Plant-Based Options For The Holidays Are Easy Swap-Outs

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 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 minefield 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 about 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 superfoods 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. 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 an 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 freshly shredded carrots, lettuce, cucumber, avocado, and cilantro. Serve with Sweet Chili Sauce on the side. These are light and tasty too.

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

Soups-

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

Creamy Wild Mushroom soup

Salads

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 the Roast

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