Food For Thought: Nancy's Vegan Feast

Nov 16, 2016

"I bet you never thought you'd hear me say I was going to a vegan Thanksgiving dinner."

Nancy Leson was  right.  But if she expected me to tease her about it, she was disappointed.  Thanks to talented and resourceful chefs, vegan cooking is in no way a sacrifice.  Just look at that menu up there.

At Pasado's Safe Haven it's the turkeys who give thanks.
Credit 2016 Pasado's Safe Haven

Nancy's exposure to great vegan cooking came at the fifth annual pre-Thanksgiving  dinner at Pasado's Safe Haven in Monroe -- a rescue center and sanctuary for abused and abandoned animals. Nance had a great time and got to meet a turkey, rather than eat one.

The four course dinner was prepared by vegan chef Sam Tate of Sam's Plant Based Kitchen.

Chef Tate plating up the soup
Credit Nancy Leson

Besides an enjoyable meal, Nance also came away with a recipe for vegan gravy.  Really.  It's made from white beans and dill. 

                                                      White Bean Dill Gravy

(serves five)

1 quart dry white beans (soaked for 4 to 8 hours in 3 quarts water with 1 tablespoon salt and ¼ cup rice vinegar)

1 cup blanched (skinless) almonds

1/3 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread (vegan butter)

¼ cup avocado oil

¼ cup chickpea (or soybean) miso

1 tablespoon dried dill

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

¼ cup nutritional yeast

2 teaspoons white pepper

1 tablespoon salt

6 cups rice milk

2 cups water (from bean boil)

Soaked white beans should have doubled in size to 2 quarts. Strain off the soaking liquid and rinse the beans. Add the rinsed beans and 5 cups water to a large pot and boil until the beans are slightly over-cooked (about an hour at medium heat).

While the beans are cooking, toast 1 cup of almonds at 350-degrees for 5 minutes (stirring halfway through). Add toasted almonds directly to the boiling beans.

Strain the beans/almonds, reserving 2 cups of liquid. Wipe out the pot and heat the vegan butter and avocado oil. Add the miso, dill, garlic, nutritional yeast, white pepper and salt and sauté, stirring for about a minute. Add the rice milk and reserved bean liquid and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes.

Using a food processor or blender, carefully blend until completely smooth. Serve warm.

From Sam’s Plant Based Kitchen

The thought of two thousand people crunching celery at the same time horrified me."  George Bernard Shaw (vegetarian)