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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegan Recipes/ Vegetarian Recipes


Includes recipes below

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The cryptic little cranberry remains quietly bogged down in remote farmlands across the country, quietly germinating, growing, and maturing until October. But when autumn arrives, the deep red, blushing beauties make their splashing debut in markets across the nation.

And while Thanksgiving dinner would seem incomplete without a serving of cranberry sauce, we urban dwellers tend to rely on the convenient canned variety without realizing what delights we miss by taking a pass on the fresh cranberries.

Traditionally, cranberries are associated with sweet dishes--cranberry sauce, cranberry relish, cranberry bread, cranberry muffins, and cranberry pie. But cranberries add intriguing dimension to savory dishes as well.

I've always made my own cranberry sauce-just as my mother did in preparation for Thanksgiving dinner. Only in recent years have I been discovering how enchanting those little berries are. Their intensely tart quality lays the ideal foundation for savory treats like delectable appetizers, salads, soups, and entrees as well as dessert sweets.

Below are a variety of sweet and savory cranberry recipes that brighten up the holidays with a burst of brilliant color, a zap of wild flavors, and the reward that comes from putting something special on the table.


Is it possible that a bowl of cranberry soup can remind you of sweet and sour cabbage borscht? This one has all those punchy flavors and not a shred of cabbage. Credit goes to the fabulous cranberries that add zest and richness to this bold, brassy soup.


Yield: 4 to 5 servings

    2 cups (480 ml) fresh cranberries
    4 cups (1 liter) water
    3 cups (720 ml) chopped tomatoes
    1 medium onion, chopped
    1/4 cup (60 ml) plus 2 tablespoons organic sugar
    3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
    1 tablespoon rice vinegar
    1 1/4 teaspoons salt
    Pinch cayenne
    Freshly ground black pepper

    1 15-ounce (425g) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

    2 green onions, chopped

  1. Rinse the cranberries in a strainer and place them into an 8 to 10-quart (8 to 10 liter) stockpot.
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients except the cannellini beans and green onins. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Add the beans and simmer another minute or two to infuse them with flavor. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with chopped green onions.

Here's an appetizer spread that will dazzle the tastebuds while it stimulates the appetite for the festive meal ahead. To temper the tartness of the cranberries, raisins bring sweetness, Dijon mustard adds pungency, salt creates flavor balance, and the beans create the base to blend all the components. Serve this delightful starter with crackers, toasted pita wedges, or whole grain bread.


Yield: 2 1/4 cups (540 ml) or 4 to 6 servings

Cranberry Cannellini Concasse

    1 cup (240 ml) fresh cranberries

    1 15-ounce (425g) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
    1/2 cup (120 ml) black raisins
    1/4 cup (120 ml) diced sweet onions
    1/4 cup (120 ml) minced cilantro
    3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
    2 teaspoons maple syrup
    3/4 teaspoons salt

    1 to 3 sprigs of fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, basil) 3 whole cranberries

  1. Wash the cranberries and coarsely pulse-chop them in the food processor. Transfer them to a medium bowl.
  2. Put the beans into the food processor and coarsely puree them. Spoon the pureed beans into the bowl with the cranberries and add the raisins, onions, cilantro, mustard, maple syrup, and salt. Mix well to distribute the flavors evenly and spoon the concasse into an attractive serving bowl.
  3. Garnish by placing herbs at the edge of the bowl. Artfully nestle the three cranberries among the herbs.

If you enjoy toast with your morning meal, you'll love it even more with a cinnamon-flavored fruity spread that retains the luscious flavors of sun-dried whole cranberries. Enhanced with the chunky texture of coarsely ground walnuts, the spread becomes a highly nutritious breakfast treat with a flavor-combo you'll rave about.


