Sunday, November 29, 2009

Pumpkin Soup

This is a greatly simplified, vegetarian version of a recipe I found in Martha Stewart's Living Magazine: can't find it online today. It's a super starter for the Thanksgiving meal.


2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 onion, chopped
1 leek, white part only, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 lg. parsnip, peeled and chopped
4 cups pumpkin purée, fresh-cooked or canned
4 cups vegetable stock
2-3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 Tbsp. soy sauce


In a large soup pot, melt butter with black pepper. Add onion, leek, carrots, and parsnip, and sauté until onion is soft. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer until vegetables are very soft, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for a few minutes.

Using a food processor or blender, purée the soup in small batches. Add more vegetable stock or water if needed.

Serves 6 - 8

adapted from a recipe in Martha Stewart’s Living Magazine

Cranberry Sauce

This is the only whole cranberry sauce that I like. The orange pieces add some sweetness that balances the bite of the cranberries. I worked it out after years of trying different recipes. This has the best parts of most of them.


12 oz. fresh cranberries, washed and picked-over
1/2 cup cranberry juice or orange juice
2 Tbsp. nonalcoholic red wine
2/3 cup sugar
dash of ground nutmeg
16 oz. can mandarin orange segments, rinsed and halved; or 1 Tbsp.
          chopped candied orange peel; or 1/4 cup orange marmalade


In a deep sauce pan, stir together all ingredients except the mandarin orange segments. If using candied orange peel or marmalade, add it now.

Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer until most of the cranberries have popped--this won’t take long. Remove from heat, stir in mandarin oranges, and let cool. The cranberry sauce thickens as it cools. Chill if desired.

Makes about 4 cups.

Pumpkin Pie

Finally, I have got a recipe for soy-free, dairy-free, eggless pumpkin pie! This year's experiment was a success. It's an adaptation of Bryanna Grogan's Vegan Pumpkin Pie, and my own tofu pumpkin pie recipe.


1 unbaked pie crust
4 Tbsp. cornstarch
3 cups steamed and puréed pumpkin (or canned)*
1 Tbsp. molasses (not blackstrap)
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. salt


Preheat oven to 350 deg. F. Place rolled-out pie crust dough in 9” deep-dish pie pan. Trim edges and prick bottom and sides with a fork. Reserve extra dough, if desired, and make a garnish (see below). Bake the pie crust for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool while making the filling.

In a large bowl, stir cornstarch and a small amount of pumpkin together until smooth.

Add the rest of the pumpkin and remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth. Pour into pie crust and bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool for several hours, to get a good “set.”

Garnish: roll out remaining pie crust dough and make leaf shapes with cookie cutters, and little acorns as 1/2” balls. Bake on a cookie sheet at 375 deg. F until golden brown. Arrange on top of pie just before serving.

* Note: I cook my own pumpkin for the purée. It's easy to use a steamer to cook cut-up pumpkin chunks (about 1"), slice the skin and strings off after cooking, and purée in a food processor or blender. This produces a light, wonderful texture for the pie. If you use canned pumpkin, you might want to mix a little rice milk or water in, to get a consistency of stirred yogurt.

adapted from Bryanna Grogan’s Vegan Pumpkin Pie,

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sage Gravy

Great vegetarian gravy! I found a recipe in Whole Foods' newsletter many, many years ago, and as usual, I adapted it. Here is my version.


2 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. unbleached flour
1 tsp. onion powder (or 1/2 onion, chopped and cooked in butter)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder (or 2 cloves, minced and cooked in butter)
1 Tbsp. celery flakes (or 1 celery stalk, chopped and cooked in butter;
            or a pinch of celery seed, ground in mortar and pestle)
2 cups vegetable stock
1-1/2 tsp. rubbed sage (or 3/4 tsp. powdered sage)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soy sauce


Melt butter over medium-low heat in a large skillet. If using powdered onion and garlic, mix into flour before adding. Gradually stir flour mixture into melted butter, smoothing out the lumps with a spatula. Cook, stirring constantly for a few minutes until browned (not too dark).

Gradually stir in vegetable broth, smoothing out lumps, if any. Add celery flakes and remaining seasonings. Simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened. This gravy will get thicker as it cools.

Note; You can use fresh celery, onion, and garlic for a chunky gravy—it’s very hearty. If you prefer smooth gravy, use powdered seasonings. Fresh sage leaves give a much sharper flavor, and most folks prefer the rubbed sage taste.

Serves 4.

adapted from Whole Foods Market’s recipe:

Friday, November 27, 2009

Holiday Nut Loaf

UPDATE: See added note about bread crumbs..

