A Very Veggie Christmas: 40 Meat-Free Holiday Recipes


Dreaming of a meat-free Christmas? We rounded up the 40 best vegetarian and vegan recipes to please all of Santa’s little helpers. From Frosty to the Abominable Snowman, there’s something for everyone.





1. Smoked Gouda and apple crostini with honey drizzle





smoked gouda and apple crostini
Photo courtesy of Joyful Healthy Eats

Starting a meal with crostini gives off instant fancy vibes. All “ooh la la” vibes aside, this Gouda and apple appetizer is easy to make and so tasty! The perfect mix of salty, crunchy, and a touch of sweet from the honey drizzle will make these a go-to party app. 





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2. Avocado deviled eggs





avocado deviled eggs
Photo courtesy of Amee’s Savory Dish

The light green of the avocado and red of the paprika make these elevated deviled eggs a Christmas miracle. The creamy filling pairs perfectly with the sharp dill and mustard flavors. Plus, the pop of green adds to the festive look.





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3. Macaroni and cheese bites





macaroni and cheese bites
Photo courtesy of Sarah Hearts

The Grinch himself couldn’t deny these macaroni and cheese bites. This recipe puts the comfort-food classic in pop-in-your-mouth form. Everyone gets to enjoy the light crunch of the crispy baked edges.





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4. Buffalo spiced almonds





buffalo spice almonds
Photo courtesy of The Almond Eater

Buffalo wings are off the menu for a vegetarian dinner. But you can still enjoy the same spicy flavors with this easy almond recipe! The light snack is a nice break from heavier Christmas fare.





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5. Baked brie with wild mushrooms, garlic, and fresh parsley





Baked Brie with Mushrooms
Photo courtesy of Cooking Melangery

Everything gets better when it’s stuffed with cheese. This brie and puff pastry appetizer is surprisingly easy to whip up, makes your kitchen smell delicious, and will meet the melty cheese quota of any good holiday dinner.





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6. Baked sweet potato roses with thyme





Baked Sweet Potato Roses
Photo courtesy of Cooking Melangery

Your guests will wonder if you snuck Martha Stewart into your kitchen to make these gorgeous sweet potato rosettes. In addition to being beautiful, they’re simple to make: You need just five ingredients, and they’re ready to serve in 25 minutes.





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7. Butternut squash soup





Butternut Squash Soup
Photo courtesy of A Couple Cooks

This soup is so creamy you can’t even tell it’s vegan! The secret is (*shh*) chickpeas. We spoiled the surprise, but this soup is a winner with or without the twist ending. Your guests will never know the difference.





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8. Christmas salad with pomegranate and pecans





Christmas Salad with Pecans
Photo courtesy of Rachel Cooks

“The Simpsons” told us you don’t win friends with salad. Then again, Homer never tried this pomegranate and pecan dream. Pomegranate is a beautiful addition to any Christmas table, and the salad features a fantastic mix of homemade candied pecans, blue cheese, and a simple citrus vinaigrette.





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9. Cornbread





cornbread with honey butter
Photo courtesy of One Good Thing

If you don’t want to spend Christmas morning worrying about yeast and rising dough, you can still have delicious homemade bread with this cornbread recipe. Fluffy and lightly sweet, this cornbread will earn a yearly spot for your vegetarian holiday meals.





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10. Vegan sweet potato biscuits





sweet potato biscuits
Photo courtesy of Cook Nourish Bliss

Who knew biscuits without butter could be so dang good? The sweet potato puree holds these biscuits together and keeps them from drying out. Meanwhile, the mix of cinnamon, ginger, and clove gives them a hint of seasonal spice.





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11. Savory pumpkin monkey bread





pumpkin gruyere monkey bread
Photo courtesy of Macheesmo

Have you tried a cheesy monkey bread? Christmas is the time. This pull-apart bread has a kick of chili powder and black pepper mixed in along with the sweetness of pumpkin puree and maple syrup.





The result is a fluffy dream, and you’ll wonder why you don’t make monkey bread every day.





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12. Maple roasted sweet potatoes





maple roasted sweet potatoes
Photo courtesy of Budget Bytes

This is a great alternative to your usual super-sweet sweet potato casserole. Easy to make and very affordable, this hearty side will complement nearly any main dish.





