Plant-Based Holiday Menu

Posted on by Neal Barnard, MD, FACC

Looking for delicious plant-based recipes to brighten up your holiday menus? Dr. Barnard at Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has you covered. These recipes are based on fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables that are both high in nutrients and packed with flavor that will have your guests reaching for seconds.

Sundried Tomato Lentil Loaf

Makes 4 Servings • 1 onion, chopped • 3 cloves garlic, chopped • 1 1/2 cups water • 1 tsp paprika • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper • 1 tsp fresh thyme • 3/4 cup green lentils • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar • 1/2 tsp salt Directions Over medium heat, sauté the onion until lightly browned. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add the water, paprika, pepper and thyme and bring the water to a boil. Add the lentils with the sun-dried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and salt, until the mixture is coarsely ground. Line a small loaf pan with parchment paper. Press the lentil-and-tomato mix into the loaf pan and cover with foil. Bake at 325 F for 30 to 40 minutes. Uncover the lentil loaf once it comes out of the oven. Allow the lentil loaf and pan to cool enough to safely handle. Using a knife or thin spatula, separate the edge of the lentil loaf from the parchment paper. Place a plate over the loaf pan and quickly turn it over. Tap on the pan to help the loaf separate from the pan. Gently remove the pan. Serve warm.

Creamy Mushroom Bisque

Makes 4 Servings • 1 small onion, finely chopped • 12 oz. mushrooms, sliced • 2/3 cup old-fashioned oats • 1/2 tsp dried thyme • 1 bay leaf • 5 cups low-sodium mushroom broth • Freshly ground black pepper • 2 Tbsp dry sherry • 2 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce • Salt (to taste) • Dairy-free (vegan) parmesan cheese substitute (optional, to taste) Directions Steam-fry onion in a heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat until soft but not browned, adding very small amounts of water as needed to prevent sticking and burning. (Or place in a microwavable dish, cover, and microwave on high for 3 minutes.) Place broth, bay leaf, thyme and oats in a medium saucepan. Add the onion and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until oats are soft. Meanwhile, steam-fry mushrooms in a large, heavy nonstick skillet over high heat, adding a sprinkle of salt and very small amounts of water as needed to prevent sticking and burning. Cook until mushrooms release and reabsorb their liquid. Remove from heat and set aside. When the oats are soft, remove the bay leaf and puree the soup until creamy with a hand-held blender or in batches in a blender or food processor. (Remove the middle part of the blender or food processor’s lid so hot air can escape. Cover the hole loosely with a folded clean cloth while blending.) Return the soup to the pan and add mushrooms, soy sauce, sherry (if using), salt, black pepper, and vegan parmesan substitute (if using). Serve hot.

Creamy Sage Mashed Potatoes

Makes 2 Servings • 1 sweet potato, baked • 1/4 tsp salt • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper • 6-8 sage leaves, chopped Directions Wrap the sweet potato in foil. Bake at 450 F for 45 minutes. Mash the sweet potato with the salt and black pepper. In a small pan over medium heat, toast the sage leaves until they start to get crispy. Sprinkle the sage over the mashed sweet potatoes. Photo from here, with thanks.