Vegan Holiday Cheer

Surrounded by the traditional fare of turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes laced with butter and milk, and desserts that are likely to go heavy on the eggs, cream, and refined sugars, holiday cooking and baking might seem like an insurmountable challenge for plant-based eaters. However, there are quantities of great recipes available that are outstandingly creamy, rich, and delicious that don’t have one speck of animal products in them. Most of them are relatively easy to concoct (certainly no harder or time-consuming than the traditional dishes), and most of them will leave you with an enhanced feeling of accomplishment: you’ll satisfy your hunger, placate your sweet tooth, and nourish your body in a healthful way.

Here are a few excellent vegan and raw substitutes for traditional holiday fare that you may want to try:

Nutty Eggnog

This vegan eggnog from is made creamy and thick with pecan and coconut milks: If you want to stay away from the canned coconut milk, you can find easily make your own coconut milk from a real coconut (especially if you’re here in Mexico!).

Vegan, Gluten-free, and Soy-free Lentil Mushroom Walnut Balls and Cranberry-Pear Sauce offers as an oh-so-luscious looking main dish for Christmas dinner this fabulous lentil-mushroom recipe accompanied by a sweet cranberry and pear sauce (or perhaps try combining this with my own very spicy cranberry chutney).

Find the recipe here:



Rosemary Roasted Mushrooms brings us another Christmas-worthy main dish: savory, rosemary-herbed, oven-roasted mushrooms. Just the right flavor for the holidays:

Green Bean Salad

This recipe comes straight from our family recipe database and can help complete the holiday menu. Simple and delicious: Green Bean Salad recipe

Vegan Dark Fruit Cake

Since adopting a plant-based diet and becoming more focused on healthful foods, I have tweaked our family recipe for fruit cake. The original version was already quite vegan friendly and didn’t require many changes. I did cut down on the sugar and used whole wheat instead of plain white flour.

  • 1 cup mixed dried fruits (apricots, papaya, peaches, mango), cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup pitted dates, chopped
  • 1/2 cup candied citron, cut, or other candied fruit, if available. Candied ginger is a killer addition!
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped nuts and/or seeds. I’ve used various combinations of pecans, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. They all work.
  • 2 cups wholewheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 brown sugar or Mexican piloncillo (raw sugar), shaved
  • 2 T ground flax seeds presoaked for 10 minutes in 6 T water (or preferred egg replacer equivalent to 2 eggs)
  • 1/2 cup black strap molasses
  • 1/2 cup nut or soy milk

Mix and set aside the dried and candied fruits and nuts. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and spices. Beat the coconut oil with sugar. Stir in flax egg replace, molasses, and nut or soy milk. Add flour mixture, fruits, and nuts. Line two large, oiled loaf pans with parchment paper. Fill pans 2/3 full and bake for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours at 300 F. Remove from oven and cool. Remove from pans and peel off parchment paper while still warm. Cool thoroughly before storing.

Sprinkle with rum or freshly squeezed orange juice and wrap in a layer of waxed paper and then in foil. Store in fridge or cool area and sprinkle once a week with rum or more juice if desired. The flavors combine over time and the cake settles into a rich and dense mass of fruit and nuts, so try to make it at least a couple of weeks, and up to three months, before eating.

This recipe should fill two Pyrex loaf pans, although I usually divide mine into one loaf pan and two smaller round pans for gift cakes.