© iStock

© iStock

Vegan, flexitarian, gluten-free: how to prepare a holiday meal that pleases everyone

Read on to discover delicious recipes that are fit for a king.

Years ago we all had that one friend who decided to go vegetarian. Now in 2016 you probably have not only even more vegetarian friends, but also vegan, flexitarian, paleo, and gluten intolerant (real and self-prescribed) ones. While it may be considered trendy to eat in all of these ways, it makes your life a lot harder as the dinner host when you’re trying to figure out what to cook. It isn’t an easy feat, but with our recipe suggestions, you’ll be able to whip up a few things that everyone can enjoy together.

Please note: The majority of the recipes you find below are suitable for vegans, vegetarians, flexitarians and gluten-intolerant people. If you have a friend who follows a paleo diet and will be attending your dinner, we recommend that you review the menu with them first to see if it is suits their dietary restrictions, or if they would even be willing to make your holiday meal their “cheat day”.

Starter: Roasted butternut squash soup

Soups are great to serve at a holiday meal because they’re light, and many are filled with good-for-you vegetables. Just make sure that any broth you use is vegan and vegetarian friendly! And for your gluten intolerant friends, double-check that everything you’re using is gluten-free, like substituting tamari for soy sauce.

Butternut squash is a wonderful winter option because it’s warming and will give you a hefty dose of Vitamin A. This Vitamin helps your skin repair and renew itself, making you look positively radiant (inside and out!).

Consider providing your guests with different toppings, like nuts and seeds. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can make homemade coconut bacon and almond ricotta for your vegan friends and then provide your other guests with real bacon and real ricotta.

Side salad: Millet, roasted brussels sprouts, persimmons and pomegranate seeds

Salads can be customized any way you like which makes them perfect for a dinner where everyone has different dietary needs. Put plenty of leafy greens, like kale, in your salad, and you and your guests will keep your skin clear and glowing!

Main dish: Lentil brown rice meatloaf

Meatloaf is a comforting winter and holiday dish. Serve up a vegetarian/vegan friendly one to your guests by looking for a recipe that contains lentils and rice, or chickpeas with vegetables. Just make sure to replace eggs with “chia eggs” (chia seeds mixed with water) or “flax eggs” (ground flaxseeds mixed with water). Also, remove or replace sauces that are not vegan or gluten-free friendly, like Worcestershire sauce, as it contains anchovies and often has traces of gluten in it.

Side dish: Roasted garlic cauliflower mash

So long as you don’t go heavy on the vegan butter (look for a vegan margarine brand at the store – lots of them can be quite tasty!), cauliflower mash is a delicious and lighter version of mashed potatoes. It usually contains at least half the calories, and the Vitamin C in cauliflower will help fight free radicals to prevent premature fine lines and wrinkles.

Dessert: Pecan chocolate caramel coconut shortbread tartlets

If everyone still has room in their stomach after the appetizers and main course, a gluten-free vegan dessert like avocado chocolate mousse or these pecan chocolate shortbread tartlets will end your dinner on a sweet note. We recommend that you use dark chocolate, for anti-aging benefits.

Our recipe suggestions will help everyone leave with a full belly and a smile on their face – no matter what diet they follow!

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