Because Vegan food can have some White Trash Class

Monday 15 October 2012

Vegan Chopped 2012

Have you ever seen the show Chopped on the Food Network where they have chefs battle each other and they have to use four random ingredients? Even though they use some naaasty meat products, I still love it. I love it so much that sometimes I go to my pantry and grab four random ingredients and pretend that I'm on the show. So, I was BEYOND excited when I stumbled across the Vegan Chopped Challenge, part of VeganMofo!  The meal for this challenge was BRUNCH. Wow. I never eat brunch, I usually eat breakfast or lunch but never brunch. I always wanted to, I always thought it would be cool to call up some galpals and say, "Hey girl, want to meet at (wherever they have vegan food) for brunchers? Mimosas and gossip?" But I don't have a life like that, at least not yet. And I'm almost thirty.

So, they ingredients were: Butternut Squash, Rosemary, Apricot Jam, and POPCORN!
Disco Vodka was not an ingredient, but I felt like I needed some to come up with my meal.
So, first thing first. I figured I should pop the popcorn because kernels wouldn't be very good in a meal. Unless you're like a bird or something but I highly doubt that. So, I popped the popcorn on the stove in coconut oil with cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. That popcorn smelled like a pumpkin pie. Yummers. Then, I put it in my Magic Bullet with some pecans and crushed it all up. It seemed like a good idea because they're always doing that on the television show and I figured it'd be easier to work with ground up popcorn rather than big chunks, right?

So, the popcorn served as a crust for my first dish - Oatmeal Pie. I mixed the crushed popcorn/pecans with vegan Becel (it's a Canadian margarine, I don't think it's available in the USA) and pressed it in my prettiest pie dish. Actually, it's the only pie dish I own. I got it from my wedding and my ex had no desire to keep any kitchen stuff when we divorced, so bonus! While I was crusting it up, I had chopped sweet potatoes and butternut squash boiling on the stove top for like 5-10 minutes until it was a little mushy with a fork. I drained it and set aside. Then I took some steel oats, almond milk, and some pumpkin protein and started making oatmeal on the stove top. When the oatmeal was fluffy, I added a banana and the squash and sweet potatoes and mashed it all up with cinnamon, maple syrup, apricot jam, and vanilla. Then I put that in the pretty pie dish over the crust. That should be good enough, right? NOPE! Then I created a crumbly topping of MORE crushed pecans, brown sugar, flour, and vegan margarine. You do this by like mushing it with a fork until it's crumbly like pebbles. After that's ready, I sprinkled it on the oatmeal pie and put it in the oven. If I had added rosemary to the dish, this would have fit all the requirements but I that's not good enough for me.  You put it in the oven for about 25 minutes and then the last few minutes on broil to get the top all toasty.

So, previously I had roasted butternut squash and sweet potatoes in the oven on broil. I figured this would make a really great savoury hash. Hash is great because you can add it to a breakfast burrito or put it on toast with some gravy over it and it's like a vegan Shit on a Shingle. But to preserve the flavors, I figured I'd just do a basic hash. They always say stuff like that on the TV show. So I took the broiled squash and sweet potatoes and put it in a hot skillet that had more vegan margarine in it. You could also use coconut oil or whatever kind of oil you prefer. Then I added MORE crushed pecans. I guess I had a lot of pecans in my pantry and I also felt like it would be suitable for a yummy vegan brunch. I put the butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and rosemary with a few teaspoons of apricot jam and fried it all up together. It smelled, like super good.

So, that's it! Feel free to serve with a vegan Bloody Mary or Cesar, or a steaming cup of organic free-trade coffee if you're fancy, huh? Or, in my case, it it over the sink with a vodka and diet coke while your dogs look on disapprovingly. But take a pretty picture first!

Here are the recipes:

Sweet Potato Butternut Squash Oatmeal Pie
Printable Recipe

Makes 4-5 servings

Crust Ingredients:

  • Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 cup Popcorn kernels
  • Dash of cinnamon and nutmeg
  • Allspice
  • Handful of pecans

Oatmeal Pie Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup steel oats (or whatever kind you like)
  • 2 cups almond milk (or VEGAN milk of choice)
  • 1 small sweet potato chopped up
  • 1 cup raw chopped butternut squash
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin protein powder (not necessary but you could also add flax or chia or something)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Dashes of cinnamon, nutmeg, celtic sea salt
  • 1 tbs apricot jam
  • A few glugs of maple syrup (like 2 tbs)
Toasty Pecan Topping:

  • handful chopped pecans
  • 2 tbsp of vegan butter
  • 2 tbsp flour (any kind - spelt, wheat, white, almond - doesn't matter)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Boil a few cups of water in a medium sized pot. Add in the peeled (if you prefer but it doesn't have to be, or you can take the skin off after boiling) sweet potatoes and butternut squash. Cook over medium heat until you can mush it with a fork. Drain and set aside.

2. Put a few teaspoons of coconut oil in medium pot on high and add cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Add three little kernels. These are your test kernels - when they pop, add 1/4 cup popcorn kernels and cover, shaking frequently. When the popcorn is popped, blend with a handful of pecans until like a fine powder. Mix this powder with 2 tbs vegan margarine and press into pie dish.

3. Rinse out the pot and then add in the milk, bringing to a boil. Add the oats and pumpkin protein. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover, making sure to stir frequently until it's fluffy.

3. Throw in the bananas, sweet potato and butternut squash and mash it all up. Stir in the cinnamon, maple syrup, nutmeg, vanilla, salt, and apricot jam. Cook on low for a bit. Then pour over the popcorn crust evenly.

4. Make the toasty pecan topping by mixing together the pecans, flour, vegan butter, and brown sugar with a fork until like clumpy little pebbles.  Sprinkle over the oatmeal.

5. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes at 350F. After 20 minutes, set oven to BROIL on low for a few minutes making sure to watch closely so you it doesn't burn.

Rosemary Apricot Butternut Squash Hash
Printable Recipe

Makes 3-4 servings


  • 1.5 cups butternut squash, chopped
  • 1 cup sweet potato, chopped (and peeled if you prefer)
  • 2 tbs vegan margarine or coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • sprig rosemary
  • 2 tbs apricot jam

1. Preheat oven to broil (LOW).

2. Spread diced butternut squash and sweet potato evenly on cookie sheet. Place under the broiler and check regularly until it starts browning. Make sure it doesn't burn! Remove from oven.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add oil or margarine. Once hot, add pecans and toast with apricot jam.

4. Add rosemary along with the squash and sweet potato and continue to stir and flip around. Constant stirring and flipping will result in a brown hash, rather than a soggy hash. And who likes soggy hash?

This vegan brunch is pug approved!