I wanted to create a menu series on this blog – something I’ve never done before, despite hundreds of food-related posts. There are so many great recipes I stumble across week after week, and I wanted to share some of those with you in a way I hope will be helpful – as a full, themed menu!
Friday Vegan Menu: It’s Cold Outside
Here in my corner of Saskatchewan, it’s been grey and snow-rainy for days, and I’ve been living inside a blanket. I wanted to build a menu that would make me feel warm and cozy, like the food equivalent of a fireplace (which I sadly do not have).
Every single item on this menu I consider to be very warming and cozy – even the (cold) salad – but everything is as healthy as it gets, so you can be comforted without having a feast of mac n cheese and fries and cheesecake (though that sounds great too).
How this menu works
I love building menus, so everything selected is what I think would taste great together. Below you’ll see a mix of warming and hearty lentils, creamy and herby butternut squash, and kale made brighter with the addition of grapefruit. Throw a piece of crusty bread in there and you’ve got a full meal – but don’t forget the cider cocktail or the peanut butter cups for a complete dining party (even if it’s just you).
Whisky cider cocktail
Lentil Spinach Soup
Garlic Herb Butternut Squash
Avocado and Grapefruit Kale Salad
Piece of crusty bread
Homemade Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
there are 5 separate recipes here, so if you do decide to do it all, it’ll take 1 – 1 1/2 hours, start to finish. The plus side is, in addition to having an excellent 5-course meal, you’ll have tons of leftovers, which is always a good thing in my book. Turn on some good music and party in the kitchen while you cook!
Whiskey cider cocktail
From Frites and Fries, we’ve got a cocktail to lift up your feet to – equal parts whisky and cider, some maple syrup and lemon, a splash of bitters and apple for garnish. I would use bourbon as the whisky, and orange bitters as it’s what I have. The apple slice is genius – it makes a pretty garnish, but I bet it also infuses the drink with a light apple flavour too. And the best part is you can have this ready in 5 minutes!
Head on over to her site for the recipe.
Lentil and spinach soup
First of all, nothing is more comforting than soup, so I had to include one by Give Recipe on this menu. Second of all, not only is lentil soup a breeze to make (even with dry lentils), it’s got a certain wholesome quality to it, especially with the addition of spinach. A little pasta is tossed in this soup as well, which I think is a fun touch.
This recipe takes about 10 minutes of actual effort, and about 30-45 minutes to cook, so get this going first (but after the cocktail, of course) before moving on to the next two recipes.
Garlic herb butternut squash
I love this recipe by Healthy Seasonal Recipes because it involves steaming the squash instead of roasting it. Now don’t get me wrong – roasted squash is delicious with its carmelization – but cooking it on the stove saves time (am I the only one who always forgets to preheat the oven, which wrecks the timing of the meal?).
Start chopping this up as soon as the soup is simmering, and they should finish roughly around the same time. And check out the recipe!
Avocado and grapefruit kale salad
Next up is a quick salad by Girl Meets Earth – and every aspect of this salad is comfort food-y. Kale is one of the heartiest greens, avocados are rich and decadent, and grapefruit has that savory bittersweet quality that I can’t get enough of in wintertime.
Once the squash is cooking, you’ll have time to whip up this salad before everything finishes. Go check out the recipe!
Homemade Reese’s peanut butter cups
I love this recipe by Making Life Sweet because it’s simple (just needs time to set), it’s healthy (for a dessert), and doesn’t make a huge amount. And who doesn’t consider Reese’s peanut butter cups comfort food? Just swap out the honey for maple syrup for a completely vegan dessert.
For this menu, I would either make these in advance by at least a day (they can just hang out in the freezer). Then you can just pull them out after the meal, and voila, homemade dessert! Check out the recipe here.
I hope November has been treating you well so far, whether it be wintery or tropical (though if you’re living somewhere tropical, I’m envious).