Vegetarians, or those of you who will be adding more veggies to the holiday table, get ready to count your blessings. Here’s a collection of vegetarian dishes to simmer and savor on Tofurky Day or anytime this fall. They come from vegetarian chefs around the country. We asked them for some of their personal favorites for this occasion and leaping leeks, did they come through. Our tummies are rumbling.
(For more on how eating your veggies is healthy for the environment – as well as yourself – see our story Have Yourself a Veggie Good Thanksgiving.)
from Cathi DiCocco, Chef/owner of the perennially popular vegetarian hangout, Café DiCocoa in Bethel, Maine
3 large onions, sliced
4T. chopped garlic
10 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and diced 1”
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 gallon water or mild veggie stock
4 kefir lime leaves (or zest of 2 limes)
4 red peppers, cut into bite sized strips
8 cups zucchini cubes (or veggies of choice)
1 pound extra firm tofu, pressed and cut into cubes
2-3T. Thai curry paste (Maesri brand, “Chu Chee”)
½ cup organic evaporated cane juice
4T. grated ginger root
4T. chopped lemon grass (frozen is fine!)
3 – 14oz. cans coconut milk (or 1 can plus 1 bar dried coconut)
½ cup natural peanut butter
1 bunch cilantro, cleaned and stemmed
· Over medium heat in large heavy-bottomed stockpot, saute onions and garlic in oil for about 5-8 minutes or until tender but not colored. Add sweet potatoes and continue to cook for 15 minutes.
· Add water or stock and lime leaves. Bring to boil; simmer 20 minutes.
· Place peanut butter and chili paste in medium sized bowl and add 1 ladle of “broth”. Stir to melt and return to soup pot.
· Add red pepper strips, cubed veggies, tofu, sugar, ginger, lemongrass, and coconut milk. Simmer until all veggies are tender-about 15 min.
· Ready to serve as is or if you prefer a thicker stew, simply ladle a few cups of the stew chunks into a blender with a small amount of broth and carefully puree till smooth. Hot liquids expand when blended! Stir back into the pot.
· Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh cilantro.