My fox terrier’s burgundy jacket, my favorite cashmere scarf, brisk walks in Riverside Park, the smell of pine – that’s what I think of as December begins and the roads fill with red leaves and the temperature drops. I know the holidays are coming. And as I enter the holidays I, of course, also think of all the food that awaits me at home.
For many years, that food was turkey and ham and chicken, but since my older sister went vegan on her 17th birthday and I joined her four years ago, our holiday dinners have begun to look different. At some point in my childhood, my sister, my mom and I assumed the roles of de facto holiday chefs at home, with the task of setting the table falling on my dad and brother. When my sister and I went vegan, so did the dinners we made with my mom. At first, my brother and father fussed, but after the first year, their complaints gave way to impatient visits to the kitchen and smug smiles at the end of the meal.
Below, I’ve compiled descriptions of some of my family’s favorite recipes for the holidays, a collection born out of trial and error over the last few years. To see the full recipes, follow the embedded links. Whether you’re a long-time vegan or an ardent meat-lover, I hope you’ll give them a try!
First course: Shredded kale salad (four servings)
To start, I recommend a kale salad my sister came across a few years ago on one of our favorite vegan blogs, Oh She Glows. The heart of this salad lives in the refreshing dressing and accompanying “parmesan,” which count on lemon juice and pecans for an irresistible combination of tangy and nutty. Although we first made this salad for Thanksgiving, it’s become a staple at home for its convenience, high nutritional value and, of course, flavor. Check out the recipe here.
Entrée: Broccoli quinoa casserole (six servings)
For (one of) the entrée(s), we like to keep it simple and hearty with a broccoli and quinoa casserole, courtesy of VegKitchen. Though you might be attached to your grandma’s beef casserole, I guarantee you that this healthier, cruelty-free rendition won’t disappoint. Thanks to the protein-rich quinoa and nutrient-dense broccoli, this casserole will satiate your hunger without any compromise to taste. Do not forgo the sun-dried tomatoes and black olives – their joint flavor truly make the dish. Also, make lots; you’ll want leftovers. Check out the recipe here.
Dessert: Maple pecan pie (nine-inch pie)
To finish off the night, I recommend Isa Chandra’s recipe for the classic pecan pie. This pie is for everyone, regardless of how you pronounce pecan or how receptive you are to veganism. Since my sister first made it for Thanksgiving two years ago, it has become the protagonist of many a food dream, and my favorite dessert. The filling is at once crunchy and soft, with the peculiar sweetness of maple syrup holding it together. Eat it warm and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a longer, more enjoyable food coma. Check out the recipe here.
Contact Lucas Hornsby at lhornsby ‘at’ stanford.edu.