Updated: Nov 28
As the holiday season approaches, we're all gearing up for gatherings filled with laughter, warmth, and, of course, incredible food. If you're trying to be health conscious around the Holidays, going to gatherings can sometimes be difficult & stressful as these events are typically filled with heavier, animal based foods.
In today's blog post, we're sharing some plant-based options that'll have everyone at your party asking for seconds (and maybe even thirds!). Whether you're a seasoned herbivore or just looking to add a touch of green goodness to your menu, we've got you covered with easy, mouthwatering recipes that will leave your guests wondering why they ever doubted the power of plants.
1. Plant Based Spinach Artichoke Dip (The All Natural Vegan) - Serves 6
2 14oz can artichoke hearts
3 golden potatoes
1 ½ cup frozen spinach the small bag
2 tablespoon cashew butter
2 teaspoon miso paste
8 cloves garlic
¼ cup nutritional yeast
Begin by roughly chopping your potatoes and place in your steamer/pressure cooker and steam for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 425.
While the potatoes are steaming mince 6 of your garlic cloves and the shallot. Sauté with the vegetable broth. Strain and rinse the artichoke hearts and add to the pan. Add frozen spinach.
Once potatoes have finished steaming add them along with 2 garlic cloves, nutritional yeast, cashew butter, and miso paste to a high speed blender and blend until thick and smooth. If you do not have a quality blender you may need to add a splash of vegetable broth to this. Try to do it without the vegetable broth first, because if you add too much this mix can become watery.
Pour cheesy potato sauce into the spinach artichoke pan and allow to thicken slightly. Pour dip into an oven safe dish and bake for 20 minutes, or until the top gets slightly brown.
Serve with pita bread, chips, and fresh vegetables, enjoy!
2. Twice Baked Potatoes with Buffalo Chickpeas & Cauliflower (The First Mess) - serves 8
This super easy appetizer will definitely shock your family when they find out it's totally plant-based. I love the chickpea & cauliflower filling, but you could totally substitute anything - even plant-based meat crumbles if you wish!
8 russet potatoes, scrubbed
grapeseed oil (or any other veggie oil)
1 cup finely chopped shallot (about 2)
2 stalk celery, finely chopped (reserve inner leaves)
1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
2 clove garlic, minced
4 cups small cauliflower florets
2 cup cooked chickpeas
1 cup vegetable stock
1 can crushed tomatoes (fire-roasted)
1/2 cup Buffalo-style hot sauce
Preheat oven to 350°F. Set up the two oven racks in the middle of the oven. Place a baking sheet on the lower rack.
Prick a few holes into the potatoes with the tines of a fork. Lightly brush them on all sides with oil and sprinkle them with salt. Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack above the baking sheet. Bake the potatoes until tender and the skin feels slightly crisp, about 1-1 ½ hours.
While the potatoes are baking, make the buffalo chickpea filling. Heat a deep skillet (with a lid) over medium heat. Drizzle about a teaspoon of oil into the pot. Throw the shallots into the pot and sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the celery and sauté another 2 minutes. Add the paprika and garlic, and stir.
Add the cauliflower and chickpeas to the pot and stir again. Pour in the vegetable stock and stir to combine. Add the tomatoes and Buffalo sauce and stir. Season the mixture with black pepper and bring it to a boil. Let the buffalo chickpea mixture simmer, covered, until the cauliflower is tender, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle them, cut them in half lengthwise. Lay the halves on a parchment lined baking sheet. Scoop out 1 tablespoon or so of potato from each half. You can eat this cooked potato on the spot or save it for another use. Lightly mash the insides of the potatoes with a fork.
Gently spoon the buffalo chickpea mixture into the baked potato halves. Slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake potatoes for another 12-15 minutes, or until the buffalo chickpea filling is hot.
Serve twice baked potatoes hot, topped with extra black pepper, extra hot sauce, chopped parsley, and celery leaves.
