Last week, we went to a potluck and movie showing with the Plant-Based Eating Group at FUS. We first found out about the group at a winter farmers’ market, and we’ve been to brunch (at the Green Owl) with the group before. The group has both vegens and vegetarians (and some allies); the potluck was vegan to ensure that everyone could eat everything.
Aaron and I aren’t vegan, but we cook a lot of vegan food. If you check out our Cookbooks page, you’ll see that several of our favorites (in particular, Veganomicon and Vegan with a Vengance) are vegan cookbooks. So, finding a vegan dish appropriate for a potluck was actually pretty easy; much easier, in fact, than finding a Kosher-for-Passover dish for the seders a few weeks ago.
Before I talk about the dish we actually brought, I want to take a brief moment to exclaim just how wonderful this potluck was. Not only was there a wide range of tasty, home-cooked food brought by a fun group of folks, but I was able to eat more than just the dish I brought. I’ve gotten so used to bringing my own food to large events, or filling up on appetizers (yay, cheese and crackers). And in general, that’s fine. My family (and Aaron’s family!) have been pretty accommodating. But, it was incredibly refreshing to be among others with similar food beliefs.
We went with the Camelized Onion-Butternut Roast with Chestnuts from Veganomicon. This dish is one of our favorites (though, if you ask Aaron, he doesn’t always like eating it for days on end, and it even a half recipe yields many meals). We even brought this to Thanksgiving a few years ago, though I think that many of my relatives were scared by the chestnuts.
Although the recipe comes from a vegan cookbook, it’s pretty easy to accidentally make this non-vegan. The topping is breadcrumbs, and most breadcrumbs (at least that we could find) contain dairy. We used gluten-free all-purpose rice crumbs to make this recipe truly vegan.
I should also note that it can sometimes be challenging to find chestnuts. Our beloved HyVee used to carry them consistently, but we’ve had trouble finding them recently. We used to get jarred chestnuts, but these apparently became a “seasonal” item. Then there were vacuum-packed chestnuts, which worked just as well. But those disappeared off the shelves, too. This time, we had to go to a second store–Metcalfe’s–to get chestnuts, and so we stocked up! If you ever go looking for chestnuts, be warned that you will get the asked if you’re planning on “roasting them over an open fire” at least once!
After dinner, we watched Vegucated. The documentary follows three New Yorkers on a six-week vegan experiment. If you want to learn more, there’s a ton of information on the website.