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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise
Vegan Recipes/ Vegetarian Recipes

Vegan Thanksgiving yearns for a classic signature dish that becomes a cherished must-have for the Thanksgiving main course. It ought to be a dish that's not so daunting to assemble that it becomes a put-off. It needs to look great, have wonderful aromas, and deliver captivating flavors that have wide appeal. We think we've created the perfect Thanksgiving entrée!

Deliciously seasoned with flamboyant flavors, captivatingly aromatic, and visually appealing, this unique torte is a first-rate holiday entrée that delivers plenty of pizzazz. Turn to this innovative recipe when you have a batch of leftover short-grain brown rice or cook some especially for this treat. Long grain brown rice lacks the sticky quality of the short grain variety and may not bind the torte as well. If you favor sauces to dress up the presentation, the perfect topping might be a light, fresh tomato sauce, a dollop of unsweetened soy yogurt, or the Tofu Sour Cream below--either lends a pleasantly tangy finish.

Pistachio Sweet Pea Torte


Yield: 10 to 12 generous servings

    1 1/2 cups water, divided
    1/2 cup cashews 1/2 cup (120 ml) water, divided
    1 tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon distilled vinegar or rice vinegar

    2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 3/4 teaspoons salt
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda

    1/2 cup (120 ml) plus 3 tablespoons coarsely ground pistachios, divided

    2 medium onions, diced
    2 medium carrots, diced
    1 stalk celery, diced
    1 red bell pepper, diced
    6 cloves garlic, minced
    2-inch (5 cm) piece ginger, peeled and grated
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 teaspoon ground coriander
    1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
    1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, coarsely ground in mortar and pestle
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
    1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    Pinch cayenne
    Freshly ground black pepper

    3 cups (720 ml) cooked short-grain brown rice
    1 pound (450g) frozen peas, thawed

    1 medium carrot, shredded
    3 tablespoons minced parsley

  1. Have ready a 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan. Remove the collar and cover the base with parchment 2 inches (5 cm) larger than the base. Replace the collar, snap it into place, and use a scissors to cut away the excess parchment. Set aside.
  2. To make the torte, put 1 cup of the water and the cashews into the blender and process on high speed until smooth and creamy.Transfer to a small bowl, stir in the vinegar, and set aside.
  3. Combine the oats, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl and mix well. Add the 1/2 cup of pistachios and set aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup of water, onions, carrots, celery, red bell pepper, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, poultry seasoning, fennel seeds, oregano, marjoram, turmeric, cayene, and pepper in a large skillet. Cook and stir over medium-high heat for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened.
  5. Add the cooked vegetables, along with the cooked rice to the rolled oats. Put the peas in the food processor and process until creamy. Add them to the vegetable mixture, along with the soured cashew milk. Mix thoroughly to distribute the ingredients and seasonings evenly.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the prepared springform pan and spread to the edges, packing the mixture firmly. Smooth the top and sprinkle the remaining 3 tablespoons of pistachios over the top, pressing lighty to secure them. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until the torte is firm when gently pressed. Cool at least 30 minutes before serving.
  7. To serve, place the springform pan on a large serving platter. Run a knife around the edge to loosen the torte and carefully lift off the springform collar. Garnish the platter with a border of shredded carrots and minced parsley. Cut the torte into serving-size wedges.

A dollop of sour cream is the ideal enhancement to many entrees, appetizers, and casseroles. Add a spoonful to garnish soup or top a fresh fruit salad. This vegan version is far lower in fat than the traditional sour cream, yet offers the same pleasing qualities. You can also use this recipe as a base for creating a variety of party dips.


Yield: 1 1/2 cups (360 ml)

1 12.3-ounce (350g) box extra firm silken tofu
1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all the ingredients in the food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Use immediately or chill for an hour or two before serving. Refrigerated, Tofu Sour Cream keeps for 1 week.

Click here for past cookingwithzel@home.comeonin recipes

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