Normally in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving I’d be excitedly planning a menu, bookmarking recipes and testing desserts (quality control, right?).
This year, because of the DI, the holiday will be abbreviated, and if I’m being honest, days of cooking beforehand will be the last thing I want to do. Mom and I are going to Candle79 for our meal, and if I can take the rest of the day to put my feet up on her sofa and watch something silly on TV, I’ll call it a holiday very well spent.
This doesn’t mean that I can’t allow the holiday excitement to wash over me a bit beforehand: it just needs to happen in small waves. In the next couple week, I plan to work some festive and traditional recipes into my usual weekly batch cooking routine, so that even if I don’t cook up a feast of my own on Thanksgiving day, I still take the time to commemorate the holiday in my kitchen. This wild rice vegan stuffing with roasted sweet potato & apple is where I’m starting.
I’ve been thinking about the combination of roasted sweet potatoes and apples in a stuffing dish since I made this hash. I’ve got a huge weakness for sweet and savory food, and when I made that dish, I quickly fell in love with the combination of stovetop cooked onions and roasted root veggies/fruit.
Here, there’s also rice for texture and heft, fresh herbs (rosemary and thyme, but sage would also be good), and the addition of pomegranate arils at the very end for some festive holiday color.
You can see some Thanksgiving-friendly sides—roasted Brussels sprouts and roasted root vegetables—peeking out in the background! These were pre-cut and ready to bake, thanks to the prepared vegetable options at my local Whole Foods Market 365 in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn.
I love shopping at this place. It’s the same experience as shopping at a regular Whole Foods Market, but with a few key differences: the store is a little smaller and easier to navigate, and the focus is on the 365 line of products, which maintains an affordable price point. Plus, there are always a ton of products on sale or available at special discounts. Amazon Prime members get exclusive savings, as well as an extra 10% off hundreds of items every day; shoppers can just download the Whole Foods Market app and start saving. When I shop at WFM I tend to gravitate toward the 365 line of products anyway, so the Ft. Greene store gives me a simplified shopping trip, and it features some local business and products (like Bread Alone and Orwasher’s breads).
The only downside? Most of the time, Fort Greene is well out of my way, which makes it hard to head out there for weekly grocery hauls! Right now, though, the store is on my way home; I’ve got a long commute from the hospital I’m working at in East Brooklyn to my place. A trip to Whole Foods Market 365 is a great way to break it up.
The store, as well as sister WFM stores in the city, will be featuring grab n’ go holiday sides that are already pre-cooked, as well as prepared vegan pumpkin pie (!). For me, the cut, seasoned, and ready-to-roast veggies are already a terrific time-saver, for holiday cooking just as much for weekly DI batch cooking, and I was thrilled to have them in my fridge this week. Along with my new favorite stuffing.
|Wild Rice Vegan Stuffing with Roasted Sweet Potato & Apple||
Recipe type: main dish, holidays, side dish
Cuisine: vegan, gluten free, soy free, tree nut free
Author: Gena Hamshaw
Serves: 6 servings
- 2 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil (such as safflower or grapeseed)
- 1 pound scrubbed sweet potatoes, cut into ~1/2 inch cubes
- 1 pound apples (any flavor), cut into ~1/2 inch cubes/pieces
- 1 cup (dry) wild rice or a wild rice blend (I used the 365 wild rice blend, which is a combination of wild rice and brown basmati)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
- 3 large (or 4 smaller) stalks celery, chopped
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped (or 2 teaspoons dry)
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dry)
- ¾ cup vegetable broth
- ½ teaspoon salt, plus extra to season the roasted potatoes/apple
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1-2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, to taste
- ½ cup pomegranate arils
- Preheat the oven to 400F and line two baking sheets with parchment. Toss the potatoes and apple with the vegetable oil and transfer to the baking sheets. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast for 35-40 minutes, or until the vegetables are browning and tender. Remove the vegetables from heat.
- While the vegetables roast (or beforehand if it’s easier), cook the rice according to package instructions.
- Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and shallot. Cook, stirring often, for 5-8 minutes, or until the onion is soft and clear. Stir in the rosemary and thyme. Fold in the cooked rice, sweet potatoes, and apple. Add the ½ teaspoon salt and the vegetable broth. Heat everything through, stirring as you go.
- Add the sherry vinegar and a big pinch of freshly ground black pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. Transfer the stuffing to a serving dish and top with the pomegranate arils. Enjoy!
In addition to being tasty and perfectly in keeping with the flavors of the season and holiday, the stuffing is really easy to make. If I were to make it again before Thanksgiving—which I probably will—I’d cook the rice ahead of time, and maybe even roast the veggies beforehand, so that it could all come together on the stovetop quickly.
