Thanksgiving Cauliflower Roast with Brown Rice Stuffing

aaw, thanksgiving.  The time to come together as friends and family and be thankful for all the blessing we have in our life.  Lets be honest its the time to panic about your meal prep, have way too many cooks in the kitchen and the time to stuff your face with so many things you can’t believe that you didn’t get rolled out the door.  We don’t celebrate thanksgiving here, but I’ve always felt like its the best holiday ever, cute turkeys, pumpkin everything, yummy sweet potatoes, and a whole lot of thankful-ness.   That’s what thanksgiving means to me!

So this year lets try and be more thankful and cook some easier meals that wont have us all stressing out, so we have more time for fun and happiness.  This delicious whole cauliflower roast with some roast vegetables and an amazing brown rice stuffing is the easy no fuss vegan extravaganza you’ve been looking for!  Roasting the whole cauliflower makes an impressive centrepiece that’s pleasing on the eye, but even more pleasing on the taste buds, without making you feel all bloated afterwards. Serve it with some roasted vegetables and you’ve got a pretty quick main course lined up for you.

What would thanksgiving be without stuffing? that would be like Christmas without stuffing? Pure madness.  This brown rice stuffing is way better for you than its bready counterpart, but its not lacking on the flavour department!  Cover the entire meal with your favourite gravy and you’re all set for an easy thanksgiving meal that you wont soon forget.

GARLIC AND ROSEMARY WHOLE ROASTED CAULIFLOWER 

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Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 tbsp garlic minced
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • zest of half a lemon
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast.

Directions

If you’re in a hurry, you can steam the whole cauliflower until tender and then roast it or you can just pop the whole thing in the oven.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F / 180 degrees C.

Trim away the leaves of  the cauliflower and the bottom stalk making sure to be careful to keep the cauliflower intact.

Drizzle the whole head of cauliflower in olive oil.  Stuff some rosemary in a couple of the florets all around the cauliflower.  Mince the rest of the rosemary.

Rub the rest of the ingredients liberally all over cauliflower.  Take the salt and pepper and make it rain ! really get it all over!  If roasting other vegetables, cut them up and scatter them around your baking dish! I would suggest you do this, as the cooked cauliflower kind of looks like a brain just by itself!  I roasted some broccoli, yellow and white sweet potato and zucchini, with a light seasoning of gram masala and covered in a bit of oil.

Place the cauliflower in the centre of your baking dish surrounded by all the vegetables, cover with foil and cook for 30 minutes covered.

Remove from oven, remove foil and roast uncovered until golden brown on the outside and tender on the inside.  Carve.

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Serve with the vegetables, stuffing and gravy.

EASY BROWN RICE STUFFING with CRANBERRIES AND ROASTED SUNFLOWER SEEDS

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice, rinsed and soaked in water for 3 hours or overnight.
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil or any other oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 16 oz button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley or fresh
  • 1 tsp dill
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

I soak the rice to make it easier to digest and remove the phytic acid, but if you don’t have time you can just rinse the rice and cook it without soaking.  I find that soaking it also makes the brown rice cook faster and gives it a fluffier consistency.

Add the rice and vegetable stock to a pot over medium high heat, allow it to come to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until fluffy.  when the stock is almost cooked out I usually cover it with a lid that doesn’t have a steam escaping hole,  remove from heat and allow to steam covered for a couple of minutes or until I’m ready to use it.

 

In a large skillet, add the oil and saute the onion, celery and mushroom.  allow to cook while stirring until everything is cooked through and fragrant.  Add the rice and any leftover liquid to the pan.  Season with the remaining ingredients except the cranberries and sunflowers.  Allow to heat through, stir in the cranberries and sunflowers.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Serve with your delicious cauliflower roast.

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and for dessert? Gluten Free sugar free pumpkin pie bars or a pumpkin custard!

Gluten Free Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie bars

I’ve been on a complete pumpkin kick lately! I just want to make everything pumpkin-y.  Pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin cupcakes, and of course these amazing pumpkin pie bars!  When I started making these I knew the gingery crust would pair perfectly with the smooth custardy goodness of the pumpkin filling, when I made the pumpkin filling and tried it, it actually took all the willpower a heavily pregnant woman could take not to just take the filling, go hide in the closet and just eat the entire bowl, that’s how good it is!

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I’m glad I didn’t waste all the filling on my instant gratification need and decided this needs to be bars, because WOWZA! I just can’t get enough of these things, the fact that I don’t have any left kind of makes me want to cry, call it pregnancy hormones or the real life truth that there are no pumpkin pie bars in my fridge, maybe its just a combination of both?  What ever it is, all I know is I need to make more. STAT!

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What makes these extra special? Is the fact that’s its sugar free and gluten free, you don’t  even need to feel guilty while binge eating these.  The coconut flour ginger crust reminds me of a graham cracker or gingersnap cookie, paired with the smooth pumpkin filling and just the perfect touch of coconut whipped cream with 1/2 tsp of cardamom added to the mix, you’re in for a whirlwind of yum!

GLUTEN FREE SUGAR FREE PUMPKIN PIE BARS  – 9 – 12 bars

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Ingredients

Crust

  • 4 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil ( at room temperature)
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Pumpkin Filling

  • 1 can pumpkin puree or 2 cups puree
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup – Increase it if you want it sweeter
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • 1 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 1/2 tsp xantham gum – optional its creates a firmer filling
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 and a half tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Directions

Crust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/ 180 degrees C.

In a large bowl, mix together the honey, coconut oil and spices, until creamy.  You can use a hand blender for this, I just used my trusty hand.

Fold in the coconut flour and mix until it forms a dough.

Press the dough evenly in a prepared pan and bake until slightly golden about 5 – 8 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.

Filling

Place everything in your blender and blend until well combined.  Taste the mixture and adjust seasoning to your preference.    Pour the filling into the prepared crust and spread it around evenly.

Bake for 20 – 40 minutes or until the pie is firm but still jiggly.  Let cool and place in the fridge overnight to properly set.

Cut the pie bars, serve with a dollop of cardamom coconut whipped cream and enjoy your masterpiece!

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