Summary

Check out this roundup of Thistle’s favorite vegan holiday recipes. It’s a multi-course menu that makes for the perfect pant-based feast.

Fill Your Holiday Table With Vegan Goodies

At Thistle, we’re all about amazing menus. Long before our delicious ready-to-eat meals make it to your door, our culinary team plans weekly plant-based menus that celebrate each season’s best produce, always with an eye toward nourishing your body and spirit. We love to test new vegan recipes and experiment with different ways to bring more flavor and variety to our meals.

Now we want to share the fruits of our menu-making, recipe-creating kitchen endeavors with you. Presenting: some of our best vegan holiday recipes. With tons of veggies, plenty of spice, nutritious whole grains, ample plant-based protein, and cooking techniques that make every ingredient shine, you’ll have a holiday table that’s bursting with vegan goodies. These recipes are festive and nourishing. They’re decadent and nutritious. There’s no going without happening here! 

Treat this “best of” list as an opportunity to prepare a six-course vegan holiday feast, or pick and choose whatever looks good to you. To make preparation more manageable, we include some “make ahead” tips. Better yet, try a recipe swap with friends, family, and neighbors who also want to celebrate the holidays in a vegan fashion. You’ll get all the tasty recipes, with less time spent in the kitchen. And it will preserve some sense of togetherness as we wrap up this year of many missed gatherings.

Best Appetizer: Citrus & Fennel Salad

Many cultures across the globe begin holiday feasts with a light and refreshing dish like this one. With loads of vitamin C, citrus is your body’s best friend during wintertime. Fennel aids in digestion, especially on holidays, when overeating is a distinct possibility. Combined with bitter greens, fluffy quinoa, and crunchy nuts and seeds, this super colorful salad will awaken your senses and get you excited for the remaining courses.

Make ahead tips: prep the greens, cook the quinoa, toast the nuts, and make the vinaigrette one day in advance.

Serves 4 as a starter salad 

Ingredients

3 cups baby arugula
1 small head of radicchio, thinly sliced (about 1 cup) 
4 cups of spring mix 
3/4 cup dry rainbow quinoa
2 blood oranges
1 large grapefruit
2 navel, valencia, or cara cara oranges
2 fennel bulbs, tops cut off, and sliced into rings 
1/4 cup pistachios, shelled
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
2 tbsp kalamata olives, sliced (optional) 
Sherry-citrus vinaigrette (recipe below)

Directions

Cook the quinoa according to package directions (for 3/4 cup dry, use 1 1/2 cups water and 1/4 tsp salt). Set aside to cool. 

Toast raw nuts and seeds in a 325F oven for 5-7 minutes, until they get slightly toasty smelling. 

Peel and slice the citrus into 1/4 inch thick rounds. 

To assemble the salad, mix together the arugula, radicchio and spring mix and place in a large, shallow bowl. Top with the cooled quinoa, sliced fennel, and then arrange the citrus slices on top. Garnish with toasted pistachios and sunflower seeds, as well as the olives, if using. Drizzle with the dressing and toss before serving. 

Sherry-Citrus Vinaigrette

1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp lime juice 
1 small shallot, peeled and sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tsp mustard
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup sunflower oil
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 

Directions 

Place all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until fully emulsified. 

Best Veggies: Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

The cutest member of the brassica family shines in this simple dish. Maple syrup ups the caramelization factor while the balsamic vinegar adds the perfect amount of tang to good-for-you Brussels sprouts. Sweet and sour lovers: this dish is for you.

Make ahead tip: cut Brussels sprouts one day in advance.

Serves 4 as a side

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, halved
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3/4 tsp pink himalayan salt 
3 tbsp olive oil 
1 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp black pepper 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

In a large bowl, mix together the halved brussels sprouts with the balsamic, olive oil, maple, salt, and pepper until evenly coated. 

Spread in an even layer, cut side down on your baking sheet and roast for 18-20 minutes until they’re tender but also golden brown and caramelized. Serve immediately. 

Best Side Dish: Cornbread

Dairy-free? Check. Gluten-free? Check. Delicious and nutritious? Check and check. Whole-grain cornmeal is a surprisingly good source of fiber and protein. Cassava flour is a grain-free darling. Flax meal provides a boost of omega-3s and fiber. It all comes together to make cornbread, the classic accompaniment to the next recipe on our list: chili!

