Give wellness gifts this holiday season by sprucing up your menu with meatless options. Learn about mock meats, plant-based swaps, and recipe ideas.
The holidays are one of the cheeriest (and busiest) times of the year. Let's help you take one thing off your plate, with no-hassle vegetarian and vegan meals that even meat-lovers will drool over.
More people are going vegan or vegetarian than ever before. Even carnivores are enjoying more plant-based foods. A 2020 Gallup poll found one in four Americans is cutting back on the amount of meat they're eating.
Here are just a few reasons to include meatless options in your holiday meal planning:
If you're the type of holiday host who plans on having big gatherings for diverse groups, adding some meatless options to your menu is like giving wellness gifts to your guests. Spread some cheer with these plant-based holiday meal planning ideas.
Let's start with the star of most people's meals: the "meat." Whether you serve ham, turkey, roast chicken, or even a decadent surf and turf for your holiday get-togethers, there's a plant-based swap for that.
Head to your grocery store's meat section and the freezer aisle to find vegan options for your guests' favorite meats. You can find just about anything in plant-based form, including:
Creamy sides exude a sense of holiday coziness. They have a warm, filling quality that keeps you coming back for more.
Go ahead, grab seconds! When you swap plant-based milks and butter alternatives for the regular dairy-filled ingredients, you can save calories while you enjoy that comforting dish.
For milk swaps, we recommend unsweetened soy milk for savory dishes. It doesn't taste as distinct as almond or oat milk, so it blends in easily with other ingredients.
For "butter," some spreads are made with olive oil, some with avocado oil, and others with other types of mild flavorings. If you have a preference, go for it, but you typically can't tell a huge difference.
For dishes that call for cheese, head to your grocery dairy section for shredded cheeze, which also saves you time shredding your own.
Keep in mind that vegan cheeses tend to take longer to melt. Factor a few extra minutes into your cook time when you're using a cheese alternative.
For recipes where you're just swapping milk and butter, proceed as usual.
In cold winter months, a piping hot bowl of soup instantly soothes. As an appetizer, side dish, or main course, vegetable soup keeps guests warm when it's cold outside.
Another holiday treat? Soup's incredibly easy to make. You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand. Soup's also a great way to use leftover pantry grains.
Follow these easy steps to scrumptious soup.
There you have it! Your very own unique soup creation that cuts down on food waste in your kitchen.
Don't forget dessert! Some of the most common swaps for holiday desserts include:
Most other baking ingredients are vegan, but there are ways to use plants to add more nutrition to your desserts.
Try swapping white flour for almond flour. Make your own at home by pulsing raw, slivered almonds in a food processor to ground them evenly. Or substitute half of the amount of granulated sugar you need with pureed naturally sweet fruits, like bananas or dates.
Keep in mind, because baking is such a precise art, you may want to stick to vegan- or vegetarian-specific dessert recipes to avoid any unexpected results.
Cooking plant-based foods can be a great family bonding experience. Kids can learn about all the nutritious goodness in the ingredients they're using. Your creations might become new favorites for years to come! Whatever's on your menu this holiday season, we hope you have a blast in the kitchen and make some new memories.