The holiday season provides us with a beautiful opportunity to spend more quality time with family and friends. And since festive gatherings often involve food, many of you expressed to us that it could be challenging to maintain healthy eating habits during the holiday season. The typical dishes offered at family gatherings and office parties include loads of processed packaged foods, unhealthy oils, refined sugars and healthy, whole plant-based food options are often very limited.
However, know that that you don’t have to give up on healthy eating – as we tell our clients every year, it is possible to create healthy holiday meals without compromising on flavour or visual appeal and the best part is you’ll feel great afterward! For some holiday inspiration, today we’re sharing our go-to holiday menu. And yes, these dishes are gluten-free, grain-free, vegan, dairy-free and plant-based!
Whole Food Plant-Based Holiday Feast
For the Festive Vegan Loaf (serves 6-8 slices)
- 1 cup buckwheat soaked
- 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds soaked
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes re-hydrated
- 1 cup carrots shredded
- 1/2 cup beets shredded
- 1 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms; your choice roughly chopped
- A handful of fresh cilantro roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
- 1/2 tsp ground chili peppers pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup plant-powered ketchup optional
For the Mushroom Gravy (Makes 1 cup)
For the Creamy Mashed Cauliflower (serves 4)
For the Festive Vegan Loaf
- Add the soaked buckwheat into a medium pot, cover with 1 3/4 cups water and bring to boil over medium heat. Turn the heat to low, cover the pot with a lid and simmer until all liquid is absorbed (about 20 minutes). Turn off the heat and set aside to cool.
- Heat the oven to 350F and line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Add the buckwheat into a food processor with the rest of the ingredients and pulse several (4-5) times to incorporate (don't over-process, you want to maintain some texture).
- Transfer the mixture into the loaf pan and pack it down firmly to make sure it stays together. If using, spread the plant-powered ketchup on top of the loaf. Put in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes.
For the Mushroom Gravy
- After soaking the cashews, drain and rinse and discard the soak water. Place in blender. Wash, dry and remove the stems from the mushrooms. Add to blender.
- Add in the water, agave, vinegar, garlic, pepper, salt and turmeric to the blender. Process until the gravy becomes creamy. It shouldn’t feel gritty.
- You can serve it as is or pour it into a saucepan and heat on low-medium, stirring constantly with a wire whisk until it's warm but not boiling. Serve immediately and store any leftovers in the fridge for 2-3 days. Stir before serving.
For the Creamy Mashed Cauliflower
- Remove the outer leaves from the cauliflower and cut away the large stem. Wash and pat dry and rough chop.
- Heat a large stockpot (with steamer attachment) over high heat until boiling.
- Add the cauliflower to a steaming basket and place over boiling water. Cover and steam until cauliflower is soft when poked with a fork, about 6-8 minutes. Let the cauliflower cool down a bit after it’s done steaming. It will dry it out a bit, which makes it much easier to get a desired texture on the mash.
- Add the steamed cauliflower, soaked and drained cashews and all remaining ingredients garlic to a food processor(or, if you'd prefer, mix in a large bowl with an immersion blender).
- Process until mostly smooth. You want some texture here, but not a lot. You may need to scrape the sides of the blender to make sure it all gets mashed. You can use a little bit of almond milk, (tbsp. by tbsp.), as needed to reach the desired consistency. However, don't use too much as this makes the mixture to runny. Basically, you want to keep it as thick as possible (like mashed potatoes).
- Serve hot. Garnish with herbs.
- Store leftovers in the fridge for 2-3 days.
For the Ginger Miso Glazed Green Beans
- Trim ends from beans and steam until just tender.
- In a large bowl whisk together oil, ginger, coconut aminos, miso, and lemon zest. Transfer the steamed green beans to bowl with the glaze, mix to coat and add the sesame seeds before serving.
We hope you’re feeling inspired to challenge yourself and do things a little differently this year. And from our plant-powered kitchen to yours, we wish you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season!
With love & light,