New Favorite Holiday Recipes

christmas cookies

Just in time for the holidays, New York’s famed Candle Cafe has released a vegan cookbook featuring recipes to help you celebrate every major holiday. Vegan Holiday Cooking from Candle Cafe is not only beautiful to look at on a coffee table, but the dishes are delicious! And for the omnivores out there, John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist, owners of Inn Serendipity in Wisconsin, published several of their guest favorite recipes in their 2011 cookbook, Farmstead Chef. Here’s just a sample of the delicious meals you can whip up with help from these two terrific green businesses. We’ve flagged ingredients that are commonly genetically modified (GM), so you can also make these sustainable recipes non-GM.

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Pomegranate Punch (VEGAN)

1 (750 ml) bottle of rum
12 oz. (1½ c.) triple sec
32 oz. (4 c.) pomegranate juice
12 oz. (1½ c.) spicy red wine, such as Malbec or Shiraz
1/2 c. hibiscus tea leaves
16 oz. (2 c.) hot water
16 cinnamon sticks
2 tsp. whole cloves
3 lemons, cut into wedges, to garnish

Combine the rum, triple sec, pomegranate juice, and wine in a punch bowl, and stir.
Steep the hibiscus leaves in the hot water for 5 minutes. Strain the tea into a bowl, pressing the leaves until dry. Pour it into the punch bowl and stir. Put 4 of the cinnamon sticks and ½ tsp. of the cloves in a piece of cheesecloth and tie tightly. Let it sit in the punch for an hour, then remove. Stud the lemon wedges with the remaining cloves. Pour the punch into cups or small glasses over ice. Garnish each serving with the remaining cinnamon sticks and the lemon wedges and serve.


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Peppermint Biscotti

¾ c. (1½ sticks) butter, softened*
¾ c. sugar*
3 eggs
2 tsp. peppermint extract
3¼ c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1½ c. crushed peppermint candy, divided
White chocolate bark, for frosting
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in extract. Separately, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in 1 c. peppermint candy. Gradually add flour/candy mixture to creamed mixture, beating until blended (dough will be stiff). Divide dough in half. On a baking sheet, roll each portion into a 12-inch by 2½-inch rectangle. Bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Carefully remove to wire rack. Cool 15 minutes. On cutting board, cut at an angle into 1/2-inch slices. Place cut side down on baking sheets. Bake 12 to 15 minutes until firm. For frosting, melt chocolate. Drizzle chocolate over cookie in a swirled design. Makes 3 dozen biscotti.
* Choose cane, organic, or Non-GMO Verified sugar and organic or Non-GMO Verified butter to avoid GMOs.

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Spritz Cookies (Vegan)

1 c. Earth Balance Buttery Spread*
¾ c. unrefined sugar*
2 Tbsp. Ener-G Egg Replacer*, beaten
with ¼ c. water
2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
Pinch sea salt
1 tsp. almond extract
Colored sugar, sprinkles, chips, or dried
cranberries for decoration

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Oil two baking sheets. With a mixer, cream the buttery spread in a large bowl and slowly add in the sugar. Stir in the egg replacer mixture.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt, and gradually beat into the butter mixture until well incorporated. Stir in the almond extract. Fit a cookie press with the desired disk, fill with dough, and press the cookies onto the prepared baking sheets, about 3 inches apart. Decorate with desired toppings. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes. Then remove and let cool on a plate or cooling rack completely before serving. Makes about 40 cookies.
* Earth Balance Buttery Spread is non-GMO. Ener-G Egg Replacer is verified non-GMO by the Non-GMO Project. Choose cane, organic, or Non-GMO Verified sugar to avoid GMOs.

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Cornucopia Beer and
Cheese Soup

Third-place winner at the Wisconsin State Fair for a recipe
made with Wisconsin ingredients

¾ c. Organic Valley butter (1 ½ sticks)*
1 c. onions, chopped (about 1 medium)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
1 c. carrots, finely chopped
2 c. flour
2 c. organic chicken stock
1 bottle (12 oz.) locally made beer
(dark or light work fine)
3 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
4 c. Organic Valley milk*
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 tsp. dry mustard
½ tsp. fennel seed
2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
4 chicken sausages, cooked cut into small pieces
5 c. cheddar cheese*, shredded

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and garlic. Sauté until onions are soft and translucent. Add broccoli and carrots. Cook about 5 minutes.
Stir in flour, making sure vegetables are coated. Stir in chicken stock. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir in beer, Worcestershire sauce and milk. Reduce heat to low, simmer 10 minutes and add maple syrup, mustard, fennel, salt, pepper and sausage.
Cook five minutes longer, then slowly add cheese by the handful, stirring constantly until cheese is melted and soup begins to bubble. If the soup seems too thick, add a bit more milk or water. Add salt to taste. Makes 12 servings.
* Look for non-GMO or organic milk, butter, and cheese, like those sold from Organic Valley, to ensure that they come from cows that weren’t fed GMO grain.

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Braised Cranberry-Orange Tofu (Vegan)

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 c. water
1 c. fresh or frozen cranberries
2 oranges, juiced
2 Tbsp. agave nectar, plus more if needed
1 c. white wine
1 tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp. arrowroot powder, dissolved in 2 Tbsp. water
Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
2 (14-oz.) blocks extra-firm tofu*
1 sprig fresh rosemary

Heat the oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer the shallots to a saucepan; add the water, cranberries, orange juice, agave, wine, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat, add the arrowroot, and simmer until the cranberries burst and the sauce has slightly thickened, about 7 minutes. If the sauce seems too tart, add a bit more agave. Remove from the heat, stir in the zest, and let cool. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Oil a large baking dish. Cut the tofu into ¾-inch thick slices and put them in the prepared baking dish. Pour the cranberry-orange mixture over the tofu. Turn to coat each side. Top with the rosemary and bake for about 25 minutes, until the sauce begins to caramelize. Serve immediately.
* Look for organic or Non-GMO Project Verified tofu to avoid GMOs.

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Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko are innkeepers and farmstead chefs at the award-winning Inn Serendipity, a bed and breakfast located in Monroe, WI. The inn is 100 percent powered by renewable energy and offers vegetarian breakfasts made with ingredients from its own organic gardens or from local producers.

Find more information about the book at and about the Inn at

Recipes from Farmstead Chef (New Society Publishers, 2011) reprinted with permission of the authors.

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Photo by Eric Marseglia


Left to right: Angel Ramos, Joy Pierson, and Jorge Pineda, co-authors of Vegan Holiday Cooking from Candle Cafe. Ramos is executive chef at Candle 79, Candle Cafe’s upscale sister restaurant. Pineda is pastry chef and kitchen manager at Candle 79. And Pierson is co-founder of and nutritionist for the Candle restaurants. Learn more about the Candle restaurants at and

Candle Cafe recipes reprinted with permission from Vegan Holiday Cooking from Candle Cafe by Joy Pierson, Angel Ramos, & Jorge Pineda (Ten Speed Press, © 2014).

From Green American Magazine Issue