Food is paramount for the holidays. Some may argue that homemade dishes make the holidays! But for vegans, and even aspiring vegans, eating during the holidays can feel like a trap. With all the meats, cheese, and other non-vegan foods that make up holiday food, it’s hard to remain faithful to a vegan diet—and some of us may even cave with a small slice of turkey! The heavy indulgence in delicious holiday meals may also come with a lot of guilt because of the consumption of salts, sugars, and fats included in the most popular dishes. So, whether you’re a vegan trying to keep it consistent during the holidays or just someone who wants to enjoy the holiday feasts with a little less guilt, here are some vegan holiday goods that are just as tasty as the traditional dishes!
VEGAN CHRISTMAS TREE PLATTER
Who wouldn’t love a fruit and vegetable tray plattered in the shape of a Christmas tree? This crudité-inspired dish can be made with anything from oranges and blueberries, to broccoli and almonds. This type of dish is mainly used as an appetizer and is enjoyable for all ages to create and eat. You can be creative in various ways with the platter by using green fruits, vegetables, or a green peeling for the greenery of the tree; grape tomatoes or raspberries for the ornaments; pineapple bits for the lights and stars, just as some examples.
Some folks are unfamiliar with lentils, so here’s a brief introduction! Lentils are small legumes—similar to peas—that are loaded with fiber, protein, and minerals such as zinc, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. With lentils being a very popular food in the vegan diet, lentil loaf is a perfect addition for the vegan holiday feast. Think of meatless meatloaf. Crazy, right? But lentil loaf is a great vegan dish to parallel the beloved meatloaf. All you have to do is boil a cup of raw lentils for 40 minutes, mash them up afterward, combine with flaxseed meal and bake on 350 until ready. You can have fun with this by adding vegetables to the mix (peas, onions, diced carrots, and peppers).
VIRGIN CHOCOLATE EGGNOG MARTINI
Seriously, what is a holiday season without eggnog? Good beverages always bring life into the holidays, especially the ones that everyone can enjoy. The term “virgin” implies no alcohol, so even if you’re underage, you can still be treated. To create this new classic beverage, you need the basics: vegan eggnog, cacao powder, and a nice peppermint candy cane. Blend the eggnog and cacao powder until frothy, pour into your favorite glass or mug, and stir with a candy cane to add some peppermint flavor!
So classic and common, yes, good ol’ gingerbread! Though intensely popularized since its dawning, many overlook the fact that gingerbread is vegan. Gluten-free gingerbread, gingerbread cakes, and cookies are all must-haves for a vegan dessert. There are many recipes for gingerbread treats that don’t include eggs or milk.
STUFFED PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS
Portobello mushrooms are a staple in the vegan world. They are large brown mushrooms packed with protein, which many vegans use as a main dish in place of meat. Some may even use it as a “meat patty” for a Portobello mushroom sandwich or burger. So for stuffed Portobello mushrooms, you can add all of your favorite vegetables and choose a vegan grain—such as rice, lentils, and quinoa. Prepare the vegetables and your cooked grain of choice and put them inside the Portobello mushroom cap. Bake until you’re ready to enjoy!
A successful holiday feast practically requires stuffing! So for vegans, there is a way to make vegan stuffing just as good as the original. The ingredients are simple: cubed bread, vegetable stock, onions, garlic cloves, celery, vegan butter, and some herbal seasonings such as thyme, sage, and pepper.
It is possible to fully enjoy a holiday feast as a vegan! As you see, there are several ways to take a traditional holiday dish and vegan-ize it! So, you don’t have to worry about the extra calories or the temptation to fall into non-vegan eating. Explore more vegan holiday dishes and have fun with your creations!