Vegetarian Holiday Hacks
Being vegetarian is probably the most accessible of all the special diets. Focus on sides, and be sure to provide some sort of protein for your veggie guests so that they are as satiated as the turkey-lovers. Protein and fibre are the keys to staying fuller, longer so learn your way around plant-based proteins, like Tempeh, Tofu and Seitan.
Here are some vegetarian-friendly holiday hacks:
- Nobody likes bland tofu, tempeh or Seitan! Prepare it well, consider various flavours to season it and it will taste just as delicious as turkey with some cranberry sauce!
- Roasted veggies are delicious! Reserve some of the prepared veggies designated to accompany your main protein component and roast them separately instead with olive oil and salt. It might be a good idea to make extra anyways because roasted veggies are a hit whether you are vegetarian or not! Add in some squash, broccoli, sweet potato, cauliflower, sweet bell peppers, beets, or rutabaga. Alternatively, try shredding Brussels sprouts and frying them to make a warm Brussels sprouts salad.
- Vegetarian-friendly stuffing is easy to create. Simply swap meat-based ingredients for veggie friendly ones such as vegetable stock for chicken stock or veggie sausage instead of regular sausage. And remember to cook the stuffing separately from your turkey as well.
- Alternative proteins for vegetarians may include eggs, chickpeas, beans, tofu, tempeh, or other mock meats like Seitan “Wheat Meat”.
- Make a rich, mushroom gravy instead of the regular poultry based option.
- Serve roasted carrot and ginger soup as a starter before the big meal.
- Caramelized onions are equal as popular with meat eaters as they are vegetarians. Make a large batch, freeze in 1-cup portions and use as an appetizer (smear over goat cheese-topped crostini), or in your dinner (stir into mashed potatoes or turn into a galette.
The holidays aren’t over after the big day! Here are some more tips for entertaining and celebrating with friends and family:
- For a big group, make your family’s favourite lasagna – vegetarian-friendly! Omit the ground beef or turkey and try a blend of chopped mushrooms or other vegetables instead. Grated zucchini, carrot and finely chopped celery is wonderful together or add in eggplant, broccoli, chopped spinach or even kale! Mix and match your favourites to get the flavour you love.
- Stuffed veggies as a main look and taste wonderful. Some ideas include stuffed mushrooms, stuffed pumpkin, stuffed peppers, or stuffed tomatoes! Rice, other veggies, oats, or cheese (or a combination of those) make delicious filling ideas.
- Feature colourful produce such as roasted beets, blanched or braised green beans or carrots, sweet potato casserole, eggplant Parm (be careful, certain brands of Parmesan use animal enzymes instead of bacteria-based ones), or try a new twist on coleslaw.
- Everyone welcomes a large salad at holiday gatherings as it’s the perfect compliment to the rich and heavy foods often associated with the winter holidays. A carrot, parsnip and apple salad is seasonal, colourful, and brings some much needed freshness to the table.