3 Tasty Recipes to Take Your Traditional Holiday Meal Vegan

It’s holiday season again! And for vegan foodies who are always looking for new recipes to try but still want some familiarity, The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and The First Mess: Vibrant Plant-Based Recipes to Eat Well through the Seasons by Laura Wright are two great cookbooks to use.

I chose the recipes here for the long Thanksgiving break, and I would definitely cook them again for other holidays. The main portion of the meal is the stuffed “burgers” with a side of traditional stuffing with sides of vinegar potatoes with aioli. For dessert, pumpkin pie with homemade crust from Superfun. (If you want fewer carbs in your meal, I’d suggest cranberry sauce and a butternut squash, kale, and quinoa bake as your sides.)

Covers for The Superfun Times Holiday Cookbook and First Mess

Little, Brown and Company/Avery

Stuffed Thanksgiving Burgers

From The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for pan-frying
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced medium
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus a pinch
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced (I used button mushrooms since they were cheaper)
  • 2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage (I substituted 2 teaspoons dried savory since I’d run out of thyme and sage cooking other recipes that week)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups (¾ inch) baguette cubes (I used sourdough, but use a gluten-free bread as you need)
  • ½ to 1 cup vegetable broth
  • ½ cup hazelnuts
  • 1 cup cooked brown or green lentils, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries

For serving:

  • 6 sourdough rolls (I used dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free buns)
  • Arugula, kale, or other autumn green
  • Vegan mayo (I recommend Fabanaise, especially if you have a soy intolerance or allergy)

For this recipe, you definitely need a cutting board and knife, of course, as well as a cast-iron pan and a blender. It calls for a mixing bowl as well, but since I hate doing dishes and don’t have a dishwasher, mixing everything in the pan is an easy alternative.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan. Sauté the onion until translucent, then add the mushrooms, celery, garlic, pepper, and herbs and sauté together for about 7 to 10 minutes. Add another tablespoon of the oil and the bread cubes. At this point, the bread needs to be tossed so that the cubes are fully coated with the oil and mixture and browned for about 5 minutes. The broth is next—add only a half cup to start. I ended up having to use about ¾ cup in order for the bread to evenly soak it up. At this point, it looks and smells very much like stuffing. If it looks too dry, you can add more broth. I liked how the St. Agnes sourdough I chose worked with this recipe, but if you prefer either the baguette or a gluten-free bread, go for it!

Once the above is done, let the mixture simmer while you purée the cooked lentils in a blender so that they’re smooth. Then, add the mixture from the pan to the blender. The book says to pulse-blend everything 10 to 15 times so that it’s not overmixed; you still want to see bits of mushroom and celery, and the lentils are perfect for making it look more like a burger. However, my blender wasn’t working especially well, so I had to do it longer. You may need to use a mixing bowl and blend it in batches.

When the mixture has been blended to the appropriate consistency, add the cranberries and the chopped hazelnuts and mix in with a spoon. Then, let it rest in the fridge for about 15 minutes before making into patties. To make them, add oil to the same pan from before and use your hands to ball up and then flatten bits of mix into a 1½-inch-thick patty. Sear on each side for about 4 minutes each on medium high.

Though the recipe says to use greens and (vegan) mayo, I’m not a big fan of too much mayo on my burgers. I usually toast the bun and maybe add a thin layer of mayo. Arugula was a good pairing for this burger, but I’d also add avocados and tomatoes for the next time I make them, and possibly some mustard. Of the four recipes, this one took the most amount of energy and time.

Super Traditional Stuffing

From The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook. Stuffing is pretty much my favorite holiday food besides mashed potatoes, so I couldn’t want to try this recipe, and it didn’t disappoint.

