With the holidays right around the corner, many vegans will have a tough choice to make. Should I make a side diesh to bring to family dinner and risk that no one will eat it, or should I just show up and hope for something more to eat than salad and dinner rolls?
Not gonna lie, it can be a difficult choice, made much easier by everything else that’s going on. You could opt to stay home and still make enough food to feel a small army and thereby negating your need to cook for a few days.
Either way, I have a few options that are mostly easy, totally delicious and not too time consuming to make.
Mashed potatoes are an excellent side dish to bring because everyone loves potatoes. Add vegan butter and nut milk and hardly anyone will be able to tell the difference. Toss in some roasted garlic for extra flavor, or liven things up by making mashed sweet potatoes.
Add a pinch of turmeric for an eye catching bright color.
You may be wondering what the heck dressing is, and I’ll tell you. It’s bread or cornbread dressing and it is a staple in southern United States cuisine. Both of my grandmothers hail from the south and they each have a very particular way of making their preferred bread dressing or stuffing, both of which I loved throughout my childhood, but as I grew up and went vegan, I’ve had to constantly tweak the recipe and this time I’ve finally gotten it right.
Cornbread and vegan merguez sausage vegan dressing is THE ISH!!!
To make a simple cornbread dressing, make a casserole dish of cornbread the day before you need it or early that morning. Let it cool all the way and get a little hard. In a skillet, sauté onions, bell peppers, celery and garlic. Crumble the cornbread into a large mixing bowl, add in sauteed vegetables, broth or water and a vegan egg replacement. Mix until combined and bake in the oven at 350F/175C for 30 to 45 minutes.
Mac & Cheese
I don’t know about you guys, but every Sunday dinner and every holiday we had a big casserole dish of mac & cheese. It was as much a staple as any animal products on the table, but just because you’ve gone vegan doesn’t mean that you have to say buh-bye to mac & cheese.
The only difference? Holiday vegan mac & cheese is almost always baked. Cook up your favorite pasta noodles, make your vegan cheese sauce however you like it and mix it together. Top with shredded vegan cheese or whatever you have and bake for 25 to 35 minutes.
I know, so many people dislike Brussels sprouts, but hear me out. First of all, they are delicious. They are tiny baby cabbages that when cooked well, are so tasty. Just give them a try. Please.
Halve the sprouts and slice a couple onions thickly. Toss with salt, pepper, garlic granules, mustard and balsamic vinegar. Bake on 200C/400F for 20 minutes or until the sprouts are tender. The cooking time will vary based on how big the Brussels sprouts are, so after 20 minutes, check every 5 to 7 minutes.
Vegan Fried Chicken
Okay, so vegan fried chicken isn’t exactly a side dish but if you’re attending a non-vegan holiday meal, this will turn those nasty frowns upside down. My meat-eating father-in-law enjoyed this dish so much and absolutely refused to believe it wasn’t meat.
And you know what? It was an easy vegan recipe. Grab the biggest chunks of TVP you can find, rehydrate them and dry them out as much as possible, about an hour if you can. Season it well with cumin, smoky & spicy paprika, garlic, oregano, onion powder, celery salt, salt & black pepper. Give it a good toss and cook for 10 to 12 minutes in a well oiled air fryer. If you want to up the crispy factor, toss the TVP in oil before you add it to the air fryer.