HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Vegetarian Christmas

Christmas this year will include 3 vegetarians out of 6 people. Anyone have a holiday centerpiece main dish for vegetarians they would like to share??

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Mushroom or butternut squash lasagna. I would be thinking along these lines.

    1. We usually have a roasted eggplant w/goat cheese lasagna, mushroom bread pudding (instead of stuffing), and cook all the veggies w/veggie broth (not chicken). So basically the only non vegetarian dish is the turkey/roast/etc.

      And for those "Oh shit we forgot to cook Nikki something" moments, my mom keeps a frozen quiche and other frozen vegetarian entrees in the freezer.

      7 Replies
      1. re: viperlush


        The mushroom bread pudding sounds great -- do you have a recipe.


        1. re: viperlush

          Another dish that I had forgotten about is a butternut squash crumble


          1. re: viperlush

            ooh the roasted eggplant lasagna also sounds great, do you have a recipe for that?

            1. re: onecaketwocake


              We use regular lasagna noodles. Haven't tried it with the spinach noodles or no boil (don't think there is enough liquid for no boil).

              1. re: viperlush

                Wow, I gotta try the lasagna, it sounds wonderful and I have all the ingredients on hand. Just bought two large eggplant for .88 each, got a good deal on the goat cheese and ricotta as well. haven't been able to find any decent tomatoes except for grape tomatoes, but I'm sure they will be very tasty roasted. Guess that will be my project for tomorrow night!

          2. are they vegan? if not, eggplant parm is always good. as a partial vegetarian, i still eat seafood, i get by just fine on all of the sides, pasta or veg lasgana, salad, sweet or mashed potatoes, marianted mushrooms, side dish veggies like asparagus, antipasto (cheeses, roasted pepers,endive, etc version, not meat). at our house, if we feel the need, maybe i'll do salmon to make up for my missing protein main but not always. then there's desserts. so, all in all, i don't starve. quiches are good too for that. of course a lot of this depends on their actual restrictions.

            2 Replies
            1. re: davmar77

              You are not a "partial vegetarian." You're an pescatarian. Yes, that is a word. :D

              1. re: MandalayVA

                thanks. i knew there was a term for it but just couldn't remember.

            2. Stuffed acorn squash is a great dish. Lots of recipes around and you can stuff with a bread stuffing, wild rice stuffing, or quinoa stuffing. It can serve as a side dish for the meat eaters and a main for the vegetarian guests.

              Also a good idea to make the sides vegetarian if possible. Use vegetable, no-chicken, or mushroom broth.

              1 Reply
              1. re: cheesecake17

                "Also a good idea to make the sides vegetarian if possible. Use vegetable, no-chicken, or mushroom broth."

                cheesecake, I really agree with you. Why is it here in Texas that everything has to have meat in it? It gets pretty frustrating for me.

              2. I like mushroom pot pie. I love mushroom lasagna and bread pudding, but find those pretty heavy on the starch if it's a holiday table with other side dishes. Mushroom pot pie has a much higher shroom to carb ratio.

                1 Reply
                1. re: katecm

                  I was just going to suggest mushroom pot pie!

                2. Stuffed zucchini are good, too. Mollie Katzen calls them zuccanoes. Here's a link to her original recipe which uses nuts and rice. I like to saute zucchini pulp, onions, garlic, maybe mushrooms, then add white beans and cheese, stuff, bake until tender.


                  1. As cheesecake17 said, we too like stuffed acorn squash, usually some kind of wild rice/nut/dried fruit thing.

                    But we also *love* the greens lasagna recipe that is somewhere here on chow. It's green and white and if you could figure out some kind of red garnish it would look so xmas-y.

                    Here, I found the recipe: http://www.chow.com/recipes/11415-win... . (Of course this only works if the vegetarians are okay with cheese/dairy.)

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: LNG212

                      oven roasted tomatoes if somewhat decent ones are available in December

                      1. re: enbell

                        Yes, they would make an excellent red garnish and very tasty too!

                    2. I sometimes do roasted butternut squash risotto or another type of risotto. There is a recipe in the November Bon Appetit (and on Epicurious) meant to be a Thanksgiving main for vegetarians. It's mushroom and lentil pot pies with a gouda biscuit topping. Looks fabulous.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: janehathaway

                        I do a wild mushroom risotto for Christmas dinner or Christmas eve dinner every year... it started out as a one-time thing, but now it's more like a command performance. Time-consuming to make risotto, esp. for that many people, and I do the roasted veg broth from scratch, which takes a few more hours in the morning, but I get lots of praise for it - my dad (who's not vegetarian or vegan) swears up and down that it beats every risotto he's had in his life. The method is pretty standard, and I use olive oil for everything (no cheese, butter, or cream), though there's usually cheese on the table for those who want it.

