Yes indeed Thanksgiving can be a rough holiday for the vegan and vegetarian-inclined. But fear not, meatless mavens! You don’t have to spend Thursday drinking in the corner on an empty stomach while the carnivores and dairy fiends feast without you. Nope. Save the empty stomach alcohol consumption for your post-holiday breakup because Thanksgayving angels Stef and Carmen have a couple of recipes that will veg up this otherwise meat and dairy heavy holiday.
Carmen’s adapted “off-the-box” tofurkey recipe looks so good that I can’t even concentrate long enough to make a box joke. And vegan or not, who doesn’t love a tiny pumpkin cheesecake that fits in the palm of your hand and smells like autumnal bliss?
Stef’s Individual-Sized Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecakes
Every year for as far back as I can remember (apparently only about 6-7 years), my friends and I have gathered either immediately before or directly after Thanksgiving for Thanksvegan. For our purposes, Thanksvegan is a holiday we invented to compensate for the holiday we’d have to spend with our slightly less-than-vegetarian-friendly families. Whereas Thanksgiving with my aunts and uncles would be fraught with uncertainty and suspicious ingredient lists, with chicken stock and butter making surprise appearances in the darndest places, Thanksvegan is easy – everything is guaranteed safe, and my friends and I generally relish the opportunity to enjoy each others’ cooking.
This year, I’ve foregone all attempts to contribute to the dinner itself and have gone straight for dessert. While stuck in the house during Hurricane Sandy, I found this cute cheesecake recipe in an old copy of my roommate’s Vegetarian Times and decided I’d veganize it. I ended up liking them so much that I doubled the recipe and will be bringing a dozen of these to my family’s dinner as well. Here it is!
+ 1 decent-sized box of ginger cookies (a lot of gingersnaps are vegan! Read labels!)
+ 4 tbsp melted margarine (I used Earth Balance)
+ 12 oz vegan cream cheese, room temperature
+ 1 cup pumpkin puree (about half a can)
+ 4 tbsp Ener-G Egg Replacer
+ 6 tbsp warm water
+ 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp light brown sugar
+ 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
+ 1/2 tbsp ground ginger
+ 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
+ 1/4 tbsp ground nutmeg
+ 1/4 tbsp salt
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. While that’s happening, it’s time to prepare the crust! Put some little cupcake wrappers in a muffin tin/cupcake tray/whathaveyou, start melting your margarine, and grab your box of gingersnaps. Throw a bunch of ‘em in a plastic bag and crumble them with a rolling pin until they’re reduced to a powder (Depending on who’s asking, I tell people I learned this trick from either Jamie on the L Word or the Vegan Black Metal Chef). Mix the crumbs in a bowl with the margarine, and then spoon the mixture evenly onto the bottom of your cupcake wrappers, patting flat. Bake that in the oven for about ten minutes, then set aside for later.
2. In a small separate bowl, mix your egg replacer with the warm water and beat it til it reaches a sort of eggy consistency.
3. Generally I feel a little weird about recipes where an appliance does all the work, but here we are. In a blender or large food processor, mix your cream cheese, pumpkin, egg mixture, brown sugar, flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and puree til smooth. Distribute evenly in your muffin tin and bake for about 20 minutes. These are best cooled in the cupcake wrappers, though once they’ve firmed up a bit you can remove them if you want. These little dudes are happiest if you let them hang out in the fridge for about 12 hours prior to serving, and happier still if you garnish them with slightly seasonally premature snowman flags from the dollar store.
Carmen’s Extra Special Tofurkey Recipe
(Modified from the Tofurky Recipe found on every single box of Tofurky.)
I put butter on my Tofurkey.
I want to go ahead and let you know that, both so that we can imagine a simmering and delicious, melt-in-your mouth slice of textured soy tofu and stuffing. And if you’re vegan, don’t despair, because I bet it even tastes good without it. But in the spirit of Thanksgiving and with the knowledge that it could be worse because I mean, turkey, I’ll stand by my recipe and save the guilt for the carnivores.
+ Tofurkey Roast (of your liking, the kind that is already full o’ stuffing)
+ 4 or 5 carrots
+ 1/4 to 1/2 stick of butter, depending on your affinity for butter
+ 2 potatoes
+ Garlic Powder
+ Garlic, finely chopped or sliced. (You can compensate with more powder.)
+ Black Pepper
+ Any additional veggies you love.
+ Olive oil and soy sauce
1. Quarter the potatoes leaving the skin on. Cut the carrots and celery and other veggies into small pieces and as much of the onion as you like. Mix the cut veggies together with the garlic, finely chopped.
2. Prepare the Tofurky baste of olive oil and soy sauce, adjusting the recipe they use as you see fit. Melt the butter in a different, small dish.
3. Arrange the Tofurky in the middle of your casserole dish with all of the onions, potatoes, carrots and celery surrounding it. Cover the entire situation in the melted butter, then cover it in half the baste. Shake it a little to make sure it’s making it’s way into every part of the whole mess. Cover it with a fine dust of garlic powder and black pepper. By ‘fine dust’ I mean ‘bring on that shit.’
4. According to Tofurky, you cook a thawed Tofurky for 1 hour and 15 minutes, and a frozen for 3 hours and 15 minutes at 350. I cook it until it’s extremely tender, though, and encourage you to simply do the same.
5. Add the other half of the baste intermittently. You’ll wanna stick your face in and smell it mostly because it’s about to be fucking amazing.
No gravy required.