Laura Theodore is the host of Jazzy Vegetarian, which airs Saturdays at 1pm on OPB TV. She shares how becoming a vegan has helped her create new holiday traditions.
When I was a young girl I loved the winter holidays. I really looked forward to the traditional menu that my mother and grandmother served every holiday season. I particularly craved the cream- and butter-based foods like mashed potatoes and sweet potato casserole along with the rich cookies and baked desserts that my grandmother made every year.
When I started serving vegan holiday meals, the subject of serving my meal “sans turkey” was perhaps the biggest challenge. But, throughout the years, I have created many spectacular dishes that I now serve to my guests every year. Everyone inevitably finishes the meal with a big smile and a satisfied appetite. These delicious twists on culinary classics have become a welcome new tradition to pass on to the next generation.
When hosting a festive vegan or vegetarian holiday soirée, I like to focus on timeless dishes like sweet potatoes, winter squash, roast veggies, mashed potatoes, tangy greens, creamy tasting soups and rich, decadent desserts. I am pleased to share just a few of my favorite holiday recipes here! Happy, healthy holidays!
Pots de Crème
Makes 4 to 6 servings
This delicate, rich dessert is based on a recipe my grandma often made. When I was a child it was my favorite dessert, and I requested it on a regular basis! The original recipe was packed with eggs and heavy cream. Here’s a fail-safe vegan version that faithfully reproduces the taste of Grandma’s holiday specialty. Served in tiny espresso cups, it provides an elegant ending to any festive meal. Plus, you can make it the day before serving if you wish — always a bonus when entertaining.
- 3⁄4 cup vanilla nondairy milk
- 12 ounces soft regular or silken tofu, drained and cubed
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 cup vegan dark chocolate chips
Heat the nondairy milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until steaming hot but not boiling.
Put the tofu and brown sugar in a blender, then add the chocolate chips. Pour in the nondairy milk and process until completely smooth.
Spoon the mixture into tiny dessert bowls or espresso cups and refrigerate for 4 to 24 hours. Serve chilled.
Fancy Green Beans
Makes 4 to 5 servings
A green bean dish is a must for any festive holiday meal. My jazzylicious version is easy to prepare and looks beautiful when served. The slight crunch of the green beans is complemented by the pleasing texture of the sesame seeds, making a perfect side dish for a seasonal party or any weeknight meal.
- 1 pound green beans, trimmed
- 2 teaspoons vegan margarine
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- Sea salt (optional)
- Freshly ground pepper
Steam the green beans until crisp-tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and add the margarine. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Toss gently until the green beans are evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
To see more of Laura Theodore’s vegan holiday recipes, visit PBS Food.