Thanksgiving Torte

Thanksgiving Torte recipe by Zel Allen

The torte makes the ideal vegan Thanksgiving dish with its varied textures and savory flavors from the combination of wild rice, mushrooms, nuts, and sage. Served with a robust Mushroom Sauce on the side, this makes a hearty main dish and goes well with all the typical side dishes like cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, chestnut stuffing, and a few veggie combinations.

For dessert, it’s pumpkin and apple pies, of course.To ease the feast-day preparations, I usually make the Torte the day before, store it in the fridge, and reheat it at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. One little hint, the Torte preparation comes together more quickly if you cook the wild rice before beginning the torte or even the day before. This recipe is reprinted from Zel Allen’s The Nut Gourmet.* Photo by Kimberly Jane Ward Burfoot.

Serves: 6 to 8

  • 2/3 cups wild rice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 pound red or white rose potatoes,
    unpeeled, scrubbed, and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 (14-ounce) package vegan ground sausage
  • 3/4 pound portobello mushrooms, chopped (about 4 large mushrooms)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon hickory liquid smoke
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt or to taste
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, sliced

Mushroom Sauce:

  • 1/2 pound sliced button mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

TO MAKE THE TORTE, lightly oil a 9-inch springform pan, line the base with parchment paper (for easier cleanup), and set it aside. Combine 2 cups water, wild rice, and salt in a 2-quart saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat down to medium-low and steam for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Drain off excess liquid and set the rice aside.

Combine the potato cubes and 1 cup water in a 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat down to medium, cover, and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to a medium bowl, mash them, and set them aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toast the pecans and walnuts in a 10-inch skillet over high heat, stirring constantly for 1 to 2 minutes. Immediately transfer them to a dish to cool.

Combine the vegan sausage, mushrooms, onion, 1/3 cup water, olive oil, poultry seasoning, and pepper in a large, deep skillet. Cook over high heat for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the onion is transparent, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon or paddle to break up the sausage chunks. Drain and reserve any excess liquid. Add the salt and hickory liquid smoke to the sausage mixture and mix well.

Add the mashed potatoes to the skillet along with the toasted nuts and cooked wild rice. Mix well to combine the ingredients thoroughly. Adjust seasonings if needed.

Press the mixture firmly into the prepared springform pan, and attractively arrange the tomato slices over the top, covering most of the surface. Bake uncovered for 1 hour. Allow the torte to stand for 15 to 20 minutes before removing from the pan. Cut into wedges to serve.

TO MAKE THE MUSHROOM SAUCE, prepare it while the torte is baking. Combine the mushrooms, scant 2 cups water, soy sauce, red wine, and lemon juice in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn heat down slightly and simmer for 5 minutes.

Combine the cornstarch with 3 tablespoons water in a small bowl and stir with a spoon to make a runny paste. Add the paste to the bubbling sauce, a little at a time, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute, until the sauce has thickened to the desired consistency. Pass around for guests to pour over their wedges of torte.

Nutrition Information:
Per serving (without sauce): 239.2 calories; 11.6g fat; 869.9mg sodium; 23.7g carbs; 6.8g fiber; 10.7g protein

Mushroom sauce (in one serving, out of 8): 35.3 calories; 0g fat; 474mg sodium; 5g carbs; 0.8g fiber; 1.9g protein

*This post contains affiliate links. If the product is purchased by linking through this review, VegKitchen receives a modest commission, which helps maintain our site and helps it to continue growing!

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  • Reply
    November 5, 2012 at 9:48 am

    This looks really yummy, but I am not a walnut fan. Which other nuts might be good substitutes?

  • Reply
    November 5, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Hello — I think that just increasing the pecans would work well. You can also use blanched almonds. Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    peggy herrod
    November 21, 2012 at 7:36 am

    in the ingredient list, how much soy sauce? it says 1/4 soy sauce for the mushroom sauce. tsp? cup?tbsp?

  • Reply
    November 21, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Peggy, that would be 1/4 cup. Thanks for pointing it out, it has been fixed in the recipe.

  • Reply
    Heather Jack
    October 29, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    Do you know the nutritional value of this Torte? Thanks.

    • Reply
      October 29, 2014 at 10:35 pm

      Heather, we’re working hard to get all of our recipes analyzed. Come back in a few days; this one is coming up!

  • Reply
    November 24, 2014 at 10:59 am

    what can I substitute for vegan sausage?

    • Reply
      November 24, 2014 at 11:15 am

      Nancy, I think the equivalent amount of crumbled tempeh would be good; you might want to season it a bit before adding. Another thought is to use about 2 cups cooked quinoa, though I’m not sure if that would change the texture of this too much.

  • Reply
    Caroline S
    November 28, 2014 at 7:17 am

    I made this yesterday for Thanksgiving and was very disappointed in it. I have some of your cookbooks so felt confident it was a good recipe. However, it was dense, unappealing, and just not yummy.

    • Reply
      November 28, 2014 at 7:48 am

      Hi Caroline — I’m so sorry that you didn’t like this recipe. It’s not one of mine, it was contributed by Zel Allen. But the buck stops here. I’d love to hear from other readers as well as you, who have made it — do you think I should delete it from this site?

  • Reply
    December 25, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    I made this last year for Thanksgiving and it was a big hit! Even the meat eaters had seconds. I definitely recommend it.

    • Reply
      December 26, 2014 at 12:48 pm

      Thanks for the vote of confidence, Brianna. This one has gotten mixed reviews!

  • Reply
    November 19, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    This has been my T-Day meal for a number of my vegan years – it is wonderful. I have never, however, made the mushroom sauce nor added the tomatoes – I think neither is necessary.

    • Reply
      November 20, 2017 at 10:17 am

      So glad you’ve enjoyed this, Sarah — even without the embellishments!

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