There is nothing quite like holiday meals. Family, food, and conversation. However, it can be a extremely stressful trying to accommodate everyone’s dietary needs. Whether you’re going with a full plant-based meal or just hoping to get a dish or two to add to the table, this vegetarian holiday meal guide is here to help.
How to plan a vegetarian holiday meal
When thinking about the meal, I like to think about a few different elements including but not limited to:
Greenery: even though salad isn’t a traditional holiday dish, it’s become one for me. I find a fresh salad can balance all the rich food that often finds it’s way to the table. The salad doesn’t have to be overly complicated either! It could be a bit of greens, a sprinkle of nuts, and a nice dressing.
Beet Salad with Broiled Feta and Sesame Sunflower Seeds
Romesco Potato Arugula Salad
Kale Risotto with Feta
Sweet Potato Salad with Butter-Hazelnut Dressing
Protein: this is important. One of the things I find lacking in most vegetarian dishes at a non-vegetarian event is the concept of protein. For meat-eaters, it’s easy but for vegetarians, it’s not always obvious. Bulk up on beans, don’t shy away from nuts/seeds, and remember even some grains, like quinoa, carry a nice bit of protein.
White Bean Masala Smothered Sweet Potatoes
Radicchio Salad with Lentils and Roasted Acorn Squash
Stuffed Delicata with Chimichurri Black Beans
Richness Balance: Going back to the idea of adding salad to the table, not everything has to be overloaded with cheese, butter, and cream. The beauty of a vegetarian holiday meal is that the vegetables can really shine.
Easy to include vegan/GF
When planning for a vegetarian holiday meal, you might need to include some vegan or gluten-free options. This shouldn’t be a huge deal! Most of the vegetarian dishes I’m listing in this post have vegan/gluten-free alternatives.
Most vegetarian-friendly dishes can make the leap to vegan with a few simple swaps. And as for gluten-free, it’s often a matter of switching grains and using a solid 1:1 gluten-free flour. I find if I’m trying to accommodate different people’s dietary needs, I go with something that is gluten-free/vegan.
A few favorite gluten-free/vegan recipes:
Harissa Roasted Carrots with White Beans
Bean Bake with Greens and Turnips
Quinoa and White Bean Risotto with Brassicas
I think one of the biggest challenges with holiday meals is convincing family that it’s okay to switch things up! If your family has their favorites, try just adding one or two new dishes into the mix. We definitely keep the green bean casserole around but add in a couple dishes of roasted vegetables and salads. This way, everyone is happy!
You don’t need to overhaul all of the holiday dinner. Strike a balance between traditions and new ideas. If something doesn’t work out, that’s okay!
A few of my favorite non-traditional adds to the table include:
Roasted Mole Cauliflower with Chickpeas
Grilled Pear Halloumi Salad
Red Kuri Squash Curry with Chard
Potato Green Curry
It can be all about the sides
Just go for it!
Whether you’re looking to completely overhaul your meal or just add a couple veg-friendly dishes in, just remember it doesn’t have to be hard. Keep it simple. Lead with produce. And don’t be afraid to add a new tradition into the mix!