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Calorie Count Blog

A Meatless Celebration


By +Janice D'Agostino on Dec 09, 2011 10:00 AM in Recipes

I am not a vegetarian because I love animals; I am a vegetarian because I hate plants. – A. Whitney Brown

Many holiday meals center on a great big dramatic presentation of meat. That's great if you eat meat; but what if you are a Vegetarian or simply someone that just wants to eat less meat? Many of us at Calorie Count no longer eat meat every day, or prefer to treat it as a side dish or seasoning element. What do we do when a major food centric holiday or celebration is at hand? Can you celebrate and wax nostalgic over the memories of times spent with family and friends around a dining room table without a big hunk of meat? Of course you can.

How? Think in terms of abundance. Spend some time considering colors, textures, flavors, and aromas from all the delicious not-meat food groups – beans and legumes, seasonal and exotic vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and nuts or seeds. Choose ingredients and recipes that work together to create an aromatic, texturally rich, rainbow colored feast. Setting the table in an opulent way gives a touch of elegance to what may otherwise be a fairly ordinary serving of vegetables. Just a few candles and cloth napkins are all you need. Extend the time spent with your wonderful family and friends by serving the meal in courses and make mindful consideration and conversation about each dish part of your tradition.

While I am not a Vegetarian, I do frequently eat in that way as I am reducing the presence of meat at the table. For a colorful meatless celebration rich in flavors and textures designed to satisfy the stomach and the soul, give these recipes a try.

First Course:

Minestrone is the perfect first course. The beans and a multitude of colorful vegetables provide nourishment and offer the added benefit of taking the edge off your hunger so that you can slow down and pay more attention to subsequent dishes.

Main Course:

I created this recipe and wrote the post for the annual BlogBlast 4Peace. Peace and Pappardelle can easily be prepared with any hearty whole wheat pasta. I just happen to love the texture and satisfying solidity of this noodle.

Simple yet upscale, Pear and Feta Salad will round out the nutrition factor of this course with a nice serving of fruit and cheese.

Dessert Course:

If you have room for a few more calories and want something just a bit decadent, this basic Almond Bread Pudding is home-style comfort food at its best. No need for an alcoholic topping and it’s fantastic made with whole grain bread!

My friend, Janette, is a new Vegan and has been experimenting with dessert! No eggs or animal milk were used in this delightful lower calorie Vegan Chocolate Cake.

A typical holiday meal can have as much as 2,000 calories. Even if you choose the Almond Bread Pudding with this meal, your total calories are only 977. If your preference is the Vegan Chocolate Cake you will only have to log 820 delicious calories. Smiling while you log holiday meal calories is a fantastic reason to hold a meatless celebration!

Your thoughts….

Are you a Vegetarian? What is your favorite meatless celebratory menu? If you are a Vegan, can you take any of my suggested recipes, tweak them, and make them rock a Vegan’s socks? If you eat meat, would you find this meal satisfying, and if not what would you change? If you have some great recipes to share, list them here. If you would like me to consider putting the recipe up at The CC Palate, pm the recipe to me hereThis article may be reprinted (including bio) with prior permission from the author.



Comments


Thank you so much for this blog entry. It shows progressiveness. About three years ago I became vegan and it took some time to feel comfortable with what to cook. One of our holiday favorites was a roast which we have replaced with homemade pasta accompanied by several different sauces. Seitan is another easy choice for those looking to replace the textures and flavors of the past. This recipe for pecan crusted seitan in mustard sauce is lovely. I have not found any store bought seitan I like and prefer to make it myself. Baking is really not a problem for the most part I have been able to replicate many recipes. There are several options for egg replacements.  This cheesecake recipe is so decadent. A family member exclaimed it should be in a bakery shop.
http://www.theppk.com/2011/11/pumpkin-cheesecake-with-pecan- crunch-topping/




I would absolutely try the pappardelle recipe: it sounds amazing! The real challenge of creating a meatless meal is recognizing how many animal products we take for granted in our recipes. This really calls for mindful preparation, but it's certainly a worthwhile effort. Maybe a New Years resolution for 2012? Let's see how it goes...



