'Today' food editor Vidya Rao shares vegan holiday recipe picks

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'Today' food editor Vidya Rao shares with us her vegan/vegetarian holiday recipe picks that are sure to please any palate at your Thanksgiving table.



Fig-Pecan Stuffed Acorn Squash (From "Celebrate Vegan")

This elegant dish looks as good as it tastes. The deeply autumnal figs and toasty pecans contrast nicely against the inherent sweetness of the squash and agave nectar.

• 2 acorn squash halved lengthwise, seeded
• 1 T olive oil
• Salt and pepper
• 3 T vegetable margarine, such Earth Balance, melted
• 1/3 c agave nectar
• 3/4 c dried, de-stemmed Calimyra figs, chopped
• 1/3 c pecans, chopped
• 1/2 tsp cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Serves 8

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Rub insides of acorn squash halves with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn upside down onto a foil-lined cookie sheet (For easy clean-up later). Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until soft.
3. Meanwhile, mix remaining ingredients in a medium bowl
4. Remove squash from the oven and turn right side up. Fill halves with the fig mixture.
5. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until filling is soft and bubbly.
6. Cool for about 10 minutes before serving.


Seitan with Apples, Quince and Onion (From "Celebrate Vegan")
Seitan is a protein made from gluten. When cooked, its texture is chewy and somewhat similar to meat, hence its nickname, “wheat meat.” There’s something elegant and comforting about this harvest combination scented with warming, earthy herbs. This stewy dish makes its own gravy, perfect for serving with sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes or alongside any grain.

• 2 T olive oil
• 1 medium onion, sliced
• 2 cups of seitan chunks (Store bought, use your own recipe, or from "The Urban Vegan")
• Salt and pepper, to taste
• 2 small quinces, peeled and chopped (1/2-inch dice)
• 1 small apple, peeled and chopped (1/2-inch dice)
• 1 cup vegetable broth
• ½ tsp cumin
• ¼ tsp cinnamon
• 1 tsp ground sage
• 1 T cornstarch
• 1 T brandy (optional)

Serves 4, recipe easily doubled

1. Heat oil over medium in a large casserole. Add onions. Saaute until soft, about 5 mins.
2. Add seitan. Saute, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes. Seitan should begin to brown a bit. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Add quince, apple, veggie broth, spices and sage. Bring to a boil, then add brandy. Cook for a minute or two to allow alcohol to steam off. Turn heat to low.
4. With a ladle, transfer about ¼ cup of broth to a separate bowl. Whisk in the cornstarch to make a slurry, then stir it into the seitan mixture.
5. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove cover and cook for another 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings. Remove from heat and let sit for about 10 minutes before serving


Wolffie’s Pumpkin Pie
I’m thankful for pumpkins, for sugar, and for this pie. Don’t worry that it won’t look ready when you first take it out of the oven—it sets as it cools.

1⁄4 cup (50 g) sugar
1⁄4 cup (25 g) flour
1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp vegan margarine
1⁄4 cup (30 g) walnuts or pecans, finely chopped

1 14-oz (398-mL) can unsweetened pumpkin purée
1⁄2 cup (120 mL) vegan “milk”
1⁄4 cup (40 g) cornstarch
1⁄2 cup (120 mL) maple syrup
1⁄2 tsp salt
1⁄4 cup (50 g) sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1⁄4 tsp allspice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 9-in (23-cm) pie crust

1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
2. In a small bowl, stir together 1⁄4 cup (50 g) sugar, 1⁄4 cup (25 g) flour, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 2 tbsp vegan margarine, and 1⁄4 cup (30 g) finely chopped walnuts. Set aside.
3. In a food processor, blend together 14-oz (398-mL) can unsweetened pumpkin, 1⁄2 cup (120 mL) vegan “milk”, 1⁄4 cup (40 g) cornstarch, 1⁄2 cup (120 mL) maple syrup, 1⁄2 tsp salt, 1⁄4 cup (50 g) sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1⁄4 tsp allspice, 1 tsp vanilla extract until smooth.
4. Pour pumpkin mixture into prepared pie crust. Sprinkle topping evenly over top and bake for 40–45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Serve at room temperature. Makes 1 pie.

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