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A Healthy, Plant-Based Spin on Holiday Classics

By: JL Fields, Cookbook Author, Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Culinary Instructor, JL.Fields@Gazette.com
December 5, 2016 Updated: December 5, 2016 at 11:50 am
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photo - Recipe: JL Fields
Photo: Kate Lewis
Recipe: JL Fields Photo: Kate Lewis 

Happy healthy holidays are easier than ever. Make a few simple substitutions to traditionally high calorie and high fat ingredients without sacrificing flavor - and get a jump start on any health-related New Year resolutions!

 

SIDES

 

Potatoes still rule at a healthy holiday table!

 

Mashed

 

Boil or steam potatoes as usual but mash them with a dairy-free butter (Earth Balance, Melt, or Miyoko’s Creamery) and a plant-based milk (almond, cashew, or almond). Use sweet potatoes to bump up the nutrients.

 

Pair these spuds with a creamy bean-based gravy

 

Ginger-Cinnamon White Bean Gravy

Recipe by JL Fields

 

4 tablespoons vegan butter

1/2 cup chopped yellow onion

3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth

1/4 cup (low-sodium soy sauce

1 15-ounce can white beans (navy or cannellini), rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (flakes or powder)

 

Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the butter is melted, add the onion and garlic and sauté until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the ground ginger, cinnamon, and pepper and stir well. Stir in the broth and soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and add of the canned (or 1 1/2 cups cooked) beans.

 

Blend the gravy using either an immersion blender in the saucepan or transfer to a blender and pulse for 20 to 30 seconds. If using a blender, return the gravy back to the saucepan once blended.

 

Stir in the nutritional yeast, cover the saucepan, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened

 

Yield: Makes 3 to 4 cups gravy

 

Modified recipe from Vegan Pressure Cooking: Delicious Beans, Grains, and One-Pot Meals in Minutes by JL Fields, Fair Winds Press. Reprinted with permission.

 

THE MAIN EVENT

 

Brussels sprouts and cranberries are a colorful, warm dish. Roast trimmed Brussels sprouts in the oven on 400°F for 20 – 30 minutes. Toss with dried cranberries and balsamic vinegar. You can then combine this delightful mix with a hearty cooked grain, such as quinoa or barley or serve one of the many alternative roasts now in almost every grocery store in Colorado Springs: Celebration Roast by Field Roast, Holiday Roast by Gardein or the original Tofurky Roast.

 

DESSERTS

 

Last but not least, let’s not forget the sweets! Serve a simple fruit platter for something uber-healthy or swap out vegan butter in your favorite baked goods.

 

And for a special challenge, take a family favorite dessert and health it up a notch. Like I did for my own family:

 

Uncle Wayne’s Cookies

Recipe by JL Fields

 

1 cup vegan butter

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

1/3 cup powder sugar, sifted and packed

1 cup chopped (very fine) pecans

Extra sifted powdered sugar

  • Heat oven to 350F
  • Cream the butter.
  • Add vanilla and continue mixing.
  • Slowly add flour, and then powdered sugar, and mix well.
  • Mix in the pecans.
  • Bake for 15 minutes (sea level; at 6,000 feet I had to bake them for 22 minutes)
  • While warm, roll each cookie in powdered sugar and then let cool in a baking rack.
  • These cookies are great right out of the oven; they also freeze extremely well.

 

YIELD: 2 dozen cookies

 

JL Fields writes the Gazette's monthly vegan dining review. To learn more, schedule a consultation or browse through her selection of vegan cookbooks, visit JLGoesVegan.com. Also tune into her weekly radio show, Easy Vegan with JL Fields.

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