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Extreme Vegan Makeover: Comfort Food Side Dishes Edition – Cheezy Mashed Potatoes and Greens

With the holidays coming up, most people are thinking about food: family dinners, huge feasts and of course, for Vegans, the issues of whether and/or how to deal with meat-eaters. Sadly, over 280 million turkeys will be slaughtered this holiday season so their carcasses can be stuffed and presented as the main event on the dinner table.  280 MILLION!!!  That number should be shocking and that’s not even counting all the other animals that will be killed for the other dishes on the menu.

One thing that has always held true for me, whether the main course was turkey, Tofurky, Field Roast or whatever, the side dishes were always my favorite part of the meal. The side dishes are where you find the most variety, the most flavors, the most colors and to me, the most comforting parts of the meal.

So when I crave comfort food, I make some of my favorite side dishes and they become my entree. Tonight, with Tom and I both sick and other stresses we have to deal with, we needed some comfort food so I made two of our favorites: braised collard greens and cheezy garlic mashed potatoes.

The braised collard greens are rich in flavor and texture with spices and whatever veggies I happen to have on hand. Tonight it was onions, garlic, bell pepper, yellow squash, sundried tomatoes and mushrooms.

The potatoes were rich and creamy with garlic, almond milk, nutritional yeast and cheddar-flavored Daiya.

Together they made a dinner that was hot, filling, healthy, comforting and best of all, cruelty-free.

Braised Collard Greens with Mushrooms, Bell Pepper and Yellow Squash

Canola spray
1 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 yellow squash, diced
1/4 sundried tomatoes, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. dried parsley
2 Tbs. nutritional yeast
1 Tbs. ground flaxseed
1 Tbs. Vegan worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. liquid smoke
2 bunches collard greens, stemmed and chopped
1- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

Heat a deep skillet and spray with canola oil. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes until softened and browned. Add bell pepper, mushrooms, garlic, sundried tomatoes, and squash. Let the vegetables cook for about 6-8 minutes until softened.

Add the spices, nutritional yeast and flaxseed. Mix well. Add the worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke to the vegetables. Add the collard greens in small bunches. Pour some broth on them to help them wilt faster and to create a gravy as it cooks. Keep adding greens as they wilt down and make more room in the pot. Mix the greens well with the veggies. Add more broth depending on how much gravy you want. Cover the pot and let cook on a low heat for about 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Cheezy Garlic Mashed Red Potatoes with Chives

4-5 large red potatoes, cubed
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbs. garlic powder
2 Tbs. nutritional yeast
1/3 cup almond (or any non-dairy) milk
1/4 cup cheddar-flavored Daiya
1 Tbs. chives

Cut the potatoes into equal sized pieces and put them into a small pot. I love using red potatoes because they cook quickly, I don’t have to peel them and I love seeing the red peel in the finished dish. Add cold water to the pot, just enough to cover the potatoes. Cover the pot and heat until the water comes to a rapid boil. Uncover the pot and continue to cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, probably about 15 minutes.

Pour the potatoes into a colander, drain and return the potatoes to the hot pot. Add the salt, pepper, garlic powder (roasted garlic would also be delicious), and nutritional yeast to the pot. Add the milk (adjust the amount depending how loose and creamy you want the potatoes to be; I prefer them to have some texture so I add the milk a little at a time until I have the consistency I want). Add the Daiya cheese. With a fork, mash the potatoes and mix all the ingredients together. I prefer my potatoes to have some chunks so I don’t mash them too much. If you like your potatoes super-creamy, then mash them longer.

Garnish with chives and serve while hot.

Maybe one or both of these dishes can make an appearance at your next holiday dinner where I’ll bet they’ll both be gobbled up fast (sorry…couldn’t resist 🙂


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2 Responses to Extreme Vegan Makeover: Comfort Food Side Dishes Edition – Cheezy Mashed Potatoes and Greens

  1. Gary November 24, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    Delicious and straightforward and quick to make. Our dinner tonight was mostly leftovers and we needed something satisfying to complete it, and this was perfect!

  2. cheeky November 5, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    I am soooo making those potatoes! o_o Right on time before Thanksgiving!

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