3. Plant-based Mashed Potatoes - serves 8
Another shocker for the fam - they'll never believe there's no milk or butter in these! Plus, you can keep them in the crockpot and bring it to the party to plug in and heat up.
3lb gold yukon potatoes, washed & peeled
3 cloves of garlic
24oz Vegetable Broth, (2 cartons)
3 tbs Dairy-Free Butter
¼ c. Unsweetened Dairy-Free Milk
3 stalks of green onions, chopped
Optional: fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme
Salt & Pepper to taste
Cut potatoes in quarters or large sized chunks & place them in the crockpot with veggie broth & garlic cloves.
Cook on high for 2 hours
Drain potatoes, saving ¼ c of the broth
Optional: add some butter / oil to the crockpot & cook the fresh herbs to soften & bring out the flavors
If you have a hand mixer, return potatoes to slow cooker with butter & broth, and mix with hand mixer. If you don’t have a hand mixer, mash the potatoes in a bowl with butter & broth, then return to crockpot.
Add milk, salt, pepper & stir.
Save green onions for a garnish on top
4. Mushroom & Pumpkin Risotto (Lavender and Macarons) - serves 8
Forget pumpkin pie, this mushroom & pumpkin risotto is all you need.
10 oz Shiitake mushroom caps thinly sliced
8 tablespoon olive oil divided
4 cloves garlic finely minced
1.5 c pumpkin puree
6-8 c vegetable broth
2 c Arborio rice
1 c vegan Parmesan cheese grated
2 shallot minced
1.5 teaspoon salt divided
0.5 teaspoon pepper
8 tbsp Italian parsley chopped
Heat 2 tablespoons of Olive oil in a medium skillet and over medium heat.
Add mushrooms and sauté them until mushrooms begin to brown, about 5-7 minutes. Season with ¼ teaspoon of salt, add 1 minced garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Remove pan from the heat and transfer mushrooms to a clean bowl.
In a large bowl whisk together warm vegetable broth and pumpkin puree and set the bowl next to the pan.
Wipe the pan and put it back on heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and sauté shallots for 3-5 minutes until translucent. Add the remaining clove of garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.
Stir in Arborio rice and toast stirring constantly for a few minutes. Pour two cups of pumpkin broth into the rice, add the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt, pepper, give everything a stir and simmer on a medium low heat until rice absorbs all liquid. Continue adding broth, 1-2 ladles at a time until rice is fully cooked. If needed, you may want to add another a cup or two of broth.
Stir in Parmesan cheese, adjust salt and pepper if needed and remove the pan from the heat.
Arrange risotto among serving bowls. Top with sautéed Shiitake, sprinkle with more Parmesan cheese if you like and some chopped parsley
5. Brown Sugar Glazed Tofu (Rabbits & Wolves) - serves 9
"This vegan brown sugar glazed tofu is EVERYTHING! The most perfect holiday main dish ever. Super easy, pretty quick and so dang good."
3 Block(15oz.) Extra firm tofu, pressed
1.5 Cup Maple syrup
0.75 Cup Brown sugar
3 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
0.75 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1.5 Teaspoon Ginger, dried
Preheat oven to 400. Press your tofu before hand at least 15 minutes. The longer the better.
Slice your tofu through the side to make "steaks". Cut into 2-3 slices, depending on how thick you want them. Sprinkle both sides with a few pinches of salt and a pinch of pepper.
Score your tofu steaks on one side. Slice in a crisscross pattern over the entire piece of tofu. Slice pretty deep, but make sure you don't go all the way through.
Place the pieces of tofu onto a baking sheet sprayed with non stick spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Flip the tofu after 15 minutes.
While the tofu is baking, make the glaze. Combine the maple syrup, brown sugar, mustard, cinnamon, ginger and a pinch of salt in a small sauce pan.
Heat on medium, whisk everything together. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low. Continue to whisk, and simmer for another minute until everything has dissolved and has slightly thickened. Remove from heat. It will thicken more as it cools.
