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Preparing a holiday meal can be intimidating for anyone, especially if your guests prefer turkey to tofu. And trying to convince a mixed crowd that they’ll love a vegan meal can create even more headaches. For menu inspiration, we turned to Priscilla Feral, president of the animal advocacy organization Friends of Animals and co-author of its first cookbook, Dining with Friends.
“I have relatives who wouldn’t consider themselves vegetarians by any stretch of the imagination, but they rave about the meals I serve, actually preferring them to their usual holiday routine,” Feral says.
With their wide appeal and traditional feel, these recipes, adapted from Dining with Friends, are perfect for the holidays. Your guests will love the rich flavors of the Holiday Cashew Nut Roast, which goes wonderfully with the orange-broccoli dish. “Even people who normally aren’t keen on broccoli love this preparation,” Feral says.
She suggests making the Boiled Spice Cake the day before to free up time on the big day. “This is a very traditional holiday cake. It’s not overly sweet, but it looks festive and tastes delicious.”
Your friends and family will agree!
BOILED SPICE CAKE
Serves 16 –Vegan
Boiling the sugar, raisins and spices produces a wonderfully flavored cake that’s bound to become a holiday favorite. Dress it up with the lemony glaze just before serving for the perfect finish to this festive dinner.
3 cups unbleached white flour
11/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
11/2 cups sugar
11/2 cups raisins
11/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup vegan margarine
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1. To make Cake: Preheat oven to 350F. Sift together flour, baking powder and baking soda in bowl. Spray 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray, and set aside.
2. Combine sugar, raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, 1/2 tsp. salt and 11/2 cups water in large saucepan. Bring to boil, and cook 5 minutes, or until raisins plump up. Remove from heat, and stir in margarine.
3. When margarine has melted, add flour mixture and pecans to saucepan. Blend well, and pour into pan. Bake 35 to 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan, then invert onto wire rack and cool completely.
4. To make Glaze: Whisk lemon juice into confectioners’ sugar. Pour over cooled cake. Decorate with whole pecans, if desired.
PER SERVING: 391 CAL; 4G PROT; 11.5G TOTAL FAT (2G SAT. FAT); 72G CARB; 0MG CHOL; 259MG SOD; 1G FIBER; 49G SUGARS
SPICED ORANGE BROCCOLI
Vegan – 30 minutes or fewer
The combination of garlic, shallots, citrus and a dash of red pepper flakes gives this broccoli sauté a fresh, lively flavor—you’ll be making this recipe long after the holidays are over.
4 Tbs. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced (about 4 tsp.)
2 shallots, minced (about 1/3 cup)
zest of 2 oranges (about 3 Tbs.)
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 large bunches broccoli florets, chopped
2/3 cup orange juice
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1. Sauté olive oil, garlic, shallots, orange zest and red pepper flakes in large skillet over medium heat. Stir frequently for 5 minutes, or until garlic and shallots are soft.
2. Add broccoli to pan, and sauté 1 minute. Add orange juice, vinegar and salt. Cover pan, and steam 3 to 4 minutes, or until broccoli is tender. Drizzle with sesame oil, and serve.
PER SERVING: 112 CAL; 4G PROT; 7.5G TOTAL FAT (1G SAT. FAT); 10G CARB; 0MG CHOL; 176MG SOD; 4G FIBER; 5G SUGARS
HOLIDAY CASHEW NUT ROAST
Serves 8 – Vegan
With a taste reminiscent of stuffing, this is perfect for a holiday buffet. Layered eggplant adds a contrasting texture to the nuts and elevates this hearty casserole to an eye-popping entrée. Serve with cranberry sauce and gravy (try the one on p. 70) for a traditional experience.
2 medium-sized eggplants, sliced
6 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup brown rice
2 cups raw cashew pieces, coarsely chopped
1 medium-sized onion, chopped (about 11/2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp.)
3 large tomatoes
6 slices rye bread, toasted and crushed into crumbs
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tsp. brewer’s yeast
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to broil. Brush eggplant slices with 2 Tbs. oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Place on baking sheet coated with cooking spray, and broil 5 to 7 minutes. Turn eggplant slices, and broil 5 minutes more, or until slices are tender and light brown. Set aside, and reduce oven to 350F.
2. Cook rice according to package directions, and set aside. Meanwhile, heat remaining 4 Tbs. oil in large skillet over medium heat. Sauté cashews, onion and garlic in oil 5 to 7 minutes, or until onion is softened and browned. Chop one tomato, and add to skillet; cook 3 minutes more.
3. Transfer cashew mixture to large bowl. Stir in cooked rice, breadcrumbs, broth, brewer’s yeast, basil, thyme and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Coat 9×13-inch oval baking dish with cooking spray. Line bottom of dish with half of broiled eggplant slices. Spoon in cashew mixture. Top with remaining eggplant slices. Slice remaining 2 tomatoes, and layer down center of casserole to form a broad, bright red stripe.
5. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until top is browned and filling is hot. Serve immediately.
PER SERVING: 422 CAL; 12G PROT; 25G TOTAL FAT (4G SAT. FAT); 40G CARB; 0MG CHOL; 273MG SOD; 9G FIBER; 9G SUGARS