Six delicious vegan options for Christmas dinner

Roasted whole cauliflower, celery root and butternut squash are piled artfully on a platter placed on a holiday table.
(Evan Sung / For The Times)

6 recipes for beautiful, flavorful holiday dishes. Unless you tell them, they won’t guess it’s vegan.


We all know the benefits of a plant-rich diet. Still, there are those who hesitate or protest when you tell them a dish is vegan — even if it’s something as simple as roasted vegetables that they may already eat two or three times a week. We also know what they say about permission and forgiveness. So, this year don’t ask permission. Instead, just put these vegan dishes on the table; they’re so delicious that even if folks at the table guess they’re vegan and grumble, you won’t have to ask for forgiveness.

Indian Spiced Chard and Potatoes are full of the flavors of India — ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander and cardamom. The ingredient list may look long, but the whole dish comes together in about 30 minutes. They are a terrific accompaniment to mellower Slow-Roasted Winter Vegetables, minus the mushroom gravy — or mixed in with it.

Tofu With Shiitake Mushrooms And Baby Bok Choy is a beautiful presentation of three ingredients cooked three ways and doused with flavors of China — ginger, green onions, soy sauce, and heady, almost intoxicating sesame oil. Similar yet completely different, this vegan Vegetable and Sesame Feast uses sesame in a Middle Eastern way — the green dipping sauce is made from tahini mixed with a puree of parsley, cilantro and garlic all brightened up with fresh lemon juice.


Cacao Mexicatessen Cilantro Lime Rice is a perfect accompaniment to smoky Grilled Cauliflower Wedges — and to any of these dishes. The preparations may hail from different world cuisines but they use many of the same ingredients allowing the flavor profiles to easily complement one another.

Slow-Roasted Winter Vegetables

Swap a whole turkey for whole vegetables as your holiday showstopper. Use the best-looking vegetables here, ideally in a mix of colors.
Time 2 hours
Yields Serves 12

Tofu with shiitake mushrooms and baby bok choy

Fresh ginger root and green onions make a wonderful spicy ginger sauce for quickly pan-fried tofu, steamed baby bok choy and stir-fried shiitake mushrooms.
Time 25 minutes
Yields Serves 4

Vegan vegetable and sesame feast

This Middle Eastern twist on the Provencal specialty le grand aioli swaps garbanzo beans for the fish and an herb-and-garlic-flavored tahini sauce for the egg-yolk-based aioli.
Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Yields Serves 4 or 5 appetizer or 3 main course servings

Cacao Mexicatessen Cilantro Lime Rice

Cacao Mexicatessen's recipe for vegan cilantro lime rice is the perfect side dish and easy to make at home when you can't get to the LA restaurant.
Time 50 minutes
Yields Serves 4 to 6

Grilled Cauliflower Wedges

Cauliflower wedges get charred and juicy on the grill, making for a versatile side dish or satisfying vegan main course.
Time 30 minutes
Yields Serves 2 to 4