Posted by: Antonia Ciccolo | January 5, 2011

Vegan for the Holidays

After six months of being vegan, I had a new challenge at my plate: eating vegan over the Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, and New Year holidays. Maybe I’ve “gotten good” at being vegan, or maybe my expectations have changed, but I was rarely left hungry or unsatisfied.

Thanksgiving was a particular feat, and one that I enjoyed. My family spends Thanksgiving at my Uncle’s house; I knew I would be the only vegan or vegetarian in attendance. Recommendations told me that I should bring my own vegan dish to share, so the host (my aunt) didn’t feel uneasy about the lack of food options for vegans. I left the Tofurky at home, however, and decided to bake and bring a vegan banana bread. This was my first time baking something vegan and it turned out really well! Good thing I made two loafs because the first was gone before Thanksgiving dinner even started. My non-vegan family loved it! I found the recipe online (see below). Turns out, there was plenty of vegan Thanksgiving food for me to eat. There was a string bean dish and cinnamon squash (sans dairy) and my aunt even made a separate black bean salad with tomatoes, onions, and artichokes, just for me. I was in veggie heaven.

Chanukah is an easy holiday for vegans. You can easily make or find vegan latkes and applesauce. I didn’t get to try my latkes with vegan sour cream but I know it’s out there. Christmas Eve dinner was a little bit more of a challenge. Since I’m Italian, my family likes to follow the tradition of incorporating “seven fishes” into the feast. Oy. I was able to eat a string bean and almond dish, which was delicious, but that was the only vegan option (other than salad, yuck). I really should have planned ahead and thought about preparing something, but I never quite got it together. Luckily though, my parents gave me two cookbooks for Christmas this year: How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook. I no longer have any excuses.

New Year’s Eve was a completely different story. National Mechanics Restaurant & Bar in Old City, Philadelphia had an open bar and light buffet starting at 8:00pm. I didn’t think there would be much for me to eat but wow, was I wrong. There was plenty of hummus and pita, olives, crudité, sautéed vegetables, etc. The open bar wasn’t bad either. 🙂

Overall, I had a very satisfying vegan holiday season. Next year I definitely want to try Tofurky Turkey on Thanksgiving and prepare an Italian pasta dish for Christmas.

Vegan Banana Bread

Ingredients:

  • nonstick spray
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar, divided
  • about 1/4 cup nondairy milk (I use soy)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/4 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 medium bananas, mashed

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease/spray a 9″ square baking pan; set aside. Put one teaspoon vinegar in a liquid measuring cup and add enough soy milk to equal 1/4 cup; mix together and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients together; set aside. In another bowl, beat oil, vanilla, and bananas. Gradually add in dry ingredients as well as the milk mixture. Beat until smooth.

3. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes until brown on top and toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Serve warm, if desired.

Notes: You can add nuts or desired spices (like cinnamon). This can also be made in a standard size loaf pan (adjust cooking time accordingly).

Serves: 10, Preparation time: 10 min.

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