Best of MacroChef: Six Savory Recipes To Make For Thanksgiving

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I always have to chuckle when I see the sign in a friend’s house which reads: “Martha Stewart doesn’t live here.” Not to pick on Martha (I quite respect her), but Martha Stewart doesn’t live in my house either. And unlike Martha, who probably planned her menu months ago, I’m still wondering what to conjure up for Thanksgiving. If you’re like me, you may also be in doubt as to how to handle that turkey-centered holiday. Fear not. Today and tomorrow I’m reprising some of the most Thanksgiving-appropriate recipes I’ve posted in the past two years. They’re all vegan, but they’d be a welcome contribution to any Thanksgiving dinner, whether it involves a plump bird or not. Today, I’m reposting recipes for Butternut Squash Soup, Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Hazelnuts, Wild Rice Croquettes, Creamy Mushroom Gravy, Roasted Butternut Squash Savory Bread Pudding, and Cornbread.  Tomorrow, I’ll repost recipes for Cranberry Sauce, Pecan Pie and other seasonal desserts.  Happy cooking!

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Photos: Top–Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Corn.  Above: Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Hazelnuts and Lemon Zest (all recipes are after the jump).

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BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP (with a Latin twist)

1 tablespoon canola or other light vegetable oil

1 small butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded and chopped

2 medium onions, peeled and chopped

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 pound ripe tomatoes, chopped (2-3 medium tomatoes)

4 cups soup stock* or water

pinch of cayenne or a sprinkling of red chili flakes (optional)

1 cup thick coconut milk

squeeze of fresh lime juice (preferably) or lemon juice

salt and freshly ground black pepper

2-3 tablespoons chopped cilantro for the garnish

Additional garnish: kernels from one ear of corn, cut from the cob, tossed with olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper and roasted in a 400º F oven for 20-25 minutes (optional, but really good).

*To make a quick stock for this soup: bring 6 cups of water to a boil, reduce to simmer and add 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, everything that you scoop out of the center of the butternut squash and the corn cob, if you do make roasted corn as a garnish.  Simmer for 30 minutes, strain.  You should have 4 cups of tasty stock.

For the soup:

1. Heat a large, thick-bottomed soup pot, add the oil and when it is hot, add the butternut squash, onions, sweet potato, the cumin and a tiny pinch of salt. Sauté, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes.  Add the tomato and the cayenne or chili flakes, sauté a few minutes more.

2. Add the stock, turn heat to low and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until all the vegetables are very tender.

3. Purée in the pot with an immersion blender (preferably) or in small batches in a standard blender.  Caution, hot soup can burn! Use a towel to cover the top of the blender–if using a standard blender.

4. Return soup to the pot, add the coconut milk. Stir, and taste.  Add a little squeeze of lime juice, additional salt, black pepper or whatever is needed for well-balanced flavor.

5. Ladle into bowls and garnish with cilantro and the roasted corn (6-8 servings).

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BRUSSELS SPROUT SAUTE WITH TOASTED HAZELNUTS AND LEMON ZEST

Once your ingredients are prepped, this recipe goes very fast, so I’d suggest doing it when the rest of your meal is nearly ready.

(2 servings)

6 ounces brussels sprouts (about 20-22 medium sprouts), trimmed and a 1/3-inch slit made up from the bottom.

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons mirin

2 teaspoons lemon zest and 2 teaspoons lemon juice, or to taste

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

1.Place brussels sprouts in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam 5 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are tender yet crisp (if you decide to double or triple the recipe, you may need to increase the cooking time a little).

2. When brussels sprouts are ready, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil or hazelnut oil in a large sauté pan, add the brussels sprouts and sauté over medium-high heat for  2 minutes.  Add the mirin, lemon juice and zest, and salt and pepper. Sauté 4-5 minutes more or until the sprouts are partially caramelized.  Check seasoning.

3. Add the hazelnuts, stir, and serve.

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WILD RICE CROQUETTES

This could be stuffing (see variation at the bottom).

(8 servings)

2 cups short grain brown rice

1/2 cup wild rice

4-5  medium mushrooms, minced

1 small onion, peeled and minced

1 small carrot, grated

1/2 stalk celery, trimmed and diced

1/2 cup chopped seitan

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

1 teaspoon dried herb(s) of choice: sage, thyme, rosemary

season to taste with: salt black pepper, umeboshi vinegar, soy sauce

1. Wash rices, combine in a heavy pot with 5 cups water or vegetable stock and a pinch of salt. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook about one hour or until rice is very tender and slightly sticky.

