The end-of-year holiday season is always exciting when it comes to food. A lot of us are really looking forward to the dishes we will be sharing with our friends and family over November and December.
Being vegan can seem contradictory or even challenging when thinking about holiday indulgence. A lot of people would think you can’t put together festive holiday meals and delicious dishes if they don’t contain animal products. Think again! What we love in food, is often the flavorings as well as high levels of salt, sugar, and fat. You can replicate these things by using vegan products and sources of salt, sugar, and fat. And even better, you can actually eat vegan and healthy versions as well. Classic flavors and plant-based are not mutually exclusive.
Our annual Friendsgiving is all vegan, and it never fails to satisfy all of our friends—vegans and omnis alike!
I personally don’t think there is anything wrong with more highly processed vegan foods in moderation, but I believe that some of the brands that focus on more wholesome products, with less ingredients, and less added processed sugar and oil, can totally rock your holiday plate.
One of my favorites is the Tofurky vegan roast. I recently served it at our Friendsgiving party and it was a total hit. A few of my guests came over to ask me for the recipe because they loved it so much. It was funny that I had to admit that I didn’t make it myself but rather purchased it. It has a superb mouth feel and the flavor is just right. Tip: you can also customize it by browning it first in a bit of oil in a Dutch oven, and then braising in low heat (on stovetop or in oven) with root vegetables like carrots, parsnip, fingerlings, shallots, and veggie stock. Get creative with the spices and herbs like nutmeg, allspice, rosemary, thyme, parsley, and sage.
2. Field Roast
Field roast also makes an amazing vegan roast. It’s definitely delicious, and a little less processed than Tofurky: it’s soy-free and with vital wheat gluten as its major protein source, it’s essentially a seitan roast filled with butternut squash, mushrooms, lentils and other veggies. You can find it at Whole Foods and other bigger grocery stores. It tastes even better with a homemade gravy on top.
Try our gluten-free Mushroom Gravy!
If you are a Trader Joe’s fan, then check out their Turkey-less stuffed roast that comes with gravy—which also happens to be the cheapest option. The stuffing is filled with cranberries which gives it an extra special touch. The gravy can easily be put together with some water and oil. With its herbed, breaded crust and wild rice-cranberry stuffing, it’s definitely a crowd-pleaser—and was the first roast to sell out at our annual gathering. It’s also vital wheat gluten-based (seitan), but contains soy sauce.
4. Bean Bourguignon
Another dish I love for the holidays is a homemade bean stew called Bean Bourguignon. It’s a great dish that I discovered a while back in Isa Chandra Moskovitz’ holiday cookbook. It’s recommended for Christmas but will definitely charm your guests at any other holiday events and parties as well. Try this version with mushrooms by Chef Chloe.
5. Cauliflower Roast
If are into cooking something yourself, and want to stay away from store-bought ready made roasts, then making a holiday cauliflower is a good move as well. Whip up a miso tahini marinade to glaze it all over before popping it in the oven at 450 degrees F for 50 minutes or longer (check for doneness after 40 minutes, the exact time will vary depending on the size of the cauliflower).
The basic marinade proportion is
Miso 1 part : Tahini 1 part : Water 2 parts<
You can add some ginger, cinnamon, and cranberries to that for an extra holiday touch. Simple, delicious and super healthy.
What’s your favorite vegan holiday entree?
Photo: Isabelle Steichen; Tofurky; Field Roast; By Chloe; abcv; Peaceful Dumpling