Sherry Dryja's picture

Vegan Holiday Beer Feast

Vegan Holiday Beer Feast

North America (and its food) has always been a mix of cultures and ideas. This is especially apparent during our holiday celebrations where we share tables and traditions with generations of relatives and friends who may or may not think or eat like we do. In my family alone, we celebrate with food from the Southern United States, Mexico and Poland. We host both meat-eaters and vegans. There’s even a good mix of Democrats and Republicans who break bread together. Nobody said it’s easy to bring all these different viewpoints around the same table, but sharing a meal that welcomes everyone to that table is a good start.

Our holiday menu does just that. It is rooted in tradition, with familiar flavors, textures and aromas. Every dish is hearty and satisfying and it’s all paired with delicious craft brews, of course. What makes our menu uniquely inclusive is that it’s completely plant-based; there’s no meat, eggs or dairy. Even so, each item was chosen for its stick-to-your-ribs meatiness to treat even the most zealous meat-eaters to a satisfying and welcoming seat at the table.

In fact, our menu demonstrates just how indulgent vegan food can be – it’s not just kale and carrots. Most nutritionists would caution against making our menu a regular treat. But that’s the point; it’s not often that family and friends come together for a big meal on a festive occasion. This is a special day to celebrate those very special people. Bonus points that it all goes well with craft beer!

To create a plant-based menu that resembled a traditional holiday meal, we started with herbs and spices that fill the kitchen with familiar, nostalgic aromas, like the thyme and rosemary that go into our main dishes and sides.

While the main meal is cooking, our guests are treated to Pumpkin Seed Hummus Pinwheels. Many pinwheel recipes call for cream cheese, sour cream and sandwich meat. We created our pinwheels to imbue the kitchen with another inviting holiday aroma—toasted pumpkin seeds. Our pinwheels are filled with delicious hummus made of toasted pumpkin seeds, cannellini beans, sliced bell peppers, carrot strips and spinach.

 The hearty Scotch ales we paired with our pinwheels could possibly be served as appetizers in their own right, but the peaty, earthy and thick sweetness of Founders Dirty Bastard and Four Peaks Kilt Lifter pair with our apps perfectly – kicking the meal off the right way.

As guests gather around the table to eat, we serve up Creamy Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup. Made with a mix of fresh mushrooms, wild rice, leeks, and a rich dairy-free creamer, this soup welcomes guests to the table with a comely, “have a seat and stay a while” impact. AleSmith’s Nut Brown Ale is a perfect match, linking elegantly to the comforting nutty base notes in the soup.

We chose Field Roast’s Celebration Roast as the showcase for our holiday menu because it has the look, texture, and nod of flavor to traditional holiday meats. Field Roast, a Seattle-based company, specializes in creating plant-based meats and cheese made from grains, vegetables, legumes and spices. They understand that food is a large part of our culture, and they create foods that look like meat because they know how deeply rooted our food traditions are. Combined with roasted vegetables, this entree tastes like home.



North America (and its food) has always been a mix of cultures and ideas. This is especially apparent during our holiday celebrations where we share tables and traditions with generations of relatives and friends who may or may not think or eat like we do. 


If Field Roast is unavailable, Tofurky also makes a holiday roast that is similar in look and texture to the Celebration Roast. Simply follow the directions on the packaging for Tofurky and make the Roasted Vegetables according to our recipe, minus the Celebration Roast.

Our Apple Stuffing, No-Moo Mashed Potatoes, and Happy Chick Homemade Gravy are all meant to hearken the heart to the comforts of home. This theme becomes especially apparent when our sides are paired with a refreshing pale ale, such as Dale’s Pale Ale by Oskar Blues or Fremont Brewing’s Cowiche Canyon Fresh Hop Ale. These lightly hoppy brews both complement and contrast the richness of these dishes without overpowering them.

Finally, it’s time for dessert. We couldn’t pick just one so we made three—pumpkin pie, peanut butter blossom cookies and a shortbread cookie that tastes deliciously like pecan pie.

Peanut butter blossom cookies are usually topped with Hershey’s Kisses. Since Kisses have milk in them, we devised our own topper by roughly chopping stoneground Mexican chocolate from Rancho Gordo (available online). This chocolate has a hint of cinnamon in it which works surprisingly well with the cookie. If Rancho Gordo isn’t on your shopping list, any dark chocolate can be used to top the peanut butter cookies. The result is a tasty, full-of-flavor cookie that’ll leave you reaching for more.

After such a satiating meal, a lighter brew can be more appealing. That’s why we paired our desserts with something a little lighter than an Imperial Stout. Black Raven Brewing Co. had just the thing with their Coco Jones Coconut Porter. Its subtle nut and coffee tones lend the perfect harmonizing note on which to end dinner. It provides just the right amount of sweet without taking things into saccharine territory.

