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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise
 Vegetarian Cooking with Zel

Includes recipes below

For More Thanksgiving ideas click on


The perception non-vegetarians have of vegan cuisine is disappointingly negative. Many believe we eat boring, bland rice and beans for our Thanksgiving feast, and they want none of it. In recent years though, vegan professional and home chefs are shaking things up! We're changing what the public thinks by presenting some pretty darned awesome plant-based dishes that actually look visually exciting and taste so good even omnivores are willing to sample a spoonful.

How has this happened? Bit by bit, vegan articles are appearing in mainstream newspapers, while vegan cookbook authors are suddenly finding publishers anxious to publish their books. Vegan restaurants are opening in surprising numbers across the country, and hundreds of vegan bloggers share their recipes that display beautiful photos and creative food styling.

This year, make a beautiful, flavorful, plant-based dish to share with your family for Thanksgiving. This exceptional dish is from Vegan for the Holidays, my new cookbook released September, 2012.

Pistachio & Sweet Pea Torte


Vegan Thanksgiving yearns for a classic signature dish that becomes a cherished must-have for the main course. Deliciously seasoned with flamboyant flavors, captivatingly aromatic, and visually appealing, this unique torte is a first-rate holiday entrée that delivers plenty of pizzazz. If you favor sauces to dress up the presentation, include the irresistible Roasted Tomato Aioli, an elegant complement to the torte. Both the torte and the aioli can be prepared a day ahead.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings


    1 1/2 (360 ml) cups water
    1/2 cup (120 ml) raw cashews
    1 tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon white vinegar or rice vinegar
    2 1/2 cups (600 ml) 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 roasted pistachios
    2 onions, diced
    2 carrots, diced
    1 stalk celery, diced
    1 red bell pepper, diced
    6 cloves garlic, minced
    1 (2-inch, 5 cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 teaspoon ground coriander
    1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
    1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, coarsely ground with a mortar and pestle
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
    1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
    Pinch cayenne
    Freshly ground pepper
    3 cups (720 ml) cooked short-grain brown rice
    1 pound (450g) frozen peas, thawed
    1 carrot, shredded, for garnish
    3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, for garnish

    1 pound (450g) Roma tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise

    1 cup (240 ml) water
    1/2 cup (120 ml) raw cashews
    2 cloves garlic
    1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground smoked paprika or liquid smoke

  1. Cover the base of a 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan with a piece of parchment paper 2 inches larger. Snap the collar back onto the base, and cut away the excess paper with scissors. Lightly oil the sides of the pan, place it on a baking sheet, and set aside.
  2. To make the torte, pour 1 cup (240 ml) of the water and the cashews into a blender. Process on high speed until smooth and milky. Transfer to a small bowl, stir in the vinegar and set aside to sour.
  3. Combine the oats, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl and mix well. Stir in 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the ground pistachios.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. (Gas Mark 5) Combine the remaining 1/2 cup (120 ml) of water, onions, carrots, celery, red bell pepper, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, poultry seasoning, fennel seeds, oregano, marjoram, turmeric, cayenne, and pepper in a large skillet. Cook and stir over medium-high heat for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened. Add 1 or more tablespoons of water as needed to prevent burning.
  5. Add the cooked vegetables and the rice to the oat mixture and combine well.
  6. Put the peas in a food processor. Process until creamy, stopping occasionally to scrape down the work bowl. Add the peas and the soured cashew milk to the vegetable mixture and mix well.
  7. Spoon the mixture into the prepared springform pan and spread to the edges, packing the mixture firmly. Smooth the top and sprinkle with the remaining 3 tablespoons of pistachios. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until the torte is firm when gently pressed. Let cool at least 30 minutes before serving.
  8. To make the aioli, place the tomatoes on a baking sheet, cut side up, and broil about 3 inches (7.5 cm) from the heat for 15 to 20 minutes, turning twice while broiling, until completely soft.
  9. Meanwhile put the water, cashews, and garlic in a blender. Process until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the blender jar. Add the broiled tomatoes, lemon juice, salt, and paprika to the cashew mixture. Process until smooth and creamy, stopping occasionally to scrape down the blender jar. Transfer the sauce to a 1-quart (1 liter) saucepan and simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  10. To serve, place the springform pan on a large serving platter. To unmold, run a knife around the edge to loosen the torte. Carefully lift off the collar. Garnish the edge of the platter with the shredded carrot and minced parsley, if desired. Cut the torte into serving-size wedges and serve with aioli on the side.

Click here for past cookingwithzel@home.comeonin recipes

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