Christmas dinner is a glorious time to eat everything in sight. Turkey, goose or ham graces the table with other meat dishes. For most of the diners, this is wonderful. For a vegetarian, most of the traditional dishes leave very little for the plate. Uninformed people think that vegetarians are regulated to eating only vegetables and jello molds. This could not be further from the truth. Here are five vegetarian substitutes for the traditional Christmas feast.
There are several commercial meat substitutes such as Tofurkey®, Quorn Turk’y Roast, “Vegetarian Plus” Whole Turkey, which is shaped like a turkey, and Harvest Celebration Field Roast. These products are made using soy, wheat, tempeh, and other meat substitutes. Cooking directions are on the package, and these products are seasoned just like the real thing. Vegan ham is a great tasting substitute, and is shaped like a ham. Prepare and slice the same as the real thing. Make a turkey substitute at home from tofu. Recipes abound on the internet. Since tofu has no taste of its own, season the same as a turkey.
Textured Vegetable Protein
Use these dehydrated protein granules instead of meat in greens, green beans and other dishes otherwise flavored with bacon, salt pork and other meats. For flavor, rehydrate the granules in water containing seasonings.
Serve Different Main Dishes
Instead of a turkey, goose or ham, serve a vegetarian lasagna or stuffed cabbage rolls. Some people eat the turkey out of politeness, but don’t prefer the taste. These dishes allow the vegetarian as well as others to enjoy non-traditional dishes and enjoy the feast. Use lentils, chickpeas, or beans to make a loaf or burgers. Season these to the diner’s taste.
Make Other Dishes the Centerpiece
Squashes combined with textured vegetable protein, beans or other vegetables make great main dishes on their own. Butternut squash filled with grains, beans, vegetables and broth makes a wholesome meal by itself. Serve different types of stuffed squashes and watch the guests enjoy. One wonderful thing about squashes is they can be served in their shell; no extra dishes needed. Season each squash accordingly.
Don’t Forget Dessert
Many desserts are made with animal fats, eggs and milk. Depending on the diner, these may or may not be acceptable. Research the internet or recipe books for traditional recipes made differently for vegetarians. Place these dishes on the table in a grouping. Inform guests of the ingredients, and let everyone choose for himself or herself. Having vegetarian substitutes for a traditional Christmas feast is not hard work. Most products and ingredients are available in local grocery stores. The cost is minimal, and the feast will be remembered for years.