Mother Earth Living

Vegetarian Holiday Fare

By David Merrill
October/November 1993
Add to My MSN

Content Tools

Related Content

5 Health Benefits of Pumpkins

Although pumpkins play more of a festive role in today’s society, this fall vegetable provides numer...

Mother Earth News Radio: Make Simple Pasta

I offer instructions on how to make a very basic pasta.

Grow Mushrooms for Better Garden Soil

Grow mushrooms to help improve garden soil.

Cheese-Filled Deep-Fried Polenta Balls Recipe

These Cheese-Filled Deep-Fried Polenta Balls are the solution to anyone’s comfort food longing.

Vegetarian Holiday Recipes: 

• Vegetarian Holiday Roast
• Pumpkin Ravioli 
• Herbal Bean Sausages
• Winter Squash Herb Bread
• “Savory” Fruit Compote
• Mulled Holiday Cider
• Mulled Rosemary Wine and Black Tea  

My coziest recollections of childhood and family are instantly evoked by the combined aroma of poultry seasoning and homemade bread fresh from the oven. The winter holidays of my youth were warm, savory, and sweet—truly the best of times—and food and fragrance are ­intimately associated with their memory.

Later, as parents, my wife and I have done our best to perpetuate those precious gustatory traditions, hoping to instill that same delicious richness in our children’s memories.

Times have changed, and with them our family’s attitudes about food and life. Our holiday sensorium is still delectably rich, and I still bake “stuffing bread”—a fairly plain loaf enhanced with onion, black pepper, and store-bought poultry seasoning—from my mother’s decades-old recipe, but our culinary traditions, like our daily lives, no longer include eating any kind of meat.

Vegetarianism has been less of a challenge in the kitchen than it has been over the back fence. Our nonvegetarian friends, when first confronted with the concept of a meatless diet, tended to view it as a stoic discipline: they envisioned their usual dinner plates, removed all the meat, and imagined that what remained was what vegetarians had to settle for. Beans, grains, fruits, herbs, nuts, and vegetables were side dishes, not “meaty” enough to provide adequate substitutes—especially for the traditional holiday turkey.

The meat-free recipes on the following pages testify to the fact that vegetarianism is not a form of deprivation, and also that vegetarian cooking doesn’t necessarily aim to imitate meat with nonmeat ingredients (although the Vegetarian Holiday Roast might serve that purpose). In moving closer to the bottom of the food chain, our family has found not only spiritual, nutritional, economic, and ecological satisfaction—any one of which would be reason enough to make the change—but we have also broadened our palette of colors, textures, and flavors. Herbs and spices have become foods to eat for their own sake rather than generic powders at the end of an ingredients list. We’ve found that their flavors come into their own in the milder contexts of grains, beans, and tofu; they rise above, blend with, and enhance the subtleties of vegetable, nut, and seed oils; and they assault the olfactory receptors with fragrant, pungent variety. This is my favorite form of aromatherapy.

Although birds’ eggs and mammal milk clearly are not plant-based foods, many vegetarians include one or both in their diets. As with meats, the choice whether to eat eggs and/or milk is personal, and the reasons for either decision are legion. All the recipes in this article are made without eggs or dairy products except the Pumpkin Ravioli and the Winter Squash Herb Bread, which contain both, and the Mushroom Gravy, which contains butter.

Previous | 1 | 2 | Next

Post a comment below.


Subscribe today and save 58%

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living!

Welcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.