For this week’s Vegan Tuesday, I made a Spinach Kugel and served it with Sweet Potato-Pear Tzimmes with Pecans and Raisins both recipes out of Veganomicon. Both are Jewish in origin. Unbeknownst to me, Tuesday was also Purim a Jewish holiday. Is this kismet or what? 😛 Okay, from my limited knowledge neither are the traditional foods of the holiday. Although on the other hand, Purim celebrates the story of Esther who was captured and ate vegetarian to keep kosher.
Traditionally kugels are noodle casseroles either sweet or savory. Most kugel recipes are full of dairy and eggs. I’m sure traditional kugels are very delicious–I’ve never tasted one. As this was vegan, the recipe uses silken tofu and crushed matzo to bind the noodles and spinach. The casserole is flavored with fresh dill and lemon.
As for the noodles, I found some in the Jewish section of the grocery store. Because I’m new to vegan cooking/baking and I wasn’t really thinking, I bought a package that said in big letters “EGG” which I didn’t notice until I was getting ready to make this dish. Duh. I ended up using regular made without eggs Italian pasta I had in the pantry.
Tzimmes is another type of Jewish casserole. It tends to the sweeter side and is traditionally–although just like a kugel there are a ton of variations–made with fruit and carrots and sweetened with honey and sometimes with meat. As this was vegan, no honey and no meat. This dish is made by roasting sweet potatoes, pears, pecans and raisins flavored with maple syrup, mirin, and cinnamon. Of course, I love anything made with sweet potatoes but the flavor combination was outstanding. This dish was very easy to make and I could see making it for Thanksgiving.
I also made vegan Chewy Chocolate Raspberry Cookies. These are made using canola oil, cocoa powder, & raspberry preserves. Although the recipe didn’t call for it, I added raspberry extract to up the flavor and topped each with raw sugar. I didn’t really like them, but the husband did (well with vanilla ice cream, he wasn’t getting the vegan theme) and so did the co-workers.