Recipes for a plant-strong Christmas

A few weeks back the plant-strong social media network in the United States was busily posting tasty recipes for Thanksgiving. This gave me ideas for things to make for a Christmas feast. The only problem with following this network is that it is in the middle of their winter, so many of the recipes tend to be winter-warming types. But then again, isn’t that what we are used to in Australia at Christmas time?

Here are some of the recipes I am trying this Christmas:

Engine2xmastree2A nice platter to brighten up the table.

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(had to do this so the photos would line up!)

Fat-Free Vegan Deviled Eggs Recipe 
A tasty pre-dinner snack using small pontiac potatoes. They are a big hit at parties, even omnivores like them. I’ve made these a few times and slightly modified the recipe each time. The basic hummus recipe (which is not included at the link above) is 1 can chickpeas, 1/3 cup lemon juice, 1/3 cup water, 1 small garlic clove (otherwise it is too overpowering) and 1/2 to 1 teasp ground cumin. I also add 1-2 teasp tahini to my hummus, but if trying to go ‘fat-free’ then skip the tahini. To the hummus I add 1 teasp Dijon mustard, a shake of turmeric and a shake of smoked paprika to make the ‘egg’ topping. You could also add chives or green/spring onions. It is worth sourcing some smoked paprika – sprinkled on top it really makes these ‘eggs’ taste great.

Meatless Loaf Recipe
I have been intending to do a trial run of this one in the past few weeks, oh well, the first time will be for the main event. The reviews say its pretty good. This one is based on cannellini beans and tofu. Last year my sister cooked a delicious lentil loaf from Esselsytn’s Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. Another one to try sometime is Lynn’s “Meat”loaf from Engine 2.

Because my family are still omnivores I will be including a seafood platter with prawns and oysters (and yes I will eat a few prawns – I still love them, but not too many). There has also been a special request for a traditional (meat) lasagne. Do you think they will notice if I substitute one quarter of the mince meat with grated carrot and zucchini? And of course I shall sneak a layer of spinach leaves in there. And I am really, really tempted to make Happy Herbivore’s Cheddar Cheesy Sauce (totally vegan – from her book The Happy Herbivore Cookbook) instead of the usual dairy based cheese sauce. If I was going to make a vegetable lasagne I would probably try this one from Happy Herbivore or this one from Jeff Novick – Veggie Lasagne.

Every Christmas for many years I have made a Roasted Vegetable Salad (original idea from the Rathdowne Street Food Store Cookbook) with an oily mustard dressing. Of course I now make it sans oil: I place small chunks of pumpkin, sweet potato and onions on baking paper (can also add parsnip, carrots and garlic) and bake. If you really must, then coat the veggies with the lightest spray of oil. For the dressing mix a nice vinegar with Dijon mustard and toasted ground walnuts (opt.). It was a little dry last time I made it so next time I might add a few spoons of hummus to the dressing.

We will also have some brown rice served along with one of our usual tomato based sauces loaded up with spinach and kale or I could make a warm rice salad. A quinoa dish is another possibility. And we won’t forget some additional steamed veggies. Even at a Christmas feast we don’t want to go short on our daily requirement of 7 serves of fruit and vegetables.

How about these to go with coffee: Skinny Figgy Bars or Black Bean Brownies. Of course we will have an abundant fruit platter… cherries, fresh lychees, various berries, pineapple, melons, grapes and other stone fruits which are at their best at Christmas time.

Here are some other holiday recipes to explore:

Cathy Fisher – Straight Up Food: http://www.straightupfood.com/blog/2012/11/19/favorite-holiday-recipes/

Happy Herbivore: http://happyherbivore.com/2012/12/holiday-menu/

Healthy Librarian: http://www.happyhealthylonglife.com/happy_healthy_long_life/2012/11/thankgsgiving.html

Fat Free Vegan Kitchen: http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/tag/holidays

Engine 2: http://engine2diet.com/the-daily-beet/fast-food-thanksgiving-recipes-plus-a-giveaway/

Update 26/12 from Engine 2: http://engine2diet.com/food/plant-strong-christmas/

I came across this question in the comment stream under the Happy Herbivore Facebook posting for Vegan Deviled Eggs: Why do vegans/vegetarians always try to mimic the tastes and textures of meat-based dishes with vegetables? There seems to be something… missing… in their diets.

The Happy Herbivore gave this reply: Nothing is missing in our diets — but I find most meat eaters are missing a lot in their diets! As (another reader) said so beautifully, “vegans make food like this for a variety of reasons. Often, it’s more for the novelty or memory of the ritual of when we used to eat stuff like this. Which makes this a perfect dish to serve for a gathering of mixed vegan and non-vegan folk. Food isn’t just about nutrition. It’s memory, taste, presentation, and oftentimes-whether we like it or not-emotion.” You can have it all and still make healthy choices.

I agree with this sentiment. I am not looking for meat substitutes in my day-to-day eating, but for events like Christmas it is nice to have some special dishes that give it a sense of ritual – and it makes it easier to fit in with family and friends when we make tasty, interesting-looking dishes that sometimes mimic meat based dishes.

Have a happy and healthy Christmas everyone!

Postscript 11/01/13: Finding a few more ideas for Christmas fare (storing them in this post ready for next year!) Marieke Hardy – This is what a vegan Christmas looks like ;  Savory Swiss Chard Pie (silverbeet)

About plant strong librarian

I'm a librarian who worked at a university in Melbourne, Australia for several decades and am now freelance consulting training. I love to travel, explore new technologies and am passionate about nutrition for health. I started my first blog in 2007 as the Travelling Librarian and have since created two more blogs: one to track my virtual travels exploring new technologies and my newest blog aims to track my journey to a mostly plant-based diet and share nutrition links hoping to convince others to become more plant-strong.
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