The VegNews Holiday Cookbook is here, y’all! And I’m super excited because I’ve got recipes in it! That’s right, I am now a published recipe author. Now, you all know of my kitchen prowess from such works as Slow Cooker Pumpkin Bread Pudding but I’ve been honing my skillz for awhile now/been too poor to afford delicious takeout and I’m actually pretty okay (thanks in large part to working on VegWeb!). You can stop being terrified because I have no plans to inflict an entire cookbook on you or anything like that but my recipes in this, they are tasty! And if I’m not enough (I’LL MURDER YOU), it’s filled with recipes from talented chefs like Tal Ronnen and Robin Robertson! Oh, and it’s an e-cookbook which you love because you’re a total environmentalist. SO BUY IT! And then make my recipes (and, uh, the other recipes, too) and let me know what you think but only if you like them because frankly, that’s enough out of you! xoxoxo!
Chef Tal Ronnen’s Thanksgiving menu: Sweet potato biscuits! »
More mashed potatoes? No problem at all, chef Tal Ronnen. Possibly we love nothing more than a double-carb-punch of mashed root + biscuit. Picture soaking up the mingled sauces on your Thanksgiving plate with a piece of warm biscuit, then scooping up a bit of cashewy mashed potatoes, and adding a wee slice of your Gardein on top: perfect bite, y/y?
Fun fact to tell small children (which they can and will later repeat to everyone they know, including many other small children, thus ensuring that The Truth will be spread throughout the world): the tuberous root we in North American call the “sweet potato” is just a variety of the tuber we call a “yam”—much like differentiating between types of apples. Those rusty-skinned, orange-fleshed roots labeled “yams” are legally required to also be labeled “sweet potatoes” within the U.S. because there is a proper vegetable called a yam, of which the starchy tuber is eaten. Yams and yams aren’t related at all! You are now the hero/bane of Thanksgiving.
Sweet potato biscuits
20 min prep
20 min cook
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. Earth Balance, chilled
1 tsp. agave nectar
¾ cup mashed sweet potatoes, cooled
¼ cup unsweetened soy milk
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut in the margarine until well incorporated. Add the agave nectar, sweet potatoes, and soy milk and combine, forming a soft dough.
Roll the dough out on a floured work surface to ½-inch thickness. Cut out biscuits of desired size. Bake in a preheated 400°F oven on a greased baking sheet for 12 to 15 mins.
Tomorrow is the last recipe! Yes, it’s dessert, but it doesn’t use pumpkin. So that’s something to look forward to.
Chef Tal Ronnen’s Thanksgiving menu: Creamy mashed potatoes with chives! »
Your Vegansaurus loves a mashed potato. We have before made dishes based on the amount of mashed potatoes in the recipe. Freshly mashed, several days old and spread on bread for a sandwich, baked to golden-brown-crusted perfection: O mashed potatoes, our affection for you has always been, and always will be.
This recipe by chef Tal Ronnen doesn’t mess around: instead of non-dairy milk, it calls for cashew cream. That would make for a rich mashed potato, and cut with the fresh chives, it sounds really amazing. Thank you again, Gardein, for sending us this menu!
Creamy Mashed Potatoes with Chives
20 min prep
20 min cook
Pre-prep tip: Soak raw cashews overnight!
(If you’re short on time, substitute soy milk.)
6 large potatoes, diced
1 cup cashew cream (recipe follows)
3 Tbsp. Earth Balance
¼ cup fresh chives, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Soak 2 cups of raw cashews overnight.
Add the soaked cashews to a blender and fill with water sufficient to cover the cashews by 1 inch. Blend on high for 2 minutes. Tip: if not using a professional high-speed blender, you might need to strain the cream through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth. May substitute soy milk for cashew cream, if needed.
Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes.
Drain the potatoes, place in a bowl with the remaining ingredients, and mix until smooth. Serve hot.
Easy-peasy lemon sqeezey. This one I would—WILL make ahead of time, you know, as a taste-test. Or supper. You know.
Chef Tal Ronnen’s Thanksgiving menu: Green beans with fresh cranberries! »
Hey everyone! This is the third recipe on Tal Ronnen’s Thanksgiving menu with Gardein, meaning we are halfway through dinner. Now if we were French, we might’ve started with this dish and ended with the beet and orange autumn salad, as is the custom in the francophone countries in which I have eaten meals. Once you make the mistake of eating the salad with your supper, only to watch everyone else eat it afterward, you remember the order. Of course you’d think someone would let you know that you were eating the salad out of order like a big dummy, but awkward situations can be difficult to diffuse. Thank goodness these are just delicious, neutral green beans.
