Kirsten Kaminski is the author of Vegan Holiday Cooking – 60 Meatless, Dairy-Free Recipes Full of Festive Flavors (read our review of the book here) and the creator of The Tasty K – a vegan food and lifestyle blog. In this article, she shares her top 8 tips for veganizing your holidays.

Tip 1: Plan a menu

For things to run smoothly during the holidays it’s best to plan a bit ahead. What kind of dishes do you want to make? Veganize your favorite childhood recipes or try something new? Do any of the guests have an allergy, if so – which ingredients need to be avoided? Whatever you end up making, a little preparation will get you a long way to create a holiday menu that everyone will enjoy.

Tip 2: Focus on the veg

If you’re going for a more traditional feast, plan your dishes around a beautiful succulent centerpiece. There are so many beautiful creations out there to replace a meaty main like Mushroom Wellington, nut roasts or bean loaves.

Alternatively you could also always go for a store-bought vegan centerpiece like tofurky, if it’s available in your area, but this might not be to everyone’s taste around the holiday table.

For beautiful veg-filled mains there are several vegetables that can be substituted for meat in tons of recipes: e.g. mushrooms, eggplant, jackfruit, beans and legumes, beets or tofu, tempeh, and seitan.

 

Images by Kirsten Kaminski, from the cookbook Vegan Holiday Cooking – 60 Meatless, Dairy-Free Recipes Full of Festive Flavors.

 

Tip 3: Veganize the classics

Did you know how easy it is to make your favorite childhood holiday recipes vegan? In most cases it’s as simple as swapping one ingredient for another. For instance, you can use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth in stuffing and gravy, vegan butter or margarine instead or dairy butter, egg replacements in baking and plant milk/whipped cream instead of dairy ones.

Images by Kirsten Kaminski, from the cookbook Vegan Holiday Cooking – 60 Meatless, Dairy-Free Recipes Full of Festive Flavors.

 

Tip 4: Wow your guests with decadent desserts

Holidays are where the dessert lovers truly shine. Personally, I have so many beautiful holiday memories attached to certain desserts that we would only eat once a year. Also for vegan holidays, having decadent desserts is very important. Luckily, there are so many great and easy sweet vegan recipes out there for the holidays that it’s almost impossible to fail in this department. My all-time favorites that never disappoint include Chocolate Mousse Pie, Cinnamon Ice Cream and Tiramisu (all from my cookbook).

Images by Kirsten Kaminski, from the cookbook Vegan Holiday Cooking – 60 Meatless, Dairy-Free Recipes Full of Festive Flavors.

 

Tip 5: Think about texture and flavor

When planning your dishes, keep in mind the texture and flavor of things and how they go together. Are you going for dishes with seasonal ingredients including the traditional holiday winners, or trying new, more exotic things? Do you have a variety of textures and flavours so your food doesn’t end up being all mushy or bland? If you experiment with new ingredients (tofu, seitan) find out how to best prepare them. Once you learn to cook plant-based food so that it has the flavor and texture you desire, you won’t miss the meat.

Images by Kirsten Kaminski, from the cookbook Vegan Holiday Cooking – 60 Meatless, Dairy-Free Recipes Full of Festive Flavors.

 

Tip 6: Be realistic

Whether you’re an absolute beginner or an experienced cook, don’t overestimate your skills and plan enough time, including extra some time for possible mistakes. Holidays are not the best time to experiment with never-done-before recipes that include fancy techniques and equipment. Unless you’re really experienced already it may not be the best idea to immediately try a crispy seitan roast. Instead you can always focus on a whole variety of easy but delicious showstoppers full of veggies.

 

Tip 7: Plan enough time + stock the staples

There’s nothing worse than running out of ingredients while cooking. Suddenly you have to either stop everything and run to a crowded store on the day of the feast or improvise. Both options will cost you a lot of time and nerves. Best to be prepared and double check before that you have enough ingredients and then some.

 

Tip 8: Have fun

Lastly, after all this planning the most important thing for the holidays is that you and everyone around you will have a good time. It’s all about joy, festivities and spending time together. So find the fun in trying out new things together update your holiday traditions into feasts that everyone at the table will enjoy. Quick hint, don’t tell people beforehand what they are eating (e.g. chocolate mousse made from tofu), but rather let them guess afterwards once they already like it!

 

Text and images above by Kirsten Kaminski, click here to order her cookbook.

 

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