Summary: The beginning of winter is often a time of celebration, as we chase away the gloom with eating, drinking, and socializing. Some of us opt for a more “hygge” approach and like to cuddle up by the fire alone, or with someone we love, wrapped in a cozy blanket. A good vegan beer or wine is perfect for either scenario.

The beginning of winter is often a time of celebration, as we chase away the gloom with eating, drinking, and socializing. Some of us opt for a more “hygge” approach and like to cuddle up by the fire alone, or with someone we love, wrapped in a cozy blanket. A good vegan beer or wine is perfect for either scenario.

two heartedMany people assume that all beer and wine is vegan, if they even give it a thought. They’re made from fermented grains or grapes, right? We were dismayed to discover that many companies utilize animal products in the manufacturing process. When drinks are filtered before bottling, they often use such substances as isinglass (made from fish bladders), gelatin, egg whites, and sea shells. Unfortunately, vegan beer and wine companies don’t label their products to show they’re safe for consumption by folks who eschew animal products. However, a quick perusal of the internet can help. If you need a few suggestions to help you get started, here’s a handy list.

Deschutes Brewery, www.deschutesbrewery.com. This Bend, Oregon-based brewery is almost completely vegan, with the exception of a few specialty brews. Its beer is available in 28 different states, so you should have an easy time finding it, especially if you live on the west coast. According to their FAQ section: “We do not use animal products in the cellaring or brewing process. The clarifying agent we use in our brewhouse is made from Irish Moss, a red algae. However, experimental beers brewed at our pubs sometimes use lactose, isinglass, honey or other specialty ingredients, but we call it out in the description listed on the menu.” Their popular Jubelale is great for your holiday festivities. Available from October through December, this robust, vegan brew boasts notes of cocoa, dried fruit, and toffee. You and your guests will love it!

Frey Winery, www.freywine.com. Mendocino-based Frey makes the claim of being “America’s first biodynamic winery.” They hold 90 percent of their land as a natural habitat for plants and animals. Since 1980, they have produced vegan, gluten-free wines with no added sulfites. Their 2015 Biodynamic Syrah utilizes the flavors of layered fig, anise, briar and bay leaf. It’s a delicious, elegant accompaniment to any holiday meal.

Bell’s Brewery, www.bellsbeer.com. The Kalamazoo-based brewery is constantly rolling out new varieties of beer, and almost all of them are vegan. Their popular Two-Hearted Ale is a smooth, vegan IPA, dark and not too hoppy. It’s available all year but is perfect for winter consumption. Brewed with 100 percent Centennial hops from the Pacific Northwest and named after a river in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, this brew never disappoints. You can enjoy it with almost every meal. Unfortunately, if you live west of the Mississippi, you’ll have a hard time locating it, and Michigan state law forbids shipping beer to other states. But it’s ubiquitous in the Midwest and East Coast, so check your favorite store or pub.

All of these offerings are available at stores. If you’re at your local supermarket and can’t find any of them, www.barnivore.com is a great resource for determining which alcoholic beverages are vegan. Just tap a product name into Barnivore’s handy search bar, and the site will let you know if it’s vegan-friendly. There are nearly 43,000 companies in their database. Enjoy responsibly!

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Summary: Nothing is more festive than cranberries, yet we often don’t use these tart little fruits for anything except sauce. (We’re going to assume that you eschew canned cranberries entirely. If not, we don’t want to know about it). When you finish making your own sauce from scratch, you often have a lot of berries left over. What to do? After Thanksgiving ended, we found ourselves in such a predicament. Fortunately, we discovered this recipe, and it saved the day. The addition of applesauce adds sweetness, moisture and density.

cranberry bread

Nothing is more festive than cranberries, yet we often don’t use these tart little fruits for anything except sauce. (We’re going to assume that you eschew canned cranberries entirely. If not, we don’t want to know about it). When you finish making your own sauce from scratch, you often have a lot of berries left over. What to do?

After Thanksgiving ended, we found ourselves in such a predicament. Fortunately, we discovered this recipe, and it saved the day. The addition of applesauce adds sweetness, moisture and density. You’ll love it!

INGREDIENTS
2 ½ cups gluten-free flour (Bob’s Red Mill has several varieties. We used white rice flour for this recipe).
1 cup turbinado sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons xanthum gum
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon sea salt (not the commercial, iodized kind)
1 ½ cup applesauce (organic, please!)
½ cup melted coconut oil
½ cup coconut milk
1 cup fresh cranberries

OPTIONAL ADD-IN INGREDIENTS
½ cup chopped walnuts and/or pecans
¼ cup poppy seeds

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together in large bowl. When combined, add in the wet ingredients and stir thoroughly by hand or with a mixer. We used a large spoon and it worked fine. Stir in cranberries. The applesauce will bind the mixture together and give it a creamy yet solid texture. It should neither be stiff nor runny.

Grease one large or two small bread pans with coconut oil. Pour batter into pan (s) until about ¾ full. Because of the density of the applesauce, the bread will not rise much, so you needn’t worry about overflow. Bake for 45 minutes-1 hour. You can employ the time-tested fork or toothpick method in the center of the bread to see whether its done. Your kitchen will smell so wonderful, you might not ever want the baking to end. Be careful not to burn this bread!

