It is much easier on the planet to eat lower on the food chain by eating less meat. Large animals such as cows and pigs actually contribute to global warming through both carbon dioxide and methane emissions. If you want a more environmentally conscious holiday, you may wish to create your celebratory meals with less meat. Here are a few of my favorite holiday recipes to get you started.
Cream of Pumpkin Curry Soup
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 finely chopped garlic clove
1 teaspoon curry powder
3 cups water
3 vegetarian bouillon cubes
2 15-ounce cans pumpkin
1 cup half and half
Melt butter over medium heat and add onion and garlic in soup pot. Cook 3-5 minutes or until tender. Stir in spices. Cook for 1 minute. Add water and bouillon. Bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat, cook for 15-20 minutes. Add pumpkin and half and half. Cook 5 minutes. Serve as is for chunky soup or blend in food processor/blender for smooth soup.
Vegetarian Christmas Pie
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
½ cup white flour
3/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons paprika
4 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons butter
1 finely chopped onion
1-2 crushed garlic cloves
5 cups chopped mushrooms
2 teaspoons dried mixed herbs (I use mix of Italian seasonings)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 cub fresh white bread crumbs
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons wheat flour
1 1/4 cups milk
1 ounce grated parmesan cheese
3 ounces grated cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
1 egg, separated
1. For the crust, knead crust ingredients together until it makes a soft dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes.
2. For the filling, melt butter in pot. Cook onions until tender. Add mushrooms and garlic, cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Pour off liquid. Stir in herbs, parsley, bread crumbs, and seasoning. Let cool.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put a baking sheet in the oven. Press pie crust into 9-inch pie pan, making a narrow rim around top edge. Chill 20 minutes.
4. For topping, melt butter in a pan. Stir in flour. Cook 2 minutes. Add milk. Bring to a boil, then simmer 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese, mustard powder, and egg yolk. Beat until smooth. Whisk egg white until it holds soft peaks. Then fold egg white into topping.
6. Pour topping over filling. Bake 35-45 minutes in the oven on top of the preheated baking sheet. Pie is ready when top is golden.
(Modified from The Cook's Encyclopedia of Vegetarian Cooking)
Orange Vegetable Casserole
This is supposed to be made entirely with sweet potatoes. But I was cleaning out the refrigerator. So I used a combination of sweet potato, butternut squash, and carrot, and it was AWESOME. Sadly, we're trying to track down a possible dairy allergy this year, so there will be no cheese involved in my holiday meal.
4 jumbo sweet potatoes, peeled, chunked, and boiled
(or substitute in other orange veggies)
1 large egg
3 cups grated cheddar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
tiny pinch ground cloves
2/3 cup melted butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
Mix casserole ingredients together, put in a casserole dish. Mix the topping ingredients together and spread evenly over the casserole. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes.
(Modified from The Grit Cookbook)
What are your favorite meat-free holiday dishes?
For more green holiday ideas, visit the Kelly Green Giant's Green Holidays Guide.