Sarma Melngailis Raw Holiday Meal

Holiday Dinner: Marinated Mushrooms, Mashed Root Vegetables, Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce and Brussels Sprouts

By Sarma Melngailis

Yield: 10-12 servings

Marinated Mushrooms:

  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons minced sage
  • 3 tablespoons minced thyme
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 to 12 large portobello mushroom caps, cleaned and sliced thick on the diagonal
  • 4 to 5 large king oyster mushroom stems, sliced thick on the diagonal (If you can’t find king oyster mushrooms, just increase the quantity of portobellos to 18 to 20.)

1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the mushrooms and whisk until well mixed.

2. Add the mushroom caps to the marinade and coat well. Set aside to marinate for 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Place the mushrooms on a Teflex-lined sheet in the dehydrator and allow to dehydrate until the mushrooms become tender and look roasted, 1 to 2 hours.

Mashed Root Vegetables:

  • 4 cups pine nuts, soaked 1 hour or more
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 4 cups peeled and chopped celeriac
  • 5 cups peeled and chopped jicama
  • 1 ½ cups peeled and chopped parsnips
  • 2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons white or black truffle oil
  • 1 cup chopped scallions, white and pale green parts only
  • 20 turns freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt

1. In a high-speed blender, puree the pine nuts and water until very smooth and creamy.

2. Place the puree in a large bowl, add all the remaining ingredients and mix well.

3. Pour 1 cup pine nut cream and 3 to 4 cups of the vegetable mixture into a food processor and process until smooth. Set aside in a large bowl and continue with the remaining pine nut cream and vegetable mixture.

4. Stir the mixture well and let sit for at least 2 hours to allow any liquid that forms to pool on top.

5. Pour off the liquid. If it’s still a bit runny, place the mixture on a clean kitchen towel and gently squeeze out any excess liquid. Transfer to a bowl and season with additional sea salt, to taste.

Brussels Sprouts:

  • ¼ cup pistachio oil
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pink pepper
  • 5 cups Brussels sprouts

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the oils, maple syrup, salt and pepper.

2. Remove any discolored outer leaves from a Brussels sprout and cut off the hard stem. Some leaves will separate from the core. Continue cutting away the hard interior until the sprout is entirely separated into individual leaves, placing the leaves into the oil mixture as you separate them. Repeat with the remaining Brussels sprouts.

3. Toss the Brussels sprouts mixture and marinate for at least 30 minutes. Alternatively, for more tender Brussels sprouts, place them on a Teflex-lined tray in the dehydrator for up to 45 minutes. You can also do this just before serving so that they will be warm.


  • 4 cups chopped cauliflower florets
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • 8 cups ground pecans, ground to a crumbly texture in a food processor
  • 2 cups carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 2 cups celery, diced small
  • 1 cup onion, peeled and diced small
  • 1 teaspoon truffle oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons minced thyme
  • freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the cauliflower in a food processor and process until it has a texture similar to sesame seeds, with no large pieces.

2. Add the olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and process just until mixed.

3. Spread the mixture on a Teflex sheet and dehydrate for 1 hour.

4. Meanwhile, mix the other ingredients well in a large bowl.

5. Remove the cauliflower from the dehydrator, mix with the remaining ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cranberry Sauce:

  • 8 ounces fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup filtered water
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • 2 strips orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • a bit over ½ ounce (about 2 cups) Irish moss, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes or more, drained

1. In a high speed blender, puree all the ingredients except the Irish moss until very smooth.

2. Add the Irish moss to the blender and mix at high speed until the mixture heats up to about 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Pour the mixture into a bowl or shallow pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

To serve: Load up your plate in traditional Thanksgiving style.

Print Recipe