by Candice DeForest
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! With the chilly weather and Christmas just around the corner, it is the perfect time to try hearty new recipes for family and friends.
As the holidays have begun and party planning, celebrating, and trekking over the river and through the woods is a frequent weekend event, you will likely have to face the age-old question of what to bring. Assuming your family is not crazy about the idea of Tofurky or other alternative “meats” at the dinner table or soy-figgy-pudding for dessert, it’s time to get creative and clever to find something for everyone to enjoy. An even more important question might be just how will you ever avoid Aunt Pam’s mystery dish this year? Fear not, as the suggestions from The Vegetarian Resource Group will help you build a menu of tantalizing vegetables, hearty grains, and enjoyable desserts to delight your guests no matter their gastronomic preference.
While it may be challenging to find extra time to research recipes and taste test between gift wrapping and decorating, these guidelines will help get you started. Another perk of serving up new dishes this season – your guests will likely appreciate the healthy options as opposed to just another heavy casserole!
- Surprise your loved ones with Fabulous Wheat-Free Vegan pancakes for a wonderful breakfast.
- If you enjoy carbs as I do, good luck choosing between the delicious Sage Breadsticks, Totally Delicious Vegan Cornbread, and Whole Wheat Biscuits for a delectable bread recipe.
- Consider including Cranberry Applesauce, Poached Pears, Chock Full of Corn Stuffing or Baked Lima Beans as a succulent side dish.
- Vegan Biscotti pairs great with a cup of coffee or as a simple gift idea.
- Greek Mushroom Salad, Oven Roasted Squash, Potato/Kale Casserole, and traditional Polish Dumplings add a hearty element to any meal.
- Try Baked Apples in Maple Syrup or Fruit Pizza for a lighter dessert option. Hungry for something richer? Unbaked Oatmeal-Peanut Butter Fudgies or vegan Black Forest Parfaits will surely satisfy your sweet tooth.
My childhood holiday memories mainly revolve around food. Casseroles, salads, seven-layered-this-or-that, and seemingly endless tables of appetizers and desserts filled my grandmother’s kitchen in traditional Midwest home-cooking style. As I begin to form my own traditions to share with family and friends, I’ve expanded my cooking beyond the traditional green bean casserole and cheesy potatoes dishes. I consult my vegetarian and vegan friends, research online, and even use social media to generate ideas and seek advice on tweaking old favorites to substitute dairy products. When I am craving the traditional comfort foods to share with friends and family, a few favorites are Mashed Potatoes and Mushroom Gravy and “Chicken” Noodle Soup.”
In addition to cooking ventures, consider starting new holiday traditions this year. Gather together a group of friends or family to build a vegan Gingerbread house, bake cookies together, or volunteer for a local toy drive. While the treats and eats are a significant aspect to enjoying the season, giving back is an important part too. What are your favorite culinary holiday traditions?
Have a specific question, want to share a favorite recipe or need inspiration for a party? Tweet me @candicedeforest with your thoughts.