Christmas Tofurkey?
December 18, 2013 12:37 PM   Subscribe

Vegetarians of MeFi! What are you having for Christmas dinner? I am totally capable with vegetarian dishes in general, but most of them are rather light and don't seem substantial enough to be a Christmas dinner. So what are you having?

I live in France, and won't go the fake-meat route, despite the Tofurkey title. My ideas so far are nabe (Japanese hot pot) and dishes that are all red-white-green themed (spinach with tomato, pasta with pesto...).
posted by whatzit to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Lasagna is a traditional Christmas feastable and it's plenty heavy.

Serve with bread and a salad and you're in business!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:41 PM on December 18, 2013

I'm a vegetarian having Christmas with two meat-eaters. For Christmas Eve we're having a casual, hearty chili with brown rice. There are some other sides, but I'm not cooking this meal so I'm not sure what they will be. For Christmas Dinner, pot pies with a golden crust and lots of different vegetables inside. Chicken pot pie for the meat-eaters. We're having a green salad to start and fresh green beans and cranberry sauce on the side.

You could do a lovely layered savory pie with red, white and green foods. A nice pastry crust makes anything feel a bit more special.
posted by kate blank at 12:44 PM on December 18, 2013

In my family potato salad is served around Christmas. We have a vegetarian recipe with eggs and homemade mayonnaise. It is rather filling.

If you prefer a centerpiece for your Christmas dinner, how about a very tasty lentil meatloaf?

I also like tartiflette. :-)
posted by travelwithcats at 12:44 PM on December 18, 2013

Best answer: My family also always makes a lasagna for Christmas dinner.

Thanksgiving, though, is my favorite meal of the year because my mom makes a KILLER turkey substitute: Blackened Tofu Cutlets with Casher Butter Bordelaise. It's savory and goes really well with the rest of the sweeter traditional Thanksgiving sides like candied yams and cranberry sauce. I'm not sure what you could serve it with to make it more Christmas-y, but if you're looking for a good, chewy, savory meat substitute, this would do it.

It's a bit of a pain in the ass to make, hence why we only have it once a year, but it's totally worth it.

2 tablespoons tamari
½ teaspoon sesame seed oil
black pepper to taste
a couple of drops liquid smoke

Breading mixture:
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 teaspoon each thyme, parsley and garlic powder
2 teaspoons paprika
¼ teaspoon salt and pepper

Cashew butter bordelaise sauce:
1/3 cup shallots, diced
½ cup white wine
½ cup fresh tarragon (or 1 tablespoon dried)
1 sprig fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons tamari
dash of black pepper
1 jar cashew butter
1 ½ cup water

To prepare tofu:
Drain, rinse, and press one pound of extra-firm tofu. Slice into 8 fillets and marinate for at least a half-hour (can be marinated up to 24 hours if desired). Dredge marinated tofu slices in bread crumb mixture, coating them well. Place the tofu slices on a griddle that has been heated on medium high heat and lightly oiled. Brown or blacken the tofu as much as desired on the first side and then turn the slices over and reduce heat to medium and allow second side to brown thoroughly. Serve with the cashew butter bordelaise sauce.

To prepare bordelaise sauce:
Place all ingredients except the cashew butter in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce by about 1/3. Strain mixture and return to medium heat. Whisk in the cashew butter tablespoon by tablespoon and simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened. You may not need to use the entire jar of cashew butter!

Pro tip #1: Don't mix the separated oil back into the cashew butter before you start adding it into the sauce; that way every drop of the tasty, tasty oil goes into the bordelaise and gives it a lovely, buttery mouthfeel.

Pro tip #2: Fresh herbs all the way if you can find them. Makes a huge difference.
posted by jesourie at 12:54 PM on December 18, 2013 [17 favorites]

For the evening meal, roasted vegetables (basically pot roast without the beef). Onions, carrots, potatoes, celery, turnips, parsnips, maybe a few chunks of winter squash, a clove of garlic, olive oil, seasonings, some water, and vegetable bouillon.

For the big, mid-morning meal, we have a modified full English breakfast: lots of fried eggs, tomatoes, and mushrooms; baked beans; toast with butter and marmalade; tea and coffee; and, although I know you said this isn't an option for you, soy sausages. I've been toying with the idea of making a Full English-themed frittatta/egg bake-type thing to cut down on kitchen time, but it'd probably take more expermentation than I feel like doing.

(I've had the same thoughts about turning the roasted vegetables into a savory pie.)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:57 PM on December 18, 2013

I really like side dishes, so on holidays I just fill up on sides.

