To this day, I'm not exactly sure what is typically eaten at a traditional American Christmas dinner. Growing up Polish-American, we celebrate Christmas Eve more than the day itself. There's no ham (which I guess is a staple for most people?) or any other meat, because the legend goes that on December 24th all the animals "came alive" with the spirit because they knew Jesus was about to be born. Except fish and shrimp, which are heathens. We ate plenty of those.
As I'm now of the belief that animals have spirits (or like, sentience and the ability to suffer) every day of the year, let me suggest some fantastic vegan recipes to whip up this holiday season that won't have you missing ham or baked stuffed shrimp or whatever it is your family usually makes.
If you're a Pole like me, you already know that borscht is a delicious and simple way to start Christmas dinner. Better yet, it's a good thing to eat while making Christmas dinner. It's a delicious Christmasy red color, it's fragrant, and it's fairly light and healthy (especially good if you're planning on eating a lot of heavy food later).
Vegan Mushroom Rolls
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This recipe is Jamie Oliver's vegan spin on sausage rolls, and it is delicious. It's super easy—saute some mushrooms, roll 'em up in dough, and bake. It wouldn't be too difficult to polish off half the batch yourself.
If you thought your challah-eating days were over, think again. It's entirely possible (and generally well-advised) to make challah sans egg. Here's a simple recipe calling only for ingredients you probably already have on hand.
Latkes, or potato pancakes, are great anytime of year, but they're just about mandatory during the holidays. It's entirely possible to make them without egg, because the starchiness of the potatoes will hold them together. Top them with applesauce, vegan sour cream, or both.
Sticky Toffee Pudding
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This cake-pudding hybrid is seemingly as indulgent as it gets, but with far less sugar and fat than a traditional version of the dish would have. Trust me, you won't feel like you're missing anything. It's almost too much gooey, syrupy deliciousness to handle.
Peanut Butter Gingerbread Chocolate Chunk Cookies
The name sounds like a lot, but these cookies are actually perfect. I've been making them for years, and the mix of peanut butter, chocolate, and just a little bit of gingerbread is flawless. They're incredibly moist and flavorful, and a bit healthier than non-vegan cookies (fairly low-sugar and sans cholesterol), so it's okay if you eat the entire batch yourself. Right?