Once the tofu has baked for 30 minutes, make sure it is slightly brown and firm and getting a little crisp. Remove from the oven, reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.
Starting with the side of the tofu that has not been scored, generously brush the glaze on top, and the sides. Return to the oven and bake for 5 more minutes.
Then remove from the oven again, flip the tofu over to the side that has been scored. If the cuts have baked back together a bit, cut back into them, then brush the tofu with more glaze, making sure to get the glaze all the way down into the cuts through the tofu.
Bake for another 5 minutes, or until the glaze on the tofu has browned. The glaze will slightly melt off the tofu and on to the pan, this is normal. I like to scoop the super caramelized glaze off the pan and put it on top of the tofu.
Once you remove the tofu from the oven, brush the tops with more glaze. Then serve.
6. Portobello Pot Roast (A Virtual Vegan) - serves 8
The ultimate one-pot family meal - Rich and hearty Vegan Portobello Pot Roast with red wine, herbs & vegetables. They all combine to make a delicious plant-based feast!
1 cup red or white wine
8 large portobello mushrooms sliced into 3/4-inch pieces
2 large onion sliced
4 cloves garlic pressed
6 tablespoons flour if sensitive to gluten use gluten-free flour
2 teaspoon rubbed sage
2 teaspoon dried basil
6 cups | 720mls vegetable broth divided. If you use all the broth it will end up with thin gravy like in my video. I personally prefer to use less and have a thicker gravy. Usually about 500 mls total.
8 large potatoes quartered
8 large carrots cut into 3-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper or lemon pepper to taste
2 sprig fresh rosemary
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (for slow cooker instructions see recipe notes)
In a large saucepan (or a large stovetop to oven like a Dutch Oven , heat 1/4 cup of the wine and add the portobello mushroom slices. Allow them to cook through and brown a bit—you’ll need to keep moving them around and turning them—and then remove from the pan and set aside.
Add the remaining 1/4 cup wine to the pan and add the onion and garlic. Caramelize the onions by stirring them until they wilt and begin to brown. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside.
Mix the flour, sage, and basil together in a small bowl. Stir in 1/4 cup of the broth to create a paste, and pour the mixture into the same pan you used for the mushrooms and onions. While stirring constantly over medium heat, very slowly add the rest of the broth so that you create a gravy or sauce.
When the mixture just starts to boil, turn the heat off and add any additional seasonings you prefer, such dried herbs and black pepper.
Add the potatoes, carrots, salt and pepper, and Worcestershire sauce to the gravy mixture. If more liquid is needed add more broth or some water.
Add the mushrooms and onions to the mixture and ladle into a large ceramic or glass pot or casserole dish with a lid, layering in the sprigs of rosemary and thyme. Place the lid on and put into the oven and bake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and serve hot.
7. The Easiest Plant Based Lasagna (Loving it Vegan) - serves 8
8 cups White Button Mushrooms
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
42 ounces Canned Chopped Tomato
Sea Salt / Black Pepper To Taste
White Sauce (Bechamel):
6 Tablespoons Olive Oil
5 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour
4 cups Soy Milk (960ml) or other non-dairy milk
2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard or other prepared yellow mustard
Salt and Black Pepper to taste
For the Lasagna:
Spinach Lasagna Sheets Oven Ready*
For the Topping:
Slice the mushrooms and then add to a pot with the soy sauce.
Sauté the mushrooms in the soy sauce for a minute. Then cover the pot and leave on medium heat until the mushrooms have released their water.
Then remove the lid from the pot and let some of the water cook off.
When most of the mushroom water has cooked off, add the 3 cans of chopped tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
Turn down the heat and allow to simmer for a few minutes and then add sea salt and black pepper to taste. It’s important that your sauce isn’t too thin by the time you use it, so let it cook off a bit and simmer down before you use it.