Green Beans with Fresh Cranberries
15 min prep
15 min cook
¾ lbs. fresh green beans, trimmed and cut on the diagonal
2 Tbsp. margarine
1 cup cranberries
1 clove garlic, minced and pressed
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh tarragon, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and cook for 3 to 4 mins. Drain the beans in a colander and hold under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Blot the beans with a paper towel to remove the excess water.
Put the beans into a dry skillet and heat over medium heat until the remaining moisture on the beans evaporates. Stir in the margarine, cranberries, garlic, parsley, tarragon, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat well. Cook until heated through.
See you tomorrow for course four!
Chef Tal Ronnen’s Thanksgiving menu: Sage and pumpkin-seed-encrusted Gardein with cranberry cabernet sauce! »
On Friday we gave you the first recipe on chef Tal Ronnen’s and Gardein’s Thanksgiving menu, a beet and orange salad. Today comes the second recipe, a main course using Gardein chick’n scallopini and/or Gardein chick’n filets. I’m not sure how it would work using that fancypants seasonal stuffed Turk’y, but experimental cooks are welcome to try! Let’s get to the recipe.
Sage and Pumpkin-Seed-Encrusted Gardein with Cranberry Cabernet Sauce
20 min prep
40 min cook
for the sauce
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 large shallot
4 sprigs of thyme
¼ cup dried cranberries
1 cup cabernet
1 cup faux chicken stock or vegetable broth
1 tbsp. arrowroot
2 tbsp. water
3 tbsp. ‘Earth Balance’ butter
salt and pepper to taste
for the cutlets
12 (3 pkgs.) Gardein chick’n scallopini (frozen)
12 (3 pkgs.) Gardein chick’n filets (fresh)
1 tbsp. minced fresh sage
1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (without shells)
1 tsp. paprika
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes
unbleached white flour
2 cups unsweetened soy milk
olive oil for sautéing
salt and pepper to taste
for the sauce
Heat the oil in a sauté pan. Add the shallots and sauté for 3 mins. Add the thyme and cranberries and sauté for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cabernet and scrape the bottom of the pan, then reduce the liquid by half. Add the stock and reduce by half. Mix the arrowroot with the water and add to the pan. Stir well and continue to cook for 2 mins. Turn heat off and whisk in the vegan butter 1 tbsp. at a time. Remove thyme stems.
for the cutlets
In a food processor, process the sage, seeds, paprika, bread crumbs, yeast, salt, and pepper until well incorporated. Thaw the frozen scaloppini. Dredge each Gardein cutlet in flour, then dip into the soy milk and then into the Panko breadcrumbs. Sauté on each side until browned and crisp.
Again, send us photos if you make it! The next recipe comes tomorrow!
Chef Tal Ronnen’s Thanksgiving menu: Beet and orange autumn salad! »
Yesterday we told you about Gardein’s new, limited-edition holiday product, the Savory Stuffed Turk’y with gravy. We also told you about the special Thanksgiving menu that chef Tal Ronnen had prepared to complement the Turk’y, and promised to post one recipe a day until you got them all. There are six recipes, and today you get the first!
Beet and Orange Autumn Salad
by chef Tal Ronnen
10 min. prep
45 min. cook
½ cup cider vinegar
½ cup sherry vinegar
2 oz. maple syrup
2 tbsp. shallots, minced
¼ tsp. black pepper, crushed
¼ tsp. coriander, ground
pinch dry mustard
¼ tsp. fenugreek, ground
6 oz. canola oil, cold pressed
10 oz. olive oil, extra-virgin
3 tbsp. chives, thinly sliced
3 cups baby spinach, washed
3 oranges, sectioned and peeled
10 red beets, golf ball sized, peeled & roasted
2 tbsp. canola oil
for the vinaigrette
In a large saucepan, combine the vinegars, maple syrup, shallots, black pepper, coriander, dry mustard, and fenugreek. Bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer until reduced by one-third. Remove from the heat and chill. Once chilled, purée in a blender, while slowly adding the canola and the olive oils. Strain, then add the chives.
for the roasted beets
Vegetable oil sufficient to coat the beets. Heat the oven to 400°F. In a baking dish, combine the beets with the vegetable oil and roast until soft (approx.. 45 minutes). Peel and chill.
to assemble the salad
Slice the beets and arrange on a plate with the orange slices and spinach then drizzle with the maple sherry vinaigrette.
