Longing for the Divine

My Plant-Based Holiday

One of the best things I have done in my life is to follow a plant—based lifestyle. I find myself personally thriving on a healthy diet based on vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains, but during this time of year people often ask me what I eat for the holidays. What kind of festive merriment can be there without the turkey, ham or any of that lard infused gravy?

I consider myself to be a non-legalistic, liberated vegetarian who cares about creation and cannot conceive of a God who would condone organized insensitivity towards animals in order to gratify ones glutinous taste. What is God like to me? He is a God of love and justice. A God who sides with a suffering creation and who extends benevolent care to both human and nonhuman creation alike. A God who desires us to orientate ourselves toward a life of gratitude that not only encompasses health and wholeness in our expression of thanks, but mercy and compassion as we celebrate.

That does not mean I have to miss out on the rich flavors of the holidays, or forgo the enjoyments in keeping with the tradition of a festive meal. There are such an abundance of delicious dishes that I will be incorporating into my Thanksgiving or Christmas table this year. Although there are many delicious foods you might choose to enjoy, below are a couple of plant-based recipes that represent some of my favorite dishes:

Vegan Spinach Tofu Triangles

1/2 c diced onions
2 Tbs minced garlic
2 Tbs olive oil
1 lb bag of frozen spinach (thawed and drained)
1 block of firm tofu
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 package of Phyllo Dough (I use whole wheat)
extra oil

Saute onions, garlic and olive oil together. Set aside. Crumble or mash the tofus. Saute the tofu on medium heat to cook off the water. Add in the seasonings and spinach and then add the cooked onions and garlic. Let cool slightly. Take a sheet of Phyllo Dough and brush with extra oil or melted margarine, fold in half. Put 2 Tbs of filling in the corner and fold diagonally to make triangles. Bake at 375 for 20-30- minutes until golden.

Vegan Bread Stuffing

2 c dried bread cubes (or make your own with gluten free bread, cut into 1/2 cubes and spread out evenly on a cooky tray and bake in the oven on low until dried out)
1/2 c diced celery
1/2 c diced onion
2 Tbs soy margarine or olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sage
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder or 1 garlic clove peeled and very finely chopped
1 tsp nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 c filtered water or vegetable broth

In a cause pan, sauté onions and celery in margarine or olive oil on a medium flame. Add bread cubes, seasonings and stir together. Add 1/2 cup of water or broth and cook for a few minutes and serve. If you like you can transfer to casserole dish and bake for 10-20 minuets at 350.

Tofu No-Turkey Recipe

1 16-ounce pack of firm tofu
1 Tbs cornstarch
1 Tbs nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp crushed sage
2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup oil

Drain the tofu, press with a heavy weight for a couple hours, and then pat dry. Puree all ingredients in a food processor until smooth to make a batter. Place a sheet of parchment paper the length of a cooking sheet on a sheet of foil, and spray the paper with nonstick spray. Spread a layer of batter (about 6″ wide and 1″ thick, forming a rectangle) on the sheet. Scoop vegan bread stuffing in the center, roll up the paper and the foil, and pinch the sides in. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 350°F. Let cool for about 1 hour and then slice into 1″ pieces. Lay pieces in a dish and drizzle with a plant based flour gravy. Heat before serving in the oven for 10 minuets at 350.

Vegan Shepherds Pie

1 c chopped mushrooms
1 c diced onions
2 tsp olive oil
1 bag Beyond Meat Crumbles
1 lb bag frozen corn (or frozen mixed veggies: peas, carrots, green beens, and corn)

Mashed Potatoes:
6 c peeled and cubed white potatoes
1 tsp sea salt (to taste)
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 c Earth Balance margarine
1/2 c non dairy milk (Chobani Oatmilk, original)

Place the diced potatoes in a large pot, fill with water unit they are just covered. Bring to boil on medium heat and cook covered until they are tender. While they are cooking sauté the onions and mushrooms in the olive oil. When the onions are translucent add in the Beyond Meat crumbles, cook till lightly browned. Layer the bottom of your baking dish with the faux meat mixture. Then sprinkle the bag of frozen corn on top. Drain and add back to the pot to mash the cooked potatoes with the remaining ingredients until fluffy and spread on top. Bake at 350* for half an hour.

Serve & Enjoy!

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