Vegan & Vegetarian Holiday RecipesNov 25, 2022
However you choose to celebrate the holidays, food is one thing that can always bring a group of people together. One of my absolute favorite parts of the holiday season is cooking and spending time in the kitchen. The kitchen has always been the meeting place for my family and that’s where most of our memories are made.
As I continue to work on integrating sustainability into all areas of my life, the kitchen is one area I can definitely improve on. In the U.S., we have a broken agricultural system that has historically incentivized conventional farming over organic and regenerative farming, so I’ve often wondered what I can do to support a more sustainable system.
One of the best and easiest ways to start is incorporating more vegan and vegetarian options into your menu. Today, we’re going to look at some delicious recipes that everyone at your table is sure to love - all while keeping the planet and animals in mind.
On a cold winter morning, sometimes the best way to start the day is with a cup of coffee and a filling breakfast (unless you’re like Derek and start with a cold shower, black coffee, and no food until 12 :). For the rest of us, however, some of us are all about savory breakfasts, but there are also those who love sweet breakfasts. My family is split right down the middle - my siblings and I love eggs, veggies, and some sort of bread while the kids (and my dad!) love sweets. Cinnamon rolls, pancakes, french toast - the more sugar the better.
For those of you who love a savory breakfast, try making a quiche this holiday. This recipe includes bacon, but my favorite substitutes are spinach and feta, soy chorizo and peppers, and all veggie. The great thing about a quiche (or mini quiche if you want to make multiple flavors) is that it will last in the refrigerator for a few days or you can store it in the freezer to make it last even longer.
If sweet treats are more your deal, try these vegan pancakes with vegan pumpkin butter. You can add mix-ins to your batter as well like vegan chocolate chips, dates, or ginger. However, if you prefer to have your pancakes plain, this recipe is still packed with plenty of flavor.
After you’ve had your amazing breakfast, you may be inspired to take a hike, go for a surf, or go on a run through your neighborhood. By the time you get back home, it’s time for lunch! You could go for a classic grilled cheese or maybe even a simple salad, but why not shake things up?
One of my favorite lunches when I was in high school was a veggie sandwich from our local bagel shop. A spinach parmesan bagel with veggie cream cheese and lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber, and avocado. Since I’ve moved away and can’t run down the street to get the perfect sandwich, I’ve resorted to making my version of that classic.
For vegans out there, I substituted the spinach parmesan bagel for an everything bagel with hummus instead of cream cheese. The veggies have pretty much stayed the same, but with the addition of bean sprouts for an extra bit of crunch.
If you’re trying to avoid bread, try this sweet potato soup. This is another vegan-friendly soup that’s perfect for a cozy afternoon indoors. With carrots, garlic, onion, and flavorful spices, this soup checks all the boxes. Plus, it’s great for kids who may be picky eaters. While it’s great on its own, you can also use this as a side at your next holiday potluck.
Maybe you prefer to snack over eating a full meal - we’ve got you covered. The classic holiday snacks are seasoned nuts or pumpkin seeds, which are great if you’re on the go, cheese boards, and a new favorite among the foodie community - butter boards.
These are all pretty simple to make and you can tailor them to whatever flavors you and your family like, but again, I think we can kick the snack game up a notch.
Hummus and flatbread are great treats to prepare for guests. One way to amplify this is to make it crostini-style. Cut your flatbread or pita into bite-size pieces and spread on a layer of hummus (Trader Joe’s has a great selection of flavors). Then, top off with roasted veggies of your choice. This snack is light and flavorful - something all of your guests will appreciate.
If you want to be a little more decadent, try making cranberry brie bites. These finger foods are rich and flavorful, but the best part is you can customize them to your liking. If you’re not a fan of cranberry, swap it out for apricot, raspberry, or honey. A new discovery I’m loving is cranberry-jalapeño brie bites. It’s fresh, sweet, spicy, and all-around delicious.
The great thing about these snacks is that they can also be used as sides during the main course. Speaking of dinner…
As one of my favorite veggies, cauliflower is always at my table during the holidays. This year, why not make cauliflower the main event?
This romesco roasted whole cauliflower is absolutely stunning. The beautiful bright red color, the fresh tahini cream, it’s a wonderful centerpiece on any table. Vegan-friendly and full of flavor, this is a great dish for pretty much everyone at your table. The one downside is that this recipe doesn’t serve that many people, so depending on how many people will be at your celebration, you may need to double up.
To complement the main dish, brussels sprouts are a great addition. I’m a fan of coating them in olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic then air frying at 380 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes. My sister’s favorite side is balsamic glazed carrots, but really any glaze would pair nicely. Of course, you could also do the classic sides like mashed potatoes or stuffing, which is what makes this dish so fitting on anyone’s table.
You did it! You made it through the chaos of prepping all that food and pulling it all together. Time to wind down with a sweet treat.
There are two new recipes I’m excited to try and I’m hoping they excite you too. If your diet allows you to eat dairy, try this take on a pumpkin cheesecake from NY Times cooking. What makes this cheesecake unique is that it has ginger and turmeric in it. These flavors add warmth and extra spice to this classic treat and the turmeric topping gives the cheesecake a beautiful golden color. It’s sure to impress everyone at the party.
If you want to have a vegan option at your holiday party, try this gingerbread cake with chai buttercream. This is another spicy, but sweet treat that takes a holiday classic and flips it on its head. One of the best things about baking a cake is that you can decorate it however you like - sprinkles, decorative frosting, cookie crumbs, the list goes on.
No matter how you slice it (yes, pun intended!), your friends and family will appreciate all the hard work you put into your holiday feast. Nothing brings people together like a good meal and you’ve got the stuff to pull it off, so have fun and go make some memories!
Thanks for joining me. If you need me, I’ll be in the kitchen :)
#keeplearning #holidays #recipes #vegan #vegetarian #sustainability #lifestyletips
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