There’s nothing like a buttery red wine sauce to evoke the feeling of chalet comfort. This version reduces the butter and honey so there’s just enough to balance the acidity in the wine. If you can’t find venison, replace it with another lean cut of meat such as beef tenderloin or sirloin, bison, or elk.
This warm and satisfying dish pays homage to slow-cooked North African tagines, but comes together in no time, combining sweet apricots with savoury and tender vegetables, legumes, and chicken. As with the black quinoa and lentil pilaf, the spices can be premixed at home if you’re heading out of town, making for efficient packing without sacrificing flavour. Using a fresh lemon (which doesn’t need to be refrigerated) also means you won’t need to lug a bottle of lemon juice along. Feel free to add other vegetables such as sweet potato, squash, parsnips, turnip, or cauliflower, or swap in dried figs, dates, or prunes for apricots. Any type of olives will work––e.g. green, purple, or black––and though you don’t need an entire jar for the recipe, you can serve the rest as an appetizer or snack. You can use dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, drained, and simmered in water until tender, or you can use canned, which saves time. Be sure to drain and rinse canned chickpeas thoroughly in water before using to significantly reduce the sodium content.
Pilaf is a term liberally used to simply mean “grains cooked in broth.” There are usually onions, garlic, and spices involved, and the grains are often sautéed in butter or oil before being simmered in the liquid. This getaway-friendly version calls for dried spices instead of fresh, which you can combine in advance to save space in your bags and time in your cooking. Feel free, though, to add fresh diced onions, garlic, or other vegetables if you prefer. Toasting tips To toast sunflower seeds, in small saucepan or skillet, heat seeds over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until browned and aromatic. Remove seeds immediately from the pan so they don’t burn. Many variations for ultimate flexibility Don’t be afraid of the long ingredient list. You can skip pretty much any of the spices––except the salt––or replace them with others that you have on hand, such as parsley, thyme, or paprika. You can also use white or tri-coloured quinoa instead of black; the dark colour gives the dish a more dramatic visual effect.
This lightened-up version of the comforting Italian dish calls for wild mushrooms instead of heaps of cream, butter, and cheese. The mushrooms add a gourmet touch without extra weight for your holiday packing or your waistline. Whichever mushrooms and herbs you use, the trick to exceptional risotto is to stir slowly and continuously after each addition of broth, which helps release the starch and gives the dish its creamy nature, with or without cheese. Mushroom miscellany Look for dried chanterelles or morels, or blends that include more budget-friendly porcini or oyster mushrooms. Feel free to add fresh wild or cultivated mushrooms—even sliced button mushrooms are a toothsome treat, though fresh chanterelles would be wonderfully indulgent. Simply sauté them in olive oil, sprinkle them with salt and minced tarragon, cook gently for 5 to 8 minutes, until tender, and serve on top of risotto. Broth pointers Homemade vegetable or chicken broth is best since the broth is one of the strongest flavours in this dish, but you can also use commercial vegetable broth or quality bouillon cubes or powder. The soaking liquid of the dried mushrooms is essentially a quick mushroom broth, which reduces the amount of additional broth required. And, if you want to travel extra light, use dried herbs instead of fresh. If the rice isn’t tender after 20 minutes, increase the heat slightly. If you’re running out of broth, the heat is too high. But don’t worry, you can add a little extra water or wine to stretch the remaining broth if needed.
Fettuccine noodles laced with Parmesan and butter have been a fixture in Italian cuisine since 1914. Over the years, this dish became popular in America and increasingly rich with the addition of cream and eggs. Today, there’s a reversal stirring as people search for plant alternatives to rich, creamy dishes without compromising flavor. Enter this dish! The silky-smooth tofu sauce coupled with garlic and cashew cheese is a delicious vegan alternative with the rich essence of traditional alfredo pasta.
If you are new to the world of plant-based baking, you may hear the word “aquafaba” and wonder what it’s all about. Aquafaba is that liquid you find canned legumes, most commonly chickpeas, soaking in. It works wonders as an egg substitute in virtually any baked good recipe, especially when you need to create a frothy or foamy yummy substance. This pie has a light and fluffy topping that is perfectly torched, and a rich, tart-yet-sweet filling that is completely addictive. I promise you will come back not only for seconds, but for thirds and fourths! recipe | Doug McNish Author’s tip Everyone should get a kitchen torch because … using a blowtorch is awesome to create depth of flavor and caramelization in so many dishes.
Perhaps the classiest crowd-pleasing classic that I’ve veganized is this exquisite gooey cheese fondue. It’s perfect for dipping your favorite vegetables, breads, vegan meats, and basically any other edible you could imagine. Make sure you use arborio rice and potatoes, as the starch found in both gives this dish the characteristic texture of traditional gooey cheese fondue. There is something irresistibly fun about dipping and twirling your favorite foods in hot, bubbling lava full of flavor. For a sophisticated experience, serve in a traditional fondue warming dish complete with serving forks. recipe | Doug McNish Ooh la lactic acid! Vegan lactic acid is great for making vegan cheeses and adding to other nondairy recipes. Most animal-derived bacteria, like the ones found in cheese, give recipes an explosion of flavor in the mouth. Vegan lactic acid does the same thing and makes flavors stand out and pop! Although it is not as easy to find in traditional grocery stores, it is available online and in specialty stores. I highly recommend picking it up and trying it out for yourself.
Confession time: We are both die-hard mushroom haters. Yet somehow, magically, when we mince the mushrooms for this gravy, our aversion to fungi disappears! Whipping up a batch of this gravy will make your entire home smell like Thanksgiving, but you certainly don’t have to wait for the holidays to make it. Goodness, no! We make this gravy year-round to pour over mashed potatoes. recipe | Toni Okamoto & Michelle Cehn
No holiday dinner is complete without stuffing, so we set about perfecting a recipe that we and our loved ones could enjoy year after year. This is it! When baked, it gets a decadent bread pudding texture at the bottom and becomes nice and crispy on top. We love it with mashed potatoes and Mushroom Gravy. We hope this becomes a staple on your holiday dinner table, just as it has at ours. recipe | Toni Okamoto & Michelle Cehn
Holiday nog holds a special place in our hearts. For many, it is the epitome of Christmas and brings back memories of holiday parties through the years. Well, don’t worry, dear friends. Just because you’re avoiding eggs doesn’t mean you have to forgo your favorite holiday drink. Using the magic of cashews and coconut cream, we’ve recreated a holiday nog that is every bit as luscious as the nog you grew up drinking. It’s redolent of the cozy flavors of winter recipe | Toni Okamoto & Michelle Cehn
I pod—do you? So often recipes only call for the vanilla seeds, while the entire pod is edible. You can use spent vanilla pods to get a fragrant salt from something that otherwise may have been destined for the compost pile. Use Vanilla Salt on cakes, cookies, fresh fruit, and my favorite: sliced tomatoes.
Sundae best This salt is perfect for gift-giving; it looks lovely in a jar. But it’s good for more than just looking pretty. Sprinkle Sweet Cardamom Rose Salt on top of dairy-free ice cream for a sophisticated sundae, then top with a touch of olive oil, or cap sugar cookies with a light dusting. This salt, like all the others, loves popcorn.