* We do enjoy the opportunity to cook, dialogue, and spend time with our families and friends during holidays. However, We want to take this opportunity to share our uneasiness about celebrating a national holiday, such as Thanksgiving, especially in light of what is happening in North Dakota with the mistreatment of native and indigenous people of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. We believe it is important to honor the true history of Thanksgiving, and the genocide of indigenous tribes who cultivated this land long before colonialism and conquests from Europe.
By Eugenia Nicole Macias and Jocelyn Ramirez
One of the things we love most about holidays is cooking! We love being able to cook hearty and healthy (vegan friendly!) meals for our friends and family and watching them enjoy the dishes we’ve created. This is a time to enjoy home cooked food and the company of our loved ones. Of course, we don’t need a national holiday to enjoy moments like this, but we do appreciate them.
We’ve gathered some of our favorite (and easy to make) recipes for the occasion that we’d love to share with you all. We’ve specifically chosen these recipes because they are vegan, easy to make and incorporate traditional fall ingredients, like corn, cranberries, squash and pumpkins!
The first recipe, “Sopa Tres Hermanas” or “Three Sisters Stew,” is named after a Native American traditional use of the “three sisters”; squash, corn and beans, the three main crops celebrated in traditional dishes. This recipe can be used as a main dish option.
1 small sugar pumpkin or 1 large butternut squash (about 2 pounds), or see shortcut following recipe
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium green or red bell pepper, cut into short narrow strips
14- to 16-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, with liquid
2 to 3 cups cooked or canned (drained and rinsed) pink or pinto beans
2 cups corn kernels (from 2 large or 3 medium ears, or frozen)
1 cup homemade or canned vegetable stock, or water
1 or 2 small fresh hot chiles, seeded and minced, or one 4-ounce can chopped mild green chilies
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder or mesquite seasoning, or more, to taste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup minced fresh cilantro or parsley
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Remove stem from the pumpkin or squash and cut in half lengthwise. Cover with aluminum foil and place the halves, cut side up, in a foil-lined shallow baking pan. If your knives aren’t sharp enough, just wrap the pumpkin or squash in foil and bake it whole. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until you can pierce through with a knife, with a little resistance.
When cool enough to handle, scrape out the seeds and fibers (clean the seeds for roasting, if you’d like). Slice and peel, then cut into large dice.
Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.
Add the pumpkin or squash and all the remaining ingredients except the last 2, and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently, covered, until all the vegetables are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
If time allows, let the stew stand for 1 to 2 hours before serving, then heat through as needed. Just before serving, stir in the cilantro. The stew should be thick and very moist but not soupy; add additional stock or water if needed. Adjust seasonings to your liking. Serve in bowls.
The second recipe, “Corn Pie,” can also be used a main dish. This vegan casserole is pretty simple to make and has been adapted from a Native American recipe!
1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium green or red bell pepper, diced
2 cups cooked fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
2½ cups canned or cooked pinto beans
2 cups chopped ripe tomatoes, or 15- to 16-ounce can diced tomatoes (try fire-roasted), lightly drained
2 teaspoons good-quality chili powder, or more, to taste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin, or more, to taste
Salt to taste
Cornmeal topping (or see shortcut):
1¼ cups cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated vegan cheese, optional (great with Daiya)
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and sauté until translucent.
Add the garlic and bell pepper and continue to sauté until the onion is golden brown.
Add the corn kernels, pinto beans, tomatoes, and seasonings. Stir well and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Remove from the heat.
Bring 5 cups of water to a rolling boil in a heavy saucepan or double boiler. Slowly pour the cornmeal into the water in a thin, steady stream, stirring continuously to avoid lumping. Add the salt and cook over very low heat, covered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Lightly oil a shallow 1½-quart baking dish and line the bottom with half of the cooked cornmeal. Pour the skillet mixture over it and sprinkle with the optional grated cheese.
Top with the remaining cornmeal, patting it in smoothly. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the cornmeal is golden brown and crusty. Let stand for 10 minutes, then scoop out to serve, making sure that each serving includes plenty of the cornmeal topping.
The final and easiest recipe to recreate is a Quinoa Salad with Fennel and Cranberries. This recipe is a fresh and festive way to start dinner. We enjoy having this salad pretty often and it can even be served for your next holiday and non-holiday dinner!
1 cup uncooked quinoa (see note)
½ cup walnuts, chopped
1 medium fennel bulb
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced,or ½ cup chopped baby carrots
½ cup dried cranberries
2 scallions, green parts only, sliced
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
¼ cup orange juice, preferably fresh
1 to 2 teaspoons grated orange zest, optional
3 tablespoons lemon or lime juice, more or less to taste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Combine the quinoa with 2¼ cups water in a saucepan. Bring to a slow boil, then cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Let the quinoa cool to room temperature.
Toast the walnuts over medium heat in a small skillet until they are fragrant, about 5 minutes, shaking the pan often. Set aside.
Cut the stalks away from the fennel bulb. Save them for another use if you’d like, such as making soup stock. Reserve the delicate leaves. Cut away the stem of the fennel bulb and cut it into narrow strips, 1 to 2 inches long.
Combine the fennel and its leaves with the cooked and cooled quinoa in a serving container. Add the remaining ingredients and stir together.
Serve at once, or let stand at room temperature for a bit before serving. This is a salad that can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight.
We hope you enjoy these recipes we’ve shared with you all and don’t forget to share photos of your dishes with us! We’d love to hear how your recipes turned out!
What are some of your vegan and non vegan dishes to make for the holidays?