However, some things I would definitely consider:
Baked Tofu Steaks with Mushroom Gravy. If you/your guests aren't fans of tofu, you could do this with seitan or chickpea cutlets.

A baked macaroni and cheese with veggies would be tasty and filling. you could crumble up some tempeh int there too. The best would be if you made your tempeh into tempeh bacon first! Making your own fake bacon sounds really complicated, but the recipe is pretty simple and easy to do.

Soup--something filling like potato leek, butternut squash, or lentil.
posted by inertia at 1:05 PM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: For Thanksgiving this year (in the US it's a very similar meal to Christmas dinner in other places), I made a vegetarian phyllo dough thing, pretty much made up as I went. Very technical, I know--it was basically a more-filling, more-festive version of a giant spanakopita. I roasted a bunch of vegetables in small/thinly sliced pieces and marinated some thin slices of tofu, then laid out a few layers of phyllo, brushed with olive oil between the layers, and put down each veg/tofu layer in turn. Then I wrapped the phyllo around the top, put a few more layers on top of that until it didn't look like as much of a mess, and baked it at a medium temperature until the whole thing was golden. It ended up being about 30cm x 15cm x 8cm in size, and I served it in slices that showed the layers. It was really lovely, festive, and delicious. Cheese would be a fine addition if the vegetarians do dairy. For veggies, I used onions, red peppers, zucchini, carrot, and mushrooms.

I've done a vegetarian pot pie in the past, which is more hearty and satisfying, but less beautiful. This looks similar to the recipe I've settled on except I add tofu for more protein.
posted by tchemgrrl at 1:05 PM on December 18, 2013

If you know how to make seitan, and know how to make dough, you can make a killer "roast" by making the seitan, wrapping it in phyllo, and baking that. Very similar to Field Roast, but home-made! Since seitan is so easy to season and adjust to your preferences, you can get something that really captures seasonal flavours, and since it's so "carveable," I like it much more than sitting down with a bowl of something... even a very hearty something.

My Christmas childhood ceremonies always rotated around the meal beginning with The Cutting Of The Bird, so that act of "carving" has a formality to it that I really like to preserve. I love chilis and stews and casseroles, but without a formal cutting-and-serving process, it just doesn't feel like Christmas dinner to me. YMMV.
posted by Shepherd at 1:11 PM on December 18, 2013

We borrow from the Jews and have latkes (with applesauce and sour cream) for Christmas dinner! Our picky kids will eat them and they still feel holiday-festive.
posted by dlugoczaj at 1:20 PM on December 18, 2013

Vegetarian stuffing can be done very well, with great filling-the-belly-with-carbs potential. It's also easy to make. That's what my husband and I did for our just-us vegetarian Thanksgiving.
posted by Coatlicue at 1:22 PM on December 18, 2013

Best answer: We're serving a squash and blue cheese Wellington for the vegetarians at this year's Christmas dinner.
posted by evoque at 1:33 PM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

I made the dish below recently and it is seriously delicious and hearty. It would make a great holiday centerpiece.

Chard and Sweet Potato Gratin

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 small finely chopped shallots
1 clove garlic, minced
8 cups Swiss chard, stems removed, coarsely chopped
8 ounces tempeh, crumbled
4 ounces silken tofu
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
4 medium (about 1 1/4 pounds) sweet potatoes, peeled, sliced 1/8 inch thick
2 cups unsweetened hemp, soy or almond milk
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons non-dairy mozzarella cheese*

Preheat oven to 400 F. Rub 9 X 13 baking dish with a small amount of olive oil.

Heat 1/8 cup water in a large pan and water sauté red pepper, shallots and garlic until softened, about 3 minutes. Add Swiss chard and cook until just wilted, about 1 minutes.

Combine tempeh, tofu, crushed red pepper, coriander, parsley and thyme.

Arrange one third sliced sweet potatoes on bottom of prepared baking dish. Place one half of tempeh mixture and one half of Swiss chard mixture on top. Arrange another one third sweet potato slices and remaining tempeh mixture and Swiss chard, followed by remaining sweet potato.

Combine milk, nutmeg and black pepper. Pour over dish. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil, top with non-dairy mozzarella cheese and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

*Daiya brand cheese substitute is a good choice.
posted by bearwife at 1:46 PM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

My mom has made me stuffed mushrooms for the past 15 years of me being a vegetarian, and they are an amazing, festive, delicious tradition. They have that umami-stuffing combo of turkey without the actual meat.
posted by c'mon sea legs at 2:30 PM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've made leek and bean cassoulet with biscuits, plus added vegetarian sausage (field roast) to it, and it's turned out excellent. For extra spiffyness, we've used flageolet beans.
posted by LionIndex at 3:19 PM on December 18, 2013

If you know how to make seitan, and know how to make dough, you can make a killer "roast" by making the seitan, wrapping it in phyllo, and baking that.

