Stuffed Pumpkin with Rice and Mushroom

Stuffed Pumpkin with Rice and Mushroom

Stuffed Pumpkin with Rice and Mushroom

Have you ever tried stuffing a pumpkin and roasting it to perfection? If not, then you should try this recipe! Every Thanksgiving, my aunt makes this stuffed pumpkin with rice, sautéed onions, celery, and lots of sausage…so I took the challenge of re-creating her dish with a vegan twist. Living a plant-based life can be easy and enjoyable; I’m here to show you that all of your favorite foods can still be made with plant-based ingredients. Instead of sausage, I reconstituted dried shiitake mushrooms for a “meaty” texture which gives the dish a wonderful flavor profile!

Stuffed Pumpkin with Rice and Mushroom

Yields 2-3 pumpkins

Ingredients

2-3 pumpkin pie pumpkin (or 1 large pumpkin)

2 oz. dried Shitake mushrooms, chopped and reconstituted (see notes)

4 cups white rice, cooked

1 stick vegan butter

2 cups onion, chopped

1-1/2 cup celery, chopped

1/2 cup red wine, de-glaze

3 Tbsp. Worcestershire, to coat each pumpkin

2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. onion powder

2 tsp. Vitacost Himalayan Fine Pink Salt

2 tsp. pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. To reconstitute the dried shitaki mushrooms, fill a bowl with hot water and soak for 1 hour. Remove the stems once they are all soft and dice the shiitake mushroom into 1-in. Note: Make sure that the mushrooms are soft and well hydrated.
  3. Saute the onion and celery for 5-7 minutes. At this same time, cook your rice according to the package instructions. Remove the onion and celery from the pan and set aside in a small bowl.
  4. In the same frying pan, add butter and reconstituted mushrooms and pan fry for 3-5 minutes. Add the red wine to the mushrooms and cook on high for 2 minutes. Add to the cooked rice, onions and celery mixture, season with salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.
  5. Cut the top off of your pumpkin and remove the top, seeds, and clean the inside out. Brush the inner walls with Worcestershire and add the mushroom and rice mixture.
  6. Place the pumpkin inside of a pan with 1-in” water to steam. Cover the pumpkin with the top and bake for roughly 40-50 minutes. The pumpkin should be soft and the outside should be charred.

Chef’s tip: The darker the pumpkin the better. The

Garlic and Chive Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes

This plant-based mashed potato with garlic and cloves is so unbelievably delicious! Not only is this perfect for those Thanksgiving side dishes, but it may even qualify for Christmas. The best combination (in my opinion) are russet and Yukon gold potatoes. They really give you that perfect fluffy and creamy texture that you are looking for. Pair that texture with the fresh herbs, seasoning, and cashew milk and you’ll have yourself the perfect duo!

Mashed Potatoes

Yields 3-4 servings

Ingredients

4 potatoes, peeled and diced

1/4 cup cashew milk

1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. onion powder

2 Tbsp. chives

1/2 tsp. Vitacost Himalayan Fine Pink Salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Directions

  1. In a pot on medium-high heat, add the peeled and diced potatoes and cook until you can stick it with a fork and it falls off. Pour into a strainer and add to a mixing bowl.
  2. In the bowl with potatoes, begin to mash with a mixer (or stand mixer) and add the butter. Next add the cashew milk, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic, nutritional yeast, and chives.
  3. Place potatoes into a serving dish and enjoy

Chef’s tip: If you would like to make these a bit more on the garlic and cheesy side, feel free to add double the amount

Nanas Stuffing

Thanksgiving stuffing

Thanksgiving stuffing

My Nana’s stuffing recipe will complete any Thanksgiving meal or dinner! Here is another favorite of my Nana’s holiday cooking that I am excited to share with you all. Tossing homemade dried bread cubes with celery, onions, butter, and then topped with vegetable broth and baked to perfection. Pouring hot gravy over this stuffing is really what I crave each Thanksgiving, it’s just really that good. Be sure to save some room on your plate this year for this incredibly fresh and moist stuffing.

