Plant-Based Holiday Recipes Everyone Will Love

Whether you eat a plant-based diet daily or participate in Meatless Monday every so often, there are many wonderful ways to incorporate plant-based food into your holiday traditions. We asked several of our cruise presenters for their favorite plant-based holiday recipes. They even included holiday dishes that the non-vegans in their lives love! Happy cooking and feasting!

Appetizers + Accompaniments

Zucchini Cakes

Kim Campbell, author of The PlantPure Nation Cookbook and The PlantPure Kitchen, says these Zucchini Cakes have a flavor of the sea and a nice baked texture. She recommends serving them over a bed of lettuce and topping with homemade Tzatziki Sauce.

Ingredients

  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 1 onion, diced small
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup flax meal
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 2 small zucchinis, shredded
  • One 14-ounce block extra-firm tofu, drained and crumbled
  • 2 cups whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1 cup tofu cashew mayonnaise (see recipe below)
  • 2 nori seaweed sheets, finely chopped (kitchen shears work great)
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a skillet over medium-high heat, sauté the celery, onion, carrot, bell pepper, and parsley until soft but still firm.
  3. Mix the flax meal and water in a small bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the sautéed vegetables, zucchini, tofu, whole wheat bread crumbs, mayonnaise, seaweed, Old Bay, mustard, salt, and flax and water mixture. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Shape the mixture into ½-inch thick cakes. Carefully dredge the cakes in panko bread crumbs to coat. These patties are delicate and must be handled gently to avoid having them crumble.
  6. Place the cakes on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until golden. Serve warm.

Tzatziki Sauce

This is a creamy mayonnaise-based Greek sauce. It has a slightly tangy flavor with a fresh taste of cucumbers and dill. This sauce goes perfectly on top of the Zucchini Cakes. You can also use this sauce as a creamy salad dressing.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup tofu cashew mayonnaise (see recipe below)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons water
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced red onion
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed

Instructions

  1. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly.

Tofu Cashew Mayonnaise

Ingredients

  • 7 ounces extra firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked in water to cover for 2-3 hours, then drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon tahini
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons agave or maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water

Directions

  1. Soak cashews in water for a few hours to reduce blending time.
  2. Place all the ingredients in a Vitamix or another high-powered blender. Blend until smooth.

CranPEARry Relish

This is one of Chef AJ’s favorite dishes to make during the holiday season.

Ingredients

  • 1 25-ounce jar of pears in their own juice, drained and roasted
  • 2 large navel oranges plus their zest (Chef’s note: Blood or Cara Cara oranges are good to use.)
  • 12 ounces of unsweetened fresh cranberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400­°F. Roast the pear halves until golden brown on a nonstick silicone baking mat. This will take about 35-45 minutes.
  2. Zest the oranges and then peel them.
  3. Place all ingredients in a food processor fitted with the “S” blade and process until a uniform texture is reached. Do not liquefy.

Entrees

Three Bean Chili

Enjoy this Three Bean Chili by Dr. Michael Greger alone or on a bed of brown, red, or black rice or cooked greens (or both!). It’s also a great topper for sweet potatoes.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Vegetable Broth
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper (any color), chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small hot chile pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2-3 cups chopped mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder or to taste
  • 1/4 cup jarred tomato paste
  • 1 can diced, salt-free tomatoes (BPA-free or Tetra Pak)
  • 1/2 cup dried red lentils
  • 1.5 cups cooked kidney beans, drained and rinsed or 1 15.5 oz BPA-free can or Tetra Pak
  • 1.5 cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed or 1 15.5 oz BPA-free can or Tetra Pak
  • 2 tablespoons Umami Sauce
  • 1 1/4 inch piece fresh turmeric, grated, or 1/4 teaspoon, ground
  • 1 tablespoon Savory Spice Blend or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, heat 1 cup of the broth over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, minced chile, and mushrooms, then stir in the chili powder and tomato paste. Add the remaining ingredients, including the remaining cup of broth, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender and the flavors are blended, about 50 minutes. Taste to adjust the seasonings, if needed, and serve hot.

New England Chowder

This chowder has the flavor of traditional creamy clam chowder. Kim uses sushi nori sheets to get the sea flavor and she uses mushrooms in place of clams. Kim says it’s creamy and full of flavor, and the texture is perfect.

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts and 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable stock, divided
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 leeks, washed well and white and green parts cut small
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 large yukon gold potatoes, medium diced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups Cashew Cream (see recipe below)
  • 10 ounces mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 sushi nori sheets, torn into small pieces (kitchen shears work great)
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegan bacon bits, for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, add 1/2 cup of the vegetable stock and sauté the onion, leeks, celery, and carrot until tender. Add the red pepper flakes and cook briefly.
  2. Add the remaining 2 quarts vegetable stock and the potatoes, bringing them to a boil.  Turn down the heat to medium and cook the potatoes until tender.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the water and flour and whisk until smooth. Add to the soup mixture.
  4. Add the Cashew Cream, mushrooms, lemon juice, nori pieces, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper. Simmer until the flavors are well blended and the consistency is creamy.
  5. Garnish with vegan bacon bits or smoked paprika.

