The rules to family reunions are really very simple: One, be camera ready at all times, and two, always bring your appetite! My extended family is so large and so spread out over the country that when we get together, it’s like an unofficial holiday—one where I get to spend quality time with the ones I love and try to coax Great-Aunt Marjorie to give up her famous sweet potato pie recipe. (Marjorie remains mum, but we’ve got an equally delicious version you may want to keep under wraps yourself.) If your family hasn’t quite adapted to the veg lifestyle, these recipes can show them that comfort food doesn’t have to include meat or be a calorie-laden blowout; we have lightened-up versions of “fried” okra and cornbread that will satisfy any set of taste buds. And really, will they care that the “pork” in the BBQ sandwiches is actually shredded seitan once they taste the sop-it-up-from-the-plate-it’s-so-good sauce?
CRISPY OVEN-FRIED OKRA
“Frying” okra in the oven not only keeps fat calories in check, it involves less work (no oil or fryers needed)—and you can make one big batch all at once. But most importantly, it tastes just as great as traditional fried okra.
2 cups cornmeal
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 large egg
1 lb. fresh okra or 1 16-oz. pkg.frozen okra, thawed
Preheat oven to 400F. Coat baking pan with cooking spray.
Combine cornmeal, salt, pepper and paprika in bowl.
Whisk egg in separate bowl. Dip okra in egg, then in cornmeal mixture. Work in batches to prevent clumping.
Spread okra on prepared pan. Roast 30 to 35 minutes, or until crisp and lightly browned, shaking pan occasionally. Remove from pan with slotted spoon, and serve hot.
Makes 12 squares
Fresh corn kernels in the batter win this bread rave reviews (and keep it moist). Add chives and freshly ground pepper, if desired, to give it an extra kick.
1 1/4 cups cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 cup low-fat milk
1 large egg
3 Tbs. melted unsalted butter
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
TPreheat oven to 350F. Coat 9x9-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in medium bowl. Whisk together milk, egg and butter in separate bowl. Stir milk mixture into cornmeal mixture, then fold in corn.
Spread in prepared pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until sides begin to brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on rack before slicing and serving.
Serves 6 | Vegan
The sauce in these sandwiches may taste like an old family recipe that has been simmered for days, but the simple ingredients and short cooking time make it easy to whip up whenever you have a craving for barbecue.
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
12 cloves garlic, minced (about 1/4 cup)
1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
1 Tbs. horseradish
2 tsp. molasses
2 tsp. cider vinegar
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 8-oz. pkgs. seitan, shredded
6 sandwich rolls
coleslaw for garnish, if desired
hot sauce, to taste
Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 7 minutes, or until soft. Add garlic, and cook 1 minute more.
Stir in tomato sauce, and cook 3 minutes. Add horseradish, molasses, vinegar, lemon zest and 1/2 cup water, and simmer over low heat 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Fold in seitan.
Fill rolls with with barbecue mixture, and top with coleslaw, if desired. Serve with hot sauce.