Speaking of piecemeal cooking processes and advance prep, I’ve gotten a few requests for a comprehensive post on my batch cooking process. It may take me a while to pull together, but I’d love to follow up on that! Batch cooking has made the DI experience smooth sailing from a food perspective, and it would be fun to share what I’ve learned (and to answer any questions you have).
I’ve had years where I made a scratch cooked feast for my mom and me, and it was a pleasure. There’s a time and place for that, and there are also years to take a break from cooking, or to let some handy culinary helpers (like pre-cut veggie sides, or particularly low-key recipes) do the work. This is one of those years, and I think it’s going to be a sweet holiday.
Wishing you a great rest of the week. “See” you this weekend!
This post is sponsored by Whole Foods Market 365. All opinions are my own. Thanks for your support!
Sheet Pan Tamari Glazed Tempeh & Broccoli
The other day, I took a little Instagram poll to figure out what sort of recipes you’d like to see more of, or which things you’d be curious to see me veganize. I did this partly for your sake and mostly for mine: I’ve been low on recipe ideas lately, and readers are always my best source of inspiration.
Here’s a sampling of what was requested:
- Eggplant parmesan
- Simple, take-to-work lunches
- Anything with lentils
- Pretzel bites
- Cannoli filling (first I’ll need to figure out how to make cannolis 😉)
- Anything quick and/or easy
- Stir fries
- Vegan sandwiches
I loved getting requests. It was a reminder that I should ask for advice when coming up with my meal plans more often.
For now, I’m checking the “anything quick and/or easy” box with this recipe for tamari glazed tempeh and broccoli. On its own, it’s a quick way to a vegan protein + vegetable combo, which you could eat the way it is or add to a salad/bowl. If you have some cooked or frozen rice at the ready, or some soba or udon noodles to boil up, it’s a perfectly satisfying dinner. And while it’s not exactly a 20-minute recipe, it’s practically hands-off.
The recipe starts with giving tempeh a marinade in tamari, vinegar, and maple syrup (along with some crushed red pepper flakes for heat). You can do this in the fridge overnight, or for a couple hours, depending on what works for your schedule.
You can also choose to steam the tempeh first, or not. I didn’t use to do this, but I’ve been getting into the habit lately. I do it less to decrease bitterness—the usual rationale—than to tenderize the tempeh, which I think it really does. And that’s especially nice when tempeh gets baked, because it can dry out a bit in the oven.
After this is done, you spray a lined baking sheet with oil, place the tempeh cubes and some broccoli florets on it, and pour the marinade over everything. Bake for 35 minutes, and a protein-rich meal awaits!
Sheet Pan Tamari Glazed Tempeh & Broccoli
Servings: 3 servings
- 3 tablespoons tamari (regular or reduced sodium, according to your preference)
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar (substitute apple cider or white wine vinegar)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder)
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated or minced ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)
- generous dash crushed red pepper flakes
- 8 ounces tempeh, cut into cubes (about 1″, or 16 cubes per 8-ounce block)
- 3 cups bite-sized broccoli florets and/or stems
- avocado or canola oil spray (optional)
- brown rice or noodles, for serving (optional)
- sesame seeds, for serving (optional)
If you’d like to, steam the tempeh for 10 minutes.
Whisk together the tamari, vinegar, syrup, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Place the tempeh cubes in a rectangular or square glasslock container and pour the marinade over them. Cover the container and allow the tempeh to marinate for a couple hours, or overnight in the fridge.
Preheat your oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil and coat it with vegetable oil spray. Remove the tempeh cubes from the marinade (reserving the marinade) and arrange them on half of the baking sheet. Arrange the broccoli on the other half. Pour the marinade over the tempeh and vegetables. Roast for 35 minutes, or until the tempeh and broccoli are browning, flipping the tempeh cubes once halfway through cooking.
Serve the tempeh and broccoli over rice, noodles, a salad, or whatever you like. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.
I love that this dish doesn’t require any stovetop babysitting, that it’s flavorful without a complicated ingredient list, and that the leftovers taste great for days (which I’m discovering right now).
For the record, I’ve made it twice now, and the powdered garlic/ginger version is really good. If not having to mince anything is an additional selling point, don’t shy away from that option.
Hope this dish might bring some ease to your batch cooking or weeknight meals, just the way it has mine. It’s a keeper. And feel free to share more recipe requests if you’ve got ’em.
Curried Potatoes, Lentils & Peas
I had a first yesterday afternoon: I drew a complete blank on batch cooking. I needed to make at least two meals for dinners this week, and I couldn’t settle on anything. Looks like my meal prep stamina is starting to flag.
