While prepping for last week’s big Holiday Extravaganza podcast episode, Matt and I put out a call on social for holiday-themed questions.
Dozens rolled in, and by far the biggest topic was around how to handle and cook for the non-vegans in your family.
Holidays are all about traditions — including religious, family, and certainly food based traditions, sometimes going back many years. And when you try to buck sometimes generations-old recipe traditions, there can be push-back.
Still, our advice for handling meals around the holidays is pretty simple:
- Be cool. It’s the holidays, and unless someone at the table is genuinely interested in learning more about your diet, now probably isn’t the time to convince your family to go plant-based.
- Be prepared. Instead of expecting others to prepare a vegan dish for you, bring your own dish the entire party will love. If you’re visiting family for the holidays, add to the meal with sides and entrees that showcase how delicious a plant-based meal can be.
To help with #2 above, the team and I pulled together a list of our favorite Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa inspired dishes from around the web.
Each perfect as an addition to any holiday party or dinner.
Holiday Entrees and Sides
There’s nothing better than wowing my family with a traditional holiday main dish turned vegan.
When they realize how good something they thought couldn’t possibly work without animal products actually is, it’s a big win.
So today we’re highlighting some of our favorites veganized entrees and sides that might catch people off guard, plus a few of our favorite already vegan recipes that are bound to be a big hit.
Hanukkah Inspired Dishes (Starts December 22nd)
- Homemade Seitan Brisket (Veg with an Edge)
- Root Vegetable Latkes (MNN)
- Matzo Ball Soup (Hell Yeah It’s Vegan!)
Christmas Inspired Dishes (December 25th)
- Spicy Roasted New Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts (Occasionally Eggs)
- Chestnut and Cashew Nut Roast (Thinly Spread)
- Sweet Potato Salad with Pomegranate, Pecans, and Barley (Quite Good Food)
Kwanzaa Inspired Dishes (December 26th)
- Spicy West African Chickpea and Kale Curry (One Green Planet)
- Sweet Fried Plantain (The Kitchn)
- Classic Cajun Jambalaya (Emelie Eats)
Holiday Appetizers and Desserts
If you’re showing up at someone else’s party, you’re often expected to bring an appetizer or dessert to share.
And apps are often a vegan’s best friend…
They’re an easy way to get food in your belly before a less-than-vegan-friendly dinner begins, plus many traditional appetizers are already plant-based, so no one even notices they got plant-based…
Desserts, while maybe not as vegan friendly as appetizers, are also a great chance to highlight plant foods and show the world how delicious plant-based courses can be.
Below are some of our go-tos during the holidays.
Hanukkah Inspired Sides and Desserts
Christmas Inspired Sides and Desserts
- Green Pea and Coconut Spread (Green Evi)
- Peppermint Bark (Mindful Avocado)
- Gingerbread Avocado Chocolate Mousse (Vegan Heaven)
Kwanzaa Inspired Sides and Desserts
Vegan Holidays Never Tasted So Good
Someone actually told me that over Thanksgiving…
And my heart grew three sizes that day.
No matter your traditions, the holidays are an opportunity to eat well, celebrate, and highlight recipes that everyone will love.
Don’t be intimidated this holiday season to try new dishes and showcase your diet.