We call that "Roast Beast."
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:23 PM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm not vegetarian, but my family's traditional Christmas Eve dinner is fettuccine with homemade pesto. It's plenty filling, and it certainly doesn't hurt that my mom makes some bomb-ass pesto.
posted by Scientist at 3:27 PM on December 18, 2013

You could always make an Adventist loaf. You can adapt whatever you like/have on hand into a quality main dish. I'm not but mrs graymouser is a vegetarian and we've had good luck with this generator.
posted by graymouser at 4:19 PM on December 18, 2013

In case you didn't see it, there was a recent AskMe looking for knock-out nut roast recipes. Many of them sound tasty and suitable for a festive table.

There was also this post on Post Punk Kitchen recently: seitan roast stuffed with shiitakes and leeks.
posted by Lexica at 7:26 PM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

My whole family is vegetarian, so yay veggie xmas.

Last year, if I recall correctly, we had several different slow cooked Indian dishes — aloo gobi, malai kofta, stuff like that. And a friend brought a ratatouille. Previous years we've had enchiladas, quiche, and once I stopped going back home for Easter, we've had spanakopita. Oh, and lasagna shows up pretty regularly too.
posted by klangklangston at 8:00 PM on December 18, 2013

Best answer: Seconding stuffed mushrooms as an option.

I have a recipe for an amazing mushroom casserole that could, I think, do for a main dish--lots of mushrooms, onions, cream, and some dressing cubes. I'll dig out the recipe if you're interested.

My other go-to impressive vegetarian thing is stuffed squashes, which I present here as vegetarian but could easily be veganized. You need some sort of winter squash--either small sweet pumpkins are nice, or acorn/buttercup/delicata. For a pumpkin, cut off the top like you're making a jackolantern; for the other options, either lop off the top or cut in half, depending on the shape and size. Clean out the seeds and goop.

Sautee onions, garlic, chopped mushrooms, and, if you desire it, either TVP or the vegetarian sausage product of your choice. (You can add other veg here, as well: finely chopped chard or kale, celery, chopped carrots... I rarely bother, but it can give a more nuanced base flavor if you're up for it. Just remember that the onion, mushroom, and maybe-sausage are the stars.) Season with salt, pepper, thyme, and sage. Take eight ounces of room-temperature cream cheese and beat it until it's soft and spready. Add a dash of worcestershire sauce, and then mix in the onions, etc, from the first step. Take a quantity of dressing cubes roughly equivalent to the amount of onions and mushrooms, and moisten them with veggie stock and butter or olive oil. You don't need the amount of water called for on the package--use maybe half that much. Mix the moistened dressing into the cheese-veg mix.

If you wish, you can add some shredded cheese at this point--I've done it with moneterey jack, parmesan, and various swiss cheeses, and it's always delicious. (Also, it probably goes without saying, but I always wish to add cheese. Always.)

Take your cleaned squashes, and cut a sliver off the bottom so that they stay more or less upright. Gently fill them with the filling--you don't want to pack it in super tightly, but you do want to fill them generously. Mound the tops. If you used shredded cheese in the filling, sprinkle a little over the top of the filled gourds.

Pop into the oven and bake until the squash is soft and cooked through. This is, unfortunately, dependent entirely on the type of squash you're using, but I would allow for at least an hour at 350. These are fairly forgiving--as long as the squash is cooked through, and extra half hour doesn't make them any worse and might make them better, depending on your feelings about delicious crispy dressing bits.

These are filling enough that they work as the centerpiece of the meal, but also play very nicely with side dishes. As a bonus, they reheat well. This filling is also A+ with summer squashes, halved and hollowed out, and tomatoes, tops lopped off and goop removed.
posted by MeghanC at 9:39 PM on December 18, 2013

Response by poster: Many thanks to everyone who replied, especially those who added specific links or made the special effort of sharing their own recipes here. This year will be a spanikopita thing (tonight's test run went very well) and the squash Wellington. I marked these as best answers, plus a number of other recipes I will be getting out in the coming weeks. These are better than the ideas I was considering, and this will be a delicious Christmas!
posted by whatzit at 3:47 PM on December 20, 2013

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