Greetings, all. Thank you for such thoughtful responses to my Thanksgiving jitters post; I hope that my tips on vegan dining will come in handy!
I know that I’ve been promising Thanksgiving recipes for a week now, and they’re coming! First, I’m sharing a recipe that isn’t for Thanksgiving, per se, but can be enjoyed as a quick and easy entree throughout the holiday season.
During my early years as a vegan, I struggled to find holiday recipes that would please both me and my Mom, with whom I share all of my holiday celebrations. It was particularly important to me to find a good menu for Christmas Eve, which has always been our favorite holiday moment, and the occasion that we keep all to ourselves (Thanksgiving we share with friends and significant others; Christmas morning is interrupted when I travel to my father’s home in Westchester). In spite of the fact that my Mom is a devoted omnivore and I’m a devoted vegan, it was and still is important to me that we share at least a portion of our Christmas Eve meal, rather than preparing separate options. One year, we shared a giant sweet potato soup; on another, I introduced my mother to nut cheese ravioli (she said she would have preferred something warm, but loved the taste).
One dish that we’ve returned to time and again on holidays is polenta. It’s quick to prepare, easy to make vegan, and familiar to us both. As the years go by, I’ve brainstormed about ways to make a polenta dish that’s both vegan and raw—I’ll certainly love it all the more, and if she can overcome her qualms about its temperature, Mom may just be surprised, too.
This week, I decided to attempt a raw version of my favorite polenta preparation–polenta with oven roasted tomatoes—and I fell in love with the results. Mild, sweet, and easy to adapt, this dish is shockingly reminiscent of classic polenta. And, like the cooked dish that inspired it, it takes no more than minutes to prepare. In fact, it’s one of the easiest raw entrees I’ve ever created. The polenta is nothing more than corn and pine nuts whipped together in the food processor, and the topping is a quick little salad of cherry tomatoes and kale.
The recipe is as follows:
Raw Polenta with Marinated Cherry Tomatoes (yields 2 very large or 4 small servings)
For the Polenta:
2 ½ cups raw corn
1 cup pine nuts, soaked at least a few hours
½ tsp salt
1 tsp agave nectar (optional)
Additional salt and pepper to taste
Blend all ingredients in a food processor until they’re creamy, but a little coarse (you’re going for the same general texture as cooked polenta – smooth but a little grainy). Add salt and pepper to taste.
For the tomatoes:
1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup kale, finely chopped
3 tbsp finely shredded fresh basil
For the marinade:
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
¼ tsp salt
Dash of pepper
1 tsp agave nectar
Mix all of the dressing ingredients together by hand or in a small blender. Pour over the tomatoes, kale, and basil, and let them marinate for at least an hour.
To assemble the dish, divide the polenta between four plates. Top with a portion of the cherry tomatoes, and serve alongside a big green salad!
This recipe proves that it’s easy to create delicious, nourishing, and familiar holiday food that’s also 100% raw and vegan. Best of all, the dish requires very little effort or prep, so it’s an easy option to transport or make away from home. I hope you’ll all have a chance to savor it throughout the holiday season, at the family table, at parties, or simply on your own. Enjoy!
And it’s worth mentioning that this is my official nod to Michelle and Katy’s Vegan for a Week and Vegan-4-a-Day challenges. Of course, it’s all vegan all the time over here, but I’m glad to contribute a recipe to this very admirable challenge. Thanks, ladies, for inspiring the food blogging community!