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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegan Vegetarian Recipes

An ideal vegan Thanksgiving dish, this elegant torte features the pleasing textures and savory flavors of wild rice, mushrooms, nuts, and sage. Served with a robust mushroom sauce on the side, it makes a lovely presentation, while adding a hearty main dish to the meal.

Thanksgiving Torte is one of the delicious recipes from Zel Allen's cookbook The Nut Gourmet: Nourishing Nuts for Every Occasion published by Book Publishing Company in 2006.


Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

2 3/4 cups plus 1/3 cup (740 ml) water
2/3 cup (160 ml) wild rice
2 1/8 teaspoons salt

3/4 pound (169g) red or white rose potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed, and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
1/2 cup (120 ml) coarsely chopped pecan pieces
1/4 cup (60 ml) coarsely chopped walnut pieces

1 14-ounce (395g) package Lightlife GimmeLean! sausage flavor (soy sausage)
4 large Portobello mushrooms, chopped

1 large onion, diced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1/3 cup (80 ml) water
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon hickory liquid smoke
2 ripe tomatoes, sliced

Cooking Joy

Mushroom Gravy

2 cups (480 ml) sliced button or cremini mushrooms
1 3/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons (420 ml) water
1/4 cup (60 ml) soy sauce
1/4 cup (60 ml) dry red wine
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice

3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water

  1. To make the torte, lightly oil a 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan, line the base with parchment paper (for easier cleanup), and set it aside.
  2. Combine 1 3/4 cups (415 ml) of the water, wild rice, and 3/4 teaspoon of the salt in a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan. Cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat to medium-low and steam for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Drain any excess liquid and set the rice aside.
  3. Combine the potato cubes, 1 cup of the water, and 1/8 teaspoon of the salt in a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan. Cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to a medium bowl, mash them, and set them aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (Gas Mark 5) . Toast the pecans and walnuts in a 10-inch (25 cm) skillet over high heat, stirring constantly for 1 to 2 minutes. Immediately transfer them to a dish to cool.
  5. Combine the vegan sausage, mushrooms onion, remaining 1/3 cup (80 ml) of water, olive oil, poultry seasoning, and pepper in a large, deep skillet. Cook over high heat for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the onions are transparent, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon or paddle to break up the sausage chunks. Drain and reserve any excess liquid. Add the remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons salt and hickory liquid smoke and mix well.
  6. Add the mashed potatoes to the skillet along with the toasted nuts and cooked wild rice. Mix well to combine ingredients thoroughly. Adjust seasonings if needed.
  7. Press the mixture firmly into the prepared springform pan, and attractively arrange the tomato slices over the top, covering most of the surface. Bake uncovered for 1 hour. Allow the torte to stand for 15 to 20 minutes before removing from the pan.

For Gravy:

  1. Prepare the Mushroom Sauce while the torte is baking. Combine the mushrooms, 1 3/4 cups (415 ml) of the water, soy sauce, red wine, and lemon juice in a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Turn the heat down slightly and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Combine the cornstarch and remaining 3 tablespoons of water in a small bowl and stir with a spoon to make a runny paste. Add the paste to the bubbling sauce, a little at a time, stirring constantly for about 1 minute, until the sauce has thickened to the desired consistency.
  4. To serve the torte, run a clean flatware knife around the edge of the springform pan, release the springform collar, and set the base with the torte on a platter. Serve the sauce in a gravy boat on the side. Makes about 2 1/4 cups (540 ml).

Notes: To ease the feast-day preparations, make the torte the day before, store it in the refrigerator, and reheat it at 350 degrees (Gas Mark 4) for 15 to 20 minutes just before serving.

The preparation comes together more quickly if you cook the wild rice before beginning the torte.

Add a gourmet touch by serving the torte on a footed cake plate and garnish the edges with sprigs of fresh herbs and orange slices.


  1. Cut 5 acorn squashes in half.
  2. Brush the cavities with oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Stuff the mixture into the cavity of each squash half.
  4. Place on a baking pan, cover with aluminum foil, shiny side down, and bake at 350 (Gas Mark 4) for 1 hour.

Click here for past cookingwithzel@home.comeonin recipes

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