Our vegan Christmas dinner menu

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Hello from my pajamas and my new fuzzy, warm robe that I'm delighted to have received for Christmas yesterday! I hope you're all enjoying any holidays you may or may not celebrate and that you get to enjoy at least a little time off to spend with your loved ones.

We had a great holiday in our house which featured a first for us -- hosting Christmas dinner! Of course in the midst of all the prep work and then the subsequent holiday cheer I took absolutely no photos to document the experience, but it was special none-the-less. I thought I'd pop over here to share the Christmas dinner menu that we devoured last night before I head back into the world of too much sugar, Christmas movies and forgetting what day it is. We did a lot of prep ahead of time -- like making the bread, desserts and roasting squash and chestnuts -- and all of the sides cook at the same temperature for the same amount of time, so this was actually really easy to do and came together in around an hour and a half. It comes omnivore approved as well so no one has to feel like they're missing out on something! I will definitely be making these recipes as Christmas tradition.

Most of these recipes are from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's cookbooks, all of which I highly, highly recommend! Check out the ones I used here* and here*.
*Affiliate links

For the main:
Pumpkin (but actually squash) Cranberry Risotto with Chestnuts
(From Isa Chandra Moskowitz's The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook)

1 3lb pumpkin or squash
3 tablespoons refined coconut oil
1 yellow onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 cup Arborio rice
1/3 cup dry white wine
5 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt (we ended up adding way more to taste)
(optional: we added some ground thyme to taste)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup coconut milk
2 cups chopped, peeled and roasted chestnuts (fresh or from a jar)

(Can be done ahead of time)
Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds and stingy bits. Put the halves cut-side down on a baking sheet and bake until easily pierced with a fork but not mushy, about 30 minutes.

(Can be done ahead of time)
Roast chestnuts if needed.

Heat a 4-quart pot on medium heat. Heat the oil, then sauté the onion, garlic and ginger until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the rice, stir to coat in the oil and cook until lightly translucent around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the wine to deglaze the pan. Add the first cup of veggie broth, stirring until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Continue adding each cup of veggie broth one at a time, stirring very frequently and letting each cup absorb before adding the next, until the rice is just tender, around 15 to 20 minutes. When you're on the last cup, add the cranberries and keep stirring. When most of the liquid is absorbed add the lemon juice, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, red pepper flakes and optional thyme. Stir in the coconut milk. Cook for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Fold in the squash and chestnuts. Taste and adjust seasonings.

(Note: Like I said in the ingredient list, we ended up adding way more salt because we were using low sodium veggie broth. We also added some thyme just because it sounded good, and it was indeed very good. For the squash we used a mix of buttercup and delicata. I think we over measured the squash in the first place, but we only ended using about half of what we bought because we thought that ratio of squash to rice looked nice. Don't be afraid to make tweaks to our tweaks as well!)

On the side:
Miso-Glazed Roasted Carrots
(From Isa Chandra Moskowitz's I Can Cook Vegan)

3 tablespoons mellow white miso
3 tablespoons warm water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise

Combine the miso, water, oil, syrup, salt and red pepper flakes. Add the carrots and toss to coat. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheets.

Cooking instructions below.

Maple-Mustard Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Pecans
(From Isa Chandra Moskowitz's I Can Cook Vegan)

1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced in half
1 cup raw pecans

Toast the pecans either on the stove top on medium heat in a cast-iron skillet or in the oven for a few minutes. Cool and chop roughly. Mix the syrup, mustard, olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes. Add sprouts and toss to coat. Arrange in a single layer on a cooking sheet.

Cooking instructions below.

(Note: You honestly could cut the sauce ingredients in half if you wanted to. This is a very saucy ratio, and while delicious, not totally necessary.)

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
2 pounds of fingerling potatoes

Clean the potatoes and cut them in half lengthwise. Toss them with oil, salt and pepper to taste. Arrange on a sheet pan.

Cooking instructions below.

To cook all of the sides:
Amazingly, all the sides cook for the same time at the same temperature making this the best menu in existence. We shoved all three things in the oven on their own trays, baked them all for 20 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, then turned everything and popped them back in the oven for another 10 minutes, this time with the convection setting on. Once everything was fork-tender we put each sheet under the broiler for a couple minutes each just to give them a bit more color and them plated them all up and dug in!

(Note: We probably could have had the convection setting on the whole time we cooked them, and if you choose to do that just make sure to keep an eye on them as the times might need to be adjusted, or the temperature could come down a few degrees. )

Homemade Bread - We baked this the day before to save some of our sanity.

And finally, most importantly, dessert:
Molasses Cookies, Peanut Butter Blossoms and Mint Crinkle Cookies - again, all of these were baked ahead of time
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