TASTE: post-Thanksgiving (veg) mashup ... yummy recipes and links

As a plant-based eater, Thanksgiving gets better every year. Companies are starting to deliver with options for the rest of us, and bloggers keep doing their thing, offering up creative recipes that even carnivores will enjoy. Now that the hectic get-ready pace of the holiday is over, I thought I'd share some highlights as these food ideas work any day of the year.

This year I riffed on my annual Brussels sprouts and kale dish, shredding both and topping with a "citronette," a dressing using citrus in place of vinegar. Given my cancer history, Dr. Mark Mincolla has recommended that I avoid fermented foods like vinegar, but that's an ingredient in nearly all pre-made dressings ... even the healthy ones. I rarely follow recipes to the T but you can get the idea of how a citronette works here. So easy, really, plus it keeps in the fridge for two weeks. (I always give extra points to bloggers who include storage details.)

Another Thanksgiving mainstay is a "creamed" veggie dish. It has to include onions, but this year I used cipollini instead of my usual pearl onions~~a great find. I paired it with fennel and used this recipe for the "cream," subbing arrowroot instead of cornstarch. A winner!

There were the usual carrots and potatoes, but they're really just the pathway to dessert. I used what's become my go-to gluten-free pie crust recipe, using coconut sugar. It was the perfect base for the apple and pumpkin pie fillings, which seriously come from my beat up Betty Crocker cookbook, a gift from my mom when I was in college in the late '80s. I experimented with making mini apple tarts (in a small casserole dish and~~yup~~muffin tins) and they came out great. Portion control! I simply had to keep an eye on them in the oven as they took a lot less time.

But the best find this year was evaporated coconut milk from Nature's Charm. That, plus Ener G egg replacer and a healthy sugar sub and now I can enjoy the pumpkin pie I remember. With whipped coconut cream, of course. It's the reason to always have a can of full-fat coconut milk chilling, upside down, in the fridge (plus egg beaters and a small metal bowl in the freezer ... you never know when the need~~or craving~~will arise!). 

I hate to waste anything (just ask my stepkids about my smoothed-out used wrapping paper stash), especially food. I always save the seeds from my pie~~or soup, or whatever~~and roast them, but I wanted to try something different this year. I found my little tin of za'atar at the front of my spice cabinet and thought, "why not?" I scooped my little pumpkins, spread the seeds on parchment on a baking sheet, and sprinkled them with Himalayan sea salt and several pinches of this smoky Middle Eastern herb blend. I baked them (along with the pumpkins, separately) until the were brown, stirring occasionally. I don't know why I haven't tried this sooner! Every time I pull out this tin something magical happens. 

Do you have any plant-based holiday favorites to share? 

Za'atar pumpkin seeds, ready for roasting

Za'atar pumpkin seeds, ready for roasting