Since it was Cinco de Mayo, I made the enchiladas from Power Plates, which are a favorite at home. But I needed something else. This dish of curried potatoes, lentils and peas was my answer. It’s not markedly different from a lot of other curries and Indian-inspired stews I made, but it’s simpler and probably more versatile. The texture is just soupy enough that you can mop it up with flatbread or pita or serve it over rice, but the potatoes give it a lot of texture and heft if you’d prefer to eat it on its own.
No matter how many times I make a dish like this—something starchy, creamy, and richly spiced—I never seem to tire of the formula. I added cashew cream to the mix, which is my go-to, but you can most definitely use coconut milk instead. I like the use of russet potatoes here, but for a sweeter version, sweet potatoes or even Japanese yams would be pretty great, too.
Curried Potatoes, Lentils & Peas
Servings: 6 servings
- 1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil, such as safflower or grapeseed
- 1 white or yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 cups water
- 3 medium/large russet potatoes, peeled and diced (about 1 3/4-2 lbs)
- 1 cup toor dal (split yellow lentils) or red lentils
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon salt (more as needed)
- 1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen & defrosted
- 4-5 cups chopped spinach or whole baby spinach leaves
- 3/4 cup cashew cream or full-fat, canned coconut milk
- juice of 1 lime
Heat the oil in a roomy pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and clear.
Add the water, potatoes, lentils, curry, turmeric, ginger, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked through.
Add the peas and spinach. Cook for another 5 minutes. Stir in the cashew cream or coconut milk and lime. Taste the stew and adjust salt and lime as needed. Serve.
You can substitute 1/4 cup broth or water for the oil if you like.
Having spent so many years doing my best to make recipes as creative as possible, I’m now sticking to ingredient combinations that are as tried-and-true as they can be. Half the time I cook from Power Plates and Vegan, which isn’t so bad: it allows me to revisit those recipes and be reminded of why I love them.
Still, I can’t pretend that I’m not eager to once again find myself in a place where I’m testing new recipes and feeling inspired while I do it. I’ve fed myself well this year, in spite of the hectic schedule, but creativity feels stalled right now on a lot of fronts. This last stretch, from now through August, feels long, but I know it’ll fly by, and I’m hoping that a renewed sense of energy in the kitchen will follow. In the meantime, if you have any vegan recipe requests, feel free to share! It’ll be good inspiration for me.
In the spirit of not doing or saying more than I need to, I’m keeping this post short and sweet so that I can settle into my first few days of food service. Have a great week, all.
Meal Prep Friendly Tofu Tahini Lunch Salad
My current GI rotation features fast days and a fully packed schedule. It’s not uncommon for my preceptor and I to have new patients on the hour, every hour, for the entirety of our work day. Lunches usually get eaten quickly, often in the spare minutes between appointments.
Lunch breaks have seldom been leisurely this year, but I’ve clung to the time I have as a grounding ritual that allows me to enjoy my batch cooked meals and have a little time to process my work days. Right now, it’s tough to do without this customary break in the day, though I guess it’s a real-life glimpse at how a lot of RDNs (and other busy professionals) operate.
Sandwiches and wraps have, not surprisingly, been lifesavers during this fast-paced rotation. They’re easy to pack, easy to eat quickly, and they fill me up nicely. This tofu tahini lunch salad has been one of my favorite sandwich fillings lately: protein-rich, flavorful, and easy to meal prep over the weekend.
As with chicken salad, chickpea salad, tuna salad, or whatever protein-rich lunch salad you fancy, this one is incredibly adaptable. My go-to has been celery, grapes, and carrots, but chopped apple, green onion tops, or dill would all work beautifully as well.
I often use vegan mayo in salads like this one, but when I developed a chickpea salad sandwich filler for Power Plates, I tried tahini as a wholesome alternative. It worked so well that it’s become a go-to, and that’s what I use here: tahini, mustard, vinegar, and a pinch each of garlic and onion powder.
The tofu that works best in this recipe is extra firm, and I’ve been turning to my favorite, which is Nasoya’s. It’s so versatile—a true staple in my kitchen—and you could either cube it finely or purchase the pre-cubed version to make the recipe. Once the tofu is cubed, it’ll get even more broken down as you mix and fold the salad together, giving you plenty of texture but a soft consistency. The filling is easy to pile onto toast, into wraps, or into sandwiches, but it’s also a great salad topper and a good dip to serve as an appetizer when you have folks over.
As for the meal prep bit, the salad keeps well for up to four days in the fridge. It’s easy enough to make that I can mix it up on Sunday night—although Sundays are a busy day for me, and often leave me tired—and rest easy that my weekly sandwiches will be very tasty and very nutrient dense.
You can head on over to the Nasoya website to check the salad out. I hope you’ll enjoy it, in all its simplicity and ease! Here’s the recipe.
And hope the week has been good to you. Till soon.
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