Vegetarian Holiday Meals

by Elizabeth Arnold

    If you're a vegetarian or have a vegetarian family member, your meatless holiday dinner options are endless. There's no need to fill up on vegetable side dishes when you can create delicious and satisfying celebration-worthy meals. Use protein-rich vegetarian recipe staples, such as seitan and tofu, to create holiday dinners so tasty that carnivorous kids won't miss the meat.

    The secret to preparing mouth-watering baked tofu is to marinate it first. Create an Asian-inspired marinade by combining soy sauce, sesame oil, minced ginger and garlic, rice vinegar and chopped scallions. Bake the tofu after marinating the tofu for several hours or overnight. Serve the tofu with mashed potatoes mixed with creamy Parmesan ranch dressing and steamed baby bok choy.

    There are plenty of vegetarian holiday roasts on the market, but you can make your own using seitan, which is made with vital wheat gluten. To prepare the roast, combine wheat gluten, flour, nutritional yeast, vegetable broth, minced garlic and seasonings such as rosemary, sage and thyme. Check for vital wheat gluten and nutritional yeast at the health food store if you don't find them at your supermarket. Knead the ingredients together and form them into a roast shape. Bake the roast and serve it with sweet potato casserole, almonds, Brussels spouts or apricot-glazed green beans, depending on what vegetables are in season.

    Cheesy vegetable lasagna makes an ideal vegetarian meal for any holiday. Saute any combination of fresh vegetables, such as zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, eggplant and broccoli, along with minced garlic, in olive oil. Layer the vegetables, cooked lasagna noodles, mozzarella cheese and your favorite homemade or bottled pasta sauce in a baking dish. Bake the lasagna until the sauce is bubbling and the top layer of cheese is golden brown. Complete the meal with a sliced tomato, mozzarella and basil salad tossed with creamy bleu cheese dressing and crusty bread.

    Welcome holiday dinner guests into your home with the scent of a homemade vegetarian casserole wafting through the air. To prepare the rich casserole, create a roux with four and olive oil and add sliced shitake mushrooms, chopped garlic, heavy cream and chicken stock. Stir in frozen, thawed or steamed, fresh broccoli florets and cooked rice. Pour the mixture into a buttered casserole dish and top with shredded Monterey jack cheese. Serve the casserole alongside a fresh garden salad with Caesar dressing.

    About the Author

    Elizabeth Arnold has written for a wide variety of publications and websites. Her experience includes writing travel features for "Recommend" magazine and packaging marketing copy for both Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Warner Bros. consumer products. Recently, Arnold was a staff writer for "Special Events" magazine. Arnold studied English at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

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