The holidays are all about spending time with friends and family, creating new memories, and honoring past traditions. Meatless Meals are a great way to treat guests to a healthful gathering that is also a gift for the environment – according to PETA, “A staggering 51 percent or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture.” Hosting a vegan holiday party is a great step for your inner circle to take on the fight against climate change.
I have hosted several meatless holiday events over the years and have found an Italian-style menu to be my favorite for keeping the special feel of a traditional family dinner without my guests who eat everything missing the meat. Italian cuisine is inherently full of delicious meatless recipes, plus the colorful ingredients including fragrant herbs add to the magic of the meal.
Here are a few of my favorite vegan recipes to incorporate into a holiday dinner:
This bruschetta has been a hit every time I make it. It is simple, delicious, and full of fresh flavorful ingredients.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 8 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- ½ medium onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ½ cup fresh basil chopped
- salt to taste
Combine all the ingredients into a large bowl, gently mix together, and add salt to taste. Serve with bite-size, toasted slices of Italian bread. Tip: It is important to remove the juice and seeds from the tomatoes otherwise this recipe can get a bit soupy.
Vegan lasagna is my favorite dish to make for a holiday meal. It is a bit more labor intensive than an everyday recipe, making it ideal for special occasions, plus tofu has a similar texture to ricotta cheese. Most people won’t even realize that this is a vegan recipe if you don’t let them in on the secret. If lasagna isn’t quite up your alley, you could also make a delicious baked eggplant dish for your meatless main course.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 20 lasagna noodles
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups spinach
- 3 cups marinara sauce
- 2 package firm tofu drained
- ¼ cup fresh oregano
- ½ cup fresh basil
- ¼ cup fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 cup raw cashews, finely ground
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Boil lasagna noodles for 10 minutes. While that’s cooking, combine the tofu, lemon juice, oregano, parsley, ¼ cup of the basil, and ½ cup of the cashews into a food processor. Blend until smooth and add salt and pepper to taste.
To assemble, start by coating the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish with olive oil and top with a layer of marinara sauce. Next lay five noodles in the pan, add a third of the spinach, and spread a third of the tofu mixture on top of that. Repeat two more times. Add the remaining marinara sauce, cover the dish with foil, and bake for one hour. Cool for 15 minutes and top the cooked lasagna with the remaining ½ cup of ground cashews (to replace Parmesan cheese) and ½ cup of fresh basil.
Another great thing about this recipe is that it can be assembled a day or two in advance, leaving you more time to socialize with your guests!
When it comes time for dessert, you can keep things healthy with a pallet cleansing fruit salad made with a beautiful assortment of your favorite fruits or a sweet sorbet. If you prefer something more decadent, try making one of Angela’s delicious vegan pies.
What are some of your favorite meatless meals to serve on holidays? Share your ideas in the comments or with a #GoodMatters tweet! Bon appetite!