and refrigerate for a half hour.

Place on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Individually wrap any leftover burgers and freeze. When ready to use, thaw and bake the same way.


Thanksgiving 2013: Baked Quinoa-Corn Croquettes & Crazy Good Gravy

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I love making croquettes out of just about anything! And these are my centerpiece for Thanksgiving this year.

Personally, I love them smothered in my new and fantastic oil free gravy but for the rest of my people, I need to put it on the side (hello, Sally!) The gravy can be made ahead of time, refrigerated, and heated up when ready to be used for these croquettes or baked tofu, tempeh or on top of mashed potatoes. Yum.

Croquettes (makes 9 using a 3 tablespoon ice cream scooper)
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup corn (organic and always non-GMO, fresh if you can find it, in a BPA-free can, or frozen, thawed)
6 tablespoons finely ground cornmeal
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 flax egg (1 flax egg = 1 tablespoon ground golden flax + 3 tablespoons water)
2 scallions

Cook the quinoa. Make the flax egg. Pull the thyme from the sprig.

If using fresh corn, cut it off the kernels and steam for a minute in a pot with a little bit of water until it turns bright yellow. If using canned corn, open the can and drain the water (duh!) If using frozen corn, thaw in boiling water for a minute or two and then drain.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Mix all of the ingredients in a big mixing bowl. Form croquettes using an ice cream scooper. Flatten down the tops of the croquettes with the back of a wooden spoon or your hands.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Crazy Good Gravy
1/2 small onion
3 shallots
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons chickpea flour
1 cup water
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (nooch)
1 tablespoon tamari
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
Salt, a pinch

Quick chop the onion, garlic and shallots. Sauté in 1/4 cup water until really soft, about 10 minutes. Add more water, if necessary.

Pull the thyme off the sprig.

Toast the chickpea flour in a skillet for 2 minutes. Place in food processor with onions, garlic and shallots. Add water, nooch, tamari, thyme, and a pinch of salt. Process until smooth. Heat over medium and and whisk until the gravy thickens.

Smother the croquettes with gravy (or serve it on the side.) Garnish with sliced scallions. Enjoy!