And that’s really the goal here, isn’t it? To bring a little harmony to the holiday table without losing touch with who we are. We’re not shy about making this vegan menu for our guests because we had them all in mind as we planned. We want everyone to feast and enjoy. It is indulgent and decadent. The heartiness of it is meant to satisfy everyone, even the most dedicated omnivore. When the last crumb and sip have been savored and everyone is fat and happy, this meal will be remembered as a celebration of all the unique family and friends who came to share it – alongside plenty of lush craft brews to boot.

Photos Courtesy Sherry Dryja


Pumpkin Seed Pinwheels

Makes 24 pinwheels or 8 servings.

Ingredients:

For the Pumpkin Seed Hummus:

1-¼ cups raw unsalted pumpkin seeds
3 cloves garlic
1 15.5-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon minced jalapeño pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon seasoned salt, such as Lawry’s
½ teaspoon smoked paprika

For the Pinwheels:

4 large flour tortillas
Pumpkin seed hummus, divided
1 cup thinly sliced yellow, red, or green bell pepper strips
1 cup thinly sliced carrot strips
1 cup spinach leaves

Directions:

To make the pumpkin seed hummus, preheat the oven to 250°F. Spread the pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet and toast for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally so they don’t burn. Remove from the oven when seeds are lightly browned. Set aside to cool.

Once cooled, add the pumpkin seeds to a food processor, along with the rest of the ingredients for the pumpkin seed hummus. Process the ingredients, adding in up to 3-5 tablespoons of water to get a smooth, hummus-like consistency. Transfer to a bowl with a lid and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

For the pinwheels, evenly divide the pumpkin seed hummus onto the 4 tortillas and spread, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides.

Divide the bell peppers, carrots, and spinach evenly over the tortillas, keeping them in a single layer as much as possible.

Roll each tortilla tightly. If needed, add a smear of pumpkin seed hummus along the edge to seal.

Cut each tortilla roll into 8 uniformly sized pinwheels and serve or wrap up and refrigerate to serve the next day.


Creamy Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup

Makes 6 servings.

Ingredients:

15 ounces mix of fresh mushrooms, such as shiitake, morels, portobello, and cremini​
½ cup wild rice blend, uncooked
1 stick (¼ pound) unsalted vegan butter, such as Earth Balance
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine
6 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon thyme leaves, minced
2 cups unsweetened, dairy free creamer or half-and-half, such as Silk or Califa Farms
½ cups minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

Clean the mushrooms and chop off the stems. Compost or save the stems to use in a different recipe. Chop the mushroom caps into bite-size pieces. Set aside.

Add the wild rice and 1 cup water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook 45 minutes, or until water is absorbed and rice is tender. Once cooked, set aside. (This can also be made in advance and added to the last step of this recipe.)

In a large pot, melt the vegan butter over low heat. Once the butter is melted, add the leeks and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until the leeks begin to brown. Add the mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes, or until they are brown and tender. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring to evenly distribute the flour around the pot. Add the white wine and cook for another minute, scraping the bottom of the pot to release any browned spots.

Turn the heat to medium-high and add the vegetable stock, cooked wild rice, minced thyme leaves, 1-½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil.

Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer soup for about 15 minutes. Add the dairy free creamer and parsley. Season to taste. Heat through but do not boil. Serve hot.


“Celebration Roast” with Roasted Veggies

Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped onions
1 pound baby carrots
2 cups baby brussels sprouts, thawed if frozen and halved, if large
1-½ pounds small red potatoes, halved
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons dried thyme, divided
Salt and black pepper
1 16-ounce Field Roast “Celebration Roast,” thawed*
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Add the onions to a lightly oiled 9x13 backing dish and spread them in a single layer. Top with the baby carrots, brussels sprouts, and potatoes. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon thyme. Mix to evenly coat the vegetables and then cover with foil. Bake for about 45 minutes.

While the vegetables are cooking, make the basting liquid for the Celebration Roast. Whisk together the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon of thyme.

Once the veggies have cooked for 45 minutes, remove the foil from the baking dish and turn the heat of the oven down to 325°F. Gently stir the vegetables and add the Celebration Roast to the middle of the dish.

Baste the Roast with half of the basting liquid. Place the roast and veggies back in the oven to cook for 20 minutes. Baste again with the remaining liquid and continue to cook until the Roast is heated through and the vegetables are tender, about 15-20 minutes.

*If Field Roast is unavailable, try another plant-based holiday roast, such as Tofurky. Adjust oven temperatures and cooking times accordingly.

No-Moo Mashed Potatoes

Serves 6.

Ingredients:

6 large russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and roughly cut into 1-inch pieces
½ cup unsweetened dairy free milk, such as almond, soy, or flax
2 tablespoons vegan butter, such as Earth Balance
1 small bunch green onions, finely minced, green parts only
1 teaspoon salt
Black pepper

Directions:

Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, cooking the potatoes until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. (Turn the heat down a little if the water starts to boil over during cooking time.)

