vegetable christmas treeRaise your hand if you’ve ever had a vegetarian or vegan show up at your holiday table and you had NO idea what to feed them.

Is your hand in there air? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Although meatless diets are becoming more popular, especially amongst college students and twenty-somethings, older generations still seem to struggle a bit with exactly what vegans and vegetarians can eat. Is yogurt OK? Eggs? Tofu? Do they only eat salads? These are perfectly normal and valid questions, and probably ones any vegan has heard before.

So what do you do when your college kid comes home for the holidays, possibly with a new animal-free beau in tow? Here are some helpful hints and recipes to please any vegan or vegetarian who may show up at your holiday table this season. And we’re willing to bet you’ll be swayed to incorporate more plant-based dishes into your diet once you get a taste of these yummy, meatless meals!

  • Don’t be shy–ask them what their favorite meals are or what types of dishes they like! Most plant-based eaters LOVE talking about their diet and will be happy that you’re looking for insight into what to prepare for them. You could always ask for them to email their favorite recipe, or even buy the needed ingredients and cook it with them when they arrive
  • Put some effort into those veggies! Vegetarians should have vegetables be the main base of their dishes–and canned, frozen, steamed or bland servings just don’t cut it. Roasting, sautéing and heavily seasoning veggie dishes makes all the difference and they can be easily tossed with pasta, grains or beans for a hearty dish. Simple, yet tasty!
  • Quinoa is always a safe bet. This yummy, healthy, pasta-like grain is extremely versatile and you can find lots of recipes that use it. Poured over a green salad, put into a soup, molded into veggie burgers  or tossed with fresh veggies, quinoa is always a quick and easy plant-based choice
  • Go through some of your cookbooks–you’ll probably be surprised at how many recipes may be veg-friendly or how easily they can be made vegan. Things like soups are usually vegetarian or can be made so by subbing vegetable broth, or simply by omitting meats and subbing in beans or grains
  • When in doubt, head to a Whole Foods market. Most of them have a section that is full of vegan staples like mock meats, tofu, vegan cheeses and spreads. Use these products as substitutes to some of your own favorite meals
  • Check out some really great plant-based blogs for meal inspiration.,,, and are just a few of some of the most popular, but there are thousands out there now!’

Below are a few examples of super simple meatless dishes everyone will love!  And check out BA50 stocking stuffer guide for some great suggestions for your favorite vegan (scroll down to the bottom of the list!)

Thai Quinoa Salad

2 cups cooked quinoa

2 cups chopped red cabbage

1 1/4 cups cooked edamame

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 cup shredded carrot

1 cup cilantro, chopped

1 cup green onion, chopped

1/2 cup red onion, chopped

1/4 cup peanut butter (or sunbutter)

4 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce or tamari

1 tbsp grated ginger

  • Mix together all ingredients except for peanut butter, soy sauce and ginger
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook peanut butter and soy sauce, stirring continuously for 2 minutes
  • Add ginger and cook for another minute or two or until the sauce thickens
  • Stir sauce into quinoa mixture. Toss all together and chill before serving


Butternut Squash, White Bean & Kale Stew

5 cups vegetable broth

1 28 oz. can organic fire roasted tomatoes

5 cups cooked (or canned) navy beans

1 bunch kale, torn into pieces

1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 cup chopped fresh basil

6 cloves garlic, minced

4 Tbsp olive oil

1 cayenne pepper, minced

3 Tbsp paprika

3 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp dried basil

2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

  • In a large saucepan, cook cayenne pepper and onions in olive oil over medium heat for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently until golden
  • Add red bell pepper, paprika, oregano, cumin, dried basil, sea salt and black pepper and continue cooking and stirring for 5 more minutes
  • Add all remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover
  • Cook, covered, on medium/low heat for 30 minutes




Holiday Cooking For Your Favorite Vegan was last modified: by

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