Yield: 2 1/2 cups (600 ml)

    2 cups (480 ml) packed dried apple rings
    2 cups (480 ml) sweetened dried cranberries
    1 1/2 cups (240 ml) plus 2 tablespoons water, divided
    1 stick cinnamon

    1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    1 cup (240 ml) walnuts

  1. Combine the apple rings, cranberries, 1 cup (240 ml) of the water, and the cinnamon stick in a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and steam for 10 minutes.
  2. Transfer the apple-cranberry mixture to the food processor and add the remaining 1/2 cup (120 ml) plus 2 tablespoons water, lemon juice, and ground cinnamon. Process until all the ingredients are thoroughly pureed. You may have to stop the machine once or twice to scrape down the sides of the workbowl.
  3. Remove the cranberry spread to a medium mixing bowl. Coarsely grind the walnuts in a hand-crank nutmill and add them to the spread, mixing with the back of a spoon to distribute the nuts evenly.
  4. Spoon the Nutty Cranberry Apple Spread into an attractive serving bowl or a plastic storage container. Cover and chill. Refrigerated, the Nutty Cranberry Apple Spread will keep for up to 2 weeks.

Attention PB&J Fans:
Ready to depart from the mundane and venture out into new territory? For a treat that tops the traditional PB&J, omit the walnuts and slather the Cranberry-Apple Spread over the peanut butter instead of jelly.

Start with a gorgeous food like cranberries and you can hardly miss. No matter what other flavorful ingredients you combine with them, cranberries invariably grab the limelight. This perky pink mousse stands alone as a tasty dessert but also has divine versatility. Use it as a crepe filling, a top layer for a chocolate mousse, or a cake topping. Its tangy-sweet flavor edge is enhanced with a hit of almond extract to make this a favorite during holiday season. The big plus--it's so easy and quick to assemble. Here's a helpful clean-up hint--after you measure out the liquid lecithin, wipe the measuring spoon with a napkin. Then it will clean up with ease.


Yield: 2 1/4 cups (600 ml) or filling for 6 crepes

    1/2 cup (120 ml) whole almonds

    1 1/2 cups (360 ml) fresh cranberries
    1/2 cup (120 ml) plus 3 tablespoons organic sugar
    1/2 cup (120 ml) plus 2 tablespoons water
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    1 tablespoon liquid lecithin
    1 teaspoon almond extract
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon guar gum
    Pinch salt

  1. Grind the almonds to a fine powdery meal in a small electric coffee grinder or mini-grinder-chopper and set aside.
  2. Wash the cranberries in a strainer and place them into the blender. Add the remaining ingredients and blend on high speed for about 2 minutes to create a smooth, creamy, and thick mousse.
  3. Transfer to an attractive serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate for several hours.

Cranberry Almond Mousse Crepes
Place a generous spoonful of Cranberry Almond Mousse down the center of each crepe and fold over each of the ends forming a plump tube. Top the crepe with Tangy Cranberry Syrup (recipe below). The recipe makes enough mousse to fill 6 crepes.

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Mousse
Fill 4 long-stemmed wine glasses with half the Cranberry Almond Mousse. Distribute 1/4 cup (60 ml) vegan chocolate chips over the 4 mousse desserts and spoon the remaining mousse over the top. Decorate each serving with either a single chocolate chip placed in the center, a blanched almond placed in the center, or a tiny sprig of mint.

Enjoy this festive syrup when cranberries are in season. Ideal for pancakes or waffles, this sauce is also great on crepes or other desserts that need a sweet and tangy topping. It's easy to make, and refrigerated, it keeps well for two weeks


Yield: 3 cups (720 ml)

    1 cup (240 ml) fresh cranberries
    3 cups (720 ml) plus 2 tablespoons water, divided
    1 cup (240 ml) organic sugar
    1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    2 tablespoons cornstarch

  1. Wash the cranberries and place them into a 2 quart (2 liter) saucepan. Add the cranberries, 3 cups (720 ml) of the water, organic sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon to the saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes.
  2. Combine the cornstarch and the remaining 2 tablespoons water in a cup or small bowl and stir to a thin paste. Add the paste to the gently bubbling sauce a little at a time, stirring constantly for about 1 minute until thickened.