Thanksgiving stuffing

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients

3 loaves of stuffing bread (or day old bread)

1-3/4 cup vegetable broth

2 sticks vegan butter

1 cup onion, chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

6 Tbsp. Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer + 12 Tbsp. filtered water, mixed

Seasoning:

2 tsp. poultry seasoning

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. onion powder

2 tsp. fresh dill, chopped or 1/2 tsp. dried dill

1 tsp. paprika

Directions 

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Place the poultry seasoning, paprika, dill, onion powder, salt, pepper in to a small bowl and mix. Set aside.
  3. On a baking sheet, place the sliced bread on to the pan and bake for 15 minutes, and turn bread cubes around. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes slowly turning the cubes around. Once all of the bread is toasted, put them into a big bowl (you may need to use two).
  4. In a frying pan, add the butter, onions, and celery. Sauté for 5-10 minutes or until the celery is soft. Dump the mixture directly over the bread cubes. 
  5. Then pour the seasoning mixture, egg replacer, and vegetable broth over evenly, mixing until well incorporated. The bread cubes should be wet but not soggy or overly soaked.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. In a greased casserole dish, add the bread mixture and bake for 1 hour or until golden brown. 
  8. Allow to set for 5 minutes before serving.

Chef’s tip: Feel free to make this the day before and place it in the refrigerator overnight.

Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole

It’s the dish that most of us have been waiting for all year, Green bean casserole! Using cashew milk to recreate a “cream of mushroom” soup is a fantastic way to alter this classic side dish for Thanksgiving. Topped with crispy fried onion and baked to perfection, this plant-based alternative will leave you are your guests mouths watering for more!

Ingredients

4 Tbsp. avocado oil

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1 small shallot, diced

2 lbs. green beans, trimmed

1/2 cup baby Bella mushrooms, diced

2-3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 tsp. Himalayan pink salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/4 tsp. dried thyme

1/4 tsp. smoked paprika

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1/2 cup cashew milk

1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

1 Tbsp. tahini

1 1/2 cups crispy french fried onions

Directions 

  1. In a frying pan on medium-high heat, add the olive oil and onions and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add in the mushrooms and garlic, sauté for an additional 4-5 minutes.
  2. Next, add in paprika, nutritional yeast, pepper, salt, thyme, and flour. Coat the veggies and add the cashew milk, vegetable stock, and tahini.
  3. Turn heat to medium, and allow mixture to thicken, roughly 2-3 minutes. Set aside in the stove. 
  4. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Dice and trim off the green beans ends, slice in half, and place in boiling water. Cook for 2-3 minutes and remove green beans from pot into a bowl of ice water.
  5. In a big mixing bowl, add your cooked & drained green beans and pour the sauce over the green beans. Add about half of the fried onion crisps to the bowl and give a good mix.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. In a greased casserole dish, pour the mixture in and top with remaining onion crisps. 
  8. Bake covered for 40 minutes. Remove cover and continue baking until top is browned and bubbling.
  9. Serve immediately.

Chef’s tip: If you do not like mushrooms, you can leave them out of this recipe.

Pineapple Stuffing

Pineapple Stuffing

Sweeten up your Thanksgiving dinner with this decadent Pineapple stuffing! Growing up as a kid, each holiday, my Nana would make this recipe for the family. It is really one of those dishes that you may have to double so that everyone can get enough. This super easy and simply 5-ingredient recipe is buttery with a burst of pineapple flavor with each bite you take. This amazing side dish will only take a few minutes to prepare so don’t worry about making this the day before.

Pineapple Stuffing

Yields 5-6 servings

Ingredients

1 (20 oz can) crushed pineapple

1/2 cup vegan butter, melted

1 cup organic cane sugar

6 slices of white bread, cubed

4 Tbsp. Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer +8 Tbsp. filtered water, mix and set aside

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the melted butter, sugar, egg replacer, and pineapple and mix until well incorporated.
  3. Add the diced bread and fold the mixture.
  4. In a greased casserole dish, pour the bread and pineapple mixture in and bake for 1 hour or until top of golden brown.

Chef’s tip: You can always add Maraschino cherries if you would like.

