Friendsgiving Sliders

This is my second Thanksgiving with you guys on this blog, which is so crazy and exciting.  Last year I showed you guys how to make a proper Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings (and you can check that out here if you’d like), but this year I wanted to switch it up and do something a little more original.  I was thinking about a lot of recipe possibilities, but ended up sticking with this one because it can be very versatile, which is always nice around the holiday’s.  So within this slider, you have a lot of traditional Thanksgiving items such as; mashed chive potatoes & mushroom gravy, tempeh ‘turkey’ cutlet, sriracha cranberry sauce, and shaved maple brussels sprouts, all on in between a sourdough dinner roll, with sage aioli.  But the coolest part about this recipe, is you don’t have to eat it as a slider!  You can easily eat it on a plate just as a pretty proper Thanksgiving dinner, which is nice because you could have this just as normal dinner the day of, and then make these sliders the next day with your leftovers.  This post may seem overwhelming, but it’s all really simple steps, and is pretty easy to follow! You can also plan this out and do things like making your mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce the day before, as well as marinating your tempeh.

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Let’s start out with the tempeh.  Usually turkey is the star of Thanksgiving dinner, but since we do things cruelty free, we’re going to swap out tempeh!  I’ve cooked with tempeh a whole lot on this site, mainly because I really love the taste, and also it is super versatile.  I know some of you aren’t too keen on tempeh though, so if you’re not a fan, you could sub out cauliflower, tofu, or even some mock chik’un pieces… the opportunities are endless!

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Per usual, let’s start out with braising our tempeh.  We’re essentially making a ‘chicken’ stock to braise our tempeh in, so that it infuses with those poultry associated flavors.  Roughly chop your carrot, onion, celery, and garlic & throw into a pot with water.  Turn on the heat to high, and then add in your vegan chicken bouillon (found at most grocery stores in the spice section), poultry seasoning, celery salt, pepper, and lemon zest.  Stir to combine.  Once your mixture is boiling, reduce heat to medium, and add in your herb bundle.  To make this, tie up some fresh rosemary, sage, thyme, bay leaf, and parsley in twine, & then drop that into the stock.  Allow this to simmer for 10-15 minutes to let the flavors infuse more before adding your tempeh.  Cut your tempeh into thin small rectangles or circles (whatever shape you’d like to do is fine, just make sure its an appropriate size for whatever bun you’re using), and when your stock is ready, add in your tempeh.  Cover with a lid and allow to braise over low heat for about 30 minutes, until tender and infused with flavor.

Transfer this to an air tight container, and include enough stock to just cover the tempeh, and keep in the fridge (ideally overnight) for at least two hours.  Remove the herb bundle, carrots, celery, onion, and garlic from the remaining stock & discard.  You now have multiple options for what you can do with this stock.  You can use it to make your gravy (instead of using vegetable stock) , you can freeze it for future use, you can use it to make a stuffing if you’d like (or really any other dish that requires a stock), or you can can it and save in the pantry.  We’re going to be using it in our gravy just so we don’t waste it, but really, you do you!

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Once your tempeh has marinated, remove it from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature.  This will insure that it gets properly heated through while cooking, and doesn’t brown too quickly without the center heating up.  Heat up some coconut oil in a pan, preferably cast iron, over medium heat and add your tempeh cutlets.  Cook on each side for about 2-3 minutes, or until your desired color.  While they’re cooking, baste them with some of the stock every thirty seconds or so, so that they stay moist and retain even more flavor.

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Next, let’s talk mashed potatoes.  This is another one that can be done in advanced if you want to save some time the day of.  Again, I’ve made plenty of mashed potatoes on this site, but today were switching them up & am making chive cream cheese mashed potatoes.  I know, how good do those sound?  The hardest part of making these potatoes is honestly trying not to eat the whole pot before dinner.

Start out by cubing and boiling your potatoes.  Today I used russet potatoes because it’s what I had on hand, but you can use really any type of potato you’d like.  I’m also going to be using a potato ricer for these, so I didn’t peal them ahead of time, because the ricer will do that for me- but if you don’t have a ricer, make sure to peel these before boiling!  While your potatoes are boiling, melt your vegan butter over low heat, and then add your almond milk, until warm.  You want to make sure to do this over low heat (and not in a microwave) because these burn quickly and when they’re burnt they become extremely bitter.  Once your potatoes are done cooking, strain them, push them through your potato ricer (or at this point you would mash by hand), and add them back to the pot.  Then add your warm milk & butter, your chive cream cheese (we used kite hill), fresh chives, salt, and pepper & mix away!  You want these to be as smooth as possible for this recipe, so really mash them well! Cover these with foil and set aside until you’re ready to build your sliders.

