Do you celebrate, recognize or enjoy Christmas?
In the lands largely touched by Christianity (and some unexpected regions too as evidenced through my December travels) Christmas seems to be truly global in its various manifestations. Whether it’s a snowy cold holiday in the Northern Hemisphere, a bbq beach affair in the Southern Hemisphere or festively decorated palm trees in other parts, one cannot seem to escape the trappings of the modern-day interpretation of this major year-end holiday.
One of the crucial features for any holiday is iconic food. For many, this has meant meat at Christmas: turkey, goose, pig, ham and pigeon (at least in Morocco). But what of us meatless brethren? Well now more than ever it seems the choices of delicious, decadent and nutritious options are numerous.
When it comes to new and innovative recipes, Google remains your faithful friend and there continues to be a plethora of vegan/vegetarian cookbooks available. Here are some ways to easily make meatless meals interesting.
- Roast your vegetables. This intensifies the flavour and the side benefit is that the oven helps to heat your home. Mix with some form of protein and grain then bake, stew or simmer in a soup.
- Cheese it up. Whether it be dairy or non-dairy based, this fermented product always makes a mediocre dish better.
- Spice up your life. This time of year is when ginger, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg get over time action in my kitchen. Besides warming to the body they are also said to aid with digestion. Add them to both sweet and savoury dishes.
- Buy if you can. There are numerous seitan (wheat meat) and soy based products on the market that mimic traditional holiday meat dishes.
- Or make your own. Use seasonal herbs to flavour legumes, tofu and wheat gluten to create your own protein rich items.
- Go nuts. A little goes a long way and can also be added to both sweet and savoury dishes.
Here are some things I’m going to try this year.
- sweet potato lasagne with layers of cashew cheese, spinach and tomato sauce
- brussel sprouts, coconut bacon, walnuts and vegan blue cheese bake
- roast vegetable spread (broccoli, red pepper and zucchini) for sandwiches or served as a canapé
- holiday pie with pumpkin dressing base, tofu with turkey seasonings middle, topped with mashed potatoes and perhaps served with a side of cranberry rhubarb mustard sauce (or combine the same to make a holiday veggie burger)
- and the sweets! gingerbread creations, mincemeat tarts and filled chocolate truffles
- and an assortment of goods made with non-lacto/ovo eggnog beverage: Nog recipe ideas
Won’t you join me?