This year for Christmas Eve dinner, we re-thought what “traditional Christmas dinner” meant. The memories, for me, are not in the food, but in the company and the feelings. Sure, others will disagree – you like how sleepy you are after eating Turkey, or look forward to that one dish that Grandma makes just at Christmas. I feel that with what I know about our food production system and where a lot of that meat comes from, that I can’t support those traditions any longer. This year, we started a new tradition, with a menu I created that resembled a traditional meal, but entirely plant-based. I’m lucky that my parents are open to trying new things – and it was a huge success! Here is what I made:
entree: mushroom, quinoa, yam loaf (the maple apricot glaze on top is SO good! Don’t skip it!)
This loaf recipe was a success not only in flavour – but it stuck together! The quinoa and loads of other veggies in it make each slice filling, and the spices (oregano, rosemary, thyme, parsley) are very “Christmas-y”.
sides: maple-dijon roasted brussel sprouts; butternut squash and turnip mash; fresh cranberry sauce; steamed chard.
For the recipes for the sides I made, their fairly self-explanatory. Do you like brussel sprouts? No? Toss them in equal parts Dijon and maple syrup, roast them at 400F for 15-20 minutes and then tell me they aren’t delicious! For the mash, I roasted the butternut squash and turnip, then added a bit of cinnamon for flavour. I’m sure you could add rosemary or some herbs and it would be a nice compliment to it as well. Cranberry sauce – put cranberries in a pot with some water, and cook them down. It’s as simple as that!
dessert: pumpkin cheesecake
The texture of this cheesecake was light but creamy. Instead of dairy, it uses cashews to create that creamy texture we all love. I eliminated the stevia from the recipe – there was already enough sweetness in it with the other ingredients. When I made this again, I’m double the filling haha. It’s so so so delicious!!
I think there are lots of ways to be creative with traditional recipes that provide the same flavours, but that substitute plant-based ingredients to achieve the same results. There’s a way “we’ve always done it” – but there are also many ways to think outside the box. I hope this menu inspires you to do the same!
PS - All the recipes that I’ve linked to were found on a general internet search – it’s that easy. We have so much information available at our finger tips that there’s no excuse to not being able to find recipes, but it is knowing that you can look for them. If you like a more traditional cook book – I recommend the Forks Over Knives recipe book – it doesn’t use a lot of soy products, and the meals are very creative but easy to make!