Think back if you will past the onslaught of deals on Cyber Monday, the chaos of Black Friday, to the food fest of last Thursday. You may remember from my earlier post on vegan Thanksgiving ideas that I was planning on trying something new this year – the Festive Chickpea Tart from Dreena Burton. (The recipe is available here and in her newest cookbook, Let Them Eat Vegan!)
Dreena’s recipes are no stranger to my Thanksgiving table, as I’ve enjoyed her mushroom gravy and cranberry sauce many times over. For the main attraction, this year I decided to try something outside of those seitan standards and try my hand at her Festive Chickpea Tart. Baked in a whole wheat pie crust, the tart is filled with a combination of smashed and whole chickpeas, walnuts, spinach, and dried cranberries. Added to that are wonderful fall herbs – parsley and thyme.
When I got to the grocery store to pick up everything on my list (including a couple of whole wheat frozen pie crusts from the freezer section for convenience sake), I noticed that there wasn’t any organic frozen spinach to be found. I opted instead for fresh spinach and contacted Dreena on Facebook. How fantastic is the internet age, when we can so easily get in contact with cookbook authors to ask, “How much fresh spinach should I use in place of frozen?”
Dreena was so sweet to get back to me right away. She said, “One 10 ounce pack of frozen spinach is about the same as using one pound of spinach, steamed – which wilts so much it goes to about one cup (which is about same as frozen). Either way, you want to squeeze out the excess water, so steam it lightly (don’t overcook), then give a squeeze! If you are a little short on spinach – don’t fret it! Even ½ cup is fine to work through mix. Enjoy! Happy Thanksgiving!”
Since I was making two tarts, I probably should have picked up two bunches of fresh spinach instead of one. However, the stores were closed at that point, and it all worked out fine anyway. Even dividing one pound between two tarts, it still set just fine and tasted fabulous.
We went out of town for Thanksgiving, and so I just made the filling the night before and kept it separate from the crusts. Then the next day I loaded up the frozen pie crusts and container of filling and threw them in the cooler. Once I got to my destination, I just had to fill and bake them a while longer than listed in the recipe since the filling was cold instead of warm.
(Update: Several people have found my blog by searching, “Can the Festive Chickpea Tart be frozen?” The answer is yes! According to a poster on Dreena’s Facebook page, she makes several at Thanksgiving. She serves two that day and freezes the rest – covered in tin foil and wrapped in a freezer bag – for Christmas. On Christmas, she pulls them out of the freezer, takes them on an hour-long car ride to the in-laws, and pops them in the oven there with great results!)
The beautiful tart was the essence of fall and made for very pretty presentation with freshly chopped parsley on top. If you’ve ever tried a savory vegan pate, the flavors were similar with their nutty depth and then a pop of sweetness from the cranberries.
In addition to the chickpea tart, I also made green bean casserole from Susan Voisin from Fat Free Vegan. The recipe uses fresh green beans in a creamy mushroom sauce. (No canned mushroom soup here!) Then it’s topped with breadcrumbs and crunchy French onions, which have been ground in the food processor. Green bean casserole has always been one of my favorites at Thanksgiving, and I’ll definitely be making this recipe again.
I finished out my Thanksgiving plate with turnip pickles, olive & artichoke pâté, and a big green leafy salad with creamy garlic dressing. (Not all of those things are pictured above. That is David’s plate. It looked better than mine!)
Then I was so surprised and delighted that my non-vegan sister-in-law brought cranberry sauce and roasted sweet potatoes, which were vegan. My thoughtful niece made homemade Oreo’s again from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. (She’s becoming a consummate baker!) And my mom went absolutely above and beyond with all-vegan mashed potatoes, creamy sage & pepper gravy from Vegan Diner, and homemade apple crisp!
My mom also made the fluffy biscuits from Vegan Diner for me and David, but my nieces and nephews were so enamored with them, neither of us got to try a bite. They just kept running to us saying, “These are so amazing! They’re the best biscuits ever! Do you mind if we eat another?” I loved that they were enjoying them so much, I didn’t mind that I didn’t get a nibble! Also, I have to say that buying my mom Vegan Diner and my niece VCIYCJ has really paid off for me! Now I just have to decide which cookbooks to buy them for Christmas.
I will I mean, they will be so happy!
If you celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you had a happy one!
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