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Holiday Meal -- recipes included

What’s for Christmas Dinner?

Are you the traditional type that makes the same Christmas dinner every year, the way you’ve always done, and your mother has always done, and your grandmother has always done or are you the kind of person who likes to experiment with recipes and add new food items to the holiday menu each year?

As my kids got older and started cooking for themselves, we started to add new food to our holiday meal. Of course, we still stay with tradition because some family members thrive on tradition, but adding in new foods has been fun.

Years ago, when I first started eating plant-based, I had no idea what I could make for Christmas so, I made Christmas dinner as usual but left out the butter and milk etc., and I ate the sides. It was delicious, and I was very satisfied, but the next year I went recipe hunting for a centrepiece food that I felt screamed Christmas (Thanksgiving and Easter too)

Our Christmas tradition is to have a pot-luck meal, so in addition to having the Holiday, mains everyone brings a dish to share. It’s a family affair where everyone is involved in planning and cooking the meal, and we get to try out food that we might not make ourselves.

I’ve created a small Holiday Meal Menu to get you started. I hope you find it helpful!!

I’m curious what you make for your Holiday meal – Let me know!!!


The following recipes are what we make for our holiday meals. It’s a simple and delicious menu.

These recipes are both plant-based and gluten-free.

Lentil-Walnut Loaf – adapted from Oh She Glows.

3 cups cooked green lentils

1 cup walnut, chopped fine

2 cups onion, chopped fine

1 tsp garlic powder

1 cup celery, chopped fine

1 cup grated carrot 1/3 cup raisins

2 teaspoons fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Salt and pepper, to taste

3 tablespoons ground flax

1/2 cup oat flour (see note at the bottom of recipe) 1/2 cup oatmeal

Balsamic-Apple Glaze

1/4 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a loaf pan with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit the length of the pan.

Once the lentils are cooked, drain the liquid. Then, roughly mash the lentils in a large bowl, leaving some of the lentils whole.

Place chopped walnuts in a fry pan and toast on the stovetop for 4-5 minutes, often stirring until lightly toasted – Set aside to cool.

Saute onion in a large skillet, adding a smidgen of water as needed to prevent sticking. Cook until the onions are soft.

Stir in the celery, raisins and carrot, and continue cooking for another few minutes. Add a bit of water if necessary.

Stir the spices into the mixture

In the bowl with the mashed lentils, mix in the walnuts, ground flax, oat flour and oatmeal.

Add in the vegetable mixture.

If the mixture seems dry, add a bit of water (a tablespoon at a time) and mix again.

Press the lentil mixture into the parchment-lined loaf pan. Press it down firmly as this helps the loaf to hold together.

Mix together the ketchup, applesauce, balsamic vinegar, and maple syrup to make the glaze. Pour glaze over the loaf until fully covered.

Bake the lentil loaf uncovered for 50-60 minutes. The loaf should look darker around the edges and feel firm to touch. Keep the lentil loaf in the pan and place it on a cooling (baking) rack until it sets a bit, around 20 minutes. Remove lentil loaf carefully using parchment paper. Let cool for about 30 minutes.

Slice and serve!

The lentil loaf is delicious as leftovers. Just slice and dry fry until heated through.

NOTE – Add oatmeal to a blender and whiz until flour consistency to make oat flour

Cranberry Sauce – Expect to Thrive

12 oz bag or 3 cups fresh cranberries

1 cup water

¼ cup fresh orange juice

1 tsp orange grated orange rind

Maple syrup to taste –about a ¼ cup

Bring cranberries and water to a boil, turn to medium heat and continue to cook until the cranberries are tender. Add in the remaining ingredients. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Cool for several hours.

This is a great recipe to cook the day or two before

Mushroom Gravy – Expect to Thrive

I love gravy with my holiday meals, so I created this quick and easy gravy that my whole family loves.

½ cup mushroom powder (or you can also use 2 cups of mushrooms diced)

2 cups vegetable broth

½-1 tsp onion powder

½ -1 tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp poultry seasoning

1-2 TBSP soy sauce

Cornstarch and water mixture to thicken

Combine 1st six ingredients. Cook on medium-high heat until boiling. Add the cornstarch mixture and stir until thickened.

NOTE – I make mushroom powder by blending dried shiitake mushrooms.

Mashed Potatoes


Non-Dairy Milk

Cook Potatoes, Mash, use non-dairy milk to make the potatoes creamy.

Dad’s Turnip Mash – Expect to Thrive

My dad thought turnip mash was a necessity for every holiday meal.

2 Turnip, peeled and dice small

¼ cup sweetener of choice

Add turnip and sweetener to a pot of water (according to my dad, it’s not the same if you add sweetener after the turnip is cooked 😊

Boil until turnip is soft – about 1 hour

Mash and serve

Maple - Dill Carrots - Expect to Thrive

4-5 Carrots

1 TBSP Maple Syrup

1 tsp Dried Dill

Cook carrots in water until tender, drain the liquid and add maple syrup and dill to taste.

Green Beans – Expect to Thrive

Green Beans

½ cup water or vegetable broth

¼ cup Soy Sauce

1-2 tsp Garlic Powder

In a skillet, add ½ cup vegetable broth or water, green beans, soy sauce and garlic powder. Cook until beans are tender, about 5 minutes. Cook green beans in ½ cup water until tender. add soy sauce and garlic powder to taste


Salad is pretty easy to put together; almost anything goes. Use your favourite veggies and fruit. Here is a small list to get you started.

Greens (arugula, romaine, spring mix, spinach)

Fruit – apples, jicama, berries, dried fruit




Nuts or seeds

Sweet Peppers


Juice of one lemon (about 4 TBSP)

2 TBSP whole-grain Dijon mustard

1- 1 ½ TBSP maple syrup (depends on how sweet you like your dressing)

Mix and pour on salad

Chocolate Cake – Adapted from Happy Herbivore

This recipe is a standard in our home. Sometimes it turns out like a cake, and other times it turns out like a brownie. It’s a delicious adventure, and we love it no matter how it turns out 😊

1 1/4 c oat flour (see note at the bottom of the recipe)

1/4 c unsweetened cocoa

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 c non-dairy milk

6 tbsp applesauce

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (can use a flavoured balsamic for a different taste)

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Powdered Sugar

Preheat oven to 375 F. Whisk dried ingredients together except chocolate chips and powdered sugar. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and pour into an 8” non-stick metal can pan or springform pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until done. Cool in pan

Delicious as-is, or sprinkled with powdered sugar

NOTE – to make oat flour, add oatmeal to a blender and whiz until flour consistency.

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