Prepare your white sauce. Add the oil to a pot and turn to medium high. As the oil is heating, sift your flour into a bowl. When the oil is hot (but not sizzling) add the flour all at once and stirring continuously fry the flour in the oil for a bit, stirring vigorously. Then add the soy milk all at once and stir continuously until it reaches the desired thickness.
It will usually start to thicken after it has reached boiling point. Bear in mind that the white sauce will continue to thicken after it is removed from the heat.
When the white sauce is a nice thickness, remove from heat, and add salt, black pepper and mustard. Taste test to make sure it has enough salt/pepper.
When both sauces are ready, pre-heat the oven to 430°F (220°C).
Layer the tomato and white sauce with spinach lasagna noodles in an oven safe rectangular dish (9×13).
Start with a layer of tomato sauce, then a layer of spinach lasagna, then tomato sauce followed by white sauce, then spinach lasagna and repeat. End off with a layer of white sauce on the top and finish off with a layer of vegan cheese slices (we used vegan mozzarella slices) and then finish off with sliced tomato and a sprinkle of salt and black pepper.
Place into the oven and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
8. The Best Vegan Apple Crisp (Minimalist Baker) - serves 12
8 medium-large apples (half tart half sweet)
1 lemon, juiced
2/3 cup coconut sugar
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp arrowroot starch or cornstarch (for thickening)
1/4 cup fresh apple juice
3/4 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 pinch nutmeg
1/2c almond meal
1/2c unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2c coconut sugar
1/2 cup muscovado sugar
1/2 cup pecans (roughly chopped)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup melted coconut oil or olive oil (or mix the two 1/2, 1/2)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C).
Peel apples, quarter, remove cores, and use a paring knife to thinly slice lengthwise (see photo).
Add to a large mixing bowl and top with remaining filling ingredients. Toss to combine. Add to a 9×13-inch (or similar size) baking dish (adjust pan size if altering number of servings).
Rinse and wipe out your mixing bowl and add all topping ingredients. Stir to combine, then use fingers to break down any clumps of sugar. Pour over apples in an even layer.
Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour (uncovered) or until the filling is bubbly, the apples are very fork tender (especially in the center of the dish), and the topping is deep golden brown
Best when fresh, though leftovers keep covered in the refrigerator up to 3 days, or in the freezer up to 1 month. Reheat in the microwave or in a 350-degree F (176 C) oven until warmed through.
9. Creamy & Rich Vegan Caramel Pecan Cheesecake (The Banana Diaries) - serves 16
Ginger Pecan Crust:
1.5c cups ginger spice cookie crumbs
1/2 c toasted pecans
1/3 c vegan butter, melted
Brown Sugar Cheesecake Batter:
(4) 8-ounce containers vegan cream cheese, room temperature
1 c dairy free yogurt or dairy free sour cream, room temperature
1 c vegan heavy cream
1/2c granulated sugar
1/2 c light brown sugar
8 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3–4 c boiling water
2 cups (260 g) toasted pecan halves
5 tbsp vegan butter
2/3 cup (160 g) light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup (60 mL) vegan heavy cream or coconut cream
Prep: Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Grease the edges of the pan with a bit of cooking or coconut oil as well, and press parchment paper on the sides of the wall as well. Cheesecake pulls away from the walls when cooling, so this prevents cracking!
Toast the pecans: Preheat the oven to 400F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread all of the pecans onto the baking sheet (from the crust and the pecan pie filling). Toast for 7-8 minutes, or until aromatic. Remove from the oven, and set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Keep the oven preheated.
Make the crust: In a food processor, pulse together the ginger cookies and pecans until mixed. Then add in the vegan butter, and pulse again until it becomes a sticky crumb. Press the crumbs onto the bottom of the springform pan and up the walls. Place the pan into the freezer to chill for 5 minutes before baking. Then poke a few holes into the bottom of the crust, and place the springform pan into the oven with a baking sheet underneath it to prevent any drips. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside while you prepare the filling.