                        I try to get whatever I can get fresh (usually chanterelles, sometimes black trumpet), and do dried morels and porcini as well.

                        We have done (for Thanksgiving) a seitan roulade. Comes out a little tougher than I'd like (even if you boil the seitan instead of braising it), but it's another thing to consider....

                        Personally, I'm happy just with lots of vegetables and salads.

                        1. re: will47

                          Would you be willing to give more specifics on your risotto. Sounds fabulous.

                      2. Gerard's Mustard Tart from Dorie Greenspan's "Around my French Table" is a gorgeous dish.
                        You can find the recipe here: http://www.food.com/recipe/carrot-lee...
                        And check out this thread for photos and reviews: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/731319

                        1. Bread tofu cutlets with mushroom gravy.

                          1. http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/spin...

                            I double this recipe and it's so festive looking; really tasty!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: HillJ

                              Those spinach brownies do look awfully tempting.

                            2. this is hearty enough for a chilly winter's eve, and super tasty:
                              Baked Middle Eastern Eggplant, Tomato, and Chickpea Casserole

                              Olive oil
                              2 medium eggplants, about 1 lb. each, washed but not peeled, cut into 2-inch cubes
                              3 medium onions, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
                              3 tsp. salt
                              Freshly ground pepper
                              2 cups canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
                              12 medium fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped OR 4 cups drained and chopped canned Italian plum tomatoes
                              1/2 cup water

                              Preheat oven to 400.
                              In a heavy 12-inch skillet heat about 1 inch of olive oil over high heat almost to the smoking point, and cook eggplant in batches, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently until browned. Replenish oil as needed.
                              With a slotted spoon, transfer eggplant to 9 x 13 x 2 1/2 inch baking dish. Spread evenly.
                              Add onions to remaining oil and cook over moderate heat 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until soft and delicately browned.
                              You can drain out some of the oil to reduce fat, but it's pretty good left in.
                              Spread onions over eggplant and sprinkle with 1 tsp salt and some fresh pepper.
                              Scatter chickpeas on top, and cover them with tomatoes.
                              Sprinkle with remaining 2 tsp. salt and some more pepper.
                              Bake in lower third of oven until vegetables are very tender, 40-60 min.
                              Serve straight from the dish, with pita.

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: bakersdelight

                                No other seasonings other than salt & pepper? I really love all the ingredients but was wondering of there were any other herbs or spices for this dish.

                                1. re: Barbara76137

                                  yeah, I realize it looks sort of under-seasoned. Really the flavor comes from the browned onions and eggplant, and a sort of sweet caramelization occurs with the tomatoes during cooking. But hey, there's always room for basil, chili, or anything that suits you!

                                  1. re: bakersdelight

                                    OK, I trust you. Just thought I'd ask.

                                    1. re: bakersdelight

                                      YUM. I made this tonight, and yes, a sweetness does carry through this dish, and I added lots of torn fresh basil, too. I'm so glad about the way the flavors sang. I roasted the eggplant with some cubed butternut squash (425 oven for 20minutes or so) and then followed the recipe as written. I used about 3/4 cup broth, just poured it over the assembled casserole before popping in the oven. In the last ten minutes sprinkled on some bread crumbs and fresh Parmesan.

                                      WHY IS THIS SOOO GOOD? The recipe is deceptively simple. Some kind of magic happens when all of this bubbles in the casserole together. So easy, so yummy, and just beautiful. I would bring this to a potluck or dinner party, definitely.

                                      thank you, bakers delight.

                                      1. re: twilight goddess

                                        Played around with this for a different version tonight. This time I changed it to a creamier casserole. After I roasted the squash, I added it to the onions and sauteed together with a splash of white wine. Then -- creaminess -- I mixed about 4 ounces sour cream and 3 ounces heavy cream with the squash/onions. I folded in the roasted eggplant (carefully, so it didn't break). I made three layers:

                                        bottom: creamy eggplant/squash/onion
                                        middle: one can rinsed drained chickpeas
                                        top: 8 chopped seeded tomatoes (fresh)
                                        torn fresh BASIL tossed in with each layer.

                                        Last ten minutes I added freshly grated Parmesan and bread crumbs.

