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Vegan Recipes for Fall
There are so many incredible things to celebrate with the arrival of autumn: beautiful colors, amazing weather, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, Halloween décor, listening to The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack on repeat for an entire month. But none of these compares to the joy I find in preparing a fresh-from-the-farm seasonal fall meal!
Since I’m vegan, I’ve created an animal-friendly autumn feast. Perfect for Thanksgiving, holiday parties or just a cozy night in.
I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that I do not like it one bit when fruit is mixed with other types of food. Like bread. And vegetables. Pastries, crackers and cereal. So, when I heard that my friend was bringing cranberry salsa to a dinner party, I cringed. As my friends devoured the spicy, fruity abomination, I judged them deeply. I can’t remember the exact circumstances surrounding what I’m about to tell you next, but at some point later that night — for some unknown reason — I sniffed the salsa. And it wasn’t horrible. And then I sampled it. And it was delightful.
So, skeptics of the world, I urge you to throw caution to the wind and give this recipe a go. It’s seasonal, it’s full of flavor, and most importantly, it’s insanely easy to make. My personal recommendation is to enjoy this salsa with some tasty black bean quinoa chips. You can find them at most grocery stores and you will not be sorry!
- 12 oz. bag of cranberries (preferably fresh, but frozen will work)
- 1 cup shredded cilantro
- 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
- 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced*
- 2 limes, juiced
- 3/4 cup sugar
Put all ingredients in a food processer. Blend to desired chunkiness.
*Adjust the amount of jalapeno you add based on your love of spice and pain. Or substitute with a less-spicy pepper if you can’t take the heat!
Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Vegan “Butter” and Sage Sauce
The butternut squash: perhaps my favorite of all the fall produce. Often times I will buy them with no recipe in mind, purely to enjoy the wonderful aroma that fills the house when I roast them. Luckily for me, my dogs feel just as passionate about butternut squash as I do, so nothing ever goes to waste.
For many years, I thought that butternut squash soup was the pinnacle of warm and toasty fall meals. That was before I had butternut squash gnocchi with a vegan “butter” and sage sauce.
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1 large russet potato, baked
- 3/4 cup organic unbleached white flour
- 3/4 cup organic spelt flour
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons organic extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup (1 stick) of vegan margarine
- 2 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
- 1 ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- Optional (but encouraged): 2 tbsp vegan Parmesan cheese
If you enjoy cooking with friends, I suggest you invite them over, crank up some tunes, and start cookin’. Assign the first friend who arrives to potato and butternut squash duty. Have them slice the butternut squash in half and remove the seeds. Roast it and the potato at 400 degrees for about an hour, or until they can easily pierce the cooked potato with a fork. Let the potato cool, then, using a ricer or a cheese grater, shred and set aside in a bowl. Next, scoop the flesh from the squash, put it in a food processor, and puree until smooth. Put the squash in a medium saucepan and stir over medium heat until the juice evaporates and the squash thickens. Mix one cup of the squash puree with two cups of the shredded potato. Your gnocchi dough is a go!
Add the nutmeg, 1 tbsp of vegan Parmesan cheese (optional), salt, and olive oil to the dough and stir. Slowly begin adding flour. The amount you use may vary based on how dry or wet your dough is. Use your hands to knead the mixture until you have a lovely, smooth ball of gnocchi dough.
Friend number one has really pulled her weight to this point, so tell her to have a seat with a glass of wine while you bring friend number two up to bat. Ask them to separate the dough into four sections, rolling each section into a snake. Cut the snakes into ¾” or 1” segments, then roll each segment into a ball. Using a fork, gently press the prongs on each side of the gnocchi ball to make it look fancy. Refrigerate your freshly made gnocchi for about an hour.
After the hour has passed (I suggest playing a rousing game of Catch Phrase to pass the time), boil a large pot of salted water and toss in about ten gnocchi at a time. They will need to cook for about 15 minutes — you’ll know they are ready when they float to the surface. Remove cooked gnocchi and set aside in a large bowl.
Using a large saucepan, melt the vegan margarine over medium heat, stirring often. After about three minutes, add the sage and stir for another minute. Now add all of the freshly cooked gnocchi and cook for about five more minutes, stirring gently until all are coated in the butter sauce. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle the additional tablespoon of vegan Parmesan. It's time to eat — Your now rather tipsy friend number one will be thrilled!
Dairy-Free Chocolate Covered Pretzels
Dessert time! After all that gnocchi-making, you probably want something that’s pretty quick and easy to throw together. Now, I’ll admit that I’m not much of a sweets person, so I tend to forgo most desserts. However, salty snacks I could eat all day long. In an attempt to satisfy my craving for a salty dessert, and the rest of the world’s desire for a sweet dessert, I’ve settled on chocolate covered pretzels.
- 1 12-ounce bag (2 cups) dairy-free chocolate chips
- 1 tbsp. vegan margarine
- About 25-30 hard pretzels, depending on size
First, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Bring several cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Combine the chocolate and margarine in a heatproof bowl and set over the boiling water. Make sure the bowl is not actually touching the water! (For those with grown-up kitchen equipment, you can use a double boiler here.) Stir constantly until the chocolate melts completely. Slowly begin dropping the pretzels into the chocolate, using a fork to pull them out and place them on the baking sheet. If using stick pretzels, you can just dip them in, holding onto one end. Repeat until you have a baking sheet full of delightfully sweet and salty morsels. Let them cool, then enjoy!
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