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Enjoy Vegan Dishes This Festive Season

We are all familiar with the feelings of overeating during December. The festivities around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve include an array of food.

Most menus are meat-heavy, the handsome turkey being the highlight of the dinner.

Even if you are not following a vegetarian or vegan, you might want to take it easy this Christmas to avoid putting those holiday pounds on.

There are tasty starters, delicious soups, and elegant trays of turkey slices everywhere you see, feasting for days in a row.

Reduce the number of meat dishes on the dinner table, swap them to fiber-rich, delicious veggie dishes.

There are great benefits of choosing a vegetarian menu over a meaty one. Although baked brussels sprouts and cheesy cauliflower are great veggie additions to the dinner table, there is so much more you can do to surprise your dinner guests.

These days there are more vegetarian and vegan people sharing the passion for plant-based foods than ever. Chances are, there will be someone among your family or friends who won’t touch the turkey.

But don’t worry, here is a guide for a plant menu you should try over the days of Christmas.

The recipes are easy to make, and they use simple ingredients. The making times are short, they are real time savers. But if you have no time to be in the kitchen, use Fork it Over Catering.

Kale Salad with Chickpeas and Tahini & Garlic Sauce

This salad is something unexpected. The fiber-rich kale is filling, the spiced chickpeas give it a crunch, and the tahini and garlic dressing makes the whole experience unforgettable.

Many people can’t befriend kale because of its bitterness and sturdy texture. But when you prepare it in the right ways, it makes the perfect ingredient in smoothies, salads, or snacks.

The dressing is quick to make, and it is incredibly flavor-rich from the roasted garlic. Instead of roasting the whole head of garlic, you can take it into cloves for quicker baking time.

Using Tandoori spice mix for the chickpeas is the go-to because it gives the overall flavor a spicy kick. Feel free to substitute it with any other spice that you like.

Ingredients for 6 servings:

250g kale

2 cans of chickpeas

7 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper

6 tbsp tandoori spice mix

2 heads of garlic

½ cup tahini

Juice of 5 lemons (save some for massaging the kale)

2 tbsp maple syrup

Some hot water

Take the garlic heads into pieces, but don’t peel them. Place the big cloves (avoid using the tiny ones from the middle) on baking paper on a tray and drizzle them with olive oil.

Preheat the oven to 375o F (190o C).

Drain the chickpeas, season them with the Tandoori mix, salt, and pepper, and pour them on another tray lined with baking paper. For crispiness, make sure the chickpeas are not touching each other too much.

Place both trays in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant and slightly browned. Remove the garlic from the oven, but leave the chickpeas in for another 10-15 minutes until they are crispy and golden brown.

Take a blender. Squeeze or peel the garlic out of its skin and put them in the blender. Add the juice of 4 lemons, the tahini, maple syrup, and a few tbsp of hot water for thinning.

Blend all the ingredients, taste the dressing, and adjust the seasoning.

Put the kale in a large bowl and drizzle it with olive oil and the rest of the lemon juice. Now start massaging the kale by hand for a couple of minutes. This will break the kale a little, soften the texture, and reduce the bitterness.

Pour the dressing over the leaves, mix it well, then top it with the chickpeas and serve.

It is best to serve fresh, but you can keep the leftovers in the fridge for up to 2 days. It is perfect for lunch when visiting Millineum Sports Club.

Whole Baked Cauliflower

This dish fits perfectly on a festive dinner table. It looks majestic, smells delicious, and is easy to make.

It makes a perfect main dish, but it can also be a side dish.

You can dress it up easily on a fancy plate on a layer of hummus with pomegranate seeds around.

The tahini dressing blends well with the subtle taste of the cauliflower.

Ingredients:

1 large cauliflower

3 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp Garam Masala spice mix (or you can use any Middle Eastern spice mix)

1 tsp smoked paprika

Salt and pepper

½ cup any plant yogurt

½ cup tahini

1 clove of garlic crushed

Juice of 2 lemons

1 bunch of parsley

1 pomegranate

Take the cauliflower head and get rid of all the leaves. Cut the stalk out as best as you can without risking the little heads falling apart. Wash it thoroughly, then leave it to dry or use a towel.

Preheat the oven to 375o F (190o C).

Mix the olive oil with 1 tbsp of Garam Masala, 1 tsp of smoked paprika, and one crushed clove of garlic. Pour the mix over the cauliflower evenly, season it with salt and pepper, then place it in the middle of the oven for 40 minutes.

While it is in the oven, prepare the tahini dressing and decorations. Mix the tahini, lemon juice, some salt and pepper. If you want the dressing thinner, just add a bit of water or more lemon juice.

Cut the pomegranate in half and scrape off the seeds from inside into a small bowl, then leave it on the side. Chop the parsley. 

To the yogurt, add the rest of the Garam Masala, and smoked paprika. When the cauliflower softened, coat it with the yoghurt mix then put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes.

Place the cauliflower on a serving plate, drizzle the tahini dressing and some of the parsley over it. Scatter the pomegranate seeds and remaining parsley around the cauliflower.

It is best served fresh, but the leftovers keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. It also keeps in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Caramel Cheesecake 

The sweet treat on this menu is a special no-bake caramel and butternut dairy-free cheesecake. This cake will convince anyone skeptical about vegan desserts.

As it is a no-bake cake, you won’t have to worry about baking times.

You will need a blender, a 7-inch (18cm) round tin, and some freezer space

There is so much to do in the kitchen during Christmas, but this cake will save you a lot of time. You can make it a couple of days before the big rush starts and just keep it in the freezer until the dinner.

Ingredients:

Base:

200g vegan biscuits

90g margarine

Filling:

300g plain cashews

1.5 dl coconut cream

50g sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

200g butternut squash puree

1.3 dl coconut oil

1 tbsp gingerbread spice mix

Juice of 1 lemon

Caramel sauce:

100g sugar

1 dl coconut cream

300g margarine

½ tsp salt

Boil water and soak the cashews in hot water for 30 minutes.

In a food processor, crush the biscuits into crumbs (you can do this by hand too) and mix it with margarine.

Press the crumb mix evenly in the tin and put it in the freezer.

For the filling, heat a pan on medium heat and mix the butternut squash puree with the sugar and gingerbread spice mix until the sugar dissolves.

Empty the water from the cashews. Put the cashews in a blender with the caramelized butternut squash puree, coconut cream, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and lemon juice. Blend them into a smooth cream.

Take the tin out from the freezer and pour the filling over the biscuit base. Even out the surface of the cream, then put it back into the freezer for a minimum of 4 hours.

For the caramel sauce, take a pan and on medium heat start melting the sugar. Once it is golden brown, add the margarine, coconut cream, and salt then mix them well. You can add more coconut cream if you want it creamier. Once the sauce has cooled down you can decorate the cake.

Remove the cake from the freezer 45 minutes before serving. Decorate it with caramel sauce, toasted cashews, and pomegranate seeds.

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