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Veggie Tales

Say goodbye to southern style green beans and hello to a vegan’s holiday dream.

Emily Nickles, Page Editor

IMG_5648 copyIt’s not uncommon for family members to forget that you don’t eat meat, and when they do remember, they recommend you to the sides of mashed potatoes (if you pick out the bacon) and green beans (also if you pick around the bacon). However, there’s no reason that we can’t help our fellow omnivores learn how to prepare a vegetarian and vegan dish that tastes good and is good for you. There are ways to make a savory dish with vegetables and herbs you probably already have in your fridge without using cheese or butter to give it flavor.

In honor of the holidays, this week I prepared two dishes: a quinoa pilaf and vegan pumpkin pie. I also want to share a third recipe of curried carrot soup as a healthy homemade alternative for the traditional tomato soup and winter stews.

I got the recipe for the almond quinoa pilaf from www.allrecipes.com, where people from across the U.S. share their recipes for dishes. There are plenty of laymen who upload adjusted and personal recipes, so it’s not just the experts. This recipe was super simple and took no more than 30 minutes to prepare. You must have access to a stove, though, in order to boil and steam the quinoa and sautée the vegetables.

The ingredients include quinoa, salt, olive oil, celery, onion, carrot, garlic cloves, almonds, tomato, raisins, pepper, thyme, oregano and sea salt. When you are looking for ingredients, it is fairly simple to substitute if you do not like or currently have the ingredients listed. I didn’t have raisins, so I used cranberries, which actually added a sour yet sweet touch of flavor to the citrus of the tomato and savory taste of the onions and celery. The recipe calls for ½* cup of quinoa and 1 cup of water, but I would recommend using 1 ½* cup of water because most of the water was boiled before I could get the top over the pot and let it simmer on low. The end result was satisfactory and just as easy as putting together a coleslaw or potato salad.

IMG_5668 copyThe pumpkin pie had to be made in two parts: the crust and the filling. I got this recipe off of the vegan blog, “Oh She Glows.” The author of this blog presented three recipes for pumpkin pie based on three different methods to bake the crust. I used the recipe called “Vegan Pumpkin Pie with Rustic Spelt Crust.” The most difficult part of baking was actually gathering the materials. The recipe calls for flaxseed meal, spelt flour, unbleached all-purpose flour, canned pumpkin, arrowroot powder, and maple syrup.

Maple syrup is expensive, so I would recommend using honey or agave nectar as a substitute. I used agave nectar because I was out of honey, and the result was wonderful; the filling ended up being the most successful part of the pie. Flaxseed meal is an important part of this recipe because it is used in place of an egg, and you can purchase this at Tom Thumb. However, it is not carried at all Walmarts or Whole Foods stores. I could not locate any spelt flour, so I used gluten free all-purpose flour and xantham gum as a substitute. For one cup spelt flour, use one cup of gluten-free all-purpose flour and ¼* cup of xantham gum. This worked reasonably well for me.

The pie crust was a dud, but I’m not a fan of the traditional flaky crust anyway. I’m not sure if this particular pie crust was bland because I did not blend the mixture well enough or because I did not have one of the main ingredients for the pie crust. However, I think if the intention is to have a firm and flavorful crust, the best option would be to use a recipe that uses oats, granola, nuts or fruits. There’s another vegan/vegetarian blog called “Minimalist Baker,” and she has a recipe called “Creamy No Bake Pumpkin Pie” with a crust made of dates, raw nuts, oats and pumpkin pie spice. That may be my next endeavor for Thanksgiving dessert with family.

The blogs I mentioned are great resources for those interested in doing more research on holiday recipes. Allrecipes.com and other conglomerate websites also have some interesting options with a multitude of recipes uploaded by experimenters like myself.

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