Nov 5 2012

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Entree

People think being vegan/vegetarian on Thanksgiving is difficult, but it’s actually one of my favorite “food” holidays. Most of the sides are vegetarian (i.e. cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes – with non-dairy butter, green beans, stuffing).

The challenging part is the entree. Especially if you’re hosting and want to make sure everyone is satisfied.

These Flaky Harvest Vegetable Squares are perfect because they have the comfort and fullness factor you expect from Thanksgiving, but they are vegetarian and full of great vegetables. Also, all of the vegetables in this dish are majorly beneficial for warding off cancer. In my opinion, it feels a lot nicer to be grateful for our good health, than to celebrate the death of a bird who lived a sad, tortured life, and suffered a cruel death.

I’ll spare you the gruesome footage of what goes into raising and killing all of the turkeys necessary for the whole country to celebrate Thanksgiving, but a later, un-food related post is coming.

In the meantime, here’s how to make these yummy veggie squares, courtesy of Vegetarian Times.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head cauliflower (2.5-3 lb), broken into small florets, divided
  • 1 medium onion, sliced (1.5 cups)
  • 3 Tbs. plus 1/2 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt, divided
  • 3/8 tsp ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 head elephant garlic
  • 2 tsp vegetarian worcestershire sauce, divided
  • 3Tbs white wine
  • 1 Tbs cornstarch
  • 1 tsp freshly thyme leaves (chopped if they look large or tough)
  • 10 Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 10 baby carrots, halved on the diagonal
  • 10 small button mushrooms, halved
  • 6 shallots, peeled and quartered, root end left intact
  • 1 17.3-oz pkg frozen puff pastry, thawed (2 sheets)
  • 1 large egg, beaten, for brushing dough (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.  Set aside 20 cauliflower florets in bowl.  Toss remaining florets and onion with 1 Tbs oil; season with 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Spread on large baking sheet.  Cut tops off garlic heads, place on foil square, and drizzle with 1/2 tsp oil. Close foil around garlic.  Place foil-wrapped garlic and cauliflower-loaded baking sheet in oven, and roast 30-45 minutes, stirring cauliflower occasionally, until cauliflower and onion are browned and garlic feels soft.
  2. While garlic is still warm, squeeze garlic pulp from each clove into bowl of food processor.  Add cauliflower mixture and 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, and puree until smooth.  Season with salt and garlic, if desired.  Set aside.
  3. Combine wine, cornstarch, remaining 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, thyme, remaining 1/4 tsp salt, remaining 1/8 tsp pepper, and 1/2 cup water in small bowl until cornstarch has dissolved.  Set aside.
  4. Heat remaining 2 Tbs oil in wok or large skillet over high heat.  Add Brussels sprouts, carrots, reserved 20 cauliflower florets, mushrooms, and shallots, and stir-fry 5-7 minutes, or until vegetables begin to brown.  Add cornstarch mixture, and stir-fry 1-2 minutes more, or until most of liquid has evaporated and vegetables are coated with sauce.  Remove from heat, and cool. If you would like the vegetables to be smaller, throw them all in the food processor and chop them a little more. Personally, I like smaller pieces better.
  5. Meanwhile, roll each sheet of puff pastry into 12-inch square on floured work surface.  Cut each sheet into 4 squares, and place on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets.  Chill 15 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 425F.  Spread 1/4 cup cauliflower puree in circle in center of each pastry square.  Stir cooled vegetable mixture to coat with sauce, then scoop 1/2 cup vegetables in center of square, making sure each portion contains a good mix of vegetables.  fold corners of pastry squares over vegetable filling and into center, pinching corners to seal.  Brush each square with egg (if using), and chill 15 minutes.  Bake 12-15 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown, checking bottoms of squares with spatula to make sure they are browned.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

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