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Going Vegan for the Holidays

As the Community Manager at uConnect, I think I speak for everyone when I say, Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays. It is, at least, my favorite, and I hope my co-workers can agree. If not, we’ll have to seriously rethink our priorities as a company.

On the last Thursday of every November, I usually make the trek home to Indianola, IA. If you haven’t heard of it, don’t feel bad. No one has. Even though it is home to a national treasure: the one and only National Balloon Museum. But, this year, in a change of tradition, I will be accompanying my girlfriend, Izzy, to Larchmont, NY.

With a new place, comes a new tradition. My girlfriend happens to be vegan, and this Thanksgiving she has been tasked with supplying all attending herbivores with some tasty treats. Living with Izzy the majority of my meals are vegan, but I must admit I’m looking forward to some turkey. By some, I mean lots. Given Thanksgiving is a time for relaxation, family, and, above all, FOOD, I thought I’d share her recipes with you.

Here is what we, by that I mean mostly Izzy, although I do make a good assistant in the kitchen, have decided to make for Thanksgiving. Bring these to your family gathering and you will impress everyone! All recipes are taken from her blog, Veganizzm.

And, don’t forget to share these with your students. Next time they come by the office for a resume, they’ll want your latest recipe as well.

I. Butternut Celeriac & Rosemary Soup

Veganizzm #2.jpgPhoto credit: Izzy Darby,


Adapted from The Boston Globe

  • 2 Tablespoons olive or coconut oil

  • 1 onion, sliced

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled & cubed

  • 1 small celery root, peeled & cubed

  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary, chopped

  • 4 cups vegetable stock

  • 1-2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

  • ¼ cup full fat coconut milk (optional)


  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat and pour in olive/coconut oil. Add the onion, salt & pepper, and cook for 8-10 minutes (or until soft), stirring constantly. Add the squash, celery root, and chopped rosemary. Cook for 10-12 minutes.

  1. Add the vegetable stock and bay leaf and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes, or until all the veggies are tender.

  1. In a blender or with an immersion blender, puree the soup until completely smooth (you may need to do it in batches). Pour the pureed soup back into the large pot and add additional salt or pepper as needed. Pour in the coconut milk if using and stir to incorporate

II. Herbed Cranberry-Squash Vegan Stuffing


Photo credit: Izzy Darby,


  • 1 loaf crusty sourdough bread (or your favorite), torn into pieces

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 1 small carrot, chopped finely

  • 1 acorn squash, halved and seeds removed

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • ⅓ cup fresh cranberries

  • 2 cups white mushrooms, cleaned and chopped

  • 4 + ¼ cups vegetable broth

  • 2-3 fresh sprigs of rosemary (go for the fresh! It’s so worth it)

  • 2-3 fresh sprigs thyme, leaves removed (discard stems)

  • 4-5 fresh sage leaves

  • Salt & pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 400*


  1. Rub the flesh of the acorn squash with olive oil and salt. Place face up on a lined cookie sheet and roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the orange flesh is very tender. Let cool. Once cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh of one half of the squash into a bowl. Set aside.

  1. Spread the torn bread on a cookie sheet and place in the oven at 400*. Bake for 10 minutes or until the bread is golden and crisp. Pour into a large, shallow casserole pan. Set aside.

  1. While the bread/squash are in the oven, heat a large pan with 3 teaspoons of olive oil. Add the onion and cook until they start to brown, about 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic, carrots, and mushrooms. Cook another 7-8 minutes, stirring frequently. If necessary, add another ½ or 1 teaspoon of olive oil.

  1. Add the cranberries and half the fresh herbs and cook for another 3-4 minutes. When the cranberries start to split, add the scoops of squash and ¼ cup vegetable broth. Cook the whole mixture another few minutes and season with salt and pepper.

  1. Reduce the oven temp to 350*

  1. Grab the crusty bread-filled casserole dish and pour the cran-mushroom-squash mixture in. Add the remaining fresh herbs. Pour the vegetable stock over one cup at a time until the mixture seems moist, but not swimming in liquid. Mix well. In necessary, add another ¼ or ½ cup vegetable broth or water. Pat the whole thing down in the dish and place in the oven. Cook at 350* for 20-25 minutes or until the top is nice and crusty. Serve warm!

III. Pear Tart To Win Their Heart:

Veganizzm #3.jpg

Photo credit: Izzy Darby,

  • 1 ¼ cup of All Purpose Flour

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 1 ¼ teaspoon sugar

  • ¼ cup non-hydrated vegetable shortening

  • ¼ cup Earth Balance margarine

  • 2-4 Tablespoons ice water

  • 3-4 ripe pears

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon honey or agave, or maple syrup (optional)

  • 2 teaspoons orange marmalade


  1. Add the flour, salt, sugar, shortening, and margarine to a food processor.

  1. Pulse until the mixture looks like wet sand and has small, pea-sized clumps. Slowly drizzle ice water in and blend until the dough forms a cohesive (but not sticky) ball. Smush the dough into a patty-like disk and cover in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or a few hours until you’re ready to bake.

  1. Preheat oven to 400º. Peel and slice the pears into thin pieces, removing seeds. Brush lightly with lemon juice.

  1. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out on a sheet of parchment or wax paper. Insert the dough over a tart pan and shove the edges down a bit to fit the pan. Layer the pear slices as shown (feel free to make it perdy or just smoosh ‘em in), then sprinkle generously with brown sugar. Pop that sucker in the oven for 15 minutes then reduce the temp to 350º for the next 40 minutes, or until the pears are tender and the crust is golden.

  1. Combine 1 teaspoon liquid sweetener + 2 teaspoons orange marmalade + 1/2 teaspoon boiling water in a small bowl to make a glaze. Brush over the fruit and crust and allow to cool slightly before devouring. ENJOY.

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About Author

Ben Pauley
Ben Pauley

Community Manager interested in career services and higher education. Loyal University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate. Go Badgers!