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No Thanksgiving is complete without gravy, especially if your also having mashed potatoes.  This gravy is really simple, and I’ve already posted a recipe to it in our previous thanksgiving dinner post- which you can click here to find!  The only adjustments we made were that this time we used crimini mushrooms finely diced instead of maitake, and also used regular thyme instead of lemon thyme.  I also left out the coconut cream, because I wanted a more brothy gravy.  This gravy also freezes well too so you can freeze the extra and save for future uses!

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When I was thinking of elements to incorporate into this slider, cranberry sauce was definitely something I wanted to do, & I experimented with a few different recipes of it but really nothing beat the one I made last year.  Sriracha cranberry jelly is just so delicious and sweet and tangy with a slight kick and I think it pairs really well with this slider, just lifting the whole dish.  Same as the gravy, you can find the original sriracha cranberry jelly recipe here& this is another one I recommend making in bulk because you’ll want it on everything.  Although, the one I made for this slider is a little different.  I wanted it to be a sauce more than a jelly, so I used just whole cranberries, water, sriracha, and amber coconut nectar to create this.  It’s so similar to the one I made last year, just without the pectin.  Simply add all of the ingredients to a pot, and cook down until you can mash the berries into a sauce!  Super simple and so delicious.

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I wanted to add a green / crunchy element to these sliders, but didn’t want to just throw some arugula or something on there plain.  I always loved having brussels sprouts with Thanksgiving dinner, so I decided to incorporate those instead!  They’re surprisingly simple, so let me teach you how to make them!  All I did was pan roast them in a light maple vinaigrette.  I chose to shave my sprouts so that they fit easier on the sandwich, but if you want to leave them whole, by all means go for it.  For the vinaigrette, in a small bowl whisk together your olive oil, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, minced garlic, minced shallot, and lemon juice / zest.  Toss in with your shaved sprouts, and add into a skillet over medium heat.  You want to cook these for just a few minutes (maybe 3-4 minutes total) until they get a slight color, but still have some crunch to them.  Set aside until you’re ready to assemble your sliders- but don’t cover them because they’ll get soggy.

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To pull this sandwich together I decided to make a sage aioli, just to add a little more sauce & also some more of that fall flavor. This is really simple to make, simply mix your vegan mayonnaise (we used just mayo by hampton creek), lemon juice, salt, white pepper, ground sage, ground nutmeg, garlic granules, and finely chopped fresh sage together.  Keep in the fridge until you’re ready to use!  I also decided to assemble this sandwich on a sourdough dinner roll, because those are something you’d typically find at a Thanksgiving dinner, and they seem to make it more “holiday-esque” than just normal bread or buns would.

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To assemble these, you’ll want to do a specific order so that they don’t really slip around on you too much.   First off, start by popping all of your buns (sliced in half) under the broiler until they’re slightly toasted.  Then layer a small amount of mashed potatoes, with a little gravy on top, next add your tempeh ‘turkey’ cutlet, then your sriracha cranberry jelly, followed by your maple brussels sprouts & finally your sage aioli on the top half of your bun.  Put the top bun on, spear a whole cranberry through a sandwich pick, and then stab that right through the center of the slider to hold it together.  The cranberry you can totally avoid on top as a garnish, but I think it just makes everything look more festive.

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I like these because you can easily make a lot for a “friends-giving” or party, or you can just use your leftovers to create them the next day.  I really hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, & that you take the time to appreciate your loved ones an extra amount today.  Thank you for viewing this recipe, and as always #organicapothecary on social media with your photos so we can see them!

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TEMPEH ‘TURKEY’ CUTLET

  • 6 cups water
  • 3 vegan chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1/2 a yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 1/2 tbs poultry seasoning
  • 1 tbs celery salt
  • 2 tbs black pepper
  • 2 stalks fresh rosemary
  • 5 stalks fresh thyme
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 5 fresh sage leaves
  • small handful flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tbs lemon zest
  • 2 blocks tempeh (we used flax seed tempeh)
  1. Add your water, carrot, celery, onion, and garlic to a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Mix in your poultry seasoning, vegan chicken bouillon, celery salt, black pepper, and lemon zest.  Stir to combine.
  3. Tie up your rosemary, thyme, bay, sage, and parsley in some twine, and add to the stock.  Cover and cook over medium-low heat for roughly 15 minutes to infuse the flavors.
  4. Slice your tempeh into thin rectangles or circles, and add to the stock over low heat.  Cover and braise over low heat for about 30 minutes, until the tempeh is tender.  Transfer to an air tight container, and cover slightly with stock, then refrigerate for at least two hours (best if you let it sit overnight).  *Save the extra stock in the pot for gravy*
  5. Heat up some coconut oil in a pan over medium heat, and add your tempeh (without the marinade).  Cook for 2-3 minutes or until slightly browned on both sides.  Baste the tempeh with the marinade every 30 seconds or so with a pastry brush to keep the tempeh from drying out.

