If you’re a vegetarian, the holidays can be downright depressing. With turkey and ham being the main event at Thanksgiving and Christmas, vegetarians are often relegated to sorry side dishes: sad salads, boring mashed potatoes and tubes of cranberry sauce.
We can do better than that! Here are three hearty, gorgeous, meal-worthy vegetarian dishes for the holidays. Full of color and nutrition and easy to make, these dishes will soon become staples at your family’s Thanksgiving table.
Sweet and spicy sweet potatoes
Say bye-bye to sweet potato casserole and hello to roasted sweet potatoes! Roasting vegetables brings out their natural sweetness — so no need for added sugar (or, um, marshmallows).
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- In a large bowl, toss prepared potatoes in olive oil, cinnamon, paprika, and salt to taste (1-2 tsp.).
- Evenly distribute on a parchment-covered baking sheet.
- Roast for 20 minutes, stir, then roast another 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are fork-tender.
- Serve immediately!
We like the mix of cinnamon and paprika to give these veggies a hint of sweetness and kick of spice — but feel free to try one of the following combos:
- For a spin on “candied” sweet potatoes: 1 tsp. cinnamon and 1-2 Tb. maple syrup. Use coconut oil instead of olive oil for added sweetness.
- For herby, more savory potatoes: 1/2 tsp. Herbes de Provence, salt and pepper
- For a spicier kick: 1 tsp. cinnamon + 1 tsp. cumin + 1/2 tsp. chili powder + 1/2 tsp. paprika and/or cayenne.
These potatoes taste great cold, and would be a great addition to a vegan Thanksgiving brunch with scrambled tofu!
Festive Holiday Salad with Maple Dijon Vinaigrette
Don’t mistake this salad for the typical vegetarian side dish. Packed with protein, color and substance, this salad is so delicious and filling it can easily be the main event. This dressing makes enough for extra, and is delicious on top of roasted root veggies!
10 cups baby spinach
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup organic, shelled edamame
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 Tb. dijon mustard
2 Tb. water
1 tsp. cinnamon
Dash of salt and pepper
- In a food processor or blender, blend together all salad dressing ingredients except water until creamy and emulsified. Add water to adjust to your particular preferences — we like it nice and rich!
- In a large serving bowl, toss together salad ingredients and 1/2 dressing. Add more dressing if you’d like.
- Serve immediately! If you want to make this ahead of your event, store salad dressing separately so you don’t end up with the dreaded soggy salad.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Caramelized Honey
Brussel sprouts get a bad wrap — but you’ll be popping these sweet, salty, crispy little sprouts like candy! The secret here is the caramelized honey — browning it gives it a deeper, richer, almost nutty flavor. You could easily whisk all of the dressing ingredients together and call it a day… but you’d be missing out!
1 lb. Brussel Sprouts, washed and halved
2 Tb. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 Tb. honey
1/4 c. fresh orange juice
1 tsp. orange zest
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
Dash of salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Place sprouts on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, turning the sprouts every 10 minutes, so they brown evenly.
- While the sprouts are roasting, prepare the vinaigrette by placing the honey into a small saucepan. Cook on medium heat until it begins to foam, then reduce heat slightly and cook for several minutes, tilting the pan occasionally, until the honey begins to caramelize (it will turn slightly brown).
- Remove pan from heat and pour in the orange juice and zest. Stir to dissolve the honey and place into a separate bowl to cool.
- Once cool, whisk in salt, pepper and olive oil until thickened.
- Drizzle vinaigrette over sprouts, toss and serve warm.
You might want to double this recipe — these sprouts are seriously addictive!
So veg-ify your next family get-together with these delicious vegetarian dishes! You may just convince your loved ones to go veg — or at least give Brussel Sprouts a try.
Photo credit: Sarah M.