A vegan holiday feast that meat-lovers would approve of

Abigale Subdhan / The Social
The holidays are usually the time to think about how to cook that holiday turkey, but with 12 million Canadians now vegetarian or vegan, the traditional holiday table is getting a meatless makeover.

Candice Hutchings, author of The Edgy Veg, shares delicious vegan dishes that would satisfy any meat lover.

Courtesy of The Edgy Veg: 138 Carnivore Approved Recipes by Candice Hutchings and James Aita © 2017 www.robertrose.ca Available where books are sold.

Portobello Steaks with Béarnaise Sauce
Serves 4

As a wee little thing, I would sit on the floor and watch black-and-white videos of Julia Child cooking. I swear, that woman is 100% to blame for my over-the-top kitchen behavior and love of rich food. She also taught me a very important lesson that I may have taken a little too seriously: the only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.
  • Baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  • Cast-iron or nonstick skillet

For the Marinade
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar 125 mL
  • 1/2 cup red wine 125 mL
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 60 mL
  • 1/4 cup tamari 60 mL
  • 2 tbsp vegan Worcestershire 30 mL
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced 2

For the steaks
  • 12 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed 12
  • 1/2 tsp paprika 2 mL
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano 2 mL
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander 2 mL
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard powder 2 mL
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin 1 mL
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt 1 mL
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1 mL
  • Olive oil for brushing
  • 1 recipe Weekend at Béarnaise sauce (see recipe below), warmed 1
  • Chopped fresh taragon (optional)

  1. Marinade: In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, red wine, olive oil, tamari, vegan Worcestershire and garlic, until well combined.
  2. Steaks: In a shallow bowl or a large resealable bag, pour marinade over mushroom caps. Marinate for 2 hours or overnight, flipping mushrooms halfway.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare steak rub. In a small bowl or jar, combine paprika, oregano, coriander, mustard powder, cumin, sea salt and pepper. Stir or shake to combine. Set aside.
  4. Remove mushrooms from marinade, reserving marinade. Pat steak rub all over marinated mushrooms. Cook right away or pop them in the fridge for up to 2 hours if you want to prep dinner ahead of time (#WIN).
  5. Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C).
  6. Place mushroom caps, gill side up, on a prepared baking sheet. Roast for about 25 minutes, until tender.
  7. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Brush mushroom caps with olive oil. Add 3 to 4 mushrooms, gill side up, to pan and spoon 1 tsp (5 mL) reserved marinade over each mushroom. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on the first side, flip and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on the second side. Repeat this process 2 to 3 times, until there is minimal to no liquid left in the pan. Remove from heat and slice into 1/2-inch (1 cm) slices. Transfer to a bowl and cover with a plate to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining mushrooms.
  8. Arrange one-quarter of the sliced portobellos in a line in the center of each plate and drizzle with béarnaise sauce. Garnish with tarragon, if desired.

Weekend at Béarnaise
Makes about 2 cups (500 mL)

Béarnaise sauce comes from the hollandaise family, but is laced with white wine vinegar and tarragon. We like to call it “man sauce.” It may appear to be rich and delicate, but it’s actually rugged and macho, and it pairs perfectly with our succulent portobello steak (page 158) — a recipe we created especially for all the men out there (they won’t even notice it’s mushrooms. Wink.)
  • Fine-mesh sieve
  • Blender

  • 1 cup vegan butter 250 mL
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar 60 mL
  • 3 tbsp dry white wine 45 mL
  • 1 shallot, minced 1
  • 2 sprigs fresh tarragon, chopped and divided 2
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast 75 mL
  • 2/3 cup soft silken tofu, drained 150 mL
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric 1 mL
  • 1/4 tsp black salt 1 mL
  • 1 sprig flat-leaf (Italian) parsley 1

  1. In a small saucepan, melt vegan butter over medium-low heat. Set aside.
  2. In another small saucepan, combine white wine vinegar, white wine, shallot and half of the tarragon. Simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced to about 2 tbsp (30 mL). Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a blender, discarding solids. Set aside saucepan.
  3. Add nutritional yeast, tofu and turmeric to blender. Blend on High until smooth. With the blender running, slowly add melted vegan butter through the hole in the lid until well incorporated. Season with black salt.
  4. Transfer the mixture back to the small saucepan and heat over low heat, whisking vigorously and constantly, until mixture is thickened and resembles a traditional béarnaise sauce. Stir in the remaining chopped tarragon and parsley, and set aside to thicken slightly, about 5 minutes.

Brussels Sprouts That Don’t Suck
Serves 4

Who on God’s green earth decided to collectively traumatize kids by serving them boiled Brussels sprouts (blech!)? Until I met James’s mom, Lea, I absolutely despised the things. But this woman — she knew how to cook ’em! As far as I’m concerned, her recipe, which I’ve replicated here, is the only acceptable way to serve them: crispy, slightly charred and covered in garlicky oil. Otherwise, they’re Satan’s sprouts.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C)
  • Baking sheet lined with parchment paper

  • 1-1/2 lbs Brussels sprouts, trimmed 750 g
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 60 mL
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced 4
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Fill a large stock pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add Brussels sprouts and boil for 2 minutes, until bright green in color. Drain and let drip-dry for 10 minutes. (Excess water will prevent these bad boys from crisping, and crisping is key here.)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, garlic, 1/2 tsp (2 mL) sea salt and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) pepper.
  3. Slice Brussels sprouts in half. Add to the oil mixture and toss to coat.
  4. Transfer to a prepared baking sheet in a single layer and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Flip Brussels sprouts and bake for another 15 minutes, until edges are lightly charred and crisp. Be sure to keep an eye on your sprouts while baking: they can go from done to BURNT in a matter of seconds. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper, if necessary.

