Vegan Thanksgiving Menu & Wine!

For years now I have created a Vegetarian Thanksgiving feast.  One may expect that would be burdensome but in all truth it’s simple. If you don’t roast a turkey and have simply a collection of side dishes, it is straightforward. I cherish an excellent roast turkey but let’s face it a Thanksgiving feast is about all the sides. 

This season I obtained samples of Natura Wines from Chile. These are Vegan Wines, which you would expect all wine is right? But nope not all are. So when I created recipes to marry with these wines I thought why not make them part of a vegan thanksgiving dinner. I’m always up for a challenge to capture classic Thanksgiving flavors and making them healthier. 

Natura sent me two of their organic wines, a red and white. First up the un-oaked Chardonnay, had I had this wine in a blind tasting I would have never predicted a chardonnay was in my glass. This un-oaked version tasted more like a Sauvignon Blanc, I sipped on it while I cooked and created the recipes. I was apprehensive it would not work with the meal, but the pairing I developed worked. 

A traditional Thanksgiving meal must have Brussels sprouts since they are in season. First up I devised a vegan Brussels Sprout Caesar salad with crispy citrus chickpeas. The tangy umami flavors of this bright autumn salad worked with the chardonnay. I served this salad as a first course and created a happy start to the meal. The wine mellowed out with the Brussels sprouts and this natural wine complimented the creamy salad. 

Natura Wines also provided me with a bottle of Carménère. If you have not had this varietal before, it is a grape that first produced in France, used for blending. Now it is commonly grown in Chile although there are some vines planted here in Washington. Natura Wines bottle of Carménère has a vivid cherry, spice and chocolate nose, and the palate is smooth but firm. This wine would be perfect with roast meats and spicy grilled foods. 

My main course pairing with this Carménère developed into a simple Cajun spiced roast cauliflower. Along with olive oil garlic mashed potatoes and wild mushroom gravy.  This green wine held up to the slight spice of the cauliflower, and even though it’s a strong red wine, it didn’t over power the flavors of the cauliflower or the sides. 

To round out this dinner, I would also suggest that you prepare a batch of my Raw Cranberry Salad. I love how the tangy sweet salad would brighten the entire meal. Another remarkable aspect of this entire menu is that it’s also gluten-free! 

I know many people think the term “Vegan” is a turn off. My dispute with most vegan menus is that they constantly seek to make things into something they aren’t. I want to keep it simple no fake cheese or anything artificial here. These recipes are just clean organic tasty vegetables, just like the Natura Wines, tasty and clean! A vegan thanksgiving I know is not for everyone but if you incorporate one of these dishes into your standard meal it’s a start. It’s time we all try to get healthier for the planet. 

how good is that

Vegan Brussels Sprout Caesar Salad
A great seasonal healthy take on an old classic.
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Salad
  1. 1 bunch or stalk of Brussels Sprouts
Garbanzo 'Croutons'
  1. 1 can garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed, and dried
  2. 1/2 lemon juiced, or 2 tablespoons
  3. 1/2 lemon zest
  4. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  5. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  6. 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  7. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
Vegan Dressing
  1. 2 tablespoons capers
  2. 1 clove garlic
  3. 1 tablespoon tahini
  4. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  5. 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  6. 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  7. 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  8. 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise (Best Foods makes a version)
Brussels Sprouts
  1. Clean and trim the sprouts. Either slice very thin or as I do, use the shredding disk in your food processor.
Croutons
  1. Combine the dried beans with the other ingredients. Toss them together on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Shake again and bake another 15 minutes. You want crispy!
Dressing
  1. In the bowl of the food processor pulse the capers, garlic and tahini until minced and combined. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse to form a dressing. Pour into a sealable jar or container and refrigerate until ready to use.
Salad
  1. Toss the sprouts and beans together in a bowl with enough dressing to coat. You can do this a bit before ready to serve as the sprouts won't wilt like lettuce.
Shaun Myrick http://www.shaunmyrick.com/
Cajun Roast Cauliflower
Serves 4
A simple yet delicious whole roasted cauliflower, perfect for a vegan main dish at Thanksgiving.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 large head cauliflower
  2. 1/4 cup olive oil
  3. 4 cloves garlic, grated on microplane
  4. 1/2 lemon zest and juice
  5. 1 tablespoon cajun seasonings
  6. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  7. 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Start by cutting off the stalk and leaves of the cauliflower, rinse and dry the head.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. In a bowl mix all the ingredients together, except the cauliflower.
  4. Pour a tablespoon or two of the oil mixture into the cauliflower cavity, use a brush and brush the base with a bit of the oil as well. Place the cauliflower in an oven proof skillet head side up. Pour the remaining oil over the entire head and with a brush brush every bit of the cauliflower.
  5. Roast for 50-60 minutes, until dark golden and tender yet crisp.
  6. Slice into wedges!
Shaun Myrick http://www.shaunmyrick.com/
Vegan Mashed Potatoes & Mushroom Gravy
Serves 4
I know butter and mashed potatoes are heaven but sometimes you need to change it up!
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Mashed Potatoes
  1. 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  2. 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  3. salt
  4. 1/3 cup olive oil
Mushroom Gravy
  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 shallot, minced
  3. 1 cup mushrooms, sliced, I use Cremini and Chanterelles
  4. 2 tablespoons corn starch
  5. 3 tablespoons water
  6. 3 cups mushroom broth, simmered to warm.
Mashed Potatoes
  1. Combine the potatoes and garlic in a big pot of water. Bring to a boil and boil until tender, about 12 -15 minutes.
  2. Use a slotted spoon and remove the potatoes and garlic from the water (reserve the water) and place in a bowl. Using a potato masher mash the potatoes and garlic together. Mix in the olive oil, drizzle in a bit of the cooking liquid until you get the consistency you like. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Mushroom Gravy
  1. Heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and shallot, cook until the mushrooms have released their juices and are golden.
  2. Pour in the heated mushroom broth slowly and scrape up any bits stuck to pan.
  3. Combine the water and the cornstarch slurry. Slowly whisk the slurry into the broth and whisk until slightly thickened.
  4. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Shaun Myrick http://www.shaunmyrick.com/
You can find Natura Wines for yourself with this locator, or check your local Sprouts or Wholefoods! At a price point of $9-$11 these are affordable options so you can serve a crowd! 

 

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