Nov. 1 is World Vegan Day. It also kicks off World Vegan Month, which came to fruition in 1994 thanks to the efforts of Louise Wallace, then-president of The Vegan Society. The initial movement took root in 1944, when the Vegan Society was formed as an offshoot of The Vegetarian Society to highlight the differences between the two. Vegetarians don’t eat meat, while vegans take it a step further and do not consume — or often use or wear — food and products derived from animal products, such as milk, eggs and leather. Thanks to a rise in “ethical veganism,” it is no longer unusual to see vegan dishes offered on most restaurant menus or vegan products stocked on grocery store shelves.

Thinking of exploring a vegan lifestyle? There are many top-notch vegan cookbooks available to help welcome newcomers to the world of tofu, non-dairy cheese and soy crumbles. Start with the original: the “Moosewood Cookbook: by Mollie Katzen, published in 1977, which I own and cook from frequently. The New York Times best-seller “Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook” also offers more than 300 vegan recipes for plant-based eating for all seasons. When going vegan, the world is your oyster mushroom.



Makes: 4 servings as a main dish, 8 servings as a side dish

  • 2 acorn squash, sliced in half horizontally and seeds and stringy fibers removed
  • 1 large red onion, diced into ½-inch cubes
  • 8 carrots, sliced into quarters length wise and then diced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried herbs of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons basil-infused olive oil
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto
  • Toasted pine nuts to garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large shallow baking dish, arrange acorn squash cut side down and pile the chopped carrots, chopped onions and garlic side by side — don’t spread them out in a single layer or they’ll burn. Drizzle the carrots, onion and garlic with olive oil and sprinkle with dried herbs and salt and pepper. Roast, stirring the vegetables once, for 45 to 55 minutes or until the acorn squash is cooked through.

To assemble the bowls, place acorn squash halves cut side up in a serving bowl and then lightly drizzle with basil-infused olive oil. Fill the cavities with the chopped vegetables and drizzle lightly with more basil-infused olive oil. Top with basil pesto and serve.

If serving as a side dish, each person gets a quarter of an acorn squash. Cut the squash halves with a sharp knife once assembled and server.