This is our vegetarian main dish at Thanksgiving. The loaf pictured was made with ground cashews and almonds--I have made it with all walnuts, which is probably my favorite. Serve this with Sage Gravy, and you've got a great holiday main dish.

The leftover loaf can be refrigerated, sliced, and frozen. The slices freeze quite well when separated by a layer of waxed paper.

This recipe was adapted (over several years) from the "Cashew Nut Roast" recipe that appears here. I have substituted ingredients that are easier to obtain in the U.S., and I finally gave up on stuffing the loaf because it's almost impossible to get slices that hold together with the stuffing in the middle. Many thanks to Vegan Family House for their inspiring and helpful recipe.


2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 sm. onion, finely chopped (or 2 med. leeks, white part only)
2 Tbsp. flour
1-1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried thyme or summer savory
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
3 cups ground cashews (other nuts can be substituted)
          Note: start with at least 4 cups before grinding the nuts.
3 cups bread crumbs*

Preheat oven to 360 deg. F.

In a large pan, melt the butter with the pepper. When melted, cook celery and onion for a few minutes. Add the flour, and smooth out lumps with a spatula. Gradually add the stock until mixture is well-blended and free of lumps.

Remove from heat and stir in the salt, herbs, and garlic powder. Add the nuts and bread crumbs, and mix well.

Butter a loaf pan and press the mixture into the pan. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes, or until the sides start to brown at the top.

Remove from oven and let sit for at least 5 - 10 minutes--the longer, the better for slicing. When ready to serve, run a knife around the top of the loaf and turn out of the pan onto a serving plate.

Serves 6 - 8

* The bread crumbs must be from ordinary slices of grocery-store whole wheat sandwich bread.  If you use pre-made packaged dry bread crumbs, the loaf will not hold together.  If you use fresh-baked bread, the loaf will be too wet.

adapted from

This recipe appears on
Cashew Loaf on Foodista

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving for Three

Just finished feasting... this meal was for only 3 of us, but it was great. I managed to snap this picture before we sat down and dug in. Here's this year's vegetarian Thanksgiving menu:

Pumpkin Soup
Cashew Loaf
Homemade Bread
Jellied Cranberry Sauce (for Michael)
Sparkling Apple-Grape Juice
Spiced Tea
Whole Cranberry Sauce (mostly out of picture)
Sage Gravy (not in picture)
Stir-Fried Spinach (ran out of time--didn't get made)
Pumpkin Pie (not in picture)

Some of the recipes can be found in the following posts:
Pumpkin Soup
Cranberry Sauce
Holiday Nut Loaf
Sage Gravy
Pumpkin Pie

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gallo Pinto

I fell in love with this food when I was in Costa Rica. The dish is adapted from a popular recipe, which is served there on a daily basis. It is named after a black-and-white chicken that is common to the area, but the recipe actually contains no meat.


2-3 cups cooked brown rice
2 cups (or 2 cans) cooked black beans, rinsed
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1-1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. chopped onion
2 tsp. soy sauce
3 shakes Tabasco sauce
1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste)


Heat the olive oil, coriander, and pepper in a large skillet on med-low. Add onion and sauté until soft.

Add the beans and cook 2 minutes more. Mix in the rice and cook 3 more minutes (add water if not moist enough).

Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover the skillet and turn off the heat.

Serves 4-6. Can be served with a simple salad of cut-up cucumber and tomatoes seasoned with salt and pepper.

This recipe appears on
Vegetarian Gallo Pinto on Foodista

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Colcannon: The Original Comfort Food

I know, it looks like cat barf. But really this is a combination of mashed potatoes, cabbage, leeks, butter, garlic, and rosemary. It would have looked better if I had broiled the top, but it's still warm here in Texas. And when this stuff goes down, the happiness quotient goes way up.


2 lbs. potatoes, scrubbed & chopped with skins on
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) butter
1 lb. fresh cabbage, cut in 1” chunks
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 med. leeks, washed & sliced up to 1” above the white part
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, ground in mortar & pestle


Place potatoes in a large pan, cover with water, bring to a boil. Simmer until potatoes are soft. Drain well.

While potatoes are cooking, sauté cabbage in butter for a few minutes. Add leeks and garlic, and continue cooking on low heat, covered, until cabbage is soft but not mushy.

Combine cooked potatoes with cabbage mixture, and mash. Some chunks are desirable. Stir in salt, pepper, and rosemary.

If desired, place in an oven-proof dish and broil to brown the top.

Serves 8

For more of my favorite cabbage recipes, see
How to Cook Non-Yucky Cabbage
Barely Borscht
Cabbage Soup
Maple-Pecan Fried Slaw
Onion Pie

This recipe appears onVegetarian Colcannon on Foodista