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Find tips for cooking holiday dishes for vegan family and friends

Your daughter just informed you she is a vegan, so now you’re scrambling to find something to make her for the family’s holiday meal. 

Aunt Jayne and Uncle Bill said they are trying a plant-based diet to lower their cholesterol and blood pressure and lose a little weight.

You want to make a dish that will entice your children to eat more vegetables.

Vegan macaroni and cheese and veggie loaf can be delicious substitutes for many holiday staples. Friday, Nov. 19, 2021.

Vegan chefs like Stacey “Soul” Winters of Soul Wired Cafe in Jackson say it’s not that hard to do.

“You’ve got to remember two simple things: Replace butter and milk with plant-based butter and milk,” Winters said. “Oat milk, almond milk — there are so many options now.”

She uses jackfruit for a lot of her “meaty” dishes since it simulates the texture of meat. A variety of mushrooms also can be used as a substitute for a variety of meats, including fish and chicken.

A vegan or plant-based diet is one in which no meat, dairy or eggs are used. Proteins come from plant-based sources like nuts, beans, tofu and even vegetables like broccoli and asparagus. 

Winters said she stopped eating meat in 2004 and has enjoyed creating dishes that are tasty as well as healthy.

“Holiday meals are heavy on butter, milk and sugar,” Winters said. 

She recommends using coconut or cane sugar as a healthier option, since refined sugar is processed with bone meal. 

Flaxseed meal is one item that can be used in place of eggs. The liquid from a can of garbanzo beans also can be used instead of eggs to make a meringue.

Vegan home cook Larran Pickett said adapting traditional holiday dishes without meat or dairy products is an easy fix. She suggests trying a mix of store-bought and homemade items.

Cranberry sauce, dressing and green bean casserole are some dishes that are easy to buy or make. Use vegetable stock instead of chicken broth or a plant-based creamy vegetable broth in place of cream of mushroom soup.