Serve as is (scrumptious!) or with Earth Balance, organic preserves, vegan cream cheese (we love Kite Hill the most), etc. Be creative! Serves 8-10 hungry people. This bread won’t last! If you make two mini-loaves, you can always wrap one of them in festive paper, tie a ribbon around it, and give it as a gift to someone you love. Enjoy the bounty of the season, and happy holidays, whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Yule, Solstice, or something else.

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Summary: This colorful dish is so filling and flavorful, you won’t believe it’s both vegan and gluten-free! We last ate spaghetti squash a long time ago, so we’d forgotten how magically pasta-like it is. Topped with a hearty, amazing slaw made from red cabbage and black beans, then crowned with homemade salsa verde, this meal is truly a winner.

It’s both easy to make, and colorful! Just the zest we need for these chilly, late-autumn evenings.

INGREDIENTS FOR SLAW
1 cup purple cabbage, sliced into thin ribbons and then cut into 1-2-inch strips
½ can black beans, rinsed and drained
¼ cup chopped green onions
½ red bell pepper, diced
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
½ teaspoon olive oil
Pinches of salt and pepper

SALSA VERDE INGREDIENTS
¾ cup fresh salsa (hot or mild to taste)
1 avocado, diced
1/3 cup fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1-2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

Slice medium-sized spaghetti squash in half (lengthwise) and coat inside with thin layer of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place squash halves upside down in medium-sized pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes at 400 degrees until pulp is soft. You should be able to insert a fork into it without difficulty.

Meanwhile, prepare the slaw in a large mixing bowl. You’ll be wowed by its beauty. After you have squeezed in the lime juice, set mixture aside to marinate.

Place avocado, salsa, garlic, cilantro and lime juice into blender or food processor and combine until your mixture is smooth and slightly frothy. Scoop the slaw into squash halves and fill to overflowing, then spoon a liberal dollop of salsa verde over the top. Finally, garnish your masterpiece with extra cilantro, salsa, toasted pepitas, or any other topping of your choice. Feel free to get creative!

This amazing creation serves 2-3 people, but feel free to double the recipe if you have more guests. Serve by itself (it’s filling!) or with wine, beer, cider and/or a side of gluten-free garlic bread. Of course, any leftovers will keep just fine in the refrigerator for several days. But they definitely won’t last that long.

Your friends will be begging you for the recipe, and you’ll want to make this meal again and again. With its vibrant, red and green hues, the dish is a great, festive lead-up to the holiday season.
Try it, we’re certain you’ll agree. Bon Appetit, and happy, stress-free holidays!

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Summary: Memorial Day is almost here and one of our favorite cookbooks for festive food is Quick & Easy Vegan Celebrations by Alicia C. Simpson. To many, Memorial Day means gathering with friends and family to have time together, cherish the ones you love, and remember those who have served our country. Delicious food often plays a major role in these gatherings, and those who are vegan and gluten-free can still enjoy delicious food to mark the occasion.
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Memorial Day is almost here and one of our favorite cookbooks for festive food is Quick & Easy Vegan Celebrations by Alicia C. Simpson. To many, Memorial Day means gathering with friends and family to have time together, cherish the ones you love, and remember those who have served our country. Delicious food often plays a major role in these gatherings, and those who are vegan and gluten-free can still enjoy delicious food to mark the occasion.

Simpson’s cookbook offers recipes for all types of occasions and events, such as New Year’s Eve, the Superbowl and Valentine’s Day. We took today’s recipe from Simpson’s collection of recipes for Independence Day, and we think you’ll love it!

Vegan and Gluten Free BBQ Tempeh Hoagies with Chipotle Mayo

2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 small white onion, sliced thin
1/2 medium bell pepper, thinly sliced (use any color you like, but certainly red is festive!)
One 8-ounce package gluten free tempeh (read the package, some do contain gluten)
1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
4 gluten free hoagie rolls, split and toasted (there are several gluten free brands, such as Three Bakers and Udi’s, which are typically available at Whole Foods and other mass retailers, but if you have trouble finding them, your favorite gluten free bread will do just fine)

Chipotle Mayo

1/2 cup of your favorite vegan mayonnaise (we love Hampton Creek Just Mayo)
1 teaspoon vegan worcestershire sauce
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, with 1 teaspoon of the adobo sauce reserved
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

In a medium skillet over medium heat, warm the canola oil. Add the bell pepper and the onion and cook for 1 minutes. Add the tempeh and cook for another 4-5 minutes, stirring often, until the tempeh is warmed thoroughly.

While the tempeh is cooking, add all of the ingredients for the chipotle mayo into a food processor and process until smooth.

Stir the BBQ sauce into the tempeh and cook until warmed.

Spread the Chipotle Mayo on each side of the hoagie rolls, and spread the tempeh mixture on the hoagie.

Now you are set! Our favorite side to this dish? A cold green salad and crisp, hot french fries!

veganmemorialday

 

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