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No-Meat Noël

Meatless alternatives for holiday entertaining

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No-Meat Noël

It's a scene that plays out regularly November through December each year. Guests are coming for the holidays and it turns out that one or more is a vegetarian. You want to serve something appetizing, but you know little about vegetarian cooking.

It’s a scene that plays out regularly November through December each year. Guests are coming for the holidays and it turns out that one or more is a vegetarian. You want to serve something appetizing, but you know little about vegetarian cooking. Don’t panic! You’ll get through this, and you’ll find that meatless cuisine can be as flavourful and satisfying as any steak or roast. Vegetarian or Vegan? The first thing you need to know is what kind of vegetarian you’re expecting to dinner. Do they eat milk, cheese, butter, and eggs? If your guests avoid all animal products including dairy, they’re referred to as vegans. Keep It Simple If you’re new to vegetarian cooking, it’s best to keep things simple. Learn about some vegetarian staples. High-protein, meatless alternatives–that work for both vegetarians and vegans–can include tofu, tempeh (a rather savoury soy-based fermented Indonesian product), and textured vegetable protein, commonly used as a hamburger replacement. Beans and legumes are a favourite with many vegetarians. Soy, as well as rice and nut-based cheese alternatives, are also available. Another ingredient worth mentioning is miso, a fermented soybean product that serves as a soup base and a delicious flavouring ingredient. Have Fun! It’s important to remember: when cooking vegetarian, have fun with it! You don’t have to produce a vegetarian feast or eliminate the family favourites. The best tactic is to try to make meatless dishes that will appeal to everyone. Tempeh- and miso-based dishes are usually very popular. Choose well-explained recipes with simple ingredients and plenty of flavour. A good way to get a feel for vegetarian cooking is to choose recipes that are similar to meat-based dishes but with a vegetarian twist. A Word About Prepared Vegetarian Foods Most supermarkets and all health food stores have a selection of fresh and frozen meatless (largely soy-based) menu options that include such items as: burgers, veggie dogs, cold cuts, sausages, as well as an assortment of entrées and appetizers. Purchase with care: choose products that are free of preservatives and artificial flavours. We’re not all gourmet cooks and the holidays can be stressful enough, so there’s no shame in relying on a few ready-made treats to help make your holidays less harried. Great Veggie Recipe Resources

alive magazine alive.comSimple to moderately complicated vegetarian recipesa subscription makes a great gift.
vegetarian times magazine vegetariantimes.comEveryday to gourmet vegetarian and vegan recipes. The website also has a great dictionary of vegetarian terms and information on ingredient substitutions.
vegetarian.allrecipes.comCollection of vegetarian and vegan recipes from online contributors
The Gourmet Connection Magazine tgcmagazine.comGourmet vegetarian and vegan recipes
The Vegetarian Gourmet (Alive Publishing, 1998)Two hundred of the best gourmet vegetarian recipes available. Also makes a great holiday gift!
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