Tag: vegetarian

12 (Vegan) Days of Christmas Recipes

Plant-based recipes inspired by the popular holiday song

Search for “12 Days of Christmas recipes” on the interwebs, and you’ll find countless blog posts featuring loads of animal products: actual cooked hens for Day 3, egg-based dishes for Day 6, milky desserts for Day 8, and so on.

There’s absolutely no evidence that the song pays homage to the consumption of different birds on different days during the 12 Days of Christmas; rather, it was most likely a memory game played on Twelfth Night, the 12th and final night of the 12 Days of Christmas, which begins on December 25th and ends on January 6th, otherwise known as Epiphany.

Still, you will find no animals harmed in the crafting of these dishes. It was so much fun crafting this menu — making literal interpretations as well as taking creative license. You’ll see all the whys and wherefores and details about why I chose the dishes I did once you purchase!

Obviously, you can cook from this menu anytime of the year, but I was very mindful about making sure you have what you need for a single holiday dinner (appetizers, starters, mains, and desserts) or for featuring one recipe per day during the 12 days of Christmas. Enjoy!

Our inspired musical menu!

Poached Pears — A Partridge in a Pear Tree (December 25)
Chocolate Pecan Turtles — Two Turtle Doves (December 26)
Fabulous French Toast — Three French Hens (December 27)
Better-than-Chicken Vegetable Pot Pie — Four Calling Birds (December 28)
Monkey Bread — Five Golden Rings (December 29)
Eggless Egg Salad Crostini — Six Geese a Laying (December 30)
Swan Cut-out Sugar Cookies — Seven Swans a Swimming (December 31)
Potato Leek Soup — Eight Maids a Milking (January 1)
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pink Lady Apples and Onions — Nine Ladies Dancing (January 2)
Wassail — Ten Lords-a-Leaping (January 3)
Polenta Fries + Eggless Meringue Cookies — Eleven Pipers Piping (January 4)
Butternut Squash Timbales — Twelve Drummers Drumming (January 5)

(If you’d like to understand more about why — historically — The 12 Days of Christmas started on December 25th and ended on January 6th (otherwise known as the epiphany), check out the Food for Thought podcast episodes Forbidden Meat as well Food and Feasting.)

Food and Feasting: The 12 (Vegan) Days of Christmas

First comes fasting, then comes feasting!

Whereas the period BEFORE Christmas has historically been about fasting, contemplation, and self-reflection, the period starting AT Christmas and going for 12 days thereafter is all about feasting, revelry, merriment!

In today’s episode, I argue that feasting and festivities are a lot more meaningful when they follow a period of deprivation.

12 Days of (Vegan) Christmas Recipe Bundle

WHAT’S MORE: Inspired by the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” I have a brand-new recipe bundle that features recipes that can be served at a single holiday party OR as inspiration for each day of the holiday season. 🎵 On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…🎵

Forbidden Meat: Fasting and Abstinence During Advent

Abstaining from meat, dairy, and eggs during religious holidays has been a tradition for centuries in many religions. In Christianity, for example, during Lent (40 days prior to Easter) and Advent (40 days prior to Christmas), parishioners were forbidden to consume animal flesh as well as as dairy, cheese, and eggs. 

In today’s episode, we explore this history and demonstrate that not eating animal products was more common than not, especially during the period of contemplation and contrition leading up to the holy days of Easter and Christmas. I share my own experience growing up Catholic, my memories of Fish Fridays, and the meaning of a common English word whose origins are steeped in religious abstinence.

   

Black Olive Bruschetta with Cashew Cream

Can you tell Italian cuisine is on my mind? Between our trips to Italy and my Italian cuisine podcast series, I wanted to share one of my favorite recipes.

Traditionally, bruschetta features tomatoes and basil, but bruschetta itself just means “burnt / toasted bread,” so really, we can do whatever we want.

BUT, you can’t say broo-SHET-a. The “ch” sound in Italian is a hard “k” sound (like Chianti or Gnocchi), so it’s pronounced broo-SKET_a.

Ingredients

🌱2 tablespoons olive oil
🌱3 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
🌱2 shallots, finely minced
🌱Salt and pepper, to taste
🌱1/4 cup pine nuts, coarsely chopped
🌱1/2 cup pitted black (or kalamata) olives, finely minced
🌱1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
🌱1 whole grain baguette, sliced
🌱Olive oil for brushing
🌱Basil Cashew Cream (see below)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400, and line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.

2. Add the oil to a large sauté pan, along with the garlic, shallots, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

3. Cook over medium heat until the shallots begin to glisten, about 5 minutes. Stir in the pine nuts and olives, and sauté for 3 minutes more.

4. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, and turn off heat.

5. Lightly brush both sides of the bread slices with oil.

6. Arrange on the prepared baking sheet, and bake until about 5 to 7 minutes.

7. Remove from the oven, and let cool for 10 minutes. Spread a generous amount of cashew cream on each bread slice, and carefully spoon the olive mixture on top.

8. Sprinkle with some minced basil.

MANGIA!

BASIL CASHEW CREAM

Because the cashews have to soak for at least an hour, you will want to factor that in to your total prep time.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (300 g) raw cashews soaked in 3 cups (720 ml) of water for at least 1 hour or as long as overnight
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced basil
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) water

Directions

Once the cashews have soaked, drain and rinse them in a strainer.

Place them in a food processor, along with the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and basil. Turn on the machine, and let it run for a few seconds to start combining the ingredients.

Add most of the water, and process until the mixture is completely smooth, about 2 to 4 minutes, turning the machine off periodically to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Before adding all of the water, I like first seeing what the consistency is; it’s always easier to add more than it is to take any out!

Salt, to taste. The consistency should be thick but spreadable.

