Homemade vegan ham, just in time for the holidays

A little more than a year ago my husband and I ventured into the world of making our own seitan. We weren’t sure if it was hard or not, but we tried a few different methods and found (you guessed it) the crock pot to turn out the absolute best results. I use a 7 or 7 quart crock pot to make both of these roasts, so if you’re working with some smaller space I’d halve the recipe. I haven’t tested cooking times on just one roast yet, so stay-tuned.

After spending several holidays trying out different versions of premade «roasts,» we decided last year to try our own hand at making vegan ham. And sure enough, after a few trials and tribulations, we found the best method and flavor profile to remind you of the brown-sugar and pineapple-crusted ham of your childhood. (Minus the atrocious cruelty and all that).

The majority of this roast will be cooked in your crock pot, however it will spend a little quality time in the oven to allow that sweet glaze the opportunity to create a candied rind.

Candied Vegan Ham
(serves 8-10)
Ingredients: 
3 cups vital wheat gluten
1 cup water
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup pineapple juice
2 TB soy sauce
2 TB liquid smoke
2 TB pure maple syrup (don’t skimp here, get the good stuff)
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cloves
1 can veggie broth

For the glaze:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/2 stick vegan  butter
2 TBS Dijon-style mustard
1 TBS molasses

Directions:
Spray/grease your crock pot and turn it on low. In a bowl, mix together wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, black pepper, onion powder, paprika and cloves. Add pineapple juice, soy sauce, liquid smoke, maple syrup and water. Mix and knead for 2 minutes. The mixture should be slightly damp and sticky. Form two round loaves and place in crock pot (if you try just one big ole’ roast it probably won’t set right). Pour vegetable stock over and cook it on low for two hours and then cook it on high for three hours. User Manuals.

Once your «ham» has cooked, place the loaves in a greased casserole dish. «Score» the ham (just make not-to-deep slices into the roast) and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, mustard, pineapple juice, melted vegan butter and molasses. Pour this glaze over your roasts and stick in the oven for an additional 15-20 minutes.

Let it sit for 15 minutes and then enjoy the heck out of it, hot or cold!

Pumpkin isn’t just for sweets, it’s for mac and cheese!

I absolutely adore pumpkin anything.

For the most part, however, my pumpkin admiration was mainly dedicated to sweets. I had never really tried any sort of savory dish with pumpkin, unless you count roasting the seeds and throwing some cajun or garlic spice on them.

So after drooling over recipe after recipe on Pinterest, I finally decided the first savory pumpkin dish I should try would most definitely be a macaroni and cheese bake. Seriously, it’s macaroni and cheese, how can it ever go wrong?

Turns out, it doesn’t, even when you do it in the crock pot and forego the whole following a recipe thing (I wasn’t uber impressed by most of the ones I saw when thinking about translating them into veganism).

And besides, it’s October, it’s a little early for pumpkin pie, but I bet you’ve got a few cans of the pureed stuff laying around anyway.

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese
(serves 8-10)
Ingredients:
1 16 oz box of your favorite pasta (I went with whole wheat wheels, man, because they’re cool)
1 medium sweet onion
1 can pureed pumpkin
1 stick vegan butter
1 container vegan cream cheese (I opted for Trader Joes brand, but you’re more than welcome to make your own!)
1 wedge of Daiya cheddar cheese
1 cup Daiya cheddar cheese shreds
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
Salt or pepper to taste

Directions:
Cook your pasta according to the box. Turn your crock pot on high, dice up your onion and add it and the pasta to the crock pot. Stir in pureed pumpkin, cream cheese (softened) and butter (softened).

 Chop up your wedge of Daiya cheddar (I wouldn’t recommend trying to use a grater, it’s much too soft for this. Just cut it up as tiny as you can without wasting a ton of time. You WANT to use the wedge for this recipe because it’s super creamy and adds the perfect texture.

 Stir all of this together and add a dash of salt and pepper.

Allow this to cook on high for an hour and a half, stirring occasionally, then stir in the panko breadcrumbs (if you just put them on top they won’t really cook much). Sprinkle the one cup of cheddar shreds on top and cook on low for another hour.

Serve with some sort of green vegetable, because this mac and cheese is SO rich you’re going to want something healthy to go along with it!