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While a traditional Christmas dinner may not be very vegan-friendly, this collection of recipes can change all that. Avoid having the table piled high with slices of ham, dressing, and buttermilk mashed potatoes. Instead make this menu, free of meat, dairy, and eggs, that lets vegans and omnivores alike enjoy Christmas dinner without sacrificing a bit of flavor. Robust sides, simple salads, a rich main dish, and unique desserts all come together for a plant-based menu that wows.
Roasted Broccoli with Pistachios and Pickled Golden Raisins
Drawing on seasonal produce, plus flavorful grains and legumes, this Christmas dinner menu comes together for an unrivaled feast. Everything from sides to dessert is covered.
This dish came to us from kitchen of longtime Cooking Light friend Rich Landau. Landau, chef and owner of Vedge in Philadelphia, offered us this lovely autumn salad, in which bright bursts of sweet-tart raisins accompany each bite of toasted broccoli.
Baby Carrots with Herb Dressing and Olives
Look for baby carrots with some of the green tops attached; reserve and chop for tossing with the steamed carrots. Carrots should be about the width of your thumb; halve larger ones so they cook evenly. Steaming is gentler than boiling and faster than roasting. And, because the carrots are less caramelized, the fresh herbs stand out more.
Kale, Jicama, and Orange Salad
Bland veggie trays tend to lose out over sugary treats; serve this dish instead. This salad pops with color and texture from juicy citrus, creamy avocado, and crisp jicama. Dark, bumpy kale fits the mood, but you can substitute any lettuce you like. We love the pink hue of Cara Cara oranges in the salad, but regular navel or even blood oranges (in keeping with the spooky theme) would also work. Sturdy lacinato kale will become perfectly tender when dressed and left to stand at room temperature. Coating the avocado in the dressing first will keep it from browning while you're out having fun.
Quinoa Salad with Pistachios and Currants
Photo: Christopher Testani
Seasonal fruits and vegetables, paired with legumes and grains, build a dinner that will leave guests raving.
Quinoa is a modern twist on this old-world dish. Dried currants are smaller and less sweet than raisins, but either will work in this dish.
Roasted Fennel with Rosemary Breadcrumbs
Instead of roasted root vegetables or Brussels sprouts, try roasted fennel. Fennel has licorice notes that mellow in the oven, becoming slightly sweet. A splash of cider vinegar at the end brightens the dish.
This spin on the bistro staple steak frites offers plenty of umami satisfaction in the form of juicy, meaty portobello mushrooms and a savory wine sauce. Finishing the sauce with a touch of vegan butter gives it luxurious and velvety consistency.
Whole Roasted Carrots With Black Lentils and Green Harissa
Cajun spiced lentils serve as a delicious protein component in this vegan meal, but what really makes this dish shine is the green harissa drizzled on top. The Tunisian-like sauce brings spice, tang, and bright herbiness to the sweet winter carrots.
Graham Cracker-Apple Crisp
Photo Courtesy of Oxmoor House
This crisp is just as delicious for breakfast as it is when served for dessert. The combination of gluten-free oats and graham crackers gives the topping a unique texture that complements the soft apple filling. Substitute whipped coconut cream for the whipped topping, and you've got a dairy-free dessert.
Grapefruit Granita with Pear-and-Pom Relish
No need to relegate icy treats to the summertime. This granita will make a fantastic addition to your holiday get-togethers.