Ever since my stomach condition has forced me to become a vegan, I have been worrying that I wouldn't be able to have friends over for dinner! All of my "company" recipes require meat and dairy products! Yesterday, though, I really wanted to have my friends Brittany and Michael and their daughter over, so I spent some time attempting to invent a frugal, vegan menu that they would actually want to eat! After some trial and error, here's the menu I came up with:
VEGAN VEGETABLE PIE!
(I guess it's not technically vegan, because it uses butter, but I figure it's close enough!)
Double recipe shortening pie crust.(I use the shortening that doesn't contain trans fat.)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, minced
3C peeled potatoes
2C carrots (I used baby carrots)
3C broccoli florets (save the stems)
2C corn, cut from the cobb
1/2 tsp dried thyme or savory
sprinkling of seasoned salt
2C cashew cream (recipe will follow!)
1 stick of butter
To make a shortening pie crust:
2 1/4C flour
In a food processor, pulse the shortening, flour and salt 4 or 5 times. Add the water 1Tbsp at a time, pulsing after each addition, until the dough comes together in a shaggy ball. Remove from food processor and knead briefly to form a dough ball. Wrap the ball tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
To make the filling:
Steam the potatoes and carrots in a vegetable steamer until fairly soft. Steam the broccoli for 5 minutes. I had to do this in batches, so it was kind of a hassle! Melt 1/4C butter in a large, heavy kettle. Cook the onion and celery until the onion is translucent. Add the potatoes and carrots and cook, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes. Make sure you stir a lot, because the potatoes will stick! Add the broccoli, reduce heat to low, and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the corn, thyme or savory, and seasoned salt. Remove from heat and let cool for about 30 minutes while you prepare the cream sauce.
Cashew cream is non-dairy, so it is much easier to digest than traditional cream. I am lactose intolerant, so that's why I use it. Heavy whipping cream can be used instead, if you don't want to make the cashew cream.
1 1/2C water
Blend on high for 1-2 minutes, or until a smooth, thick cream forms. Use as you would heavy cream.
To make the cream sauce:
Melt the remaining 1/4C butter in a medium saucepan. Add the 4Tbsp flour and whisk constantly until smooth. Slowly add the cream, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Continue whisking constantly until the cream sauce thickens. It is ready when it's thickened to the consistency of runny pancake batter.
Pour the cream sauce over the vegetable mixture and stir to mix well. At first, it might look like too much cream sauce, but the mixture will thicken an absorb the liquid upon standing. Allow the mixture to cool for another 30 minutes. If you add it to the crust when it's really hot, the crust will melt!
To assemble and bake the pie:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Remove the dough from the fridge and remove the plastic wrap. Cut the ball in half, and shape each half into a disk. Roll out one half to make the bottom crust. Carefully transfer the bottom crust into a deep dish pie pan. Carefully cut away the excess dough so that there is only about 1 inch of overhang. Spoon the cooled filling into the pie pan, spreading it around so that it is pretty even. Roll out the other disk to make the top crust. Carefully lift the dough over the filling. Trim the top crust so that there is about one inch of overhang. Seal the top and bottom crusts together and fold them under, so that the edge of the crust is even with the edge of the pie pan. Cut some steam vents in the top.
Bake the pie for 5 minutes at 400 degrees. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake the pie for another 35-40 minutes. After the pie is baked, remove it to a rack to cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting into it. Enjoy!
4-5 broccoli stalks
1Tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1Tbsp lemon juice
Peel the broccoli stalks and cut them into slices. Heat oil in a medium skillet. Add the broccoli and cook until crisp tender. Add the soy sauce and lemon juice and toss to combine. Remove from heat. This recipe is an awesome way to use up broccoli stalks.
TOMATO CUCUMBER SALAD WITH WALNUT DRESSING
2 ripe tomatoes
1 large cucumber, peeled and seeded
2Tbsp walnut or olive oil
1-2Tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt to taste
Dice up the tomatoes and cucumber and place in a large bowl. Add the oil first and toss to combine. Add the vinegar and salt and toss again. Enjoy! Walnut oil makes this salad especially delicious, but walnut oil is also especially expensive! Olive oil works great, there just won't be a walnut flavor.