Make the cheesecake filling: In a large food processor, stand mixer with whisk attachment, or large bowl with hand mixer, cream together the cream cheese and dairy free yogurt until smooth. Add in the brown sugar, sugar, heavy vegan cream, vanilla, and cornstarch. Cream together again until smooth. Pour the cheesecake filling into the springform pan, and smooth the top.
Create the water bath: Be ready to move to the next step immediately after finishing this step. Make sure that you boil the 3-4 cups water prior to pouring the water into the pan. Pour the boiling water into the pan.
Bake the cheesecake: Carefully place the baking sheet into the oven on the low rack. Then place the cheesecake onto a separate baking sheet, and onto the middle rack and quickly close the oven to bake for 30 minutes. The cheesecake will need to continue baking after, but we bake the cheesecake for 30 minutes first BEFORE adding the pecan pie cheesecake so that it bakes evenly and thoroughly. While the cheesecake is baking for its first part, make the pecan pie filling.
Make the pecan caramel topping: In a small saucepan on medium low heat, melt the vegan butter and brown sugar together until the brown sugar is nearly melted (being careful not to burn the sugar. This should take about 3-5 minutes. Then reduce the heat to low, and add in the cinnamon and heavy cream. Continue stirring vigorously until the cream combines with the sugar butter mixture. Add in the toasted pecan halves, and stir to combine.
When the first 30 minutes of baking are done: Carefully remove the cheesecake from the oven, and spoon the pecan pie topping on top of the cheesecake. DON’T turn off the oven. Spread the topping to the edges of the cheesecake.
Bake the pecan pie cheesecake: Place the cheesecake back into the oven to bake for another 45-50 minutes.
Cool: Once baked, turn OFF the oven, and slightly crack the door. Allow the cheesecake to cool in the cracked oven for 1 hour.
Chill the cheesecake: Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool at room temperature for 15 minutes. Then place the cheesecake into the fridge to chill for 3-4 hours, or overnight.
Serve and enjoy! Store any leftover cheesecake in an airtight container and in the fridge for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
10. Vegan Dinner Rolls - Nora Cooks (serves 24)
2 cups unsweetened soy milk*
2 tablespoons instant rapid rise yeast*
1/4 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons vegan butter, softened
5-5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons melted vegan butter
Warm the soy milk in the microwave for a minute or two until warm, but not too hot or it will kill the yeast. Think bath water temperature.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl), add the warm milk, yeast and sugar. Give it a little stir with a spoon, and let sit for 3 minutes. The mixture should become foamy. If it doesn't, start again with fresh yeast.
Now add the softened vegan butter, 4 cups of flour and the salt. Use the dough hook and turn the mixer on low, mixing until all the flour is incorporated (Or mix with a spoon and knead by hand, see Notes). Add 1/2 cup of flour at a time, until a ball of dough is formed and the dough is pulling away from the sides of the bowl. It should be slightly sticky and soft, not too dry. Knead with the dough hook for about 5 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover with a towel. Let it rise for about 30 minutes in a warm place until it's about doubled in size.
After 30 minutes, punch down the dough gently. To make rounded rolls, pat the dough into a large rectangle on a lightly floured surface and cut into 4 long strips. Next, cut those strips into 6 squares to make them even. To make them as smooth as possible, pull the seams downward so the top is smooth and place the less smooth side down. Then you will end up with very pretty rolls! You can also simply pinch off pieces of the dough and try to make them as round as possible.
Place the rolls on a quarter baking sheet or 9x13 inch baking dish, touching each other. Cover with the towel again and let rise for another 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Remove the towel and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown and cooked in the middle. If the tops get too brown, use a piece of foil to cover until they are done.
Remove from the oven and immediately brush with melted vegan butter. Serve and enjoy! Keep leftovers in a covered container or ziplock bag for about 3 days. They can also be frozen.
Will you try out any of these recipes at your next gathering? I'd love to hear how they worked out for you. Get in touch with me and let me know!
Facebook: Stephanie Lee Genco
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