                                        Delicious, and totally totally different than the first version. I like both! I think I like the un-creamy better, which is unusual for me, but bakers delight is right that these flavors sing on their own together. But this was really yummy too.

                                        here's a recipe that inspired me regarding the creamy factor (the version that I made tonight kind of blended the recipe posted by bakersdelight with this one):

                                        chickpea and butternut squash casserole

                                    2. re: bakersdelight

                                      This appeals to me, bakersdelight, as a new twist on some of my favorite ingreds. I sent it to a veg friend who is into cozy easy dinners, but she doesn't like eggplant. I thought grilled portobello could work as the bottom layer, or squash. I think you could just toss in some cubes of squash (raw) and cook with the chickpeas and tomatoes.

                                      I might make this and serve in the pitas, as you say, maybe with a lemon tahini sauce if I feel like it, and/or some feta.

                                      1. re: twilight goddess

                                        not in pita--too messy! with pita, or any other bread. it's very juicy and drippy!

                                        as for your friend, sure, why not try it with something else? even zucchini, which you could sauté in the olive oil just like the eggplant. but your raw squash idea would definitely make for a lighter, interesting twist. enjoy and good luck!

                                        1. re: bakersdelight

                                          Oh, that's what I meant -- I envisioned it served WITH the pitas for scooping, not in them. Yum. I am making it tonight roasting cubes of squash and eggplant, and then layering it per your recipe. I will report. YUM.

                                    3. sorry--add the 1/2 cup water in the final step before putting it in the oven.

                                      1. We've done this recipe in the past for Christmas lunch when some family members were not eating meat. The great thing about it is that it picks up on the flavours of the traditional turkey based meal, so we didnt have to worry about cooking special vegetables or other accompaniements.


                                        1. Two favorites that I made and brought to family dinners and get-togethers with friends when I was a vegetarian, and everyone gobbled these up --Ummm, more than the meat dishes!

                                          *Mushroom strudel (creamy mushroom filling in phyllo dough)
                                          *Spaghetti squash casserole - with ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, sage

                                          Both delicious, hearty, featuring fresh herbs, healthy, cozy. I can give recipes if you would like.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: twilight goddess

                                            I would take both. I'm trying recipes this month. Always best to know what you're doing before the big day. Thanks so much!

                                          2. this is another wonderful mushroom idea. It is very elegant and delicious
                                            mushroom bourguignon

                                            1. homemade squash or pumpkin ravioli with sage brown butter is, in my opinion, the most delicious food in the world. since it's quite luxurious, I think it would be an appropriate holiday main dish. If you're really splurging, why not shave some truffle on top, or drizzle with truffle oil ?

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: sourgirl

                                                do you have a favorite recipe?

                                              2. I have been a vegetarian for about 10 years now, and no one else in my family or my boyfriend's family is vegetarian, but over the years, they have learned to omit the bacon from the green beans and to use veggie stock, etc. These small moves really show that people care and that they are taking your lifestyle into consideration while preparing the dish.

                                                Thank you, texaspeppers, for being concerned (and early on) about making a hearty vegetarian dish for your guests.

                                                I usually bring a main dish to events in case there isn't anything for me to eat, so I have had to come up with some festive (and not too scary for non-vegetarians) dishes over the years.

                                                Some of those can be found here: http://www.nibbledish.com/people/Vegg...

                                                One dish that people really enjoyed was vegetarian pot pie. I just made it up as I went, so I don't really have a strict recipe for it, but it was something like the following:

                                                1 Can of vegetarian cream of mushroom soup
                                                1 1/2- 2 cups of mixed frozen vegetable (or fresh veggies cut into small pieces
                                                )2 tsp dried marjoram
                                                splash of milk
                                                1 russet potato
                                                A dash of vegetarian worcestershire (optional)
                                                2 tbs melted butter for brushing the phyllo dough
                                                about 8 sheets of puff pastry

                                                To speed things along, sometime I microwave the potato for about 2 minutes so it does not need to cook so long. Then, I combine the soup, milk, veggies and spices in a large pot and heat. If it looks a little thick, add a bit more milk.

                                                Then, I pour the filling into a 9x13 baking dish and layer the phyllo dough on top, letting it hang over the edges. Then I bake it according to the package directions.

                                                This is quick, easy, and hearty, and it allows for a lot of adjustments. Leeks are also fantastic in it, mushroom stock can be used instead of milk, parsley can be added, etc.

                                                I hope this helps!