Pasta Fazool (Pasta e fagioli)

Pasta Fazool

Pasta Fazool

With the weather starting to get colder, I thought now would be a great time to break out one of my favorite family recipes: Pasta Fazool (pasta e frasule)! This dish brings back so many memories of family dinners with my Nana cooking this soup for us all. This old school “peasant” dish has really become a staple in my life as a go-to comforting meal, especially when I want a taste of home. Get ready to break out some crusty bread to scoop up all this soupy goodness! I hope that you all enjoy this recipe as much as my family and I do.

Pasta Fazool

Soup:

2 cans northern beans (juice in)

2 Tbsp. tomato sauce, canned or homemade

2 cup vegetable broth

2-3 cloves garlic, (sliced)

1/4 cup avocado oil

1 cup onion, chopped

1-2 tsp. oregano, to taste

1/2 tsp. Vitacost Himalayan Fine Pink Salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

2 cans of water for EACH can of beans

1-1/2 to 2 cup Ditalini Macaroni, cooked

Directions

  1. In a medium soup pot on medium heat, add olive oil and diced onions. Sauté for 5-7 minutes or until onions are translucent.
  2. Next, add all above ingredients (except for Ditalini macaroni). Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium-low stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
  3. Slowly add the cooked Ditalini macaroni to the soup. Note: Start by adding 1-1/2 cups and see how the thickens turns out. If you desire a thicker soup, add remaining 1/2 cup macaroni.
  4. After 10-15 minutes of simmering, remove from heat and serve with choice of bread (or my personal favorite: pizza!)

Chef’s tip: the more macaroni you add to the soup the thicker the soup will get.

Southwestern Black Bean Salad

Southwestern Black Bean Salad

Cut the carbs and try this loaded salad for #TacoTuesday today! This salad is filled with fresh fruits and vegetables like red onion, juicy mango and pineapple, cherry tomatoes, and creamy avocados. One bite and you won’t be able to stop! That’s because the reviving taste of the fresh lime juice mixed with the black beans and other flavors will keep you wanting more!

Southwestern Black Bean Salad

Yields 2 servings

Ingredients

16 oz. organic spring mix

1/2 cup black beans

2 Tbsp. hemp seeds

1/3 cup mango salsa

1/8 cup red onion, sliced

1/2 avocado, sliced

1 tsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

Vinaigrette:

1/2 cup avocado oil

1/8 cup agave

1/2 cup lime juice, fresh squeezed

1 tsp, garlic

1/2 tsp. Vitacost Himalayan Fine Pink Salt

1/4 tsp. Spicely Organics Ground Black Pepper

Directions

Salad:

  1. On a large plate, place all of the lettuce down in a big layer. Top with cooked black beans, hemp seed, mango salsa, red onion, cilantro, and avocado.

Dressing:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together all dressing ingredients until well combined.
  2. Top salad with dressing and serve with sides of lime wedges.

Chef’s tip: To spice things up, add 1/4 tsp. jalapeño to the dressing,

Herb-Coated Cheese

Herb-Crusted Cheese

Herb-Crusted Cheese

Why go to the market to buy cheese when you can make it at home! Using a few probiotics, you can create a smooth and flavorful herb-crusted cheese wheel. This plant-based and dairy-free cheese is a great alternative and simple appetizer for any party. Your family or guests will surely be impressed when you pull this out of the fridge!

Herb-Crusted Cheese

Yields 4-6 servings

Ingredients 

Cheese:

3 cups Vitacost organic cashews, soaked overnight 8-10 hours 

4 capsules New Chapter Probiotic All-Flora

1/2 cup filtered water

1/2 tsp. Vitacost Himalayan Fine Pink Salt

Herb coating:

3 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped

3 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped

4 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

1-1/2 tsp. lemon zest

1/2 tsp. Vitacost Himalayan Fine Pink Salt

1/4 tsp. Spicely Organics Ground Black Pepper

Herb-Crusted Cheese

Directions

  1. In a bowl, cover the cashews with water for about 9 hours (or overnight). Drain and rinse the cashews. Set aside.
  2. In a blender, add the cashews, probiotic powder (from the capsules), and water. Blend ingredients until smooth in texture.
  3. Using two cheese clothes layered in a colander, pour the mixture into the lines colander- folding the cheesecloth on top.
  4. Place this in a warm spot to culture for roughly 24-36 hours.
  5. Mix salt into the cultured cheese and stir to combine. Press mixture into desired mold and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  6. Roll the cheese carefully in the herb mixture.
  7. Serve with your choice of crackers, veggies, or fruit.

