Host a Mouthwatering Vegan Holiday Meal

Holiday meals are wonderful occasions full of delicious food, laughter, love and good times. If you or a family member has decided to give up animal products, it may seem challenging to prepare and enjoy a traditional holiday meal.

No need to fret. While it may seem impossible, you can host a mouthwatering vegan holiday meal without a great deal of extra effort. We’ve got some excellent ideas for an extra special vegan feast that will please everyone in attendance.

The Appetizers

Vegan appetizers are not much of a challenge at all. Lots of foods that are generally served as appetizers also happen to be vegan. Here are some of our favorite appetizer ideas for your vegan holiday meal.

Tabbouleh-stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1-pint cherry tomatoes, halved and seeded
  • 2 cups cooked couscous
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup diced tomato
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/8 cup finely chopped mint
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Prepare the tabbouleh by combining fluffed couscous with olive oil.
  2. Add lemon juice, tomato, parsley, onion and mint to the mixture.
  3. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Stir to combine.
  4. Using a teaspoon, fill the empty cherry tomato halves gently with the tabbouleh mixture.
  5. Arrange the stuffed tomatoes on a plate and serve immediately or cover and refrigerate.

Easy Mango Salsa With Tortilla Chips

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 mangoes, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 1/2 finely chopped red onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Add mangoes and avocados to a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Add onion, cilantro and lime juice. Stir to combine and season with salt and black pepper.
  3. Serve immediately with salted tortilla chips or refrigerate for up to three days.

Homestyle Guacamole With Blue Chips

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice from one lime
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • Sea salt, to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Add avocados to a medium-sized bowl with cilantro, garlic, lime juice and lemon juice.
  2. Use a potato masher or fork to mash the ingredients until smooth.
  3. Season with salt and serve with blue tortilla chips.

Simple Hummus With Cut Vegetables and Pita Bread

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Sea salt, to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Add chickpeas, garlic, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and cumin to a food processor. Blend until smooth.
  2. Add salt to taste and blend again.
  3. Drizzle the hummus with olive oil and add a dash of paprika before serving.
  4. Serve alongside cut vegetables and warmed pita bread.

The Main Dish

Preparing a vegan main dish can seem pretty intimidating. However, it all comes down to taking a traditional main dish, replacing the meat with a plant-based protein and eliminating or replacing dairy products.

Taco Bar

INGREDIENTS

  • 12 soft taco shells
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning blend
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil + 2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored and sliced into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced into strips
  • 1/2 onion, peeled and sliced into strips
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup prepared salsa
  • 2 cups homestyle guacamole (see recipe above)
  • 1 cup shredded vegan cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add bell peppers and onions and stir to coat. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Season with salt and black pepper to taste and add to a small serving bowl.
  1. Heat the black beans with taco seasoning and remaining olive oil. Mix well and place in a serving bowl.
  2. Add cilantro in a small bowl and guacamole another bowl.
  3. Put the vegan cheese, tomatoes, and salsa in separate serving bowls.
  4. Warm the tortillas and place them on a plate. Serve all of these items in a buffet style, allowing your guests to build their own tacos.

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 organic zucchinis, split in half lengthwise and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup shredded vegan cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepare the zucchini and set aside. In a large pan, sauté the mushrooms and minced garlic in olive oil until cooked. Add the zucchini flesh if you’d like.
  3. Add the chickpeas, quinoa and chopped tomatoes and stir frequently.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the zucchini boats and top with the shredded vegan cheese.
  5. Place the filled boats onto a lightly greased pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the zucchini is tender.

Pan-fried Portobello Mushrooms and Vegetables

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (not extra virgin)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion and sweet potato to the pan and stir. Add water and cover. Cook for about five minutes.
  2. Uncover the potatoes and stir well. Cook for two or three minutes uncovered.
  3. Add the mushrooms, bell peppers and zucchini. Stir well and cook until done. Season with salt and black pepper. Serve immediately.

