A vegetarian holiday meal might sound a bit non-traditional, but done the right way it can certainly be tasty meal—you won’t even miss the animal protein! The key to making a delicious vegetarian holiday meal is getting creative with how you prepare healthy veggie and whole grain dishes. Try these seven tips for a holiday meal sans turkey, beef, pork, or seafood that will still taste great and be great for you!
1. Buy Organic
If you’re going to eat primarily fruits and veggies for this vegetarian holiday meal, go the extra mile and splurge on some organic produce. Organic veggies and fruits have higher vitamin contents, mineral contents, and other antioxidants than conventionally grown produce. Many people claim that organic produce actually tastes better too. If you need an excuse to justify buying organic, the holiday season is a perfectly good reason.
2. Try New Veggies
If you tend to eat the same veggies day after day, use your vegetarian holiday meal as a source of inspiration. Try different veggies or preparation methods to take your food to the next culinary level. If you normally bake sweet potatoes, for instance, try roasting them with chili flakes and cinnamon for an appetizing variation.
3. Start the Meal with a Comforting Vegetarian Soup
Soup is one of the best foods to eat during the cold holiday season. A hearty vegetable soup can be the perfect starter for your holiday meal. Carrots, celery, potatoes, peas, turnips, fresh parsley, and fresh garlic are all great choices. Be sure to use a vegetarian stock/broth. If you’d like, you can even puree your soup using a blender or immersion blender for a rich and satisfying dish.
4. Combine Fruit and Veggies for Dishes
Don’t think you can only eat veggies with veggies and fruits with fruits. There are plenty of fruit and veggie combinations that taste amazing for a vegetarian holiday meal. Cranberries and carrots go very well together. You can even add fresh fruit on top of your romaine lettuce salad for an interesting blend of sweet and savory.
5. Add Healthy Fats
Adding healthy fats like nuts and seeds is essential to making your vegetarian holiday meal tasty and satisfying. Some people complain that they don’t feel full after eating a vegetarian meal. But adding enough fat can make a vegetarian meal much more satiating. Throw walnuts in your quinoa pilaf and use sunflower seeds in your stuffing. Add avocado to your salad and drizzle melted coconut oil on your sweet potatoes.
6. Try Different Cooking Methods
The trick to making a vegetarian holiday meal taste good is not trying to uphold rigid traditions from animal-based meals—it’s about making a special meal that everyone can enjoy. Ditch the boring boiling and steaming cooking methods you use on a regular basis. Different cooking methods and flavor combinations might be all you need to take the same ingredients you eat on a normal basis and make them taste much better.
7. Let Whole Grains Take Center Stage
Most holiday meals don’t incorporate many whole grains into their dishes. But whole grains are the perfect addition for a vegetarian holiday meal. Packed with protein, essential amino acids, and fiber, whole grains can be worked into a bunch of holiday foods. Make a stuffing with quinoa instead of white bread. Use brown rice instead of white for a broccoli and rice casserole. Simple swaps are all it takes to let whole grains take center stage this holiday season.
With a little planning, a vegetarian holiday meal is definitely possible this year. What are some of your favorite ways to make your holiday meal vegetarian?