Drain the potatoes and return to the pot. Mash to desired consistency. Mix in the dairy free milk, butter, green onions, salt, and pepper and stir until combined.

Happy Chick Homemade Gravy

Makes 3 cups.

Ingredients:

1 stick (¼ pound) unsalted vegan butter, such as Earth Balance
2 yellow onions, chopped
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups vegetable stock, heated
1 tablespoon Cognac or brandy
1 tablespoon dairy-free creamer or half-and-half (optional)

Directions:

In a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the onions are translucent and lightly browned.

Whisk the flour into the pan and add the salt and pepper. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes more and then add the hot veggie stock, along with the Cognac or brandy. Cook uncovered for 4 to 5 minutes, until thickened. Add the creamer, if desired, and serve.


Apple Stuffing

Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients:

8 cups 1-inch bread cubes (Any style bread works here, but make sure it’s made without dairy.)
2 tablespoons unsalted vegan butter, such as Earth Balance
1 yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 Granny Smith apple, unpeeled, cored and diced
1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
¾ teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup vegetable stock
¼ sliced blanched almonds

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Place the bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake until dried and crunchy, about 7 minutes.

Melt the butter over medium heat in a large sauce pan. Add the onion, celery, apple, parsley, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies and apple are soft, about 10 minutes.

Combine the bread cubes and cooked vegetables in a large bowl and mix together with the vegetable stock. Add the almonds.

Pour the mixture into a 9x13 baking dish. Bake for about 30 minutes, until browned on top and hot in the middle. Serve warm.


Elsie Free Peanut Butter Blossoms

Makes 60 cookies.

Ingredients:

1-¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 stick (¼ pound) vegan butter, such as Earth Balance
½ cup smooth peanut butter, preferably without palm oil
½ cup vegan raw sugar, plus extra for the cookies pre-bake
½ cup vegan light brown sugar
Egg substitute for 1 egg, such as Ener-G Egg Replacer
           (1-½ teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer plus 2 tablespoons warm water, mixed thoroughly)
1 tablespoon unsweetened, dairy free milk, such as almond, soy, or flax
1 teaspoon vanilla
Nonstick vegetable cooking spray
11 ounces vegan dark chocolate roughly chopped into 60 pieces

Directions:

Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter, peanut butter, sugar, and light brown sugar. Add egg substitute, dairy free milk, and vanilla. Beat until well-blended. Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing thoroughly. If the dough is soft, refrigerate for about 1 hour. If the dough is too dry and crumbly, add a tablespoon of water until it comes together as a dough.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick vegetable spray, or line with parchment paper, and set aside. Divide the dough into 5 pieces, then divide each of those pieces into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball.

Roll the balls in sugar and place 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Bake until light brown and puffy, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from oven and lightly press a chunk of chocolate into the center of each cookie. Return to the oven until golden brown, about 2 or 3 minutes. Remove and cool completely before eating or storing in an airtight container.


Modern Granny Pumpkin Pie

Makes 1 pie.

Ingredients:

¾ cup vegan sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
Egg substitute for 2 eggs, such as Ener-G Egg Replacer
          (3 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer plus 4 tablespoons warm water, mixed thoroughly)
15-ounce can pure pumpkin
1-½ cups unsweetened dairy-free creamer or half-and-half, such as Silk or Califa​
1 unbaked 9-inch deep dish vegan pie shell, thawed, if frozen

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425°F.

In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and cloves. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix the egg substitute with the pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually add in the dairy-free creamer.

Pour into pie shell and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350°F and bake for another 50-plus minutes, until the pie is set and doesn’t jiggle too much in the middle. Internal temperature should be 175℉ when measured with an instant read thermometer.

Cool on wire rack for about 2 hours. Serve or refrigerate. Top with vegan whipped cream, if desired.


Pecan Pie Shortbread

Makes 39 bars.

Ingredients:

For the crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup vegan sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 sticks cold unsalted vegan butter, such as Earth Balance

For the filling:

1-½ cups vegan packed brown sugar
⅔ cup real maple syrup
Egg substitute for 2 eggs, such as Ener-G Egg Replacer
           (3 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer plus 4 tablespoons warm water, mixed thoroughly)
4 tablespoons unsalted vegan butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon maple extract
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups coarsely chopped pecans

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Add the flour, sugar, and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until blended. Cut the vegan butter into chunks and add it to the food processor and pulse until the mixture is crumbly.

Press mixture into a 9x13-inch baking dish, making sure to press it evenly across the bottom and about a half an inch up the sides. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown. Set aside to cool on a rack.

For the filling, add the filling ingredients, except the pecans, to the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix until smooth and pour into the cooled crust. Add the nuts evenly over the top and bake for 30 minutes, or until the filling is set. Cool on a rack before serving.