It’s that time of year again. It’s the time of year when invites to holiday parties start coming in and don’t wrap up until the new year arrives.
For folks with diverse eaters in their friend groups, this could mean an invite to an all-vegan holiday party. Fear not, meat and dairy eaters, vegan food is delicious and accessible for even the most hesitant eaters.
“I just got invited to a vegan holiday party? What can I bring?” The answers are below.
Grab your favorite rolls and whip up some garlic confit. While the process is labor intensive at the start (factor in peeling multiple heads of garlic), the cooking process is simple: low and slow until the garlic becomes soft, spreadable, and caramelized. The recipe calls for just olive oil and so, so much garlic.
Take it from Martha Stewart:
Or, try some pesto bread, pomegranate lentil salad and butternut squash hummus. These quick and easy recipes by Caitlin Shoemaker are not only vegan but simple and tasty.
Sauces, Sides, and Vegetables
Lucky for everyone, OceanSpray’s iconic canned, jellied cranberry sauce is not only delicious but naturally vegan. This may seem obvious – it’s cranberries after all – but many jellied products can contain gelatin, which is derived from animal bones and skin. This is why your vegan friends say no to jello shots at the bar (that, or they are the rare type of people with the common sense many of us lack during a night out).
If you feel like taking a stab at making your cranberry sauce (how could you improve something that is already perfect?), check out Bon Appetit’s foolproof recipe, featuring a splash of orange liqueur to impress the foodies in attendance.
Mashed potatoes need only a dash of substitution from traditional recipes to become vegan omit the milk and butter for their non-dairy, vegan alternatives. For more in-depth guidance, check out The Kitchn’s guide to creamy vegan mashed potatoes.
Brussel sprouts. While it may be tempting to add a hunk of bacon to this savory side dish, keep your eye on the prize. Holy Cow Vegan has a recipe for delicious roasted brussel sprouts packed with fall flavors. Bonus option, finish them off with a balsamic glaze to add some sweet tang to the dish.
Stuffing is another secretly already kind of vegan side dish. If opting to make a mix out of a box, make dairy and meat-free substitutions as needed. If making from scratch, check out this guide from Love and Lemons.
For mushroom gravy, always a hit, look no further than this easy-to-follow recipe on TikTok.
Put the tofurkey away, there are better options now. For a quick-and-easy main, look no further than the health section of most grocery stores. Meat replacements have come a long way, and brands like Gardein have plant-based “turkey” roasts ready to be thrown in the oven.
Looking to go all in on vegetables? Try a roasted celeriac, as described by Cult Flav. The recipe does call for honey, which many consider non-vegan-friendly, but can be substituted for maple syrup or other natural sweeteners.
For a one-stop guide to vegan holiday main dishes, check out this video recipe for a vegan holiday nut roast by Cheap Lazy Vegan.
Adventurous home chefs may want to tackle a bigger project. In that case, look no further than using seitan, a wheat gluten meat substitute, to create a holiday ham dupe. Check out Fly Vegan Recipes for the scoop.
Plenty of pie fillings are already vegan, so the major substitution for a vegan pie often comes down to the crust. Luckily, vegan butter works much like its dairy counterpart and works well in a homemade pie crust. Those without the luxury of time may opt for a store-bought pie crust, which a surprising number are already vegan, like Simple Truth Organic’s nine-inch pie crust. Another option is to go the smashed graham cracker route for an easy and tasty pie crust.
It’s a holiday gathering, so why not just grab a bottle of wine on the way and call it a day? Trick question! Many wines are not vegan or vegetarian, despite being derived from grapes.
To make sure, check the label. If it says “unrefined” or “unfiltered” or has a “certified vegan” stamp, you’re in the clear. Or check the ingredients for casein (milk protein), isinglass (fish bladder extract), and egg whites, which are all commonly used in wine production.
Happy holidays to you and your vegan friends!