Serving Up A Vegan Holiday!

Serving Up A Vegan Holiday!

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Today, I am incredibly thankful for the gift of health, friendship and food. So, it was a win-win-win situation when my good pal and awesome vegan chef, Mr. John Hellmers, stopped by last week to cook us his version of a Gluten Free, Vegan Thanksgiving! 

Who said you can't be a vegan and enjoy some seriously delicious eats during the holidays?! But first, a little background on the man behind the knife...


John is a classically trained chef from New Jersey (woot! woot!), but after moving to California he began training with a holistic doctor who specialized in the alkaline diet. It was during this time that he truly learned the benefits of how food impacts ones health and he shifted his focus to creating mostly vegan meals, with a blend of raw, alkalizing and cleansing techniques. The great thing about John is that he still knows what people crave and love most about food...and he refuses to sacrifice that in his tasty creations. He is doing his part to change the stigma that healthy food can't also be gourmet and enjoyable. By using mostly organic, in-season and local ingredients, John has launched Food With A Reason ~ his new business endeavor that serves his clients by helping them to transition into a healthier lifestyle, all while teaching them the benefits of how nourishing foods effect the body in a positive way. We are so lucky to have an abundance of fresh fruits and veggies...so, this holiday season let's enjoy some food with the reason of celebrating the vegan in all of us! And, I promise you won't pass out into a food coma after enjoying this meal...you may even feel uplifted and refreshed!
Sage Soup: Ingredients
~ 2 lemons (juiced)
~ 3 cloves garlic (minced)
~ 2 zucchini (chopped)
~ 2 carrots (peeled, chopped)
~ 1 bunch sage
~ 1 onion (chopped)
~ 3 stalks celery (chopped)
~ 1 head broccoli (chopped)
~ 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

Directions:
Put tablespoon of grapeseed oil and lightly heat. Put carrots, onion, celery and garlic in pot. Heat lightly for a couple of minutes. Add broccoli and zucchini; cook down for another few minutes. Cover veggies with water and bring to 118 degrees. Let veggies sit in broth for twenty minutes after simmer. Then blend with fresh sage. Season to taste and add lemon juice right before serving.
Green Bean Casserole: Ingredients
~ 3 large handfuls green beans
~ 1 can mushroom soup
~ 1 box unsweetened almond milk
~ 1 box of button mushrooms (chopped)
~ 3 large shallots (sliced)
~ gluten free flour or bread crumbs
~ sprigs of thyme and rosemary (minced)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice shallots thinly and add to a mixing bowl with enough almond milk to soak them. Add 2 cups of gluten free breadcrumbs to a second mixing bowl. Remove shallots from almond milk, allowing for excess liquid to run off, and place in breadcrumbs. Coat shallots in breadcrumbs and then place them spread out on an oiled baking sheet. Place in oven for 20-25 minutes until browned. Next, bring a medium sized pot of water up to a boil. Remove the tops off the green beans and add to boiling water for about 3 minutes. Strain beans and add to a medium sized oven safe dish. In a frying pan sauté mushrooms with rosemary and thyme. Add can of mushroom soup and bring to a simmer. Add mushroom mixture over the top of the beans, add salt and stir to coat. Place crispy shallots on top and bake for another ten minutes. Serve. 

Sheppard’s Pie: Ingredients
~ 1 head broccoli (florets)
~ 1 head cauliflower (florets)
~ 2 zucchini (diced)
~ 2 carrots (peeled, diced)
~ 2 parsnips (peeled, diced)
~ 2 stalks celery (chopped)
~ parsley (minced)
~ chives (finely chopped)
~ 1 leek (thinly sliced)
~ 1 cup almond milk
~ 1 cup vegan cheddar (shredded)
~ 1 tablespoon veggie bouillon 
~ 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place large pot of water on stove and bring to a boil. Place cauliflower florets in boiling water and cook for 15-20 minutes, until softened. Strain from water and add back in pot. Mash cauliflower with almond milk, salt and pepper. Once the texture is correct add in vegan cheese to thicken the cauliflower mash. In large pan heat oil and add carrots, celery, leek, parsnip. Cook till tender, about 4 minutes. Add broccoli and zucchini. Let all veggies brown; toss with salt, pepper, a cup of water and the vegetable bouillon. Bring liquid to a simmer and let thicken. Add mixture to a casserole dish. Top veggie mixture with cauliflower mash. Sprinkle some reserved cheddar over top. Place in oven and cook for 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle fresh chives over top. Serve.   
If you are interested in learning more about Food With A Reason, or want to pick John's brain on anything food (or football) related, visit his website at: foodwithareason.com
Thank you John for changing the way that we view food...one bite at a time. 
Happy Thanksgiving!



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