Chickpeas and kugel: two recipes for a very veggie Christmas

There, a traditional Christmas chickpea piccata. Healthy, cuz Santa's watching you (freak).

I started seeing retail sales around town marked “last minute Christmas shopping events” a week and a half ago – who are these freakish people that think two weeks is not enough time to score trinkets for one's loved ones? 

I hereby present to you two holiday recipes from the hottest new vegan and vegetarian on the market -- with the explicit reminder that you have ample time to prepare them before a nice Friday night 'neath the Christmas tree, clutching bowls of chickpea piccata and vegan kugel, and munching in time to a bangin' holiday mix. Oh wait, I didn't get a tree yet either. No matter baby -- we got nothing but time.

And our favorite veggie Thanksgiving recipes can make the kitchen scene this weekend too! No one has to know that their stomach's time continuum is being shifted... 


Vegan kugel with broccoli rabe and chanterelles

From Jenn Shagrin's Veganize This! (Da Capo, 256 pages, $19) 

Hey goy! The Jews know what's good when it comes to festive comfort food recipes. Kugel's a big, sweet mess of noodles – perfect for your big, sweet mess of loved ones (or just for you if that's the extent of your wolf pack).

Serves 6

1 (1-pound) package egg-less noodles

1⁄2 pound broccoli rabe

6 tablespoons (3⁄4 stick) vegan margarine

1 clove garlic, minced

1 large yellow onion, diced

1 cup chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned well

1 (12-ounce) package extra firm tofu

1 cup vegan sour cream

1 1⁄2 cups vegan scrambled eggs (page 27)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

Freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°F, and grease a 9 by 13-inch baking dish.

Cook the noodles in a large pot of salted water until just al dente, then rinse with cold water and toss with a touch of cooking oil to prevent sticking.

Prepare an ice bath (a large bowl of ice water), and set aside.

Bring a medium-size pot of salted water to a boil, drop in the rabe, and allow to cook for 2 minutes. Drain the rabe, then plunge immediately into the ice bath. Drain well again and set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the margarine in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add the garlic. Sauté for 30 seconds, then add the onion and sauté until almost translucent. Add the rabe and chanterelles and sauté for another 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.

In a food processor, blend the tofu and crème fraîche until mixed well. Don’t overprocess; there should still be tiny pieces of whole tofu visible.

Using a spatula, transfer the sautéed vegetables to a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to chop roughly. In a large bowl, combine the vegetables, tofu mixture, and all the rest of the ingredients except for the cooked noodles. Once mixed well, stir in the noodles and transfer to the prepared pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the top is browned and the center is firm.



Chickpea piccata

From Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Appetite For Reduction (Da Capo, 336 pages, $19.95)

Another great vegan recipe that you only need a half hour to create from start to finish – heads up, procrastinators! Chickpea piccata looks fancy, is a great source of fiber, and the little peas are great at helping you detoxify sulfites (preservatives that are found in a lot of processed food, particularly salad dressings).

Serves 4 

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 scant cup thinly sliced shallots

6 cloves garlic, sliced thinly

2 tablespoons bread crumbs

2 cups vegetable broth

1/3 cup dry white wine

A few pinches of freshly ground black pepper

A generous pinch of dried thyme

1 (16-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup capers with a little brine

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

4 cups arugula

Preheat a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Sauté the shallots and garlic for about 5 minutes, until golden. Add the bread crumbs and toast them by stirring constantly for about 2 minutes. They should turn a few shades darker.

Add the vegetable broth, wine, salt, pepper, and thyme. Turn up the heat, bring the mixture to a rolling boil, and let the sauce reduce by half; it should take about 7 minutes.

Add the chickpeas and capers and let heat through, about 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice and turn off the heat.

If you’re serving the piccata with mashed potatoes, place the arugula in a wide bowl. Place the mashed potatoes on top of the arugula and ladle the piccata over the potatoes. The arugula will wilt and it will be lovely. If you are serving the piccata solo, just pour it right over the arugula.

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