Tag Archives: Veganomicon

Vegan Thanksgiving

Are you hosting vegetarians or vegans this Thanksgiving? Or maybe just want to contribute a vegan main dish to a celebration that you are attending? Never fear! When I couldn’t find the Tofurky I promised to bring to my work Thanksgiving, I decided to make my own roast “turkey” using the seitan recipe from Veganomican (widely available on the web) but adding some of my own special ingredients. I always add extra garlic, chili, and spices depending on what “meat” I’m making.*

For “turkey,” I added sage and thyme. When you make your seitan boiling broth, really put some effort into it! I added white wine, garlic, thyme, sage, Earth Balance, shitake stems and vegetable broth to mine. The resulting broth was so delicious, I used to to whip up a quick vegan gravy to serve alongside the “meat”! I used an EarthBalance, onion and flour blend for the roux, whipped in the strained broth, and then thickened with a 50/50 mixture of nutritional yeast and corn startch!

After boiling the seitan, I sliced in and roasted it at 400 for about 30 mintues with some more dollops of Earth Balance (for crispy edges) whole garlic cloves, and white wine.

Of course, no roast would be complete without stuffing. I used this recipe as my base for a wild rice stuffing, but added extra cranberries, currents, and toasted pecans. Oh, and extra Earth Balance, too ;) As I told my friend Adrien today, you can also make this stuffing gluten-free by using panko instead of regular breadcrumbs, or skipping them altogether!

There are so many wonderful, nontraditional vegetarian main courses, you shouldn’t feel held by tradition. But if you’re craving that big bird, try roasted seitan, or get really ambitious and make your own homemade Tofurky!

*wonder of wonders, I discovered that KitchenAid mixer with a dough hook makes great seitan! Why had I never thought of this before!

Broccoli Polenta from Veganomicon, with Spring vegetables

broccoli polenta

I’ve admitted before that I find broccoli a bit of a chore. I know that it’s good for me, and arrives beautiful and fresh in my CSA, but there just aren’t that many ways that I like it. Whenever I find a recipe I like, I’m thrilled. With a giant head of broccoli on my hands, I finally decided to try the broccoli polenta from Veganomicon. And I just can’t rave about it enough. It was so delicious (even without cream, butter and cheese) that I couldn’t stop eating it, even cold out of the refrigerator in the middle of the night. I served it up with fried summer squash, portobello mushrooms, green garlic scapes (all from my CSA), sundried tomatoes and then a sprinkle of pecorino. Served with a side of garden peas in just a touch of butter with lemon, and I had one of the most pleasant meals in recent memory.

Cauliflower and Mushroom Potpie with Black Olive Crust

Though this week in Philadelphia has felt more like Summer than Spring, it’s the early lettuces, peas, and rhubarb that are starting to appear in our farmer’s markets. Cauliflower, staple of the long hard winter, will find itself in the shadow of more colorful veggies. Why not make one more big cauliflower dish before you get distracted by our upcoming fresh produce abundance? I’ve flipped past this cauliflower potpie in Veganomicon numerous times, but until recently I never had all the ingredients in the house at the same time. While the recipe seems a little bit long and complicated with three separate parts, it comes together quickly. And if you’re a fan of salty, cheesey mustardiness with your veggies like I am, you’re sure to love it. Throw it with a green salad, a nice bottle of red and some rich chocolate dessert and you can knock your dinner party’s socks off.

Make your own grilled BBQ seitan

Grilled BBQ Seitan

Grilled BBQ Seitan

Homemade seitan can seem like a tricky proposition, but it’s not that difficult (and much cheaper!) when you get the hang of it. Ever since I tried the amazing seitan at Horizons, I’ve recommitted myself to perfecting my seitan efforts. Above – the seitan. Already boiled, marinated, grilled, and ready to be devoured. But how do you get there? First, pick a recipe. I like the recipes from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and Veganomicon, and tend to make a seitan that’s a combination of the two. My key ingredients are fresh garlic and nutritional yeast. Don’t skip them!

dry ingredients

dry ingredients

Put all your dry ingredients into a large bowl. Salt, wheat gluten, and nutritional yeast, plus any dry herbs or spices you want to add. It doesn’t look very appetizing now, but it will get there.

wet ingredients

wet ingredients

MIx your wet ingredients in a small bowl. A bit of vegetable stock, soy sauce, olive oil, and I throw the garlic in now. Now dump the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients, and and stir until the the dough forms a wet ball.

dough ball!

dough ball!

