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
Stuffed Cabbage with vegetables and nuts
Whole Roasted Cauliflower
Wild Mushroom, Pumpkin and Sage Risotto
Quinoa Stuffed Squash
Wild Rice Hot Dish with Wild Mushroom
Pumpkin Chickpea Fritters with Cilantro Chutney
Vegan Mac and Cheese
Rosemary Roasted fingerling potatoes
Cornbread Sage Stuffing
Roasted Brussels sprouts
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 Spinach with Cashew cream
Sweet Potato Casserole
Vegan Green Bean Casserole
Garden Herb Biscuits
Whole wheat dinner rolls with corn butter
Vegan Pumpkin Pie or Cake
Sweet Potato Bread Pudding
Hot Apple Crumble Bars
Pumpkin Mousse with coco whip