This blog post is in partnership with Becel Centre for Heart Health, although all opinions are my own.
The holidays are all about spending time with family and friends, along with indulging in good food and drink.
However, holidays can be stressful for those with different eating patterns or dietary restrictions. I know this feeling firsthand. It can also be difficult to create a selection that is enjoyed by both traditional omnivores, along with those who eat vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free.
Over the years I have developed some strategies that have helped reduce this stress for myself, along with others around me. Below, I will share my tips for how to create more plant-based holiday dishes, that can be enjoyed by both vegetarians and carnivores alike!
Tips To Make Your Favourite Holiday Dishes More Plant-Based
1) Re-create Traditions With Plant-Based Proteins
Use plant-based proteins, such as lentils or tofu to replace animal products of a similar texture. The ‘comfort factor’ of a number of traditional dishes can be maintained with a plant-based protein swap. Some of my favourite swaps include using lentils instead of ground beef in a Shepherd’s pie, tofu instead of eggs in a quiche and various beans in a ‘meatloaf’. I’ve witnessed first-hand a number of these dishes being enjoyed by family members who didn’t regularly eat plant-based!
2) Using Alternatives to Butter
Often holiday dishes are made with a lot of butter – especially those mashed potatoes that we all love! A great plant-based swap for butter is a non-hydrogenated margarine such as Becel Salt-Free products, which feature a blend of plant-based oils. A few of my family members need to watch their salt intake, and Becel Salt-Free is a great choice for reducing the sodium in their diets. I used Becel Salt-Free in the sweet potato mash in the plant-based shepherd’s pie featured below.
3) Feature A Variety of Vegetables Prepared Different Ways
Preparing a number of vegetables different ways, is a sure-fire way to ensure your guests will be eating a number of plants-based options. Along with salads, serve your favourite vegetables roasted, plan-seared and grilled. How about some grilled stuffed mushrooms, cauliflower steaks and baked root veggies? I will take one of each!
Featured Recipe: Vegetarian Shepherds Pie with Becel Salt-Free Margarine
Vegetarian Shepherds Pie
- 3 sweet potatoes
- 2 tbsp Becel Salt Free margarine
- 1 medium white onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 cups frozen veggies (corn, green beans and peas)
- 2 cups of cooked, canned lentils
- 2 tsp fresh thyme
- Preheat over to 425 degrees F.
- Peel and slice any large potatoes in half. Place in a large pot and fill with water until they’re just covered. Bring to a low boil on medium high heat. Cover and cook for 20-30 minutes or until they slide off a knife very easily.
- Once cooked, drain and then return to pot. Mash with a potato masher and add Becel Salt Free margarine. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan, heat olive oil. Once heated, add onion and garlic, until slightly browned (about 5 minutes).
- Once browned, add frozen veggies, along with 1/4 cup of water or veggie broth to saucepan. Heat until veggies are unfrozen. Add cooked lentils and thyme to saucepan for 1-2minutes, until flavours meld. Mash slightly with a potato masher to thicken.
- Transfer veggie and lentil mixture to lightly greased 2-quart baking dish. Top with potato mash.
- Bake in oven for 15 minutes. Broil on high for an addition 5 minutes, or until potatoes are browned.
- Let cool before serving.