We expect photos if you make it, pals! Check back Monday for the next recipe.
Canadian Gardein expands your U.S. Thanksgiving options! »
It’s Gardein Savory Stuffed Turk’y, hooray! It won’t put an end to Tofurky jokes—nothing will ever, ever put an end to Tofurky jokes—but it might entice your family to try something less murderous than actual turkey. These little fellows come in two-packs plus gravy in the freezer section; the actual “Turk’y” is “breaded with toasted crumbs and is stuffed with celery, onions, cranberries, and bread crumbs,” and like all Gardein products, is high-protein, low-calorie, and vegan.
Gardein says they’re just coming into stores now, so if you’re interested, you may begin the hunt. Maybe try a package now, and if you like them buy another to take with, should you find yourself in a veg-unfriendly location this Thanksgiving. Or not; I don’t care what you eat as long as it’s vegan. Gardein hasn’t given us anything but that image of the product package.
Apparently Gardein loves Thanksgiving, because the company has collaborated with chef Tal Ronnen to create a gorgeous vegan Thanksgiving menu to accompany the Savory Stuffed Turk’y. Chef Tal’s recipes look wonderful, and your Vegansaurus will be posting one a day beginning tomorrow until we’ve posted them all! This Thanksgiving, seize the kitchen in a bloodless* coup and produce the best cruelty-free dinner your family and friends have ever tasted (at home).
Le Cordon Bleu student chefs get schooled by Tal Ronnen! »
Whether he knows it or not, Chef Tal Ronnen is starting a vegan revolution in the commercial kitchens of tomorrow, and he’s starting it at the grassroots that matter: student chefs.
Last Wednesday, we at Vegansaurus were lucky enough to sit in on a workshop led by Tal Ronnen at the California Culinary Academy, where he demonstrated gourmet vegan cooking to Le Cordon Bleu student chefs. Tal is known to most of us as Oprah’s personal chef during her 21-day vegan cleanse and author of The Conscious Cook, while Le Cordon Bleu is all about heavy cream, foie gras, bacon, ducks, rabbits, and whatever else didn’t escape the French cuisine zoo in time.
But if you’re thinking this is some kind of a wacky two-worlds-colliding contradiction, it’s not. As a classically trained chef, Tal praised the Le Cordon Bleu program and even encouraged vegetarian students to stick with it and learn the basics of gourmet food. And here’s where the “revolutionary” part comes in: by focusing on the classic ideal of what makes food rich and pleasurable to eat, vegan food can be for everyone, not just vegans.
It’s something we battle with often around here. With so few vegans in the world, how can a restaurant owner ever justify catering to us? Tal started by addressing this head on. With more food writers like Mark Bittman and Michael Pollan encouraging omnivores to eat mostly plants (and we’d say, skip the “mostly” and go with “all” but, baby steps), the message is starting to sink in. Chef Tal did his market research homework and estimated that 40 to 50 percent of Americans are looking to eat meatless meals, at least part-time. Okay, so how do we get people doing it?
The short answer is, vegan food has to appeal to the general population. This may sound obvious, but restaurants get it wrong all the time, like fake meat that doesn’t appeal to meat-eaters, or “the vegan plate” that’s all sides and no protein. According to Tal, a good vegan meal should feel substantial and satisfying to whomever is eating it. (One of his secrets? Cook with saturated fat.) And if more chefs learn how and plan more menus with meatless meals, then maybe people will finally stop thinking of meat as something you “need.”
So what about the food? Tal’s menu for the cooking demo: creamy celery root soup with granny smith apples; artichoke ricotta tortellini with saffron cashew cream sauce; and Gardein “chick’n” scaloppini with shiitake sake sauce, braised pea shoots, and crispy udon noodle cakes. (DAMN. Oprah gave that up after 21 days? What were you thinking?!) Gardein was the surprise hit; feedback from the student chefs included “I’m sold” and “the texture was fabulous.” And it’s available wholesale through Sysco, so how about it, hotels and restaurants?
We only were able to try small samples of the final dishes, so note to self, don’t show up with an empty stomach to a cooking demo put on by one of the world’s top vegan chefs. Unless you enjoy torture. Seriously, just kill me next time.