Thug Kitchen shares 4 tips for navigating the holidays as a vegan
‘Tis the season for holiday dinners. Soon you’ll be face down in your second plate, the top layer of gravy giving way to herb-infused rib roast and garlic mashed potatoes, while on the side there’ll be the cheesiest of gratins and mega-buttery greens.
Unless, of course, you’re a vegan. Then, those holiday meals with the fam are probably less bon appétit and more bonne chance at finding anything on the table that you can eat. But they don’t have to be, said Michelle Davis and Matt Holloway, creators of vegan-cooking empire Thug Kitchen.
When it comes to being the only vegan at a holiday gathering, shrug if off and “just get over that shit,” said the LA-based food bloggers-turned cookbook authors. Their uncensored, no-BS, and vegetable-loving narrative has been the root of their success, calling out to those of us who want to eat healthier without a fuss.
So, if you’re all about that plant-based diet and you’ve RSVP’d for a NSFV (not safe for vegans) soirée, Michelle and Matt have some advice for you. Plus, in the spirit of giving, here’s a look at the Mac and Cheese recipe from their latest and “most user-friendly” cookbook, Thug Kitchen: Fast as F*ck. Whip it up when that holiday party calls because “you gotta aim for comfort food.”
Don’t bring imitation meat to the party.
“For an entrée, save yourself the embarrassment and don’t bring any kind of fake-meat nonsense. We recognize that fake meats and cheeses just aren’t on par with the real thing. Instead, bring something that goes with the meal, like individual potpies or handpies stuffed with roasted veggies that guests can slather in gravy.”
Help yourself. Volunteer to bring food.
“It’s rude as hell to assume that a host should cater to your specific diet. When you RSVP, make sure to ask what’s on the menu and to volunteer to bring side dishes that can easily be made vegan. Mashed potatoes and stuffing are great because nobody will notice if you change them up.”
Since you’re very likely to be the only vegan at the table, speak up when you’re not sure about what’s in front of you. “You don’t want to be grubbing on something you don’t want to be.”
Never show up empty-handed.
“At our house, if you don’t bring anything to eat or drink, then you’re cleaning the fucking kitchen.”
CREAMY SQUASH MAC AND CHEESE WITH HOT SAUCE BREAD CRUMBS
You’re goddamn right we made Mac and Cheese without cheese. Shut the fuck up – you haven’t even tried it yet. Whip up a batch of this classic comfort food and you won’t ever mess with the blue and yellow boxed bullshit ever again.
Image by: Thug Kitchen
1. First let’s make the bread crumbs: Grab a large skillet with a lid (you’ll see why in a bit) and warm up the oil over medium heat. Toss in the bread crumbs, stir until everything has some oil on it, and keep stirring around every few seconds until all that starts to look a little toasty, 2 to 3 minutes. In a small glass, mix together the hot sauce and milk, then pour it all over the bread crumbs, making sure everything gets coated. Remove from the heat and scrape them onto a plate. Wipe that skillet down right quick cause we’re using that shit again.
2. Make the cheesy sauce: In that kinda clean skillet, warm up 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and sauté until it looks kinda golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the potatoes, carrots, and 1 cup of the broth. Cover and let that shit braise until the potatoes and carrots are soft, about 15 minutes. When the veggies are soft, remove from the heat and let that cool for a sec.
3. Toss the milk, nooch, lemon juice, Bragg’s, salt, and remaining 1⁄4 cup oil and 1 cup veggie broth into a blender. Add the softened veggies and all the liquids in the pan to the blender and run that shit until the sauce is all creamy, about 30 seconds.
4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Right before the pasta is done cooking, throw in the frozen peas. Drain the whole pot, then throw it all back into the pot and fold the squash into the pasta.
5. Pour over the warm cheesy sauce and serve right away topped with hot sauce bread crumbs.
Tip: Got some extra time? Crank up your oven to 425°F and bake that motherfucker, bread crumbs and all, in a large baking dish until the sides start looking crispy, about 20 minutes. Totally worth the wait.
Recipe from: Thug Kitchen 101 © 2016 by Thug Kitchen LLC. Photographs by Thug Kitchen. Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.