Holidays and special occasions
For vegetarians and vegans, Thanksgiving used to mean being relegated to side dishes, but over the last couple of decades it has grown into an occasion for full culinary expression. A more plant-based celebration actually reflects Thanksgiving’s original intent— a feast of gratitude for the harvest’s abundance.
Still, Thanksgiving can be a trying time for the meatless crowd. That’s because the holiday is so completely bound up with the concept of turkey. For those who are hosting veg guests — or if you’re the lone vegetarian or vegan in a turkey-oriented crowd, the biggest challenges are still posed by the need for a great main dish, an unstuffed stuffing, and a delectable dessert. To that end, here are a trio of recipes and a few Thanksgiving etiquette tips from Vegan Holiday Kitchen (Sterling Publishing, 2011) by Nava Atlas. With the addition of seasonal vegetable side dishes and salads that can be shared no matter what the dietary persuasion, everyone will leave the table satisfied. more→
For Jews around the world, early fall is the beginning of a new year, marking Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. Here are recipes and menus for the vegan and vegetarian table. Rosh Hashana is more than a New Year’s celebration. The holiday’s ancient roots are as a harvest festival, and enjoyment of the abundant produce of early autumn remains central to the celebration. The foods served emphasize this holiday’s optimistic spirit. And so, naturally sweet foods are favored at the dinner table. more→
Here is a selection of easy vegan brunch recipes and menus that require minimum time in the kitchen, so you can relax with your guests! Brunch evokes images of leisurely weekend dining, and celebrations large and small. When you go plant-based, brunch is no longer defined by heavy, egg and cheese dishes and refined starches that make you feel like going back to bed. Here are some fresh ideas for your brunch time fare. Pictured above, Apple-Almond Butter Pancakes by Robin Robertson, photo by Lori Maffei (see third recipe listed just below). more→
These vegan Passover Seder recipes and menus (great for vegetarians too) focus on the fresh produce of early spring — very fitting, as the holiday has connotations of renewal and rebirth. Though there’s flexibility in what may be served for the meal itself, there are also many restrictions. Ashkenazic Jews avoid, aside from bread-related products, many other grains and legumes. For Sephardic Jews, leavened wheat products are avoided, but rice and other grains can be used, as well as legumes. Shown above: Spring Vegetable Soup with Vegan Matzo Balls; photo by Susan Voisin. more→
Here are easy, tasty vegan barbecue recipes (great for any vegetarian, too) for grilling vegetables, tofu, tempeh and seitan. Create your own BBQ fireworks with alternative protein foods and vegetables that take on an entirely new taste dimension on the grill. Grilling is more art than science. It may take a few rounds to get the knack of working with whatever grilling equipment you have, be it a fancy gas-powered unit or a simple outdoor electric grill. Remember, though, that expensive equipment is not necessary to create a tasty outdoor meal.
The holiday season can be stressful for anyone with strict dietary preferences (vegans, vegetarians), food intolerances and allergies (gluten, lactose) and the generally health-conscious. No one, in fact, relishes the idea of gaining the fabled seven pounds that the average American puts on between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. I’m not convinced of this statistic’s accuracy, but it’s become so emblazoned on our consciousness that just the fear of those extra pounds makes it a force to be reckoned with. more→
A great part of the fun of going on picnics is choosing a lovely outdoor venue. A hike at a nature preserve is sure to whet the appetite. For families with young children, an ideal spot for a casual picnic with little ones is a community park, combined with a visit to a great playground. For some, nothing appeals more than a picnic at a beach. To get off the beaten path, try local historic sites. A perfect spot adds much to the enjoyment of a picnic; the experience is transformed from merely eating lunch outdoors to a refreshing lift for the spirit and all the senses. more→
As every child knows, Hanukkah is pure fun and joy. It hasn’t the solemnity of major Jewish holidays, nor a trove of symbolic foods to be eaten at a central feast, save for potato pancakes, or latkes, which are a must. And the candle-lighting ritual—adding one more candle each night for the eight nights of Hannukah—and dreidel games are eagerly anticipated by children as well as the child that lives in all of us. more→