Make ahead tips: bake and refrigerate cornbread up to three days in advance or bake, slice, and freeze for up to one month. Reheat before serving.

Yields 8 servings

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups coarse/medium ground whole-grain gluten-free cornmeal
1/2 cup cassava flour
2 tbsp flax meal
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup non-dairy milk
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/3 cup sunflower oil
2 tbsp non-dairy butter

Directions

Preheat oven to 375F and lightly grease an 8 or 9 inch square or round pan (or preheated cast iron skillet to create a nice crust) and set aside. A loaf pan can also be used with a longer bake time.

In a large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, cassava flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine milk, maple syrup, and sunflower oil. Whisk to combine.

Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together just until combined. Some lumps are OK.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown on top and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Let cornbread cool for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting into pieces and serving with melted non-dairy butter.

Best Main Dish: Roasted Apple & Squash Chipotle Chili

This sweet, smoky, spicy, and surprising entree hits the spot on a wintry holiday evening. With apples and squash, the best produce of the season pairs perfectly with chili spices and smoky chipotle seasoning. Beans provide plenty of plant-based protein and fiber. And because we never pass up a chance to pack more veggies into a recipe, we include some spinach. Lastly, like all good vegan recipe collections, we’ve included nutritional yeast as an ingredient.

Make ahead tips: They say second day soup tastes best. The same goes for this vegan chili recipe. Make from start to finish a day in advance. Reheat to serve.

Serves 6 as an entree

Ingredients

1 butternut squash
3 red apples
5 tbsp sunflower oil, divided
1 + ¾ tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 yellow onion, diced
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp granulated garlic
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp chili powder
½ - 1 tsp chipotle powder (to taste)
¼ tsp black pepper
2 14.5oz cans fire-roasted tomatoes, sodium-free
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup apple cider
1 1/2 cup pinto beans, cooked
1 1/2 cup black beans, cooked 
2 cups baby spinach

Directions

Preheat oven to 450F. Peel and cut the seeded butternut squash into 3/4-inch diced cubes, following with the apples.

Separately toss the prepped squash and apples in 3 tablespoons sunflower oil until evenly coated. Arrange in an even layer (no overlapping!) on a large baking sheet (or two). Season with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Roast apples for 15 minutes and squash for about 25 minutes until both are tender and lightly golden on the edges. Remove from oven and set aside.

In a large pot over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons sunflower oil. Add the chopped onion and sauté 3-4 minutes (longer if you prefer your onions a bit caramelized) until translucent. Add seasonings and cook 1 minute more, stirring constantly until aromatic.

Add remaining ingredients (except for spinach) and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer for about 20 minutes. Add baby spinach and stir until wilted. Taste and adjust for seasoning if needed. 
Serve with cornbread, cilantro, tomatoes, hot sauce, and chives, if desired.

Best Dessert: Holiday Spice Cake

Want your house to smell heavenly? Bake this cake. Reminiscent of panettone, Italian fruitcake, but with much less work and none of the gluten, dairy, or eggs, this spice and fruit-filled cake is the perfect finale to your vegan holiday feast. Bonus: it’s low in sugar, so your festive evening won’t end with a crash. For the best aroma and flavor, make sure your spices are fresh.

Make ahead tip: Bake and store for up to three days.

Serves 8

Ingredients

1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup brandy
1 orange, juice & zest
1 + 1/4 cup oat flour
1 tbsp flax meal
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 cup applesauce
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup sunflower oil
2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions

In a small saucepan, combine dried fruit with brandy, orange juice and zest, and heat over medium heat until the raisins are softened and plump and liquids are completely reduced. Dredge plumped fruit with 1/4 cup oat flour and set aside.
Preheat oven to 300F. Grease a 6x2 inch round cake pan, line with parchment paper, and grease again (We like coconut oil for this job). 

In a small bowl, mix together the remaining cup of oat flour, flax meal, baking soda, baking powder, warm spices, and salt. Set aside. 

In a large bowl, gradually mix together applesauce, maple syrup, sunflower oil, water, and vanilla extract. Using a silicone spatula, gradually mix into flour mixture. Be sure to scrape down the sides. 

