’Tis the season for so many tasty recipes, right? I know you are just as excited as I am to make all the delicious dishes! When I think of the holidays, my mind immediately goes to comfort foods like creamy mashed potatoes with giblet gravy, followed by a rich dessert or a cozy cup of hot cocoa. Although you can enjoy these things all year, they just hit you differently during the holidays. 

Let’s close out this year with a few recipes to liven up your holiday table, whether you’ve been nice or naughty. The good news is that they’re vegan-friendly and gluten-free. 

Jackfruit Gravy  

I know what you’re thinking: Why in the world would I want to
add jackfruit to gravy?
For starters, it’s a great meat substitute for
that “shredded” characteristic you might appreciate in turkey, chicken, or beef brisket. It also provides ample amounts of vitamins A and C and blood pressure-lowering potassium. Plus, it’s delicious! 

1 (20-ounce) can young jackfruit in brine, drained 
½ large or 1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped 
1 tablespoon olive oil 
2 tablespoons vegan butter 
2 to 3 tablespoons cornstarch (add 3 tablespoons water to make a slurry) 
2 cups vegetable stock 
1 teaspoon ground sage 
1 teaspoon celery salt 
Cracked pepper to taste

For the gravy, dry out the jackfruit once you have drained it from the can. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Using a cutting board and knife, slice core ends from jackfruit pieces and discard. Shred the softer part of the jackfruit with your fingers and then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in oven and roast for 20 minutes, or until jackfruit has dried out. Remove from oven and set aside. Once the jackfruit has dried, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about a week.  

Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and onions. Saute until onions are slightly translucent. Add butter and stir until melted. Slowly add cornstarch slurry to mixture and stir to combine. Once mixture is a soft paste, slowly add a bit of broth and stir to smooth out the onion and cornstarch mixture. Then add the rest of the broth, sage, celery salt and pepper. Stir gravy and reduce heat to a simmer until thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Once the gravy is the desired consistency, add jackfruit and stir. Keep gravy warm over low heat until ready to serve. 

Note: If your gravy is still too thin, make a bit more slurry and stir it into the saucepan with gravy. Simmer for a few more minutes, and the gravy will start to thicken. 

Parsnip Potato Mash With Jackfruit Gravy  

This recipe for a traditional mashed potato and gravy side dish is full of that “holiday flavor” we all crave come November. I eat this dish all year because mashed potatoes! 

6 parsnips, peeled and sliced 
3 large russet baking potatoes, peeled and sliced 
½ cup unsweetened almond milk 
1 to 2 tablespoons vegan butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Jackfruit gravy 
Fresh thyme for garnish 

In a large pot, add parsnips and potatoes. Add enough water to cover an inch above the vegetables. Place over medium-high heat and add a hefty pinch of sea salt to water. Boil for 20 to 30 minutes, or until parsnips are soft. They will cook more slowly than the potatoes, so if those can be easily poked with a knife when checking for doneness, then drain the liquid.

After draining, place pot back onto stovetop; reduce heat to low. Mash vegetables with a potato masher until smooth. Add almond milk, butter, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and adjust seasoning if needed. Put a lid on it and set aside until ready to serve. When serving, ladle jackfruit gravy over potatoes and sprinkle with fresh thyme. 

Makes 6 to 8 servings 

Krampus Cocoa 

I shared this recipe a while back on Instagram, and it’s good enough to share again. Yes, there are beets in this hot cocoa, which give it a beautiful, deep, chocolatey red hue and creamy consistency. Although the recipe reads “cocoa,” I like to use cacao powder, because it is the purest form of chocolate you can consume. It is raw and less processed than cocoa powder, not to mention an excellent source of nutrients like vitamins, minerals, natural carbs and protein. Vegan alert: If you want to use regular cocoa powder, look for plain or Dutch (dark) powder, as the mixes can contain more sugar and milk powder.

2 cups almond milk 
1 large beet, cooked, peeled and grated* 
3 tablespoons cacao powder 
1 tablespoon blue agave nectar
4 dates, pits removed 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
Dash of cinnamon 
Dash of cayenne pepper (if you desire a bit of ‘oh snap!’) 

Combine milk with grated beets, cacao, agave nectar, dates and vanilla in a high-speed blender; blend until smooth. Transfer cocoa to a medium saucepan and bring to a low simmer, occasionally stirring so it doesn’t stick to the pan. Once warm, pour into serving mugs and top with cinnamon and cayenne. 

*To cook beet, roast it whole wrapped in foil at 350 degrees. Once it has cooled, the skin will peel off easily. Then, you can grate or chop it into small pieces before blending. (You might wear food gloves so you don’t stain your hands.)

Makes 4 servings 


  • Ruthie Martinez

    Ruthie owns Black Fig Food catering and is proprietor of the online cooking platform Elevated Plant Plate. Learn more at blackfigfoodprograms.com and blackfigfood.com.

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