Cookbook Review and Giveaway: Vegan for the Holidays

Vegan for the Holidays: Celebration Feasts for Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day

Zel Allen

Vegan for the Holidays Cookbook

Vegan for the Holidays is just the cookbook we are all looking for this time of year.  Zel covers all the details any holiday cook needs to throw the ultimate celebration. The book includes recipes for all the winter holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year. This book presents recipes that are traditional, but also inventive while bringing amazing flavor to any holiday table. From main dishes that include, Pistachio and Sweet Pea Torte with Roasted-Tomato Aioli, Pear and Butternut Bisque with Cranberry-Pear Compote and Sweet Potato Pie with Cashew-Ginger Cream. To tantalizing desserts, including Pear and Walnut Compote with Choco-Wafers, Chocolate Truffle Mousse with Cranberry Splash and Cranberry Apple Strudel. There are so many wonderful recipes for appetizers, soups, salads, mains, desserts and even beverages to inspire and enrich your holiday celebrations year after year. 

What I truly love about this book, is that each recipe offers a whole-foods, oil-free healthy option that is in no way lacking in all the flavors you are looking for in holiday fare. Well, minus the few extra pounds you would normally gain! And these recipes are not just for the holiday season, but for anytime of the year.

Zel Allen, along with her husband Reuben, started an online publication called Vegetarians in Paradise where they share a variety of information pertinent to the vegan community. The Los Angeles based magazine features vegetarian basics, vegan recipes, vegetarian restaurants, vegan diet, and vegetarian food companies. Zel is also the author of The Nut Gourmet that includes 150 gourmet, plant-based recipes that showcases nuts in everything from sauces, soups, and spreads to entrees, salads, dressings and desserts. You’ll even learn how to make nutmilks, a delicious alternative to both dairy and soy milk for allergy diets.

I am looking forward to trying out all of the recipes in this fabulous book, but the two I get to share with you today are:

Yin-Yang Thanksgiving Pâté

Yin and Yang Pate (Vegan)

 Beautiful, healthy and oh so fabulous!

Yin and Yang Pate (Vegan)

Yin-Yang Thanksgiving Pâté
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 10-12
With a touch of playful sculpture, two tasty appetizer pates become one very striking presentation with an underlying, philosophical message: a balanced approach to everyday life. Accompany with whole-grain crackers or toasted pita wedges, or spoon into leaves of Belgian endive.
Carrot Pate
  • 1¼ cups chopped carrots
  • 1¼ cups chopped red bell pepper (about 1 large pepper)
  • 1 cup raw or roasted cashews or macadamia
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1½ teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • Pinch cayenne
Mushroom Pate
  • 1 pound cremini or button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. To make the carrot pâté, put the carrots, bell pepper, cashews, lemon juice, ginger, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a food processor. Process for 1 minute, or until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the work bowl. Transfer to s small bowl and wash and dry the processor bowl.
  2. To make the mushroom pâté, cook and stir mushrooms, onion, garlic, and water in a large skillet over high heat for 3 or 4 minutes, or until the onion is transparent and the mushrooms are softened., Add 1 or more tablespoons of water as needed to prevent burning. There should be at least 1 tablespoon of liquid remaining in the pan.
  3. Transfer the mushroom mixture and remaining liquid into the food processor and add the walnuts, yeast flakes, lemon juice, sand salt. Process until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape the work bowl.
  4. To assemble, remove 1 tablespoon of each pâté and set aside. Spoon the remaining mushroom pâté onto half of a dinner plate. Using the back of a soon, form half of the yin-yang symbol.
  5. Spoon remaining carrot pâté onto the plate and form the other half. Place the reserved tablespoon of each pâté into the widest portion of the opposite color. Smooth the edges to form a circle.
  6. Makes 3 cups.


Pear and Walnut Compote with Choco-Wafers

Unbelievably easy to make and the perfect dessert to serve your guests during the holidays.

Pear and Walnut Compote with Choco-Wafers

Pear and Walnut Compote with Choco-Wafers
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 6
Holiday meals, whether at home or at my grandmother's, always concluded with a small bowl of stewed dried fruits perfectly sweetened and laced with cinnamon. Homemade Choco-Wafers turn this delicious, unpretentious compote into an elegant, alluring dessert.
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup pitted dates, snipped in half
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon water
  • 3 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 fresh Anjou or Bosc pears, cored, cut into quarters, and sliced
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ⅓ cup dark raisins
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely ground toasted walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts, for garnish
  1. To make the wafers, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 17½ x 12½-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Put all the wafer ingredients in a food processor. Process until all the ingredients are well incorporated, the nuts are broken down to a fine, but slightly textured meal, and the mixture reaches a very thick, finely mashed, firm consistency, stopping occasionally to scrape down the work bowl.
  3. Spoon the wafer mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and use the back of the spoon to form it into a ¼-inch thick rectangle approximately 8 inches by 9 inches.
  4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the wafer is set and almost dry to the touch but still soft. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. It will firm as it cools. When cool, cut into 2- or 3-inch squares and set aside until ready to serve, or put the squares in a ziplock bag and refrigerate.
  5. To make the compote, combine the pears, cranberries, brown, sugar, dark raisins, lemon juice, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and water in a 3- or 4-quart saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately decrease the heat to low and simmer 10 minutes, or until the pears are softened.
  6. To thicken the juice in the pan, combine the cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl or cup and stir until smooth. Stir the paste into the simmering compote a little at a time, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute, or until thickened to desired consistency.
  7. To serve, spoon the compote into small dessert dishes and garnish each with the walnuts of desired. Tuck two wafers into the center or sides of the compote.

This Giveaway is now closed..thanks to all who participated!

And now for the GIVEAWAY and Good Luck!

To enter the contest, leave a comment sharing some of your favorite Vegan Holiday Dishes. Also, if you have one you would love to see veganized, let me know that too! Don’t forget to leave your contact information so I can let you know if you win. =)


You MUST leave each entry as a SEPARATE comment or only one comment will count.

All entries must be completed no later than Sunday, November 24th 2013,  at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Winner will be announced on Monday, November 25th 2013, on my blog, and the winner will also be notified via the email address they provided in the comments section.

Giveaway open to U.S. and Canada residents only. =)

Good Luck!



Can’t wait and you need this book now. Well, don’t fret, you can buy it here: Vegan for the Holidays: Celebration Feasts for Thanksgiving Through New Year’s Day



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  1. says

    Hi! This will be my first holiday season eating Vegan. So, I am not sure what my favorite vegan holiday dish is yet! I hope to be able to tell you a bunch after the season :) Thanks for the ideas and for the giveaway!

  2. RubyShooZ says

    We do tofurky rollups with stuffing and many other delicious things of course.

    Thanks for the givewaway, looks like a great book.

  3. upstatelisa says

    My son loves a baked French toast with berries on christmas morning but I haven’t tried it yesterday with an egg substitute so I haven’t had it since I went vegan from longtime vegetarian!!! I’m afraid the non vegans might snub me!

  4. Ange says

    This will be my first vegan holiday season. I don’t have a lot of experience with vegan holiday dishes outside of Tofurky. I plan on making a chickpea tart and rosemary gravy as a main dish, but I’m still looking for ideas to fill out the meal!

  5. Rechel Harris says

    A favorite of mine my grandma would make is peas and mushrooms in puff pastry shells with a cream sauce. Any ideas how that could be made vegan?


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