As a vegan, there’s nothing worse than showing up to holiday dinner hungry and discovering that every side dish, entrée, and dessert is made with meat, dairy, chicken broth or gluten. For those who appreciate the health, spiritual and humane benefits of subscribing to a whole food, plant-based diet, there’s no need to explain why vegan holiday recipes are so important.
For those who do not, you may ask, “Why on earth would anyone want to give up meat and dairy, especially over the holidays?” The answer is simple – even the World Health Organization has informed the public that consuming meat is bad for your health, and can cause cancer. And the science is in: many studies have linked the consumption of animal protein to inflammation and other degenerative chronic diseases like hypertension, osteoporosis, heart disease and diabetes. So, the holidays are as good a time as any to begin eating less meat and experiment with vegan recipes. Going veg is simpler than you may think – instead of lathering butter on those sweet potatoes, try a bit of Earth Balance or olive oil. Your vegan guests will be eternally grateful, and getting a head start now on adopting a plant-based diet will make your New Year’s resolutions that much sweeter!
With vegan alternatives for the main “bird” to sides and of course dessert, read on for a list of our favorite vegan-tastic holiday recipes.
The “Byrd” – Better Than Tofurky
When you eat a piece of meat, you take into your body the energy of shock and terror the animal felt right before it was killed. Instead, save a Turkey’s life – and your own – by opting for a Field Roast Celebration Roast, or other “faux meat” alternative to the main bird. For those who’ve never tasted Tofurky, it’s worth preparing at least once. Just be sure it’s well-seasoned and wrapped tightly when baking so it stays moist. And if you’re looking to avoid soy or gluten for health reasons, skip the bird altogether and head straight for the sides. We all know they’re the tastiest part of Thanksgiving dinner!
1. Whet your appetite with this hearty, immune-boosting Green Lentil Sweet Potato Soup. With seasonings like fresh cumin and coriander, nix the chicken stock as a base and veg out on this satisfying soup.
2. A Nutty Red Cabbage Salad is a gut-healthy appetizer that will get the party started and give guests something satisfying to crunch on.
3. Balance out all the holiday carbs with this colorful Tuscan Kale and Apple Salad.
4. For a new take on a traditional holiday side, dig into this Sweet Potato Fig Stuffing recipe – no gizzards required!
5. Consuming dairy causes inflammation and mucus build-up in the body (ever wonder why everyone at the table starts sniffling 20 minutes into the meal? Now you know.), so instead try this thick and creamy Mac-and-Cheeze recipe that’s cheese and milk-free, but will still give you that comfort food fix.
6. Although they’re a holiday favorite, it’s hard to enjoy Candied Yams knowing that they’re made with marshmallows (which contain gelatin made from the skin, cartilage and bones from animals). A healthier alternative: this recipe made with fluffy, melty, vegan marshmallows from Dandies – all animal free.
7. Stay away from BPA and processed foods this holiday by ditching anything that comes from a can. This year, make your own Orange Cranberry Sauce fresh with a citrus twist.
The Sweetest Desserts
8. None of your guests will guess that this creamy Pumpkin Pie is vegan. It’ll be your little secret!
9. Try a healthier approach to dessert this year with these heart and metabolism boosting Cinnamon Apple Oat Treats. Make them sustainable by choosing an organic variety harvested fresh from your local farmer.
10. No doubt, the Piéce de Resistance of your holiday dinner could be homemade Chocolate Truffles, made with superfood ingredients like melted coconut butter and raw cacao powder – simply divine!
11. Finish off the meal with a sweet cup of Mulled Cider Bitters, full of gut-healthy probiotics.
Whatever plant-based recipes you try this holiday season, be sure to bless them with prayers of love and gratitude before gobbling them up – it makes the food go down better and will raise the vibration of everything you eat. Bon appétit!
Do you have favorite holiday recipes of your own that should be on list? Please share!