I wish I could go totally vegetarian but I have low blood pressure and am anemic and my spouse has a more serious form of anemia so we do have to have some meat in our diet

but all in all we don't eat meat that much anymore



I have to admit I just make a roast dinner for my husband but make vegetable gravy, serve all the veg to our plates, then gravy to mine and then add the meat juices to the remaining gravy so he has the flavour. Have to admit it works for us, plus without any gravy that's meat free it means even if I'm tempted to go back for more I won't.



@ninav thanks for your post links! very helpful as im just starting out w/ vegan cooking



Yummo, both the pasta and the pear salad recipes look amazing!



I started a pescetarian diet at New Years last year (it means the only meat I eat is fish). I think I broke my dad's heart because he passed on his incredible turkey recipe, and we would always cook it together. But this year, he was very understanding. It gave us a chance to do something different and get creative. We made a seafood étouffée together and feasted on a large spread of steamed mussels and clams. While this isn't vegetarian friendly, it just shows that traditions can be broken and not ruin the day. At the end of it, it didn't matter what we cooked, we got to do it together. For Christmas, I'm celebrating with my boyfriend's family who are full vegetarians and also British. I'm excited to try my first tofurkey and Christmas pudding. Change is definitely good and I love trying all the new things my new diet brings.


I was curious if there was nutritional information available for the recipes? Wanting to make some of them for my weight/sugar-conscious loved ones.

Thanks!



each recipe includes a link to a nutritional analysis made with Calorie Count's awesome database of foods!



I've tried vegetarian/vegan and I just feel absolutely awful. My bones ache, my blood pressure drops very quickly, and @toroneh, I'm borderline anemic so the energy just drops if I take out meat.  I do keep it in, and instead I use my vegan/veg cookbooks for wonderful sides, and I do like flax-eggs in my brownies and cakes ; ), but I try to keep veg more of the center of my meals.

Everyone's different with what they feel better doing... I'm fabulous on low carb - energy, clear skin, shiny hair, no bloating or digestion problems, but then I know some people who eat nothing but cereal and rice all day and it works for them.  



This would be a lovely holiday meal in anyone's home.  Pear and feta? I'm so there.



Vegan tamales for Xmas!



These recipes sound amazing and mouth watering! Although I am not vegan or vegetarians but I took some Vegan cooking classes about 6 of them and I was blown away at the way foods tasted and how much healthier they were...Not boring or bland at all!

I got myself a nice vegetarian book and each week I ask my 3 children and my husband to look through it and pick out 1-2 dishes each they would like me to make...they are excited about trying new things and have not missed meat at all... I didnt think it was possible but we are 80% vegetarian, my kids and husband don't even know it. I like not having to spend a lot of money on meat. Sometimes I shudder when i think of all the animal abuse and the antibiotics and yuckiness that goes on with the treatment of animals... I am definitely going to be making these recipes. Thanks again!



I can't eat any of the recipes you posted because I have to eat gluten free. Before I became gluten intolerant I was trying to eat a lot more vegetarian meals, but since the gluten intolerance issue has come up I have found myself eating meat again because it's easier and gluten free without a ton of added crap that most gluten free products are made with.

I do eat a lot of vegetables, and I don't eat a lot of meat, only about half a serving when I do eat it compared to the several servings most American's eat. Meat is hardly ever the main course when I plan my meals, but the holidays are meat centric in my family and I think that's ok since I don't eat that much meat the rest of the year.



What I think is 900+ calories is too much for a meal, and so is 800+!



Original Post by: annav007

I've tried vegetarian/vegan and I just feel absolutely awful. My bones ache, my blood pressure drops very quickly, and @toroneh, I'm borderline anemic so the energy just drops if I take out meat.  I do keep it in, and instead I use my vegan/veg cookbooks for wonderful sides, and I do like flax-eggs in my brownies and cakes ; ), but I try to keep veg more of the center of my meals.

Everyone's different with what they feel better doing... I'm fabulous on low carb - energy, clear skin, shiny hair, no bloating or digestion problems, but then I know some people who eat nothing but cereal and rice all day and it works for them.  


I totally agree annav007. Meatless is just plain boring, especially during the holidays. Remember, there's no such thing as an "essential carb".



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