If serving over crepes, warm the sauce gently, pour into a gravy boat, and serve with a ladle.

A dessert with a mousse-like consistency, this cranberry creation relies on a lengthy chilling to thicken completely. Makes a great second layer for a chocolate pudding or chocolate mousse. For fast clean-up, be sure to wipe the measuring spoon with a napkin after measuring the liquid lecithin. Then it will clean up with ease.


Yield: 4 to 5 servings

    1/2 cup (120 ml) cashews, soaked 8 hours
    1 cup (240 ml) fresh cranberries
    1/2 cup (120 ml) plus 2 tablespoons water
    1/2 cup (120 ml) plus 1 tablespoon organic sugar
    1 tablespoon liquid lecithin
    2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
    3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon guar gum
    Pinch ground cardamom

  1. Drain the water from the cashews and place them into the blender.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and blend on high speed for 2 minutes to create a smooth, creamy, and thick consistency.
  3. Spoon the Cranberry Cashew Cinnamon Fluff into small dessert cups and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Instead of the old-standby oil and vinegar salad dressing, why not highlight one of the most outstanding fruits of the season with a dressing that boasts not only robust flavors. but also tingles the tongue with the sweet essence of maple syrup. And the striking cranberry red color provides dramatic visual contrast to salad greens like romaine and butter lettuce.


Yield: 2 cups (480 ml)

    1 cup (240 ml) fresh cranberries
    3/4 cup (180 ml) water
    1/2 cup (120 ml) raspberry vinegar
    1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon maple syrup
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon guar gum
    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  1. Wash the cranberries in a strainer, drain them, and put them into the blender.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, and start the blender on low speed for a few seconds. Switch to high speed and blend for a full minute. Using a funnel, transfer the dressing to a narrow-neck bottle for easy pouring.
  3. Shake well before using. Refrigerated, Fresh Cranberry Salad Dressing keeps well for about a week.
Guar Gum is a white powder that comes from the guar plant, a leguminous plant that grows in India. Use it to thicken and add body to salad dressings.

A knock-your-socks-off festive holiday beverage, this unique take-off on eggnog lights up with a tangy edge and an inviting powder puff pink color thanks to the season's bountiful cranberry harvest. The nog is quickly assembled in the blender, but you may want to plan ahead for multiple batches when serving a crowd.


Yield: about 3 1/2 cups (840 ml) or 5 punch-cup servings

Cranberry Nog

    1 1/2 (360 ml) cups fresh cranberries

    2 cups (480 ml) vanilla soymilk
    1/2 cup (120 ml) plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon guar gum
    1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

  1. Rinse the cranberries in a strainer under running water and place them into the blender.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and blend on high speed for a full minute or until the cranberries are completely broken down and the nog becomes creamy and thick. You will still see tiny flecks of cranberries even after blending thoroughly.
  3. Pour the nog into a pitcher and chill until ready to serve. Refrigerated, the Spiced Cranberry Nog will keep for 2 to 3 days.

This unique fruit combination is one of the sugarplums of the autumn season. It's so rich in colors and flavors, you can serve it often as a meal accompaniment throughout the holidays. Once cut open, cranberries have a tendency to lose some of their delightful tang after several hours. If you decide make this dish a day ahead, add the cranberries no more than two to three hours before serving.


Yield: 8 to 10 servings

    2 cups (240 ml) fresh cranberries

    2 large sweet apples, unpeeled, cored and chopped

    2 cups (240 ml) black raisins
    30 dates, pitted and chopped
    2 large Fuyu persimmons, diced
    1 cup (240 ml) raw pecans, toasted and chopped
    2/3 cup (160 ml) toasted pine nuts

  1. Rinse the cranberries in a strainer, drain them thoroughly, and place them into the food processor. Pulse-chop until the cranberries are finely minced. Transfer them to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Pulse-chop the apples in the food processor until they are finely minced and add them to the bowl with the cranberries.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and toss well to distribute the fruits evenly. Transfer to an attractive serving bowl.

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