Friday, November 25, 2011

Raw Vegan Thanksgiving: Recipes and Photos

Gluten-free? Grain-free? Dairy-free? And trying to navigate holidays???? Don't worry, you can absolutely do it. The menu below is completely free from corn, soy, dairy, eggs, pumpkin/squash family, gluten, grains, refined sugar, processed foods, additives or preservatives. Hopefully it may give you some ideas in planning your holidays.

My neighbor and I decided to experiment and see whether we could create an entirely RAW Thanksgiving with traditional-type dishes. I'm thrilled to report it was a huge success! The dishes came out smelling great, looking great, and tasting great. Just like the traditional version- we were STUFFED afterwards (no pun intended). Somehow, we still managed to eat cheesecake after an after-dinner walk with Bailey on the beach.

The best thing... none of the guilt, nor that "GROAN-why-did-I-eat-that" feeling from eating too many inflammatory foods.
100% Raw Vegan Turkey- No tofu here!

Raw Turkeyless Turkey
Equipment: Food processor, dehydrator
Prep time: Soak nuts overnight. Dehydrate turkey 12-14 hours.
Serves: 5-6

Ingredients
5 ounces walnuts (about 2 cups)
5 ounces almonds (about 2 cups)
1 pound carrot pulp
1 medium onion, diced small
1 Tablespoon raisins, soaked just long enough to make them soft (while you are getting your other ingredients together should be enough time)
1 Tablespoon good olive oil
1 Tablespoon caraway seeds, ground
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning (I didn't have Italian seasoning, so I used Costco/Kirkland brand Organic 20 Spice No Salt Seasoning)
Sea salt to taste

Method
Soak nuts 6-8 hours or overnight. Drain nuts and rinse well.
Combine all ingredients in food processor until you have a pate. It should be firm, not soggy, and hold together when you press it together. 
Shape your "turkey" into whatever shape you like. Many people make a loaf. I am goofy about making food look festive, so I shaped a turkey body, then separately shaped two drumsticks and two wings. After they were dehydrated, I assembled the "turkey" on the platter. 

Tip: if you are Googling recipe ideas the night before Thanksgiving (not that I have ever done that, hahaha) and do not have 12-16 hours to dehydrate, you could simply shape a loaf, slice it, and dehydrate the slices. Or you could shape lots of wings and drumsticks to dehydrate. Any small shape will dehydrate more quickly than the big solid turkey.

You could also eat this not dehydrated, and it is still safe and tasty. However, dehydrating this recipe really makes a big difference in texture, flavor, and color. It als makes the turkey warm, and holds together better. I highly recommend dehydrating this recipe- but I tell you all of that just to point out that if all you do is get it in the dehydrator for a couple of hours, you'll be fine. It's just for taste and texture- it's not like undercooking a real turkey :)

Raw Walnut and Mushroom Stuffing 
Serves: 5-6
Equipment: Food processor Optional: Dehydrator
Prep time: Marinate mushrooms 2-4 hours or overnight
 Raw Vegan Stuffing in Turkey :)
Ingredients
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup Bragg's Liquid Aminos (Or substitute: Allergy-safe vegetable broth plus sea salt)
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 portabello mushrooms, chopped
3 cups walnuts
1 tsp salt
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 ½ Tbsps fresh rosemary, chopped finely
2 Tbsps chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp chopped fresh sage
3 Tbsps olive oil
1 ½ cups grated carrot
1 cup chopped celery
½ cup pecan pieces
½ cup raisins

Method
Combine olive oil, Bragg's (or broth), and apple cider vinegar. Marinate the chopped portobellos in this mixture overnight.
Pulse walnuts, salt, thyme, rosemary, parsley and sage in food processor. Once roughly combined, add olive oil. Pulse until combined and the texture you like. We chose a chunkier texture that resembled traditional dressing.
Stir in carrot, celery, pecans and raisins.
Optional: put stuffing in dehydrator for 30-60 minutes to warm before serving.
Raw vegan (Gluten-free, Grain free, Dairy free) dressing right out of dehydrator

