Thanksgiving -- Without the Meat!

What's Thanksgiving without the meat?

The answer: It can be tasty, traditional -- and even healthy. This according to the chefs at Candle 79 restaurant in New York, who appeared on ABC News Now's "Healthy Life" program Wednesday.

The following recipes -- and many more -- can be found in their book "The Candle Cafe Cookbook: More Than 150 Enlightened Recipes from New York's Renowned Vegan Restaurant".

Pecan-Crusted Seitan

Serves 4-6

This is a very versatile dish that we've made in many ways. In addition to coating the seitan cutlets with walnuts, you can also use pecans, sesame seeds, or pumpkin seeds. Serve with Tomato Sauce and Garlic Mashed Potatoes and sautéed greens. Very tasty!


3/4 cup tomato paste

1/4 cup umebashi vinegar

1/4 cup red wine

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup shoyu

1/4 cup garlic, minced

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon

2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary

8-10 seitan cutlets (about 1 pound), preferably homemade

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup finely ground pecans

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

4 tablespoons olive oil


1. Place the tomato paste, vinegar, wine, orange juice, shoyu, garlic, parsley, tarragon and rosemary in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the marinade over the seitan and marinate in the refrigerator at least 3 hours or overnight.

2. Mix the flour, salt, pepper, pecans and chopped rosemary together and place in a shallow bowl. Dredge the cutlets.

3. Heat the oil in a sauté pan and sauté the cutlets until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Serve at once with desired sauce.

Maple-Cinnamon Squash Ringlets

Serves 4-6

We are mad for all types of squash. Joy's mom's favorite way to prepare squash was to halve and seed butternut squash, rub it with cinnamon, then fill the cavities with chutney just before baking. We like to make something similar with sweet and succulent kabocha squash. They look and taste great as a side with Grilled Tofu and sautéed greens. The squash can also be cooked on the grill, basted with the maple-cinnamon mixture, about 3 minutes per side. Happy eating!


2 kabocha squash

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch crushed pepper

Pinch sea salt


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. With a sharp paring or vegetable knife, carefully cut the squash into 1-inch circles, then halve into semicircles Lay them side by side on baking sheet. Whisk the olive oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, pepper and salt together in a small bowl. Brush the oil over the squash rings and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the squash is just tender. Serve at once.

Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 6-8

Butternut squash is an autumn treasure -- especially when its sweet, golden flesh is blended with onions and spices and made into this fragrant, creamy soup.


3 medium butternut squashes, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3-inch pieces

1 large onion, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 1/2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped

6 cups water

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2-3 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)

Parsley leaves, for garnish

3/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish (see Note)


1. Put the squash, onions and celery in a large soup pot. Add the water and stir in the parsley and salt. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 20 minutes, until vegetables are very tender. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

3. Transfer the soup to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. This may have to be done in batches. Return the soup to the pot and reheat gently. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding maple syrup if you prefer a sweeter-tasting soup. Garnish with parsley and toasted pumpkin seeds and serve at once.

Note: To toast pumpkin seeds, place the seeds in a dry skillet and sauté over medium heat until the seeds begin to brown and pop, about 3 minutes.

Sweet Sweet Potato Smash

Serves 4-6

Try these heavenly mashed sweet potatoes mixed with hints of miso, maple syrup and cinnamon. We like mash them roughly so they keep their lumpiness and texture. They are one of Candle's most popular side dishes.


5 sweet potatoes

1 tablespoon sweet white miso

2 teaspoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon cinnamon


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Bake the potatoes for 45 minutes, or until tender, remove and cool. Peel and transfer the potatoes to a large bowl. Mash them a bit with a potato masher then add the miso, maple syrup and cinnamon. Continue to mash until desired consistency. Serve at once.

Variations: These can also be made with baked parsnips, turnips or rutabaga. For a savory potato smash, add miso with finely chopped fresh rosemary and sage leaves. Another favorite variation is baked Yukon Gold potatoes mashed with a bit of wasabi paste.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Serves 4-6


1 ½ cloves fresh garlic, minced

1 ½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup soy margarine

¼ cup plain soymilk (optional)

8 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, Diced

Salt and pepper to taste


1. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook until the potatoes are tender; approximately 20 minutes. Drain potatoes so no liquid remains.

2. In large mixing bowl, combine garlic and oil. Add potatoes and mash until fairly smooth. If a creamier texture is desired, add the soy margarine &/or soymilk. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Roasted Vegetable Salad with Roasted Garlic Dressing

Serves 4

Abigael Birrell, a Candle chef, invented this luscious salad, full of roasted seasonal vegetables. She likes to serve it as a starter to a festive holiday dinner. It's also a good main course salad.


1 fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces

2 medium red bell peppers, seeded, deveined and cut into thin strips

2 cups fingerling or new potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 cup baby turnips, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

2 medium-sized beets, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

1 tablespoon sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Roasted Garlic Dressing (recipe follows)

2 bunches arugula, rinsed, trimmed and stemmed

1/2 cup toasted pecans or walnuts, if desired


1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Toss the vegetables with the salt, pepper and olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until just tender, 35-40 minutes. Toss the vegetables with about 2 tablespoons of Roasted Garlic Dressing to lightly coat the vegetables, and set aside.

3. To serve the salad, arrange the arugula on 4 plates, then top with equal amounts of the warm vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with toasted walnuts or pecans, if desired, drizzle with a bit more dressing, and serve at once.

Roasted Garlic Dressing

Makes 2 cups

We always keep a good amount of Roasted Garlic Dressing on hand. Not only is it excellent on salads, but we also serve it with roasted or steamed vegetables, rice and grains.


1 cup garlic cloves, peeled

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup sherry wine vinegar or red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon white miso

2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Pinch of ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup dried currants or cranberries (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Put the peeled garlic cloves in a baking dish. and cover with olive oil. Cover the dish with foil and roast approximately 25 minutes or until golden brown. When cool enough to handle, remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and transfer to a blender. Reserve the roasted garlic oil for another use (see Note).

3. Add the water, vinegars, miso, thyme or oregano, nutmeg, salt and pepper and blend until smooth. Add a bit more water if necessary. The dressing will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for up to a week.

Note: The reserved roasted garlic oil will keep in a covered container for up to a week. Use it to drizzle over pasta, vegetables and salad greens. It's also excellent when used in sautés and stir-fries.