April 4, 2012

Easter Part 2: DINNER!

Traditionally, when you think of an Easter meal, what's the first thing that comes to mind?  For me, it's ham.

We always had ham for Easter dinner, followed by the traditional side dishes such as mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, etc.

Obviously, times have changed and we're all a little more enlightened as to the dangers of eating animal flesh and dairy.  But that doesn't mean you need to throw traditions out the window.  Remember, it's about your "new" normal!  Creating a new tradition - every tradition had to start somewhere, right!?

So this year, as the plant-based rock star that you are, I am here to help you plan your spring celebration meals.  Here is a sample menu for a rock star plant-based Easter/Passover dinner:


Also, here are some easily veganized traditional side dishes, with their vegan substitutions:
  • Sweet Potato Casserole - sub Earth Balance for butter; leave out the marshmallows.
  • Mashed Potatoes - sub Earth Balance for butter; soy creamer for cream; soy or almond milk for milk; Daiya Cheddar cheese for cheese (if you use it).
  • Buns/Rolls - if you buy store-bought, just be sure they're vegan - check the label, most are.  If you make your own from scratch (God love ya!), there are plenty of great recipes out there.  Like this one, or this one, or this one.

Now if you're looking to veganize ham, you're just SOL.

I have taken the liberty to bring to you not one, but two awesome veganized side dishes.  And they are awesome.

I have made my Green Bean Casserole for a couple of years now - for Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.  All of my non-vegan family members absolutely love it, and cannot even tell it's different from the original one, except that this one has more flavor.

It's basically the same, easy recipe, but instead of the nasty cream of mushroom soup, this one contains Imagine brand Portabella Mushroom soup.  Super rich and creamy, and full of great flavor, it makes the perfect substitution.  You can find this soup in a paper container, next to the broths in the natural food section of your grocery store (see the picture below).  I use a little cornstarch to thicken it up a little bit.

I still use the French's Fried Onions because they're vegan and they remind me of my childhood.  Yes, they're vegan; no, they're not good for you at all.  However, again, it's a special holiday vegan "splurge," and not much is used (especially after I've eaten several fried onions straight out of the can).

Now on to the Spring Stuffing!  I am a stuffing JUNKIE from way back.  I love it, but I find it pretty heavy, especially for a spring time meal.  So I came across this awesome-looking vegan stuffing recipe, and knew I had to try it.  This one looked perfectly hearty, but perfectly light all at the same time.  I tweaked the recipe a bit, so it became a combination of my usual fall stuffing recipe and a lighter spring stuffing recipe.  The result?  Deliciousness.

Enjoy!


Love & Kale,
Ali

                  ________________________________________________

Green Bean Casserole
Serves: About 8
This is about as easy and simple as it gets!  Not to mention creamy, flavorful, hearty, healthy, and delicious!

Print here.

Ingredients:

  • 2 - 9oz packages of frozen green beans, thawed
  • 1 - 16oz carton of Imagine Creamy Portabella Mushroom Soup
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch or flour
  • 1 1/3 cup fried onions
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Combine soup, pepper, and cornstarch or flour in a 1 1/2 qt. baking dish.  Whisk to combine.  Alternatively, you could put this in a small saucepan and simmer until it's thickened up.
  2. Add the green beans and about 1 cup of the fried onions.  Stir to combine.
  3. Cover and bake for 30 min.
  4. Remove from oven, sprinkle with remaining fried onions, and bake uncovered for 5 more min.  ENJOY!
Ingredients

Mix it all together

Add the onions

Stir to combine - bake for 30 min at 350.

Sprinkle with remaining onions and bake again for 5 min until golden brown like this...mmmm!

Yummy green bean casserole!

                           _______________________________________________

Spring Stuffing
Serves:  About 8 or so.
Original recipe from Oh She Glows.

Ingredients:
  • 1 loaf of bread (preferably cranberry raisin bread, for added sweetness)
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends broken off and chopped
  • 1 cup peas (thawed and drained)
  • 5 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Few sprigs of rosemary, thyme, and sage - all finely chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup of No-Chicken or vegetable broth
Instructions:
  1. Roughly chop or tear the bread into uniform cubes.  Either leave out over night to get a little stale, or stick in the oven at 400 degrees for about 5 min (that's what I did).
  2. Preheat oven to 400 and lightly oil a 2 1/2 qt. casserole dish.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a couple tablespoons of water or broth.  Add in the garlic, carrots, asparagus, and celery.  Saute until tender, about 5-8 min., adding more broth or water if needed.  Season well with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the peas, lemon juice, green onions and herbs.  Saute until heated through, about 2-3 min.  Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
  4. Combine the veggies with the bread and gently add the cup of broth, but don't over mix!  Transfer to the casserole dish, cover, and bake for about 30 min.  ENJOY!
Ingredients

Chop or tear your bread into pieces.

Either leave out overnight, or bake for a couple of minutes

Side aside your bread cubes in a casserole dish and prep your veggies

Saute your veggies until tender

While your veggies are sauteing, chop up your green onions and herbs

Add the peas, herbs, and onions.  Season and saute a couple minutes

Remove from heat and add the vegetable broth

Combine everything together and bake for 30 min at 400 degrees.

Until golden brown and delicious!

I love you spring stuffing!


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