CHIVE CREAM CHEESE MASHED POTATOES

  • 6 russet potatoes, peeled
  • 3/4 c – 1 1/4 c regular unsweetened almond milk (depending how thick / thin you want them)
  • 3 tbs vegan butter
  • 1 tub kite hill chive cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh chives
  • 2 1/2 tbs salt
  • 2 1/2 tbs black pepper
  • 1 tbs garlic granules
  1. Peel and boil your potatoes until fork tender.  Pass them through a potato ricer, or mash by hand until completely smooth, then transfer back into the pot.
  2. Heat up your almond milk & butter over low heat until the butter is melted and the milk is warm.  Add to the mashed potatoes with your cream cheese, chopped chives, salt, black pepper, and garlic granules.
  3. Mash and combine until completely smooth. Cover with foil and set aside.

CRIMINI MUSHROOM GRAVY

  • 1 lb crimini mushrooms
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 tbs gluten free flour
  • 3 tbs vegan butter
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (*we used the leftover ‘chicken’ stock from the tempeh*)
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream
  • 1 cube vegan beef bouillon
  • 1 tbs vegan worcestershire
  • 1 1/2 tbs tamari
  • 1/2 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbs pink himalayan salt
  • 1 tbs black pepper
  • 1 tbs dijon mustard
  • 1 bay leaf
  1. Slice your mushrooms to your size preference, and also finely dice the onion & garlic.  Place mushrooms, onions, and garlic in a deep pan with vegan butter & thyme bundle.  Allow to cook down until soft, then add in your flour and stir to combine. 
  2. Add your vegetable broth, coconut cream, beef bouillon, worcestershire, tamari, balsamic, dijon mustard, salt, bay leaf, and pepper.  Stir to combine.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and allow to cook until thickened.  If you need the gravy to thicken more,  whisk about 1 tbs flour with 1-2 tbs vegetable broth until incorporated and pour into the gravy, stir, and allow to thicken more.  remove the thyme bundle & bay leaf before serving.

SRIRACHA CRANBERRY SAUCE

  • 12 oz whole cranberries
  • 1/4 c water
  • 6 tbs sriracha *more or less depending on preference
  • 4 tbs amber coconut nectar
  • 4 tbs organic cane sugar
  1. Add the whole cranberries & water to a pot over medium heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, just until the berries have popped and begun to soften (about 5 minutes).
  2. Add your sriracha, and coconut nectar, and sugar to the pot and mash the berries until you have a sauce.  Allow to cook over medium heat for another 4-5 minutes until thickened.  Transfer to a mason jar and set aside.

MAPLE BRUSSELS SPROUTS

  • 1 lb shaved brussels sprouts
  • 2 1/2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs maple syrup
  • 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbs minced garlic
  • 1 tbs minced shallot
  • 1/2 tbs salt
  • 1/2 tbs black pepper
  • 1/2 tbs lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbs lemon zest
  1. Shave your brussels sprouts and add to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Mix all of your other ingredients together until incorporated.
  3. Pour over the sprouts, and toss until combined.  Transfer to a skillet over medium heat and cook for 3-4 minutes until slightly golden but still a tad crunchy.
  4. Remove from heat and set aside.

SAGE AIOLI

  • 1/2 c vegan mayonnaise (we used ‘just mayo’ by hampton creek)
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground sage
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp fresh sage, minced
  • 1/2 tsp garlic granules
  1. Combine all of your ingredients together in a small mason jar.

ASSEMBLY

  1. Toast your dinner rolls slightly under the broiler.
  2. Layer a small amount of mashed potatoes and gravy onto the bottom bun.
  3. Top with a tempeh cutlet, then a small amount of cranberry sauce.
  4. Top with shaved brussels sprouts, add your aioli to the top bun, and top your sandwich.
  5. Add a whole cranberry to a toothpick and spear through the center of the sandwich.

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