Lol, where to begin? I had been researching vegan Thanksgiving mains for a few weeks looking for the perfect dish. My goal was to find something that would have a similar taste to turkey or would at least work well in its place. Every recipe I found looked ridiculously complicated, but when I saw this one, I thought I could make it work. (I don’t know why.) To be honest, I was once again swayed by how beautiful it looks in the picture. It’s the equivalent of a man posting a picture with his dog on Tinder; I chose to judge based on the outside and not what lurked within. What fooled me with this recipe was its ingredients; nothing unpronounceable and very little food prep. My mother, thankfully, had both a spring-form pan and a mandolin and graciously let me use them. I was legitimately terrified of using the mandolin, especially when I was home alone (I’m incredibly accident prone). I didn’t even get a chance to sever any fingers because I had no idea how the thing worked. I ended up getting so frustrated that my sweet potatoes kept breaking that I just ended up slicing them with a knife. I think because of that, my sweet potatoes might have been too thick, but honestly that was the least of my problems.
Assembling the torte was pretty easy; it was removing it from the pan that proved to be the hardest part, and I’m not sure why I didn’t see that coming. As soon as I flipped it, lentils started falling out EVERYWHERE. Seriously, I was swimming in a pool of lentils all over my floor and counter. I reassembled it as best I could, but the damage was done.
As for the taste? It wasn’t the best. Granted, that could have completely been my fault. I’m thinking this recipe might be better for someone more experienced in the kitchen; at least that’s what I’m going to tell myself. Also, thank you to my family for eating it with a smile on their faces—you guys are the best.
Festive Thanksgiving Torte
From The New York Times
- 3 large sweet potatoes
- 2 cups cooked green lentils
- 1 cup oats
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas
- 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon peanut or almond butter (I used peanut butter)
- 16-ounce can tomato paste
- ⅓ cup vegetable broth (or water)
- Salt and pepper (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 10-inch springform pan and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper, and then lightly grease the parchment. Peel the sweet potatoes and slice lengthwise on a Japanese mandoline into ¼-inch slices. Arrange the sweet potato slices in the pan, fanning from the center and overlapping the pieces. Spread the lentils into an even layer over the sweet potatoes and gently press to pack.
- In a food processor, pulse the oats and walnuts until a coarse meal is formed. Pour into a large bowl and set aside. Combine the cooked brown rice, chickpeas, poultry seasoning, garlic powder, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, nut butter and tomato paste in the food processor and purée into a smooth mixture. Add to the large bowl with the oat and walnut meal, and fold together until completely incorporated. Add the vegetable broth or water gradually, and stir. Add just enough to create a spreadable consistency.
- Gently drop dollops of the mixture over the lentils, and spread into an even layer. Cover the springform pan with foil and bake for 40 minutes, until the edges appear cooked and slightly dry. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes, until the top is dry to the touch. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. When the springform pan is cool enough to handle, flip the torte out onto an ovenproof serving dish.
- Broil the torte until the sweet potatoes begin to caramelize. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving. Can be served warm or at room temperature, garnished with fresh herbs.
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