The Side Dishes

Many of the side dishes we would serve at any meal can be made vegan easily. Swapping out real butter for a vegan butter substitute or using oil instead is one way to transform a regular dish into a vegan one. Using unsweetened coconut milk or almond milk instead of cow’s milk works well too.

Simple Vegan Mashed Potatoes

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled (if desired) and chopped
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter substitute
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Add the potatoes to a large stockpot. Add water until it’s about three inches above potatoes. Salt the water liberally, then cover the pot and bring it to a boil.
  2. Lower the heat and allow the potatoes to simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, add the vegan butter substitute and garlic to a small saucepan. Melt the butter with the garlic at the lowest heat setting for three minutes, stirring often. Let the butter and garlic rest while the potatoes cook.
  4. Drain the water from the potatoes and put the potatoes back in the pan over low heat. Use a manual potato masher or large fork to break down the potatoes.
  5. Add the butter, garlic and half of the milk. Mash well until you achieve the consistency you want. Add more milk and butter as needed. Season with salt and black pepper and serve.

Balsamic Roasted Carrots

We found this recipe on the Healthy Liv website. It’s an amazing dish that everyone will love.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound regular carrots, peeled (if desired)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (not extra virgin)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Cut the carrots in strips that are similar in thickness.
  3. Arrange the carrots in a single layer on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.
  4. Drizzle the oil and vinegar over them and sprinkle on the garlic, thyme, salt, and black pepper. Bake for about 40 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle the fresh parsley on top of carrots and serve.

The Desserts

When making vegan desserts, one of the main obstacles is learning to bake without eggs and dairy. You can buy a vegan egg replacer in the baking section of most supermarkets. However, a combination of ground flaxseeds and water makes an excellent egg substitute as well. Mashed bananas and certain starches also work.

For dairy, full-fat coconut milk works very nicely in place of cow’s milk. Cashew milk, soy milk, and almond milk can also be used in most recipes.

Vegan desserts can be delicious. Often, when I’m invited to a potluck meal, my nonvegan friends will request that I bring my famous vegan chocolate cake. It’s that good. We’ve included the recipe in this section.

Vegan Chocolate Cake With Ganache

INGREDIENTS

For the Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder + more for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup of cold water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar

For the Ganache:

  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 10 ounces chopped vegan chocolate or vegan chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

For the Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Grease two eight-inch cake pans liberally and dusts them with a bit of flour or unsweetened cocoa powder. Set aside.
  3. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
  4. Add oil, water and vanilla extract. Stir well until no lumps are left.
  5. Add vinegar to the batter and stir eight times only. Pour the batter equally into the prepared cake pans and place into the oven.
  6. Bake for 12 to 18 minutes, depending on the pan. Test for doneness by sticking a toothpick into the cake. When the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done baking.

For the Ganache:

  1. Add coconut milk to a saucepan and heat for a couple of minutes on low heat.
  2. Once warm, add vegan chocolate or chocolate chips. Stir constantly until the chocolate is melted and combined with the milk. Remove from the heat immediately.
  3. Pour ganache over the cooled chocolate cake and serve.

Image credit: Amanda Wynant

Vegan Sweet Potato Pie

INGREDIENTS

  • Unbaked pie crust
  • 2 cups cooked sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter substitute
  • 3/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  2. Combine sweet potatoes, coconut milk, vegan butter, agave nectar, cornstarch, vanilla extract, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice to a food processor. Process until smooth.
  3. Pour the filling into the unbaked pie crust. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 F and continue baking for 50 minutes until the pie is fully baked.
  4. Remove it from the oven and allow the pie to cool at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Refrigerate the pie for at least six hours before serving.

Host a Mouthwatering Vegan Holiday Meal

If you’ve got vegan guests coming to your home this holiday season, choose a few of these simple dishes to prepare for an amazing vegan feast. Happy holidays to you and yours.

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