Raw Vegan Mushroom Gravy
Equipment: Blender Optional: Dehydrator or High-speed blender
Prep time: Soak nuts 4-6 hours

Ingredients
¼ cup warm water
¼ cup brazil nuts, ideally soaked for 6 hours, rinsed and drained
1 shallot or 1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons dried mushrooms, ground to a powder
¼ teaspoon salt
Pinch of pepper
½ Tbsp olive oil

Method
Blend all ingredients until smooth. 
Optional: Place in dehydrator 30 minutes before serving to warm. Alternatively, if you are using a VitaMix, you can simply blend until warm.

Note: We didn't care for this recipe. The original recipe called for 1/4 cup olive oil, and the final result tasted like olive oil. I have reduced the oil here to 1/2 Tbsp. I think this would help, but have not tried it. If you try it, post here and let me know! I'd suggest adding the olive oil slowly and taste as you go.

Raw Vegan Green Bean Casserole
Serves: 5-6
Equipment: Blender Optional: Food processor, Dehydrator.
Prep time: 3-24 hours to soften green beans

Casserole ingredients:
Fresh green beans
¼ cup red onion, sliced very thin
½ cup chopped mushrooms (any kind you like)

Cream of mushroom soup ingredients:
½ cup pine nuts
¼ cup white button mushrooms, chopped fine
½ teaspoon garlic
½ teaspoon salt
1 dash black pepper
1 cup filtered water
Top with caramelized shallots (recipe below)

Method
Thinly slice green beans with knife, or shred in food processor. To soften green beans, freeze them for 24 hours, and then let thaw. Alternatively, you can dehydrate for a few hours (I have not tried this, if you try it, let me know how it works).
Blend soup ingredients: pine nuts, mushrooms, garlic, salt and pepper (this is SO good!)
Pour soup mixture over sliced green beans, red onion, and chopped mushrooms.
Optional: Warm in dehydrator before serving.
Top with caramelized shallots (recipe below)

Note: I have made a few things with raw green beans, and I've decided raw green beans taste a bit "green" for my liking. But this and similar raw recipes get rave reviews online, and Joan liked it a lot. 

I'm thinking... if you didn't care about the recipe being "raw", you might be able to gently steam the sliced green beans, then combine with the soup and shallots. I may try that next time.

I LOVED the cream of mushroom soup, and would definitely make the soup on its own for lunch.

Raw Caramelized Shallots
Equipment: Dehydrator
Time: Deydrate 2-4 hours
Ingredients
3 large shallots, sliced very thin
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1½ teaspoons olive oil
Sea salt to taste

Method
Combine ingredients. Spread out on dehydrator tray lined with Teflexx sheet or parchment paper. Dehydrate until crispy, approximately 2-4 hours.
Yummy! I am wondering what else I can top with these in the future :)

Fresh Cranberry Chutney
Equipment: Food processor / blender
Time: Blend

I don't have Joan's top secret super-duper cranberry chutney recipe pictured above, but here is a cranberry recipe that came with my VitaMix that I think is very good.

Ingredients
1 orange, peeled, halved
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1 apple, cut in quarters
1/4 cup sugar or other sweetener 
1/3 cup walnuts or pecans

Method
Place all ingredients in Vitamix and secure lid.
Blend, starting with level 1, slowly increase to level 4.
Blend about 10-15 seconds, or until chunky.

Oh, I almost forgot, I also made Cafe Gratitude's Pumpernickel-Rye toast:
We didn't even eat this, or the olives, we were so full from everything else!

Some more holiday photos:
 Place Settings
 Fall Flowers (Thanks, Ed)
 Acorn Salt & Pepper Shakers
Raw Vegan Thanksgiving Table

I'll post dessert (Raw Vegan Cranberry-Apple Cheesecake) in a separate post. Yum yum yum.

I'd love to hear what you made, and any suggestions for next year.

Soooo... does anyone have suggestions for Christmas dinner??? 

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