The Best Plant-based Holiday Recipes for Vegans, Flexitarians, and Meat Eaters
The holiday dinner table is a place for laughs, good cheer, and home cooking, but it can also be a place to broaden the culinary horizons of your friends, family members, and loved ones by serving some celebratory plant-based recipes.
There are many misconceptions about plant-based, vegan, and vegetarian cooking, but these are easily dispelled when you serve skeptics delicious food. Any comfort food recipe can be reinvented without animal products, and the same techniques and ingredients can be used to reimagine traditional holiday meals.
In preparation for the joyous season ahead, start honing your skills by cooking up some plant-based holiday recipes that every type of eater will enjoy.
Butternut Squash and Pear Crostini
Elegance made easy. This butternut squash and pear crostini appetizer from Fork in the Kitchen is sure to impress. A pleasant balance of salty and sweet, the butternut squash, Cheddar cheese (feel free to use a plant-based alternative), and pear complement each other nicely.
Candied Ginger Sweet Potato Muffins
Does anything say “festive holiday cheer” like fresh-from-the-oven candied ginger sweet potato muffins? Bursting with flavor, these muffins are perfect for family brunches or for post-meal noshing. Barley and rice flours, along with flax meal, add a special texture and feel to the muffins, while the sweet potato and pumpkin purees and candied ginger contribute a spicy sweetness that’s simply addicting.
Cranberry Poached Pears
Let the aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove swirl through your kitchen with this festive recipe for cranberry poached pears. Throw all the ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil, and simmer the pears for an hour. Take the pears off the heat and let them stew in the cranberry mixture for another 30 minutes. Dessert is served!
Coconut Brussels Sprouts Gratin
A spin on a classic, this recipe for coconut Brussels sprouts gratin from Bon Appetit adds a tropical flare that your holiday guests will ponder fondly long after the meal is over. Using coconut milk and Brussels sprouts instead of cream and potatoes makes this a healthier and plant-based alternative to everyone’s favorite side dish.
Holiday Stuffed Squash
The food you serve for the holidays should strike a balance between festive and delicious; well, this recipe for vegan stuffed butternut squash from Alpha Foodie has both points covered. The stuffing calls for a mix of toasty seasonal staples like chestnuts, cranberries, and chestnut mushrooms, along with a seasoning blend of cinnamon, sage, and parsley.
To make a traditional Wellington involves wrapping an animal protein—either beef or paté—in puff pastry, then baking until golden brown. This vegan version of mushroom Wellington created by Delicious Everyday, replaces the meat component with Portobello mushrooms and caramelized onions. The puff pastry gets its dramatic golden sheen from a vegan egg wash consisting of aquafaba (chickpea water), nut milk, a bit of oil, and some maple syrup.
Vegan Holiday “Ham”
Make a stunning centerpiece for your holiday table with this recipe for maple-glazed vegan holiday ham from Sunny Side Hanne. A base of wheat gluten and chickpea flour is pumped-up with a diverse array of seasonings and ingredients that includes tahini, tomato pasta, maple syrup, nutrition yeast, and ground cloves. The sweet-smoky glaze adds another level of flavor and color, making this one handsome vegan ham.
Vegan Holiday “Roast”
Just because you’re eating plant based or vegan, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a warm and comforting holiday roast. This recipe for vegan holiday roast from Vegan Huggs is as pretty as it is inventive. A combination of wheat gluten, pinto beans, miso paste, and vegan Worcestershire sauce gives this roast a superbly savory flavor, while a glaze of barbecue and teriyaki sauce adds just the right amount of sweetness.
Pomegranate Butternut Squash
Pomegranate seeds add a pop of color, tartness, and crunch that elevates this recipe for creamy mashed butternut squash. Set this side dish down on the holiday table, and let the compliments roll in.
Roasted Garlic Parsnip and Spinach Shepherd’s Pie
The perfect recipe for meat-eaters, vegetarians, and vegans alike, this roasted garlic parsnip and spinach shepherd’s pie will be the main event of any celebratory feast. It’s creamy, savory, and full of interesting textures and flavors. Trust us: this recipe is the ultimate crowd pleaser.
The snickerdoodle is a cozy cookie, and this plant-based version of the snickerdoodle certainly lives up to its reputation. Easy to whip up, these cookies use chia seeds, plant-based milk, and vegan butter, but one can argue that the plant-based version tastes better than the original.
Wishing you and yours a happy and safe plant-based holiday season. If you’re looking for more meatless recipe inspiration for the holidays, check out our recipe gallery.