Fold in floured fruit. Turn batter into prepared pan and spread evenly.

Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of cake comes out clean.

Remove from pan, and lift off paper. Cool cake completely, then wrap loosely in waxed paper. Store in an airtight container.

Best Holiday Beverage: Vanilla Cinnamon “Eggnog”

No vegan holiday table is complete without something indulgent to imbibe. This vegan “eggnog” delivers. While traditional eggnog contains lots and lots of dairy and, you guessed it, eggs, our recipe gets its richness, body, and airy volume from coconut milk and a spin in the blender. We’re not even going to try to tout any health benefits of this beverage. That would be a stretch! Just be grateful it’s dairy free and void of refined sugar. Cheers!

Make ahead tips: Can be blended ahead of time. Blend again before serving to make it nice and frothy!

Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients

2 cups almond milk
1 cup brandy/bourbon (optional)
1/2 cup canned coconut milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

Directions

Blend all ingredients, except the nutmeg, together in a blender until frothy.

Keep chilled & serve in a large punch bowl with freshly grated nutmeg on top.

Going Vegan Doesn’t Mean Going Without The Holidays

If you’re vegan or simply want to give a plant-based holiday feast a try, these are your go-to recipes. With some basic kitchen skills and equipment, you’ll create a holiday dining experience of rich abundance, not deprivation. From bright citrus salad to smoky chili, this menu provides an opportunity to savor and delight in textures, flavors, and colors that no meat and dairy-heavy meal can match.

Want to add even more goodies to your vegan holiday table? Check out our recipes page on the blog. We’re adding a ton of festive and fun new recipes. Your end-of-year gatherings might be small, but you’ll still be able to enjoy perfectly celebratory vegan creations like Crostini + Tofu “Chevre” with Cranberry-Orange Compote.

We wish you a happy holiday season, full of delicious and nutritious cooking, baking, and eating.

Get meals delivered to your door
We believe eating delicious is crucial to a healthy diet. Each week, our team of chefs design a new menu for what's in season, fresh and flavorful.
TRY THISTLE
Posted 
Dec 14, 2020
 in 
Recipes
 category.
Summary

Check out this roundup of Thistle’s favorite vegan holiday recipes. It’s a multi-course menu that makes for the perfect pant-based feast.

Fill Your Holiday Table With Vegan Goodies

At Thistle, we’re all about amazing menus. Long before our delicious ready-to-eat meals make it to your door, our culinary team plans weekly plant-based menus that celebrate each season’s best produce, always with an eye toward nourishing your body and spirit. We love to test new vegan recipes and experiment with different ways to bring more flavor and variety to our meals.

Now we want to share the fruits of our menu-making, recipe-creating kitchen endeavors with you. Presenting: some of our best vegan holiday recipes. With tons of veggies, plenty of spice, nutritious whole grains, ample plant-based protein, and cooking techniques that make every ingredient shine, you’ll have a holiday table that’s bursting with vegan goodies. These recipes are festive and nourishing. They’re decadent and nutritious. There’s no going without happening here! 

Treat this “best of” list as an opportunity to prepare a six-course vegan holiday feast, or pick and choose whatever looks good to you. To make preparation more manageable, we include some “make ahead” tips. Better yet, try a recipe swap with friends, family, and neighbors who also want to celebrate the holidays in a vegan fashion. You’ll get all the tasty recipes, with less time spent in the kitchen. And it will preserve some sense of togetherness as we wrap up this year of many missed gatherings.

Best Appetizer: Citrus & Fennel Salad

Many cultures across the globe begin holiday feasts with a light and refreshing dish like this one. With loads of vitamin C, citrus is your body’s best friend during wintertime. Fennel aids in digestion, especially on holidays, when overeating is a distinct possibility. Combined with bitter greens, fluffy quinoa, and crunchy nuts and seeds, this super colorful salad will awaken your senses and get you excited for the remaining courses.

Make ahead tips: prep the greens, cook the quinoa, toast the nuts, and make the vinaigrette one day in advance.

