Plant-Based Holiday Recipes courtesy of Chef Matthew Kenney

By Dilip Barot|November 23, 2020|

The holiday season can be notoriously challenging for those of us looking to eat healthier, but it doesn’t need to be. Create new traditions by swapping out those infamously fattening classics for re-imagined, health conscious alternatives that are sure to steal the show.

Check out these three festive plant-based dishes from Chef Matthew Kenney of Amrit’s “Ayre”, coming Spring 2021

BUTTERNUT SQUASH CARPACCIO.

Quince Puree. Pickled Mustard Seeds. Candied Pepitas. Apple.

SERVES 8

INGREDIENTS:

BUTTERNUT CARPACCIO:

  • 1 pound butternut squash
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 sprigs lemon thyme
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt

QUINCE PURÉE

  • 1 cup quince, peeled and chopped
  • 2 slices/shaves of lemon peel
  • 1 vanilla pod, split 12 sprigs of lemon thyme, wrapped and tied in cheesecloth
  • 1 cup cane sugar

PICKLED MUSTARD SEEDS

  • 1⁄2 cup brown mustard seeds, whole
  • 1⁄2 cup yellow mustard seeds, whole
  • 1⁄2 cup apple cider vinegar 1⁄2 cup agave
  • 1⁄2 cup water, filtered
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt

CANDIED PEPITAS

  • 1 1⁄4 cups pumpkin seeds
  • 1⁄2 cup filtered water
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup maple syrup
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper

APPLE

  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, small dice
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 pinch sea salt

KUMQUAT

  • 2–3 kumquats, seeded and sliced
  • 1 small Chioggia beet, thinly sliced on a mandoline

DEHYDRATED OLIVES

  • 1⁄4 cup black cured olives
  • Herbs (chervil and mint recommended)
  • Oxalis
  • Coriander flowers
  • Flake salt

DIRECTIONS

BUTTERNUT CARPACCIO

Cut the squash right above the bulb where the seeds are stored and reserve the round bottom for another use (not used in this recipe). Peel the squash with a peeler and slice into rounds, using a very sharp mandoline slicer. Toss the squash with olive oil, thyme, and sea salt. Arrange squash rounds into round flower shapes and place them in between parchment paper. Store them on a flat sheet pan in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

QUINCE PURÉE

Place quince and the remaining ingredients, except the cane sugar, in a saucepan and fill with water, just enough to cover the ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer for 25 minutes. Re- move from heat and strain. Discard all ingredients except the quince and lemon peel. In a high-speed blender, purée the quince and lemon. Place the cane sugar and quince purée in a saucepan and cook on low for 1 hour.

PICKLED MUSTARD SEEDS

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Let sit for about an hour to allow the mustard seeds to bloom. Remove half the mixture, blend in a high-speed blender, then pour the blended mixture back into the remaining mixture. Stir. Let the mixture sit out at room temperature 1–2 days.

CANDIED PEPITAS

Toast the pumpkin seeds over medium heat in a pan, constantly moving the seeds around the pan so they do not burn. Remove from the heat as soon as they begin to brown around the edges.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of a medium saucepan. To en- sure an accurate temperature reading, make sure the candy thermometer does not touch the bottom of the pan. Heat the water, cane sugar, and maple syrup over medium high heat. Remember to stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the liquid starts to boil. Stop stirring, increase the heat slightly, and allow the mixture to boil until it reaches 285°F.

At this point, add the pumpkin seeds to the saucepan and stir continuously, making sure the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pan, until the temperature reaches 300°F. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. The baking soda will cause the mixture to bubble slightly. This is expected.

Working quickly before the liquid begins to harden, pour the mixture onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Use the back of a wooden spoon to spread the batter evenly across the sheet. Allow the brittle to completely harden at room temperature, about 2 hours. Break the cooled candied pepitas into shards and store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

APPLE

Combine the apple with the lemon juice and salt. Set aside.

DEHYDRATED OLIVES

Dehydrate at 155°F in a dehydrator or an oven for 12 hours, or until completely dry. Transfer the dehydrated olives to a food processor and pulse a few times until they are roughly chopped.

ASSEMBLY

Remove squash rounds from parchment paper and place on a large round plate. Spoon 51⁄4 teaspoons of quince purée on top of the carpaccio, followed by 51⁄4 teaspoons of pickled mustard seeds. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon candied pepitas, 1 tablespoon of diced apples, and 1⁄2 tablespoon dehydrated olives on top. Place thinly sliced kumquats and beets on top. Garnish with chervil, mint, oxalis, coriander flowers, and flake salt.

KALE POLENTA.

Almond Ricotta. Roasted Fennel. Creamy Polenta. Kale Pesto. Spigarello. Cherry Tomatoes.

SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS:

ALMOND RICOTTA

  • 2 cups almonds, soaked
  • 1 quart water
  • 1⁄2 tablespoon citric acid
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt

ROASTED FENNEL

  • 1 bulb fennel, core removed, halved, then quartered
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sprigs thyme

CREAMY POLENTA

  • 1 cup polenta
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1⁄2 cup olive oil

KALE PESTO

  • Kosher salt, for blanching
  • 1 bunch kale, de-stemmed
  • 3 cloves garlic, roasted
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1⁄4 cup olive oil

SPIGARELLO

  • 1 bunch spigarello
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

TOMATOES

  • 1⁄2 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon sugar

ASSEMBLY

  • 1⁄4 cup spicy greens (preferably mustard greens)
  • Edible flowers (garnish)

DIRECTIONS:

ALMOND RICOTTA

Blend the almonds and water in a high-speed blender until smooth. Strain the mixture to separate the almond milk from the pulp. Discard the pulp.

Pour the almond milk into a large pot and bring up to 194°F. Whisk in the citric acid, lemon zest, and salt. Remove from heat and let stand for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour into a strainer lined with cheesecloth, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate, allowing the ricotta to drain for a few hours before transferring to a sealed container. Discard the liquid.

ROASTED FENNEL

Preheat the oven to 350°F°F. Toss fennel with oil, salt, and thyme. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast for 20–30 minutes, flipping halfway through, after the first side is caramelized.

CREAMY POLENTA

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the polenta on a baking sheet and toast in oven for 5 minutes, or until fragrant. Bring the water, salt, and nutritional yeast to a boil, and stream in toasted polenta, whisking vigorously to avoid clumping. Re- duce heat to low and simmer until polenta is soft and creamy, about 45 minutes. Stir frequently and add additional boiling water if polenta gets too thick. Stir in the olive oil at the end.

KALE PESTO

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add enough ko- sher salt so the water tastes salty, like the ocean. Blanch de- stemmed kale for about 3 minutes, or until kale is tender and tears easily. Shock blanched kale in ice water and squeeze out any remaining water. Roughly chop. Reserve blanching water for blanching the spigarello.

Place kale, garlic, and sea salt in a blender and purée un- til smooth, stirring occasionally. A few tablespoons of water may be needed to loosen the mixture. Slowly drizzle in olive oil to finish.

SPIGARELLO

Cut thick bottoms off the spigarello. Blanch in the same water you used for the kale for 1–2 minutes, or until stems are soft. Shock in ice water and drain. When ready to serve, heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat and cook the spigarello until heated all the way through.

TOMATOES

Heat a sauté pan over high heat. Toss tomatoes in olive oil, salt, and sugar. Add tomatoes to hot pan and stir frequently until the tomato skins begin to blister.

ASSEMBLY

Mix 1⁄2 cup of creamy polenta with 2 tablespoons of kale pesto. Place on the bottom, right half of a bowl and, using the back of a spoon, swirl the polenta into a “vortex.” Place the tomatoes, spigarello, and fennel at the bottom of the bowl with dollops of almond ricotta and spicy greens, preferably mustard greens. Garnish with flowers.

PUMPKINS ROASTED IN ALMOND OIL AND MAKRUT LIME LEAF.

Squash. Roasted Grapes. Pepitas.

SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS:

SQUASH

  • 1 large kabocha squash
  • 1 small cheese pumpkin
  • 12 makrut lime leaves
  • 24 sprigs lemon thyme
  • 2 cups cold-pressed almond oil
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt

ROASTED GRAPES

  • 2 cups red grapes
  • 2 tablespoons cold-pressed almond oil
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 12 sprigs lemon thyme

PEPITAS

  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds, roasted
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin seed oil
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt

ASSEMBLY

  • 1⁄2 cup raw almond

DIRECTIONS:

SQUASH

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Cut squash and pumpkin in half and remove the seeds. In a large Dutch oven, place half the lime leaves and half the thyme on the bottom, then place squash and pumpkin, cut-side up, and top with almond oil. Sprinkle with salt and top with the rest of the lime leaves and thyme. Cover and roast for 35 minutes. Remove lid and let roast for 10 more minutes.

ROASTED GRAPES

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Toss grapes in almond oil and sprinkle with salt. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and top with thyme. Roast for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

PEPITAS

Toss all ingredients and set aside.

ASSEMBLY

Remove squash and pumpkin from oil and place on paper towels to absorb excess oil. Break into irregular-shaped pieces and scatter on a large round plate. Place roasted grapes around pieces of squash and pumpkin and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. Using a microplane, shave almonds over the whole plate.