Edgy Roasted Veg
Serves 4 as a side

If I’m honest with myself, there’s nothing “edgy” about roasted veg. The creamy, herbed tahini sauce drizzled on top makes these veggies pop with excitement instead of being cast aside as an afterthought. This dish got its name from our weekly family potlucks. Every Tuesday (okay, not every, but we try) we host a potluck with our neighbors. We’re often reminded, “Don’t forget the edgy veggies!”
  • Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C)
  • Baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  • Blender or food processor

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets 1
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets 1
  • 2 cups sliced (1/4 inch/0.5 cm thick) Jerusalem artichokes 500 mL
  • 1 large onion, sliced into half-moons 1
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 30 mL
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup tahini 60 mL
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed 1
  • 1-1/4 cups curly parsley, finely chopped, divided 310 mL
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest 5 mL
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice 15 mL
  • 2 tbsp water 30 mL
  • 1/4 tsp hot paprika 1 mL

  1. In a large bowl, combine cauliflower, broccoli, Jerusalem artichokes and onion; add olive oil and toss to coat. Season with 1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper.
  2. Arrange vegetables in a single layer on a prepared baking sheet and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until lightly browned. The edges should be slightly charred and the vegetables soft when pierced with a fork.
  3. Meanwhile, in a blender, combine tahini, garlic, 1/4 cup (60 mL) parsley, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt and water; blend on High until smooth. Set aside.
  4. In the same large bowl, combine roasted vegetables, lemon zest, paprika and remaining 1 cup (250 mL) parsley; toss to coat. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Transfer to a platter and drizzle with tahini sauce. Reserve some sauce for dipping (yes, I want you to dip your already-sauced veggies!).

Sponge Cake and Berries Fit for Royal Tea
Serves 6

Victoria sponge cake is an old English classic. It’s named after Queen Victoria, who apparently had tea with delectable cakes every day at four o’clock with a duchess and baroness. I do the same thing, but I swap out the tea for wine and eat cake with my dogs. So go ahead and throw an afternoon tea party with some pals, human or canine.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)
  • Fine-mesh sieve
  • Stand mixer or electric hand mixer
  • Two 9-inch (23 cm) springform pans, greased and dusted with unbleached all-purpose flour

For the cake
  • 2-3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 675 mL
  • 4-1/2 tsp baking powder 22 mL
  • 1 tsp sea salt 5 mL
  • 1-1/4 tsp baking soda 6 mL
  • 1-1/4 cups superfine sugar 300 mL
  • 1-2/3 cups unsweetened almond milk 400 mL
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil 125 mL
  • 3 tbsp agave nectar 45 mL
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar 10 mL
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract, divided 10 mL

For the chantilly cream
  • 2 cans (each 14 oz/398 mL) full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight 2
  • 1/2 cup organic confectioners’ (icing) sugar (approx.) 125 mL
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 10 mL
  • 1 tbsp tapioca starch 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp cognac (approx.) 15 mL

For the filling and topping
  • 1/4 cup strawberry jam 60 mL
  • 4 cups strawberries, halved 1 L

  1. Cake: In a stand mixer bowl or large bowl, using a fine-mesh sieve, sift flour, baking powder, sea salt, baking soda and sugar. Whisk and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together almond milk, vegetable oil, agave nectar, apple cider vinegar and vanilla.
  3. Add almond milk mixture to flour mixture. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or an electric hand mixer, beat for about 2 minutes, until thick and creamy.
  4. Divide batter between prepared springform pans. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, watching carefully, until golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Remove cakes from oven and let cool in the pans for 15 minutes. Remove from the pans and transfer to a wire rack. Let cool completely, about 1 hour.
  6. Chantilly Cream: Meanwhile, chill the clean stand mixer bowl and the whip attachment, or a large metal bowl and electric beaters, in the fridge for 1 hour.
  7. Remove the cold bowl and beaters from the fridge. Carefully open coconut milk and place the coconut cream solids in the cold bowl. (Reserve or discard the remaining liquid. You do not want any of this liquid in your whipped cream.)
  8. Using the stand mixer or electric hand mixer with chilled beaters, beat coconut cream on Low, gradually turning up the speed to High, for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Beat on High for 3 to 5 minutes, until stiff peaks form. Add confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, tapioca starch and cognac; beat for 1 minute, until stiff peaks form again (they can fall when new ingredients are added). Taste and adjust sugar and cognac to desired sweetness. Cover and transfer to the fridge until needed.
  9. Place one cake on a serving dish or cake stand. Spread jam evenly over the surface, followed by half of the whipped cream, leaving a 1/2-inch (1 cm) border. Place second cake on top. Spread or pipe remaining cream over surface and decorate with strawberries. Transfer to the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour and maximum overnight to set.
  10. Slice with a sharp knife and a light hand. Serve with afternoon tea or prosecco.
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