Serves 4 as a starter salad 

Ingredients

3 cups baby arugula
1 small head of radicchio, thinly sliced (about 1 cup) 
4 cups of spring mix 
3/4 cup dry rainbow quinoa
2 blood oranges
1 large grapefruit
2 navel, valencia, or cara cara oranges
2 fennel bulbs, tops cut off, and sliced into rings 
1/4 cup pistachios, shelled
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
2 tbsp kalamata olives, sliced (optional) 
Sherry-citrus vinaigrette (recipe below)

Directions

Cook the quinoa according to package directions (for 3/4 cup dry, use 1 1/2 cups water and 1/4 tsp salt). Set aside to cool. 

Toast raw nuts and seeds in a 325F oven for 5-7 minutes, until they get slightly toasty smelling. 

Peel and slice the citrus into 1/4 inch thick rounds. 

To assemble the salad, mix together the arugula, radicchio and spring mix and place in a large, shallow bowl. Top with the cooled quinoa, sliced fennel, and then arrange the citrus slices on top. Garnish with toasted pistachios and sunflower seeds, as well as the olives, if using. Drizzle with the dressing and toss before serving. 

Sherry-Citrus Vinaigrette

1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp lime juice 
1 small shallot, peeled and sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tsp mustard
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup sunflower oil
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 

Directions 

Place all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until fully emulsified. 

Best Veggies: Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

The cutest member of the brassica family shines in this simple dish. Maple syrup ups the caramelization factor while the balsamic vinegar adds the perfect amount of tang to good-for-you Brussels sprouts. Sweet and sour lovers: this dish is for you.

Make ahead tip: cut Brussels sprouts one day in advance.

Serves 4 as a side

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, halved
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3/4 tsp pink himalayan salt 
3 tbsp olive oil 
1 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp black pepper 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

In a large bowl, mix together the halved brussels sprouts with the balsamic, olive oil, maple, salt, and pepper until evenly coated. 

Spread in an even layer, cut side down on your baking sheet and roast for 18-20 minutes until they’re tender but also golden brown and caramelized. Serve immediately. 

Best Side Dish: Cornbread

Dairy-free? Check. Gluten-free? Check. Delicious and nutritious? Check and check. Whole-grain cornmeal is a surprisingly good source of fiber and protein. Cassava flour is a grain-free darling. Flax meal provides a boost of omega-3s and fiber. It all comes together to make cornbread, the classic accompaniment to the next recipe on our list: chili!

Make ahead tips: bake and refrigerate cornbread up to three days in advance or bake, slice, and freeze for up to one month. Reheat before serving.

Yields 8 servings

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups coarse/medium ground whole-grain gluten-free cornmeal
1/2 cup cassava flour
2 tbsp flax meal
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup non-dairy milk
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/3 cup sunflower oil
2 tbsp non-dairy butter

Directions

Preheat oven to 375F and lightly grease an 8 or 9 inch square or round pan (or preheated cast iron skillet to create a nice crust) and set aside. A loaf pan can also be used with a longer bake time.

In a large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, cassava flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine milk, maple syrup, and sunflower oil. Whisk to combine.

Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together just until combined. Some lumps are OK.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown on top and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Let cornbread cool for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting into pieces and serving with melted non-dairy butter.

Best Main Dish: Roasted Apple & Squash Chipotle Chili

This sweet, smoky, spicy, and surprising entree hits the spot on a wintry holiday evening. With apples and squash, the best produce of the season pairs perfectly with chili spices and smoky chipotle seasoning. Beans provide plenty of plant-based protein and fiber. And because we never pass up a chance to pack more veggies into a recipe, we include some spinach. Lastly, like all good vegan recipe collections, we’ve included nutritional yeast as an ingredient.

Make ahead tips: They say second day soup tastes best. The same goes for this vegan chili recipe. Make from start to finish a day in advance. Reheat to serve.

Serves 6 as an entree

Ingredients

1 butternut squash
3 red apples
5 tbsp sunflower oil, divided
1 + ¾ tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 yellow onion, diced
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp granulated garlic
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp chili powder
½ - 1 tsp chipotle powder (to taste)
¼ tsp black pepper
2 14.5oz cans fire-roasted tomatoes, sodium-free
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup apple cider
1 1/2 cup pinto beans, cooked
1 1/2 cup black beans, cooked 
2 cups baby spinach

Directions

Preheat oven to 450F. Peel and cut the seeded butternut squash into 3/4-inch diced cubes, following with the apples.