For Your Modification

*Instead of basil, add chives, dill, parsley, or any combination you desire.

*Add finely chopped sundried tomatoes and/or olives instead of or along with the fresh herbs.

For Your Information

It will keep well in the refrigerator for at least 3 days.

Panzanella (Bread Salad)

Reprinted with permission from The 30-Day Vegan Challenge

Instead of discarding that hearty Italian loaf that’s going stale, make this delicious bread salad that is absolutely divine in the summer when tomatoes, cucumbers, and basil are at their peak. Vegan, of course.

Ingredients

  • 5 to 6 medium tomatoes, cut into large chunks 
  • 4 to 6 cups (360 to 540 g) day-old crusty bread (Italian loaf or French baguette), cut into cubes the same size as the tomatoes (a full loaf or baguette should be fine)
  • 1 medium hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
  • ½ small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 to 3 medium cloves garlic, minced 
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons high-quality balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) high-quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions

Add the tomatoes, bread, cucumber, red onion, garlic, capers, and basil to a large bowl, and toss together. Drizzle in the vinegar and ¼ cup olive oil, and toss some more. Add salt and pepper to taste, and add additional olive oil, if desired. 

Set aside and marinate, covered, at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, up to 12 hours. I would avoid marinating the salad in the refrigerator, since the tomatoes tend to become somewhat “mealy” in the fridge. 

Serve at room temperature. 

Yield: 8 generous servings as a side 

For Your Edification

Panzanella is an Italian salad (pan means “bread”) that was most likely invented out of necessity as a way to use stale bread, along with fresh vegetables from the garden. The earliest written reference to Panzanella is from the 1500s in a poem by the famous artist, Bronzino. Because the tomato hadn’t yet been introduced to Italy, the original recipe wouldn’t have included tomatoes. 

For Your Information

If you don’t have stale bread, take a fresh loaf of hearty bread, cut it into large cubes, spread them on a baking sheet, and bake in a 200°F-degree oven for about 10 to 15 minutes. You don’t want to completely toast the bread; you just want to dry it out. It’s essential that you dry out the bread first before soaking it in the oil and vinegar; otherwise, it will just become soggy.

For Your Modification

Add other ingredients that pair well with the traditional classic, such as olives, sundried tomatoes, capers, red wine, parsley, mint, roasted bell peppers.

Soy-free

Any questions?

My First Turkey Hug

Lydia was my first turkey hug — and she was proof that you don’t need arms to do so. 

She pressed her body so close against mine, I couldn’t tell where my heartbeat ended and hers began. I had been vegetarian for several years by then but vegan only a couple. I had had my share of kitty snuggles, cow kisses, and goat nuzzles, but I hadn’t been loved by a turkey.

22 years later, Lydia is no longer with us — she died naturally and peacefully, not from the blade of a cold knife — but to me, she will always be the ambassador for all her turkey brethren. 

It was Joseph Stalin who said that we treat one death as a tragedy but one million as a statistic, and of course he would know. And, that’s what we’re facing here.

Over 30 years an animal advocate, and I still can’t wrap my brain around the fact that we bring into this world and kill almost 10 billion land animals every year in the U.S. for human consumption. We can’t fathom that number, but we CAN connect with one. One ambassador.

One individual whose life has been spared, one individual whose body has healed, one individual who represents not only the violence that countless animals endure every moment but also the hope and healing that’s possible when other individuals intervene: the human individuals. 

If you can connect people with the value of one individual animal, you can connect them with the value of an entire species. And so I give you Lydia: curious, affectionate, playful, vocal, brave, social, protective, and sassy. Like all her turkey friends. The only difference is…you can see her. ⠀

I hope. 

Vegan Breakfast and Brunch Recipes

We had a fabulous time in our Breakfast & Brunch Class, and I’m still reaping the rewards (READ: eating the leftovers)! The On-Demand Class is now available for you to enjoy the video and recipes! 

Thank you for supporting a small vegan business. xo

PURCHASE THE ON-DEMAND BREAKFAST RECIPES + VIDEO

  • Fluffy Pancakes
  • Maple Tempeh Bacon
  • Strawberries ‘n Custard Parfait

…plus I shared David’s recipe and secrets for making a STRAWBERRY SIMPLE SYRUP to add to sparkling wine or sparkly soda. GET YOUR RECIPES TODAY!  

$9.99

____________________

See listing for my online cooking classes here!

For more on living and cooking vegan (i.e. compassionately and healthfully), my books are here to help:

The Joy of Vegan Baking 

The Vegan Table

Color Me Vegan

Vegan’s Daily Companion

The 30-Day Vegan Challenge

The Joyful Vegan

How the Past Can Give Us Hope for the Future

In this episode of the Food for Thought Podcast, I explain how the hindsight of history can give us the insight of sages. (And I include the written essay below.)

As always, you can find lots of resources for living compassionately and healthfully at joyfulvegan.com, you can find my books wherever books are sold, and you can join me in my online cooking classes or in an upcoming vegan trip.

Because of you, this podcast is 100% listener supported. Become a supporter today at Patreon.com/ColleenPatrickGoudreau

For the animals, thank you for listening. 

Know Your Numbers (Cholesterol)

In today’s episode of the 15th year of the Food for Thought Podcast, I provide the optimal numbers experts recommend for your total cholesterol, LDL (“bad cholesterol”), HDL (“good cholesterol”), triglycerides, and a little thing called homocysteine. 

As always, you can find lots of resources for living compassionately and healthfully at joyfulvegan.com, you can find my books wherever books are sold, and you can join me in my online cooking classes or in an upcoming vegan trip.

GET YOUR FREE JOYFUL VEGAN GUIDE

Includes delicious plant-based recipes and a meal plan!




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