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Two sisters cook a vegan holiday dinner together in a beautiful kitchen.

Vegan-Friendly Festivities: Your Holiday Vegan Guide

Even for long-time vegans, maintaining their lifestyle around the holidays can prove to be a bit of a headache. Not anymore! Say thank you for thanksgiving and feel merry about Christmas, we’re here to get rid of that headache once and for all!

There are plenty of ways to incorporate a jovial holiday spirit into your vegan lifestyle without stress and with much love and flavor.

Ultimate Guide to Veganism During the Holidays

Those whose family is primarily or entirely vegan may already have experience with successful vegan meals on the holidays, but if not, this concept can be a struggle. Veganism isn’t familiar to non-vegans, and at the same time, if you’re inviting non-vegans to your festivities, it can seem even trickier to keep everyone happy and satisfied.

This is your ultimate guide for keeping the holiday spirit alive while sticking to your lifestyle and satisfying your family’s tastebuds.

Get Creative with Vegan Substitutes

For many non-vegans, the hardest part of a vegan meal can be the missing dairy, such as cheese or butter. Fortunately, there are a few ingredients and items that resemble the nutty, creamy flavors of dairy products.

Get Cheesy

While cheese isn’t a huge staple for most holiday meals, die-hard fans will certainly miss it. For fans of parmesan, keep some nutritional yeast on the table. Its flavor resembles that of parmesan while remaining vegan and providing extra nutrition.

Make a batch of cashew cheese as well to keep on hand. Stock your fridge with vegan butter and mayonnaise as well—there’s a good chance that your guests won’t even be able to tell the difference! For “cheesy” sides, try this easy vegan mac and “cheese.”

Healthy Gravy

An easy one is using Mushroom gravy as a substitute for meat-based gravy, it’s delicious and goes perfectly with mashed potatoes. Also, you can’t forget how healthy and nutritious mushrooms are—they even help reduce inflammation, assisting with some of those aches and pains that turn up in colder weather.

Meat Substitutes

If you can’t cut it without a meaty main, use meat substitutions. If you’ve been a vegan for a while, chances are you haven’t had fake meat in your home for quite a while. But for those who are more familiar with the meat portion of a meal, meat substitutions can make all the difference. Try one of the many Tofurky roasts that are available during the holiday season or add a bit of fake sausage to your batch of stuffing.

Focus on Color

All five senses are engaged when we eat, that’s why beautiful veggies and salads always impress.

When you see a spread of robust, colorful vegetables and sides, it’s hard to feel like you’re missing out on anything. Try including large sides of rainbow root vegetables, drizzled with truffle oil or balsamic. Side dishes are key for the vegan holiday meal.

Dress your mashed potatoes with a bit of dill. Add some fresh parsley and thyme to your batch of stuffing. Top your sweet potato casserole with chopped walnuts and brown sugar. The more colorful and diverse the spread, the less anyone will feel like they’re missing out.

Read This Next: Feed Your Body Friday: Vegan Chocolate Mousse

Revamp Traditional Recipes

We all have our own holiday food traditions. Some of these may include non-vegan sides or dishes during holiday meals that we come to expect. Instead of getting frustrated by vegan nontraditional food, do some research on the many ways to take traditional holiday dishes and make them vegan-friendly. For instance, try green bean casserole with a vegan mushroom “cream” sauce to resemble the cream of mushroom soup that is typically used.

Remember, you can modify almost every recipe by preparing it with vegan butters and creams.

For the Fussy Eaters

Sometimes, no matter how much effort you put into your beautiful holiday meal, there will be guests who are simply a bit picky. so, don’t pull your hair out trying to please everyone!

While you would probably never turn to vegan “chicken” nuggets or tenders for yourself, this may be the easiest way to satisfy small children or picky adults. You might even choose to cook up some easy veggie burgers and set them to the side of your main spread.

Depending on your own beliefs and the difficulty of feeding and satisfying everyone, allow your guests to bring their own non-vegan side dishes and keep them separate from the vegan-friendly foods. This is an easy way to keep everyone full and happy.

Decline the Hosting Gig

If the majority of your family and friends are meat eaters, it might be easier to let one of them host and bring your own vegan-friendly dishes to accompany the main meal. Offer to bring a starter or a side that everyone can share in! This way, you alleviate the stress of trying to satisfy a large group of people with varied diets, and you might even introduce someone to a vegan dish they wouldn’t otherwise be able to try.

Relax & Have Fun

The holidays are for bringing family and friends together to celebrate love and life, not stressing yourself out about the differences in dietary beliefs and restrictions. Do what makes you comfortable, happy, and grateful.

Being vegan does not mean that you can’t enjoy the holidays like everyone else, it just means you have to get a bit more creative.

Related Article: Listen to Your Gut: The Benefits of Intuitive Eating

Rhiannon Gessaman

Rhiannon Gessaman

Rhiannon Gessaman is a student and freelance writer who, from the time she began penning letters to the moon, knew she wanted to spend her life writing. She has written for such publications as Self-Love Soup and Astrology Answers. She is a late bloomer who decided to return to college... Read More

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