It's not easy being vegetarian, or feeding a vegetarian, during the holidays. Almost every dish has meat or some animal byproduct. But instead of having just one plate at the Thanksgiving table with a Boca burger, try something new. Here are a few meal ideas to get you started.
Indian Food for Non-Indian Holidays
In India, the holidays Dusshera, which celebrates the victory of good over evil, and Diwali, the festival of lights, are celebrated in the fall and winter months. These holidays are taken very seriously and can last for days. However, western holidays like Christmas and New Years are becoming increasingly popular in India as well. So what do Indians eat for Christmas? This nutrela keema recipe makes a great holiday dish. You could add a side of tandoori sweet potatoes or a warming bowl of Indian winter soup. Why not try both?
The celebration of Kwanzaa is a pan-African holiday for people who originated from the continent, no matter where they live now. It was started as a movement to get back to family roots. If you would like to get back to African food roots, these North African-style beans can be served on couscous to make a complete entree. You could add a side of this West African sweet potato-peanut bisque. For dessert, you can serve the Moroccan cookie called sellou, which is made from sesame seeds and almonds.
Chinese New Year
The Chinese follow a lunisolar calendar, in which the dates indicate both the moon phases and the time of the solar year. The first day of the year often falls in mid-February, though this year it's January 31. The Chinese New Year begins on the new moon, or lunar new year, and lasts until the Lantern Festival 15 days later. To celebrate the holiday, try making the joy luck supper. In this recipe, the joy luck supper includes sesame noodles, bok choy, tofu and black beans, and mashed sweet potatoes. If that seems intimidating, a savory helping of Buddha's delight will do the trick, too.
Wholesome, down-home southern cooking doesn't have to be out of reach for vegetarians. If you're thinking that soul food is only greasy chicken and green beans cooked in lard, you're wrong. The Vegetarian Times created a holiday meal plan that brings the South to your kitchen. The meal boasts butternut squash-Bartlett pear soup, citrus collards with raisins, smothered seitan medallions in mixed mushroom gravy, and cumin-cayenne mashed potatoes. We'll let the dessert be a surprise. But here's a hint: it's chocolate.
For more vegetarian ideas for this holiday season, check out The Vegetarian Times list of holiday meals.