meatless monday: vegan thanksgiving

The NY Times‘ Tara Parker-Pope posted these vegan Thanksgiving recipes in her Well Blog last week, courtesy of chef Chloe Coscarelli. It’s nice to see some proper homage paid to veggie-based side dishes, especially since the turkey usually steals the Thanksgiving thunder. But a recent, informal survey revealed that holiday revelers (including carnivores) prefer Thanksgiving sides over turkey anyway. It’s all about the sides, people!
Chloe’s Vegan Thanksgiving also features a lovely Chocolate Pumpkin Bread Pudding. I think her website may inspire some future Meatless Mondays. Enjoy.

Chef Chloe's stuffed portobello mushrooms: will you just look at those cashews.

Harvest Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
This hearty Thanksgiving entree is made of savory lentil cashew stuffing baked in juicy portobello mushrooms infused with aromatic herbs. It’s topped off with a sliver of sweet tomato and fresh thyme leaves. This dish is packed with protein and fiber and will hold its own on the Thanksgiving table.

1 large yellow onion, small dice
1 cup cashews
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cooked brown rice (or grain of choice)
1 can lentils, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves plus extra for garnish
6 portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed
1 tomato, sliced in thin rounds
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In large skillet, sauté the onions and cashews with 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and sauté until onions are soft and lightly browned. Add garlic and let cook a few more minutes. In a large bowl combine onion mixture, brown rice, lentils, breadcrumbs, vegetable broth, basil and thyme. Mix together and season to taste with salt and pepper. (The stuffing can be made up to three days in advance and stored covered in the refrigerator.) Brush both sides of mushroom caps lightly with olive oil and place top-side down on an oiled sheet pan. Stuff mushrooms with about 1/2 cup lentil cashew stuffing, then press one tomato slice on top of the stuffing. (The mushrooms can be stuffed and assembled on a baking tray the day before you plan to bake and serve them.) Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until the stuffing is browned and the mushroom begins releasing juices. Garnish with extra fresh thyme leaves. Serves 6.

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