We are one day away from the best ever holiday–Thanksgiving! And can I tell you something really exciting? We’ll be having TURKEY! If that doesn’t surprise you, then you probably haven’t been following along on my (mostly) plant based journey the past six weeks. And yes, plant based is code for vegan.
It was hard. Not only because I couldn’t eat my favorite foods (eggs and butter anyone?), but because I found myself having a serious identity crisis. If I’m not making pie crust with butter then who the hell am I? Well I found out there’s a lot more to me than heavy cream and egg yolks.
Most eye opening of all was how much I learned. By the fourth week of experimenting in the kitchen I learned to make a kick-ass “buttercream” frosting out of cashews, the best white bean and kale soup, and I even learned how to order a vegan burrito at Chipotle (the guac was still extra). But most of all, I realized not everything needs sour cream and cheese to be delicious. I feel like my tastebuds got a serious re-training and I’m craving vegetables now more than ever.
And if you want to know why I decided to do this experiment in the first place, it’s because I watched a documentary, Cowspiracy, that broke down the environmental effects that raising livestock has on our planet. I had no idea that “livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions,” according to Worldwatch. And so I said to Colin, in a fit of rage and frustration after the movie ended, “I’m going vegan starting tomorrow.” He scoffed, but I did it.
After four weeks I broke down and had some Korean bbq while on a trip to Los Angeles. After that, I got back on the wagon for another 10 days, until my friend brought over baked brie. Then it was really over.
And although I didn’t conduct the experiment perfectly I learned that eating meat (and dairy) a lot less is possible and not all that hard. And that it’s also possible to make awesome pie–yes, really delicious pie–without butter.
Which segues beautifully into this vegan pumpkin pie that you can make for your random cousin or Thanksgiving guest that happens to be vegan. I promise, no one will know it doesn’t include loads of heavy cream and eggs. So don’t walk, run to the store and pray they still have canned pumpkin.
Let’s have our pie and eat it too! Happy Thanksgiving.
Vegan Pumpkin Pie
For the Crust (adapted from King Arthur Flour recipe)
2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
7 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup cold water
Preheat oven to 375.
Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. Combine water and olive oil in a glass measuring cup and whisk until emulsified. Pour wet into dry ingredients and mix with a fork until there is no dry flour remaining.
Pour the crumbly dough into a pie plate. Press the dough into the bottom of the plate from the middle outward (it’s ok if some of the crust pushes over the sides and onto the bench). With a fork, press the edges onto the side of the pie plate. Set aside.
For the filling
1 15oz can of pumpkin
1 cup full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup of packed light brown sugar
1 tbsp of pumpkin spice mix (I make my mixture with a combo of ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove)
1 tsp of vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tbsp corn starch
In the same large bowl, combine pumpkin, brown sugar and coconut milk. Add vanilla, salt, pumpkin spice and corn starch. Whisk well. Pour into pie shell and bake for 50-55 minutes, until pie is almost all the way set (it’s ok if it’s a little bit jiggly in the very middle).
Cool in the refrigerator at least 3 hours or overnight. Slice and serve with whipped cream if you aren’t vegan 😉