The Vegan Weekend – Part II, Brunch

Easter Pie ready for the oven

I enjoy entertaining for brunch on the weekends.  I think it’s a great time to visit, without worrying about getting the kids to bed on time, like hosting a dinner party.  We’ve been hosting lots of brunches lately with other families.  It’s a chance for the kids to play as well as have some adult leisure time.  Brunch is more casual.  No need to dress up or even bring a bottle of wine (although I never turn away some sparkling wine and orange juice for mimosas).  

Brunch is also great for menu planning.  There are many dishes that can be made ahead so you can enjoy your company.  There’s also a wide variety of foods, looking at both breakfast and lunch options, that appeal to all ages.  When having kids at brunch (or really any meal) I like to have something they can put together themselves.  Whether it’s spreading bagels with cream cheese, making a yogurt parfait, or decorating fruit faces on pancakes, kids like to be creative and involved.  And if the kids are not already familiar with everyone at the table, it’s a fun ice breaker to get to know and laugh with each other.

We’ve been fine tuning the brunch menu, and here;s kind of our set menu (with first time guests) and our favorites right now.  As you’ll notice these are all great menu items for any time of day.  And most of these ingredients are pantry and refrigerator staples (eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, bagels) to prepare quickly and easily:

  • · Savory Bread Pudding if making ahead, or a simple egg and vegetable scramble made just before eating.
  • · Platter of smoked salmon, cream cheese, and capers, with a basket of mini bagels and English muffins.
  • · Arugula salad with avocado and toasted almonds with balsamic vinaigrette.
  • · Maple yogurt over mixed seasonal fruit, and topped with granola or Energy Bark (recipe follows).
  • · Juice sparklers (bubble water with a splash of juice) for kids, and mimosas for adults.

However I was hosting brunch with family for 14, while my sister was in town.  Remember she’s vegan and I can’t just make my usual brunch and hand her a plate of raw veggies.  Plus she wanted to help and we were hoping to discover some new tasty vegan brunch options together.  I printed off quite a few recipes from poppy seed muffins to  eggless scrambles.  However I was intriqued by an Easter Pie recipe.  My sister wasn’t too sure, and really didn’t want to be responsible for “ruining my brunch”.  

It’s so funny how people think all will be lost if the meal doesn’t succeed.  I’m cooking for family, not for paying customers.  If it doesn’t come out well, can’t we just all laugh over a bowl of granola?  Or just order something at a deli and visit in the park?  No one wants good food more than I do, especially when hosting, but let’s be kinder to each other and give our hosting families a break.   

Anyways the Easter Pie was great and I will make it again, for vegans and omnivores.  There’s lots of ways you could change it as well – adding roasted veggies, changing spices, etc.  There were plenty of other things to eat at the table, including food brought by other guests, but the pie was gone.  And nope my sister didn’t eat it all.

Here’s the recipe….You may even want to make it for Easter.

Easter Pie

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup vegan “butter” sticks 
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 lb. vegetarian sausage, crumbled
  • 1 lb. organic firm tofu, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup soy Parmesan cheese (I used daiya brand) 
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. ground fennel seeds 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a food processor, combine the flour, margarine, sugar, and 1/4 tsp. of salt. With the machine still running, add the water to form a dough ball. Divide the dough into two balls and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the vegetarian sausage, tofu, soy Parmesan, parsley, remaining salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, and fennel seeds.

Roll out the dough into two 11-inch circles. Place one circle in a 10-inch pie plate and spread the filling mixture over it. Cover with the other dough, pinch the edges, and prick the center with a fork.

Bake for 1 hour, or until golden brown and cooked in the center.

Easter Pie, going fast