Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Vegan Holiday Meal

What do vegans eat on holidays? Everything you would, of course!

The star of this meal is my tofu francaise. But even if you are not a fan of the tofu, the delectable sides will surely fill you up. For today's meal, I served creamy mashed potatoes made with unsweetened soy milk and Earth Balance spread, green bean casserole made with soy milk, and stuffing made with sausage flavored TVP.

"Veganizing" many meals is possible through a host of products now available in regular supermarkets. For instance, in my mashed potatoes I used unsweetened soy milk in the place of dairy milk and Earth Balance buttery spread in lieu of butter. You don't have to go to a specialty store to find soy, almond, rice and coconut milks. Keep in mind that the nut milks will impart a slight nutty taste to your dish. Earth Balance comes in tubs and sticks, and tastes and melts like butter. The sticks are particularly helpful for baking and cooking.

For basic stuffing, saute on medium heat onions and celery in a couple of tablespoons of EVOO until soft. Add about 2 cups of vegetable stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Turn the heat off and add your bread cubes ( about 4 cups or one 12 ounce bag of stuffing cubes), toss to mix. Season with 1-2 teaspoons of Bells seasoning. Salt & pepper to taste. Turn out into a casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until golden brown on top.

For sausage flavored seasoning, you'll have to make sausage flavored crumbles using TVP or textured vegetable protein. TVP looks like large dried bread crumbs. When reconstituted with water or broth it takes on the appearance and texture of ground beef, and can be flavored any which way. TVP is used as a beef extender in many products including your fast food tacos. To make sausage flavored TVP click on this link: TVP Sausage Crumbles . Your crumbles can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge. Ad your crumbles to your stuffing after you saute the onion and celery.

For the green bean casserole substitute a vegan version of the cream of mushroom soup (and milk) such as Imagine Portabello soup. I'm not a huge fan of this mushy grey slop, but it is a family holiday tradition.

Now for the Tofu! Begin by wrapping your extra firm tofu block in a clean kitchen towel and place something heavy on it such as a saucepan. Set aside for a few minutes to press out the extra fluid. Slice your block into vertical slices about 2 inches by 4 inches by half and inch thick. In a non stick pan fry your slices in vegetable oil until golden brown on top and bottom. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Remove most of the oil from your pan and on medium heat, saute a roughly chopped medium onion until soft. Add half a dozen sliced baby portabello mushrooms and cook down. Deglaze with about half a cup of dry white wine. Add 1-2 cups of vegetable stock and the juice of one lemon. Bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for about 10 minutes and add the tofu slices back in. Simmer again for 10-15 minutes to allow the tofu to absorb all the flavors. Sprinkle with fresh basil before serving.

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