2. Meanwhile heat a sauté pan and sauté  the mushrooms, onions, carrots and celery about 10 minutes.  Add the seitan, parsley and dried herbs.

3. When rice is cooked, add the sautéed vegetables to the pot, season to taste and stir very well until completely combined.

4. Cool just enough so you can handle this mixture, then  form into 8 burger-sized croquettes. (If your croquettes are reluctant to stick together, put half the mixture in a food processor with the blade inserted and purée.  Add back and mix well to combine with the rest of the mixture in the pot.)

5. Wipe out the sauté pan, heat, add a little olive oil, and fry on medium heat about 5-10 minutes a side, or until nicely browned and crisp.

6. Serve  hot with sauce or gravy of choice.

To make this recipe as stuffing: substitute long grain rice for short grain, use 1/2 cup less water, add 3/4 cup dried cranberries, and leave out the seitan.

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CREAMY MUSHROOM GRAVY

(3 cups gravy)

1 pound white mushrooms, sliced

1 small onion, peeled anddiced

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 pound soft tofu, pureed in a blender

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

2 tablespoons white miso, or to taste

2 teaspoons umeboshi vinegar, or to taste

salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley or arugula (optional)

3 tablespoons rice flour dissolved in 1 cup soy or rice milk

1. Rinse and slice the mushrooms, then sauté in the olive oil adding the onion, garlic, and a little pinch of salt and pepper.  Continue to sauté until the mushrooms begin to release water, turn down the heat and simmer until the mushrooms are very tender, another 10-15 minutes, add the nutritional yeast.

2. Meanwhile, puree the tofu with the miso and umeboshi vinegar and add to the mushrooms when they are tender, stir  to combine. Increase the heat until this mixture just begins to boil, whisk in the flour and soy milk mixture and cook an additional 2-3 minutes   Stir in the parsley, check seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed.  Serve immediately with pasta or grain dishes.

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ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND SEITAN SAVORY BREAD PUDDING

Preheat oven to 400º F

(serves 8, generously)

1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch dice

1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced

5-6 medium mushrooms, sliced (shiitakes, preferably)

4-5 cloves garlic, chopped

2 teaspoons dried herbs de provence, or herbs or choice

1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced

3 cups (lightly packed) whole wheat bread cut into 1-inch cubes

2 cups chopped, well-seasoned seitan (about 1 1/4 pounds)

For the bechamel sauce:

4 cups soy milk

1/4 cup rice flour (or whatever thickener you prefer)

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)

1 tablespoon white miso

1 teaspoon umeboshi vinegar (or to taste)

salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine the butternut squash, onions, mushrooms, garlic, herbs and sage in a 9 x 11-inch or similar size casserole or baking pan. Toss with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast in a 400º F oven about 40 minutes.  Stir in the bread, stir, and continue roasting another 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Lower oven heat to 375º F.

2. Meanwhile, to make the bechamel sauce: combine 3 cups of the soy milk and the nutritional yeast in a sauce pan, just bring to a boil.

3. Dissolve the flour in the reserved cup of soy milk, stir this slurry into the soy milk on the stove. Whisk, until the soy milk has thickened. Turn off heat and stir in the miso and umeboshi vinegar. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Once the ingredients in the casserole are tender, remove the casserole from the oven and pour the sauce over the top, smooth out evenly.  Return to the oven and bake 35-40 minutes or until the pudding is bubbling and the top is golden brown. Serve piping hot. Reheat it if you make this ahead of time.

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CORN BREAD

Yield: 9-12 pieces / Preheat oven to 350º F

Dry ingredients:

2 cups cornmeal

2 cups unbleached white flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

pinch  of salt

Wet ingredients:

1/2 cup canola oil

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice or ume vinegar

2 cups (approximately) water

1. Measure the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.

2. In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients, then add this to the dry ingredients. Stir together until completely combined, adding more water as needed to form a light, fluffy and pourable batter.

3. Pour into an oiled 9-inch square or similar sized cast iron pan and bake at 350º F for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean (baking time may be a little longer in cast iron).

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Photo by Jonathunder via Wikipedia

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