Monday, September 26, 2011

Vegan for a Day: Fall Favorites

I'm back with some recipes after a little hiatus. I've been cooking a lot, but mostly the same things. I was in a little bit of a rut. And also, I tend to be so hungry that I forget to take photos of the meals I cook.  In fact, I am borrowing photos from a few food websites for this post BUT the recipes are 100% mine/real!

It's officially fall, and you know what that means: boots and blazers (two of my favorite things), warm drinks (though not the soy pumpkin spice latte, which I just learned--after consuming TWO so far this season--is not vegan. Not even close. Time to try it at home!), and, of course, with cooler weather comes the desire for comfort food, which inevitably leads to delicious-smelling homes, like mine was last Tuesday.

Often, I load up on veggies, but they end up sitting in the fridge because I am lazy I don't know what to do with them. So it was with two pretty butternut squashes in my refrigerator. I tweeted a cry for help and got a fantastic recipe in return (that was non-vegan but easily adapted to vegan! Thanks, @PopFizzVintage!). Once I got in the cooking mood, I couldn't help but make my first batch of Maple Apple Walnut Bake (my own recipe, created in my first week as a vegan, and adapted from this recipe from Angela of OhSheGlows).

Vegan Curried Butternut Squash Bisque
(adapted from Better Homes and Gardens recipe)

image via

2 pounds butternut squash
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14-ounce can vegetable stock
1 13-1/2-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons red thai curry paste (an easy shortcut that adds lots of flavor!) 
1 heaping teaspoon curry powder  
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup chopped cashews (for garnish)
1 cup quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat couscous (to serve)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Cut squash in half lengthwise; remove and discard seeds. Arrange the squash halves, cut sides down, in a 3-quart rectangular baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn squash halves cut sides up. Bake, covered, 20 to 25 minutes more or until squash is tender. Let cool slightly. Carefully scoop the pulp from squash halves into a medium bowl; discard shells. Mash squash slightly with a potato masher; set aside.
2. In a large saucepan, cook onion in hot oil for 3 to 4 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and curry paste; cook and stir 1 minute more. Carefully stir in mashed squash (or use immersion/stick blender for easy blending, like I did!), veggie stock, coconut milk, water, curry powder, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium heat until heated through, stirring occasionally.
3. To serve, spoon hot grain and bisque into bowls. Sprinkle with cashews (and cilantro, if desired). Makes 5 or 6 servings. 

Rustic Maple Apple Walnut Bake
(Vegan and Gluten Free)

image via
4 large apples (Granny Smiths are best!)
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
1 T. lemon juice
1 T + 1 t. cornstarch
1 t. maple extract

1 c. chunky walnuts
1/2 c. rolled oats
1/4 c. sugar
1 T. maple syrup
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt

1.  Preheat oven to 400%.  Grease baking pan/dish (approximately 1.4 L).
2. Roughly chop apples (you can peel if you want, but I don't! Hence, the "rustic" descriptor on the recipe). Add the sugar, cinnamon, lemon, cornstarch, salt, and maple extract. Mix well and set aside.
3. Process walnuts, if needed, until chunky.  Add topping ingredients to chunky walnuts and mix well (keep chunky!).
4. Mix 1/2 of the topping with apples and add to baking dish.
5.  Sprinkle remaining topping over fruit mix.
6. Cover with foil (poke a few holes) and bake for 40 minutes.

So there you have it!  Amazing smells and tastes, super easy, and best of all, vegan! I have a feeling I'll be making both of these things at least once a week--they're THAT good.

Let me know how you like them if you try (and I hope you do!). Also, if you're looking to vegan-ize any recipes of your own, that's my favorite thing to do.  Send me a challenge and I'll feature it in an upcoming Vegan for a Day post!