Herb-Crusted Cheese

Chef’s tip: For maximum flavor, roll the cheese carefully into the herb mixture and refrigerate for a few hours to let flavors meld. 

Twice Baked Potato

Twice Baked Potato

Twice Baked PotatoThese twice baked potatoes are a great side dish to any meal and even warm up well the next day for lunch. They are filled with fresh herbs, vegan cheese, and a homemade “bacon” as well as tasting amazing! The silky smooth and creamy texture of the potato being blended and baked makes this fancier version of a baked potato that much more special.

Twice Baked Potato

Yields 5 servings

Ingredients

5 potatoes

1/3 cup plain almond milk

2 Tbsp. Earths Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup chopped green onion

1/4 cup vegan cheddar cheese

1/4 cup mushroom “bacon” (see below for recipe)

1 tsp. Vitacost Himalayan Pink Fine Salt

1/4 tsp. Spicely Organic Ground Black Pepper

Pinch of smoked paprika

Mushroom “bacon”

1 Portabello mushroom, sliced

1 tsp. smokey flavor

1 Tbsp. Vitacost Certified Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Pinch of Vitacost Himalayan Fine Pink Salt

Pinch Spicely Organics Ground Black Pepper

Twice Baked Potato

Directions

Bacon:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In bowl, drizzle oil over sliced mushrooms.
  3. Add salt, pepper and smoke flavor. Mix until evenly coated.
  4. On baking sheet, evenly arrange mushrooms.
  5. Bake 10-15 minutes.
  6. Flip mushrooms and bake for another 10 minutes or until brown and crispy.

Potato:

  1. On a baking sheet, place potatoes and set into the 400 degree F oven you preheated for the mushroom bacon.
  2. Allow potatoes to bake for 1 hour. Remove form oven and set aside to cool so you can easily touch it.
  3. Cut 1/3 of the way down from the top and scoop out the middle portion, careful not to break the skin. Place the potato into a mixing bowl.
  4. Add butter, almond milk, chives, garlic, cheese, “bacon”, salt and pepper to taste, mix until well incorporated and smooth.
  5. Scoop or pipe back into the potato shell. Instead of throwing out the top portion you cut off, you can use that by placing it at the bottom of the potato. This will also give you an illusion of over stuffed potatoes.
  6. Sprinkle the top with smoked paprika and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until top is golden brown at 350 degrees F.
  7. Serve with sour cream, cheese, and chives on top.

Chef’s Tip: I let the potatoes cool down in the oven after baking for an additional 5 minutes since I did not use any tin foil around my potato, this helped soften them up a bit further.

Mango-Pineapple Salsa

Mango-Pineapple Salsa

Mango-Pineapple Salsa Brighten up your next taco night with this mango-pineapple salsa or enjoy this on top of a crab-less “crab cake”, whatever you choose to pair it with, I promise this salsa will bring a fresh taste to your meal! In most cases, salsa is pretty boring, but this 7 ingredient mango-pineapple salsa will liven’ things up a bit! The unique blend of fruit, lime, onion, and hint of mint will have you dipping chips over and over again!

Mango-Pineapple Salsa

Yields 3-4 servings

Ingredients

2 cups mango, diced

1 cup pineapple, diced

1/4 cup red onion, chopped

1 small red pepper, small cubes

1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in quarters

10-12 fresh mint leaves, chopped

1 tsp. jalapeno, minced (optional)

1 medium lime, juiced

Pinch of Vitacost Himalayan Fine Pink Salt

Directions

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine all above ingredients. Stir until completely mixed and set in the refrigerator for 1 hour to allow flavors to meld.
  2. Serve with chips or on top of tacos, enchiladas, etc.

Chef’s tip: If you would like to add more heat, feel free to add the seeds of the jalapeño to spice it up.