Cashew Cream

This recipe is for a creamy, cashew-based milk that can be used in various dishes as a thickener and overall flavor enhancer. When traditional recipes call for heavy cream or a soy creamer, you can use this cashew cream. Kim says use this cream sparingly, though, as it is a high-fat plant food.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 2 cups water

Directions

  1. Place into a high-powered blender and blend until very smooth and creamy.

Dessert

Sweet Potato Chocolate Pudding Pie

Sweet potatoes provide the perfect base for a rich, sweet, and creamy chocolate dessert. Sweet potatoes have a starchy sweetness making them the perfect complement to chocolate. For a nut-free version, try it without a crust, maybe as a pudding, parfait or a popsicle.

Kim’s Helpful Hints

  • You can use a food processor instead of a blender for the filling, but you may not get quite as smooth of a consistency.
  • The chocolate chips are what make this pie firm up when refrigerated, so don’t even consider leaving them out!

Ingredients

Crust
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1-2 tablespoons applesauce or plant-based milk (for moistening)
Filling
  • 4 cups of cooked mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup pitted dates, soaked and drained
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup plant-based milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup vegan chocolate chips, melted

Directions

  1. Place the oats, walnuts, dates, coconut flakes (if using), and cinnamon in a food processor and process until you achieve a grainy consistency. The mixture will feel slightly sticky at this point.
  2. Next, add the applesauce (or milk) one tablespoon at a time and continue to pulse a few more times. The mixture will combine further, becoming less grainy, and sticking together more. At this point you should be able to squeeze the dough with your fingers and mold it into any shape. If it feels too dry, add more applesauce or milk.
  3. Press the crust mixture into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan or 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.
  4. Place the sweet potatoes, soaked and drained dates, cocoa powder, milk, vanilla, and sea salt in a blender or food processor and blend on high until very smooth. If necessary, you can add a little more milk if you are having trouble blending the mixture. It may take a while, and you may need to periodically stop and start your blender or food processor to help it along with a spatula. The final product should be smooth and creamy.
  5. Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave or on the stovetop for 1-2 minutes until fully melted. Add the melted chocolate chips to the blender and continue blending on high.
  6. Pour the mixture into the pie crust and smooth out the surface. You can also make fancy designs on the surface or garnish with your favorite fruits and toppings.
  7. Place the pie in the refrigerator and chill for 1 to 2 hours, until firm to the touch. Cut and serve to every chocolate fan in your life!

Grasshopper Bars

Kim says these beautiful and decadent layered bars are a minty chocolate delight! They are loaded with the flavors of chocolate and mint, paired with the creamy texture of ripe avocado and banana.

Kim’s Helpful Hints

  • If you prefer a pie, simply build the recipe in a pie plate. You can easily turn the green minty filling into a chocolate filling by adding ¼ cup cocoa powder.

Ingredients

Crust
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 1 cup oats
  • ½ cup packed pitted medjool dates (10-12), soaked and softened
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons water
Filling
  • 2 medium sized ripe avocados
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Crème De Menthe
  • ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • ½ cup maple syrup
Topping
  • ½ cup vegan chocolate chips, melted
  • ¼ cup cacao nibs (for garnishing)

Directions

  1. Place the crust ingredients, except the water, into a food processor and process on high until you have a mealy mixture. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time until you have a sticky consistency that will hold together for a crust. Be careful not to make it too wet, just enough to begin sticking together. Place the mixture into an 8 x 8 inch square pan lined with parchment paper. Evenly spread and press the crust mixture so the entire pan is covered. Set aside.
  2. In a high powered blender, add the filling ingredients and blend until you have a smooth texture much like frosting. Spread the filling mixture onto the crust and spread evenly with a knife or spatula. Place the pan into a freezer for 6-8 hours or until completely frozen.
  3. Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave or on the stovetop for 1-2 minutes until fully melted. Pour the melted chocolate over the frozen filling and crust, spreading evenly. Garnish with cacao nibs or unsweetened coconut flakes. Place the bars back into the freezer. When they are fully frozen and firm, slice them into squares. Store in the freezer and serve cold.

Berry Chocolate Chia Pudding

Avocado and almond butter add richness to this Berry Chocolate Chia Pudding by Dr. Michael Greger.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 1/4 cup strawberries or blueberries (or other berries of choice)
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1/2 cup date syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • garnish of berries, slivered almonds, cacao nibs, optional

Directions

  1. Scoop out the flesh from the avocado and place it in a high-speed blender or food processor. Add the berries, cacao powder, almond butter, date syrup, and almond milk. Blend until completely smooth and then pour into a bowl. Whisk in the chia seeds until they’re evenly distributed.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. Divide the pudding among four small dessert bowls, garnish as desired, and refrigerate for 20 minutes before serving.

Fudgy No-Bake Brownies

These Fudgy No-Bake Brownies by Dr. Michael Greger are a quick and easy way to satisfy your sweet tooth while keeping it healthy.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 1/3 cups dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup crushed pecans

Directions

  1. Grind the walnuts and dates in a food processor until finely ground. Add the almond butter and process until well mixed. Add the cocoa powder and pulse to mix well.
  2. Transfer the brownie mixture to an 8-inch square baking pan. (If you line the pan with parchment paper, it will make it easier to remove the brownies.) Use your fingers to press the mixture evenly into the pan. (You can place a piece of parchment paper on top of the mixture as you press it into the pan to prevent it from sticking to your hands.) Once the brownies are firmly pressed into the pan, sprinkle the top evenly with crushed pecans, pressing them into the top of the brownies.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cutting into squares.