December 13, 2013

10 Vegan Holiday Recipes Sure to Please a Crowd

As the holidays approach, it's likely you'll be playing the part of Party Host or Party Guest at least once. If a holiday party is in your future, you might be looking for some great vegan holiday recipes that will please a roomful of party-goers, vegan or otherwise. And, hey! What's all this? Why, it's 10 Vegan Holiday Recipes, all perfect for a celebratory winter menu! Whether you need vegan recipe ideas for a potluck, formal dinner, hor d'oeurvres party, or Christmas brunch, this list has got you covered.

Bruschetta is always a hit at parties, but the traditional tomato and basil version is virtually impossible to make with the mealy, pale tomatoes that you'll find in the grocery stores this time of year. My sweet-and-sour Sicilian Caponata Bruschetta uses perfectly-ripe canned tomatoes, freeing you of any tomato-related holiday stress. Bonus: it is really freaking delicious.

These Roasted Peppers with Sicilian Tempeh Stuffing make a beautiful entree (full-size peppers) or appetizer (mini peppers) and are a fantastic first introduction to tempeh for unfamiliar family or friends. The stuffing calls for fennel pollen, but if you can't find it (or it's too pricey), replace the onion with a a fennel bulb and leave out the fennel pollen. That said.... splurge on the fennel pollen. It's awesome.

The Creamy White Bean Dip from my tomato tartines is the perfect recipe for those holy-balls-I'm-supposed-to-bring-something-to-this-party-and-I-totally-forgot moments. It has five ingredients and takes five minutes to make, but people will never know because it tastes fantastic. A definite party upgrade from standard hummus. Drizzle liberally with olive oil and serve with crostini, pita, flatbread, or pita chips. DONE.

If you need to blow someone's mind with how delicious vegan food is, make this Pistachio Soup from Yotam Ottolenghi's "Jerusalem". It is heaven in a bowl, and I am barely exaggerating when I say that. Vegan skeptics will be forever silenced with a single spoonful. Serve small bowls of the soup as an appetizer at a formal sit-down dinner or get all top-chef-y and serve little shot glasses of it as a fancy hor d'oeuvres.

My Curried Butternut-Coconut Bisque is another crowd-pleasing holiday soup. Make it the day before to let the coconut/curry/squash/cider flavors marry overnight, then re-heat right before serving. Garnish with roasted butternut squash seeds or croutons.

This Basmati & Wild Rice with Chickpeas, Currants, & Herbs from "Jerusalem" is a wonderful side dish with a stuffing-like quality in that carb-y, savory, can't-stop-eating-it kind of way. It's a great choice for a potluck or sit-down dinner. It might be fun to replace the currants with cranberries to add a bit of holiday color. Garnish with a little extra parsley before serving.

Yeah, ok, this Roasted Butternut Squash & Red Onion with Tahini & Za'atar  is yet another recipe from "Jerusalem", but it is SO GOOD. The brilliant orange and violet colors of the dish make it a gorgeous addition to a potluck or sit-down dinner. So so pretty. Add the (addictively delicious) tahini-lemon sauce and pine nuts/za'atar right before serving.

My Vegan Chocolate Mousse with Smoked Salt is a simple make-ahead dessert with the illusion of fanciness thanks to a sprinkling of smoked salt. The mousse is very rich, so serve in small portions. I like serving the mousse in clear party cups/shot glasses in the 2-4 ounce range for potlucks or hor d'oeuvres parties.

These Grapefruit Ginger Scones are a lovely addition to a Christmas breakfast or brunch. Candied ginger and grapefruit are an unexpected combination that make these fluffy scones feel winter-y and cheerful. These scones are one of my favorite recipes to date - I'll definitely be making them when I'm home for the holidays.

My Spiced Pear Muffins with Black Pepper & Ginger have an old-school gingerbread vibe, making them another great option for a holiday breakfast or brunch. People don't stop at one of these muffins. Plan accordingly.

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