Separately toss the prepped squash and apples in 3 tablespoons sunflower oil until evenly coated. Arrange in an even layer (no overlapping!) on a large baking sheet (or two). Season with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Roast apples for 15 minutes and squash for about 25 minutes until both are tender and lightly golden on the edges. Remove from oven and set aside.

In a large pot over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons sunflower oil. Add the chopped onion and sauté 3-4 minutes (longer if you prefer your onions a bit caramelized) until translucent. Add seasonings and cook 1 minute more, stirring constantly until aromatic.

Add remaining ingredients (except for spinach) and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer for about 20 minutes. Add baby spinach and stir until wilted. Taste and adjust for seasoning if needed. 
Serve with cornbread, cilantro, tomatoes, hot sauce, and chives, if desired.

Best Dessert: Holiday Spice Cake

Want your house to smell heavenly? Bake this cake. Reminiscent of panettone, Italian fruitcake, but with much less work and none of the gluten, dairy, or eggs, this spice and fruit-filled cake is the perfect finale to your vegan holiday feast. Bonus: it’s low in sugar, so your festive evening won’t end with a crash. For the best aroma and flavor, make sure your spices are fresh.

Make ahead tip: Bake and store for up to three days.

Serves 8

Ingredients

1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup brandy
1 orange, juice & zest
1 + 1/4 cup oat flour
1 tbsp flax meal
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 cup applesauce
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup sunflower oil
2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions

In a small saucepan, combine dried fruit with brandy, orange juice and zest, and heat over medium heat until the raisins are softened and plump and liquids are completely reduced. Dredge plumped fruit with 1/4 cup oat flour and set aside.
Preheat oven to 300F. Grease a 6x2 inch round cake pan, line with parchment paper, and grease again (We like coconut oil for this job). 

In a small bowl, mix together the remaining cup of oat flour, flax meal, baking soda, baking powder, warm spices, and salt. Set aside. 

In a large bowl, gradually mix together applesauce, maple syrup, sunflower oil, water, and vanilla extract. Using a silicone spatula, gradually mix into flour mixture. Be sure to scrape down the sides. 

Fold in floured fruit. Turn batter into prepared pan and spread evenly.

Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of cake comes out clean.

Remove from pan, and lift off paper. Cool cake completely, then wrap loosely in waxed paper. Store in an airtight container.

Best Holiday Beverage: Vanilla Cinnamon “Eggnog”

No vegan holiday table is complete without something indulgent to imbibe. This vegan “eggnog” delivers. While traditional eggnog contains lots and lots of dairy and, you guessed it, eggs, our recipe gets its richness, body, and airy volume from coconut milk and a spin in the blender. We’re not even going to try to tout any health benefits of this beverage. That would be a stretch! Just be grateful it’s dairy free and void of refined sugar. Cheers!

Make ahead tips: Can be blended ahead of time. Blend again before serving to make it nice and frothy!

Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients

2 cups almond milk
1 cup brandy/bourbon (optional)
1/2 cup canned coconut milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

Directions

Blend all ingredients, except the nutmeg, together in a blender until frothy.

Keep chilled & serve in a large punch bowl with freshly grated nutmeg on top.

Going Vegan Doesn’t Mean Going Without The Holidays

If you’re vegan or simply want to give a plant-based holiday feast a try, these are your go-to recipes. With some basic kitchen skills and equipment, you’ll create a holiday dining experience of rich abundance, not deprivation. From bright citrus salad to smoky chili, this menu provides an opportunity to savor and delight in textures, flavors, and colors that no meat and dairy-heavy meal can match.

Want to add even more goodies to your vegan holiday table? Check out our recipes page on the blog. We’re adding a ton of festive and fun new recipes. Your end-of-year gatherings might be small, but you’ll still be able to enjoy perfectly celebratory vegan creations like Crostini + Tofu “Chevre” with Cranberry-Orange Compote.

We wish you a happy holiday season, full of delicious and nutritious cooking, baking, and eating.

Get meals delivered to your door
We believe eating delicious is crucial to a healthy diet. Each week, our team of chefs design a new menu for what's in season, fresh and flavorful.
TRY THISTLE
Posted 
Dec 14, 2020
 in 
Recipes
 category.