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13. Spiked cranberry chutney





spiked cranberry chutney
Photo courtesy of Love and Zest

It’s homemade cranberry sauce… with alcohol. What else do we need to say?





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14. Classic potato latkes





classic potato latkes
Photo courtesy of Platings and Pairings

Sure, latkes are usually for Hanukkah, but why not get the best of both holiday meals? Be sure to use the canola oil (not chicken schmaltz) version of the recipe to keep it vegetarian.





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15. Easy cheesy scalloped potatoes





This comforting recipe is a classic Christmas combo: starch and ooey-oh-so-gooey cheese. Because the only thing better than a potato is a potato smothered in cheese.





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16. Mashed potatoes with sour cream





Mashed Potatoes and Sour Cream
Photo courtesy of Platings and Pairings

Can you have a holiday meal without mashed potatoes? Though the studies haven’t been peer-reviewed (or performed), we think every vegetarian Christmas dinner should have some mash. The tang of the sour cream gives these potatoes a little kick and adds to the classic creaminess.





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17. Vegan mushroom gravy





vegan mushroom gravy
Photo courtesy of The Endless Meal

You can still enjoy delicious gravy without the meat. With a base of mushrooms and garlic, this recipe adds tomato paste and red wine to pack in the flavor. Bonus: It’s gluten-free!





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18. Vegan stuffing with mushrooms





vegan mushroom stuffing
Photo courtesy of Vegan in the Freezer

To go with your mushroom gravy, here’s some mushroom stuffing! In case you aren’t a mushroom person, the prevailing taste is still classic Christmas stuffing. The criminis simply add texture and a hint of flavor.





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19. Spicy honey roasted carrots





spicy honey roast carrots
Photo courtesy of The Endless Meal

Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, and easy to make, this side dish will make everyone happy. With a kick of cayenne to cut through the sweetness, these carrots might become the star of your plate.





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20. Shaved brussels sprouts





Whole30 keto shaved brussels sprouts
Photo courtesy of Tastes Lovely

If you’re staying keto or doing the Whole30 this holiday season, there are still plenty of tasty options. These shaved brussels sprouts use just a few ingredients to get that perfectly crispy, caramelized flavor. Even if you have an aversion to sprouts, this recipe is worth a try.





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21. Charred maple soy green beans





charred maple soy green beans with crispy shallots
Photo courtesy of Jo Eats

Transform soggy green bean casserole into this crisp, fun side. The green beans are lightly cooked in a sesame oil and maple syrup mixture. Fried shallots are added on top to bring the yum factor to a whole new level.





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22. Crispy garlic roasted cauliflower





garlic roasted cauliflower
Photo courtesy of Healthy Liv

Cauliflower is a secret weapon in many recipes. This time, instead of using it to make rice or a keto crust, let the full flavor shine. With only four ingredients, this is a perfect side that’s as healthy as it is delicious.





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23. Cranberry-orange French toast bake





cranberry orange french toast
Photo courtesy of Simply Eat Cake

Start Christmas Day off right with this French toast bake. Even if you do have a big holiday dinner, this recipe is easy to prepare ahead of time. Just pop it in the oven and you have a breakfast that puts any bougie brunch to shame.





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24. Zucchini and cheese tamales





vegetarian zucchini and cheese tamales
Photo courtesy of Bless This Mess

A Christmas tradition in many Latinx households, tamales are a fantastic vegetarian holiday dinner option. This recipe uses a delicious mix of zucchini, onion, and cheese — but don’t be afraid to make it your own!





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25. Veggie pot pie skillet with cheddar biscuits





veggie pot pie skillet with cheddar
Photo courtesy of A Love Letter to Food

Instead of waiting until you have leftovers to make a pot pie, make a pot pie your main course! This filling, comforting stew is made even better by a crust of cheddar biscuits.





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26. Vegan stuffed acorn squash





vegan stuffed acorn squash
Photo courtesy of Veggies Save The Day

With tomatoes, chickpeas, and quinoa in a perfectly cooked acorn squash, you practically have a whole meal in one recipe. Super filling and very healthy, this could be a go-to dinner year-round.





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27. Hearty veggie lasagna





veggie eggplant lasagna
Photo courtesy of The Urban Umbrella

Even Garfield would appreciate this low carb veggie lasagna. Swap lasagna noodles with eggplant slices to create a hearty, satisfying meal. You can use veggie sausage for extra protein, but it’s just as tasty without it.





