top of page

Ask the Chef: Plant Forward Holiday Swap Out Ideas

This time of the year I get lots of questions from my students in my classes about cooking plant based options for the holidays. There are more family members and friends that are eating plant based these days which can be daunting for even the most experienced cook. Here are some ideas that can mix up the menu and please the plant based eaters in your life.

Holiday eating can be a mine field of unhealthful options for plant based eaters.

Vegetables are often uninteresting, hid in appetizers or bathed in sauce on the holiday table.

What I have learned about my journey in the plant based eating world is that you have to constantly think what ingredients can I use to swap in this dish?

Beans, Greens, mushrooms, seeds, onions and berries are my go to ingredients. Known as Gbombs in the plant eating world, they are super foods that will always provide flavor and nourishment to any meal.

I like to make almost all of these items in a soup, while using the seeds and berries for breakfast.

Swap outs are the best way to maneuver through the holidays. Going to a pot luck? Bring a dish along that you can eat and share it with the group. They will be amazed that plant based dishes could be that good and you might get to take some home with you to eat if there are leftovers. If you are making a traditional meal, don't substitute Aunt Mary's famous green bean casserole, there is a simple solution - add a vegan swap out. You don't want to have a mutiny on your hands because you changed an ingredient or flavor when the dish hits the table. Better yet, add something new and different to introduce new flavors to the crowd. Lots of vegetable dishes and salads satisfy most plant based eaters.

Here are some of the most common swaps for traditional holiday dishes- All of these can easily be found on the internet- simply put the word "vegan" or "plant based" in front of the search word you wish to find. When you don't eat meat, you don't miss it.I love eating a big plate of vegetables and foregoing meat if I have a big variety to choose from.

Appetizers- All of these can be done ahead

Middle Eastern Mezze Platter- Roasted Olives with Lemon Hummus, Eggplant Relish and Baba Ganoush served with Pita or French bread that is dairy free. This makes a amazing platter visually and is delicious too!

Roasted Vegetable Platter Think Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, beets and other sturdy Winter vegetables. Garnish with Baked Kale Chips. Drizzle with olive oil and squeeze lemon juice on top before serving, serve with a Vegan spinach dip

Vegetable Spring Rolls- The fresh rice paper kind filled with fresh shredded carrots, lettuce, cucumber, avocado and cilantro. Serve with Sweet Chili Sauce on the side. These are light and tasty too.

Trio of Dips and Chips- Guacamole, Vegan Creamy Garlic Onion and Vegan Ranch Dip


Creamy Ginger Carrot and Sweet Potato soup- using coconut milk for dairy

Creamy Wild Mushroom soup


Farro makes a great hearty salad mixed with fresh vegetables on a bed of greens

Chickpea and Kale with butternut squash served with a pomegranate dressing

Brussels sprouts salad with dried cranberries

Arugula Salad with shaved vegetables

Swap outs for Turkey

Tofurky or another faux roast is a good stand in, but there are all sorts of hearty vegetable dishes that can fit the bill.

Stuffed Acorn squash with faux meat sausage stuffing- This could be a Wellington style dish.

Stuffed Pasta with vegetables and nuts

Vegetable Lasagna

Stuffed Cabbage with vegetables and nuts

Mushroom Wellington

Shepherd's Pie

Whole Roasted Cauliflower

Lentil Loaf

Wild Mushroom, Pumpkin and Sage Risotto

Quinoa Stuffed Squash

Wild Rice Hot Dish with Wild Mushroom

Pumpkin Chickpea Fritters with Cilantro Chutney

Mushroom gravy

Side Dishes

Vegan Mac and Cheese

Vegan stuffing

Roasted Cabbage

Rosemary Roasted fingerling potatoes

Cornbread Sage Stuffing

Roasted Brussels sprouts

Pumpkin Pasta

Vegetable Gratin Baked

Moroccan spiced butternut squash or sweet potatoes roasted

Cranberry Orange sauce

Cumin Roasted Carrots

Sesame Green Beans

Low Carb Mashed Cauliflower potatoes

Vegan Mashed Potatoes

Pumpkin vegetable casserole

Creamed Corn

Creamed Spinach with Cashew cream

Cauliflower stuffing

Sweet Potato Casserole

Vegan Green Bean Casserole

Garden Herb Biscuits

Whole wheat dinner rolls with corn butter


Vegan Pumpkin Pie or Cake

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Sweet Potato Bread Pudding

Apple Pie

Hot Apple Crumble Bars

Pumpkin Mousse with coco whip

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page