The holiday season is upon us, when visions of glazed ham and roasted turkey dance in our heads. But what about our vegetarian friends? Let's not forget them this season.
We've curated a list of great vegetarian recipes perfect for this time of year. All guests will feel welcome in your home, and your friends will love you for considering their dietary preferences. Read on for some popular vegetarian showstoppers.
Our first selection comes from Food Network heavyweight and Chopped judge Amanda Freitag. Her roasted squash salad is destined to become a holiday classic in your household. This delicious dish comprises three types of squash, winter's favorite vegetable: mild acorn squash, sweet butternut squash, and the harder-to-find but delectable kabocha squash. Brussels sprouts add some heft, while a bed of arugula offers peppery undertones that complement the rest of the ingredients. Roasted pepitas and pomegranate seeds add pop as garnishes, while a delicious dressing of lemon juice and pumpkin seed oil marries all the different components.
Cookbook author and New York Times columnist David Tanis came up with our next recipe. Beans are the centerpiece of this dish, and for good reason: they are a vegetarian staple. Tanis recommends this lima bean gratin as either a side dish or entrée paired with a fresh green salad. Homemade herbed bread crumbs add crunch, while fennel provides depth of flavor. Note that the beans should be soaked overnight, so plan accordingly.
Our next pick is Good Housekeeping's quinoa-stuffed acorn squash. Cranberries add tartness while feta provides a nice salt component to this dish. It also includes the super-healthy Swiss chard plus naturally gluten-free quinoa for whole-grain goodness. Garlic and thyme flavor this easy recipe, which is sure to become your new holiday favorite.
There are tons of veggie pizza options out there, but we can't get enough of this roasted tomato and chive pizza. Since tomatoes are off-season in the winter and not as flavorful, roasting them helps bring out their natural sweetness so that they still shine in the kitchen. Chives, best known as a star topping for baked potatoes laden with sour cream, find an interesting home here. Olive tapenade acts like a sauce and adds a lovely briny note, while gruyère and mushrooms play well with the rest of the ingredients.
Chef and television host Rachael Ray's recipe is next on our list. Her farro risotto with pumpkin and sage is a delectable combination of classic fall flavors. Pumpkin pairs beautifully with the fresh herb sage; butternut squash could also be substituted in this case. Garlic, shallots, and vegetable stock provide a luscious base for this creamy risotto while chopped hazelnuts add a satisfying, crunchy textural element.
Half-Baked Harvest's quiche is the perfect breakfast or lunch option for vegetarian guests staying with you over the holidays. Beets add hearty and sweet flavors, kale provides healthy greens, and Brie adds a little funk. If you're pressed for time, consider purchasing a premade crust -- this recipe includes a from-scratch quiche crust.
Polenta is like Italian-style cornbread grits and is the perfect comfort food for the holidays. This easy bake gets its flavor from sweet caramelized onions, creamy ricotta cheese, tangy chèvre, and the earthy goodness of cremini mushrooms. Fresh thyme adds another layer of scrumptiousness. This dish would be great as a side or as the star of your meal.
Chicago-based health-food blogger Monique from Ambitious Kitchen came up with our next pick, the ultimate vegetarian lentil loaf. Adapted from an old family recipe, this veggie version of meatloaf will make your taste buds sing. Green lentils add protein and substance, and onions, carrots, and peppers provide sweetness. A delicious blend of spices (including paprika, cumin, chili powder, and coriander, among others) adds tons of flavor to this healthy dish. The loaf also includes oats and a homemade glaze topping.
Salads are an easy way to pack a plant-powered punch. We are especially excited about Bon Appétit's creative take on the classic Caesar salad: broccoli Caesar salad. With a base of broccoli and Napa cabbage and a divine homemade dressing, this is no traditional salad. Be sure to skip the (optional) anchovies to keep the salad vegetarian-friendly.
No holiday is complete without the ultimate wintertime dish, green bean casserole. Since Campbell Soup Company created this dish over half a century ago, it has become a seasonal staple. Crisp green beans, savory sauce, and freshly fried onions combine to make this a winning selection. You can easily make it vegetarian by substituting vegetable stock for the chicken stock.
Veggie burgers are a popular vegetarian item, and for good reason. Our guide explains how to make them from scratch for extra gourmet points. Choose a tofu, sweet potato, black bean, or sunflower seed patty recipe, and be sure to check out our tips on tasty condiment options.
No vegetarian roundup would be complete without a tofu dish. This tofu turkey from Allrecipes is a great plant-based alternative to a traditional turkey dinner. Draining and pressing the tofu before cooking helps to make it extra crispy, while homemade gravy ups the flavor with fresh herbs and vegetables. Give this inventive option a try this holiday season.
Impress your guests with decadent and flavorful homemade ravioli. Another pick from Good Housekeeping, this lemon ricotta ravioli with creamy herbed mushrooms is a showstopper. Lemon zest brightens the pasta while mushrooms bring a umami kick. Even better? This dish includes three types of cheese: creamy ricotta, salty Parmesan, and tangy crème fraîche. Fresh herbs round out the delicious flavor profile.
Classic roasted vegetables are the perfect addition to a vegetarian holiday dinner. This version is jazzed up a bit with sweet balsamic vinegar and crunchy walnuts. It's also super nutritious, since it contains many different types of veggies, including bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, sugar snap peas, and squash. All the yum!
You can't fully enjoy the holidays without dessert, so we had to include a vegetarian-friendly treat on our list. These fresh gingerbread squares from Cooking Light are perfectly balanced with tangy buttermilk, full-bodied stout beer, and warm winter spices like cinnamon. We especially love the candied ginger adorning the tops of these sweets.
Ambitious Kitchen makes another appearance on our list with its cornbread stuffing. Not only is this stuffing delicious, with ingredients like walnuts, sage, cranberries, celery, and thyme, but it's gluten-free. Plus, this stuffing can be made the day before your meal.
Our next entry comes from Minimalist Baker and is vegan as well as vegetarian. These peppermint black bean brownies combine surprising ingredients for the ultimate plant-based decadence. We are extra enchanted by the addition of peppermint for holiday perfection and protein-packed black beans for texture. Who knew that fudgey goodness could come in a healthier form?
For holiday entertaining, charcuterie is normally king of the appetizers. But this seven-layer dip is a great option that will keep your vegetarian friends satisfied despite dietary restrictions. Yogurt, taco seasoning, guacamole, cheese, tomatoes, onion, black olives, and cilantro are just some of the fresh and delicious ingredients in this recipe. Prepare to make a double batch -- it's sure to disappear quickly.
Cruciferous Brussels sprouts truly shine in the winter season and can stand up to heavy dressing and sauces. This variety could even be considered a main dish, due to the addition of farro grain to bulk it up. Toasted pecans, red onions, maple syrup, dried cranberries, and balsamic vinegar combine for a delicious holiday recipe you'll be craving all year long.
Another yummy appetizer or side-dish option, these sweet potato ricotta pierogies are sure to please a vegetarian crowd. Pierogies are Eastern European dumplings made from dough and usually filled with potatoes and cheese. Nutty sage brown butter helps to elevate this recipe to our list of delicious vegetarian holiday dishes.