Knead the dough ball with your hands. Knead it hard. Keep kneading the dough, flipping and turning it (much like bread dough) until it becomes very springy and glossy – this means the gluten fibers are formed. When you think that you’re done, knead it a little more.

finished dough ball

finished dough ball

In a big pot, boil a few cups of vegetable stock. Then, add what you want. I like soy sauce, wine, bay leaf, and sometimes a fresh chili. Divide the dough ball into four parts, and then form each part into a thin log. Drop the logs into the boiling stock. Boil for just 5 minutes, and then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot slightly with a lid, and simmer for an hour. The dough logs will puff up, and look very unattractive. This is why I didn’t even bother taking a picture of them. They sort of resemble organs. Slice up the logs in chunks or strips and marinate in whatever you like. I like a secret sauce that included hot Louisiana BBQ sauce, jerk seasoning, calypso hot sauce, and some other secret things. Marinate over night if you can, or for at least a few hours.

Grill it! Either on skewers on the BBQ, in a George Forman grill if its rainy, or on a greased grill pan on the stove. There you have it. Delicious.

Chickpeas Romanesco, Garlic-Saffron Rice, Roman Broccoli

Chickpeas Romanesco

Chickpeas Romanesco

In an effort to utilize a vat of sprouted chickpeas leftover from the “raw experiment” I made a big old La Crueset of the Chickpeas Romanesco from Veganomicon. I followed the recipe entirely, with the exception of using the sprouted peas and adding some extra crushed almonds. Served on top of the Garlic-Saffron Rice (also from Veganomicon it made a tasty, comforting meal and I love the crunch of the raw chickpeas! I was a bit surprised about how long both recipes took me to make. They both seemed so easy, and yet had some extra steps (roasting the red peppers, pureeing them with the sauce, toasting the rice with the garlic and adding two different liquids, soaking the saffron) that added cooking time. I was a bit disappointed, too with the rice. All of that garlic (5 cloves!) and saffron and yet, it just didn’t have all that much flavor. Not bad, certainly, but not quite worth the time.

Roman Broccoli

Roman Broccoli


Because my CSA gave me so much broccoli this week, I decided to continue the them and served the Roman-Style Broccoli from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian alongside the chickpeas. I’m not a fan of broccoli in general, but I DO like broccoli with lemon zest and parsley and crushed red pepper. Yum! I added a green salad, and we finished dinner off with some Rice Dream and homemade rhubarb syrup!

“My Own Private India Menu” from Veganomicon

Indian Menu from Veganomicon

Indian Menu from Veganomicon

Though I appreciate it when cookbooks include entire menu selections, I rarely use them as more that a jumping off point. Last weekend, partially inspired by some brussel sprouts I had purchased at the co-op, I decided to cook the entire — menu from Veganomicon. I substituted some leftover black rice for the called-for basmati, but I was otherwise true to the menu. The curried tofu, baked in the oven, was tasty, thought the tamarind lentil could have used some more kick. While I enjoyed the cornmeal masala brussel sprouts, I just couldn’t  bring myself to add the 8 Tbs. of peanut oil the spiced topping called for, and as a result, they were less crispy as they would have been. Overall, it was a healthy meal, though in the future I’ll add at least some spicy pickles and chutneys for flavor.

Tempeh, Greens, and Zucchini

For a delicious and (fairly) easy Sunday night dinner, I whipped up a the Smoky Grilled Tempeh from Veganomican, though I omitted the liquid smoke added a little extra maple syrup, and threw in a splash of tequila. Veganomican advises boiling the tempeh before marinating it, and I think it makes all the difference, removing any lingering bitterness and softening the tempeh, which allows it to soak up more delicious marinade. I throw my extra marinade in the pan (though you could save and re-use it for something else). The maple syrup allows the tempeh to carmalize just a bit, though watch carefully to avoid burning the sugar in your pan.

Smokey grilled tempeh from Veganomicon with chili and garlic braised kale and soy marinated zucchini

Smokey grilled tempeh from Veganomicon with chili and garlic braised kale and soy marinated zucchini


I served the tempeh over brown rice and with a side of fresh kale, braised in thai chili sauce with garlic slices and some zucchini I marinated in soy, seseme oil and rice wine vinegar. While everything was warm and flavorful, the zucchini had a wonderful, buttery flavor that caused me to sneak into the kitchen later that night for more.