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced medium
  • 3 celery ribs, sliced thin
  • ½ cup thinly sliced carrot
  • 2 teaspoons salt, plus a pinch extra
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 cups country white bread, cubed (or use bread of your choice)
  • 1½ to 2 cups vegetable broth

The first thing to do is to preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish. While the oven is preheating, heat up the oil in a 6-quart pot. Sauté the onion, carrot, celery, and salt until the carrot is soft, which should take about 10 minutes. Then, add the herbs, onion powder, and pepper, plus more salt to taste. Again, the recipe calls for a mixing bowl, but a 6-quart pot is big enough to mix in the bread cubes once the pot is cooled.

After adding the bread cubes, add the broth ¼ cup at a time, stirring in between. Make sure to not let the bread get too soggy, but it should be evenly soaked. Transfer the mixture to the casserole pan. The recipe says to cover with aluminum foil, cook for 20 minutes, remove it, and cook for another 10. However, I detest using aluminum foil in baking, so I just baked it uncovered for 30 minutes, and it was fine—delicious, in fact.

Crispy Salt and Vinegar Potatoes with Lemon Garlic Aioli

From The First Mess. This is an interesting alternative to mashed potatoes and goes perfectly with the burgers.

For the aioli:

  • ½ cup raw pine nuts, soaked 2 hours
  • 3 tablespoons filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Pinch of sea salt

For the potatoes:

  • 1 pound mini potatoes (I used larger potatoes cut in half)
  • 1½ cups white-wine vinegar
  • 1½ cups filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Minced chives, for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. To prepare the potatoes, place them in a medium saucepan and cover with the white-wine vinegar and filtered water. Over medium-high heat, bring the liquid to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 17 minutes. Drain and dry, then place the potatoes on the baking sheet. The recipe says to let them cool, then flatten with your hand just enough so that the flesh doesn’t squeeze out. I chose to make them into wedges given their size.

Brush them with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, then roast them in the oven for 12 minutes. Flip them, brush with the remaining oil, and roast for another 12 minutes until they are browned and crispy. While the potatoes are roasting, prepare the aioli by blending all the ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth and creamy. (You may have to scrape the sides a couple of times.) Move the mixture to a small bowl, cover, and place in the fridge to firm up. Serve with the hot potatoes. Any leftover aioli can go on the burger buns in place of the mayo. These are delightfully tasty.

The finished meal

Clockwise from upper left, open-face burger, stuffing, and potato wedges. Also pictured: the aioli in a tub.

Pumpkin Pie

From The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook. This is a delightful crust—probably the best one I’ve made from a recipe.

Pastry pie crust:

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ cup olive oil, partially frozen (make sure to do this ahead of time —may take about an hour)
  • 2 to 5 tablespoons ice water
  • 1½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Mix together the flour and salt in a mixing bowl, then drizzle the coconut oil to form crumbs. Quickly add the olive oil by tablespoonful until the mix is pebbly. Mix 2 tablespoons of water and the apple cider vinegar in a different bowl and add to the flour mix with a wooden spoon to stir. Add more ice water as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you can make the mixture into a ball. It’s okay to use your hands for this, just be careful to not overmix.

Press the dough into a disk about 1 inch thick and place between two 14-inch-long pieces of wax (or parchment) paper. Use a rolling pin to uniformly flatten it to about ¼ inch thick. Refrigerate for a bit while you make the filling, then press the crust into a 9-inch pie plate. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Filling:

  • 3 cups (2 cans) canned pumpkin or other sweet winter squash
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup nondairy milk
  • 4 teaspoons canola oil (I use grapeseed or sunflower)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon agar powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground gloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt

In a blender, pulse together the ingredients, then pour the mix into the prepared pie dish and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 to 65 minutes. Check partway through to make sure the crust isn’t browning too much; if it is, apply a crust protector. Cool for 30 minutes and then refrigerate for 4 hours before serving, which allow it to firm. I didn’t have agar powder, so I tried to use guar gum. I may have not used the correct amount, since it came out a bit gooey.


What are your favorite vegan twists on traditional holiday foods?

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