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28. Creamy broccoli pesto pasta





broccoli pesto pasta
Photo courtesy of Lounge 20

Get ready to fall in love with this festive green dish. The broccoli makes the dish heartier, healthier, and more satisfying. It doesn’t take away from the classic pesto flavor either.





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29. Best vegan meatloaf





vegan meatloaf
Photo courtesy of Vegan in the Freezer

Sometimes you just want a big, meaty centerpiece for your Christmas dinner. This vegan meatloaf fits the bill. Add some mushroom gravy and a side of mashed potatoes and no one will miss the roast beast feast.





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30. Lentil meatballs





lentil meatballs
Photo courtesy of The Almond Eater

Whether you serve them with spaghetti or all on their own, these lentil meatballs are tasty enough to be the center of your dinner. Plus, they only take about 30 minutes to make!





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31. Pear, walnut, and goat cheese tart





pear walnut goat cheese tart
Photo courtesy of Cook Nourish Bliss

Somewhere between a pizza and a slice of pie, this sweet-savory tart is a uniquely delicious main dish. The puff pastry crust adds buttery goodness to the mix of pears, walnuts, and goat cheese.





Baking bonus: This tart’s so simple you may want to eat it all 12 days of Christmas. It only takes about 10 minutes to put together and another 30 to bake.





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32. Vegetarian harvest grain bowls





vegetarian harvest grain bowls
Photo courtesy of Love and Zest

If you want a healthier, low-key Christmas dinner, this grain bowl is your best bet. Sweet potatoes, quinoa, tart cherries, and a homemade apple cider vinaigrette make this bowl a flavor bomb.





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33. Dutch oven risotto





dutch oven risotto
Photo courtesy of I Heart Vegetables

If Gordon Ramsay has taught us anything, it’s that risotto is very hard to get right. Thankfully, your guests will never know that this no-stir risotto is made entirely in a Dutch oven.





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34. Vegan gluten-free fruitcake





vegan fruitcake
Photo courtesy of Vegan Richa

“Vegan gluten-free fruitcake” sounds like the punchline of a hacky comedian. But trust us — this is a shockingly delicious dessert. We know fruitcake gets a bad rap, but when you make it at home with good ingredients, it’s a delightful Christmas treat.





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35. Almond pear cake with vanilla and cardamom





almond pear cake with vanilla
Photo courtesy of Happy Hearted Kitchen

This pear cake with hints of vanilla and cardamom is the perfect dessert when you want something lighter. Dairy-free and vegan, this cake is fluffy, flavorful, and just a little sweet.





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36. Salted honey whipped cream





salted honey whipped cream
Photo courtesy of Jo Eats

Whether you put it on a piece of cake or pop a dollop in your hot chocolate, this salted honey whipped cream is a delicious complement to any dessert. Using just heavy cream, honey, and salt, this simple recipe gives the traditional topping a flavorful twist.





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37. Crustless cranberry pie





crustless cranberry pie
Photo courtesy of Averie Cooks

It’s time to give cranberries the spotlight! The tart holiday fruit gets the starring role in this cake/pie hybrid.





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38. Vegan snowball cookies





vegan snowball cookies
Photo courtesy of Nora Cooks

Santa’s not the only one who gets to enjoy cookies at Christmastime. These vegan snowballs (aka wedding cookies or Russian tea cakes) will melt in your mouth. Your guests will say, “I can’t believe it’s vegan butter.”





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39. Christmas tree meringues





christmas tree meringues
Photo courtesy of As Easy As Apple Pie

These are almost too cute. With some clever piping and green food coloring, a classic meringue becomes an adorable Christmas tree. The only reason not to make these is if you hate to hear people saying “These are so cute!” every time they head to the dessert table. Because they will!





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40. Vegan baked peppermint doughnuts





vegan peppermint donuts
Photo courtesy of The Frugal Spinster

You can’t have Christmas without peppermint (sorry, that’s the actual rule). These doughnuts are the perfect solution. Just bake them in a pan and cover them with glaze and crushed peppermint candies.





Bonus: You can have these for Christmas breakfast and dessert.





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tl;dr





“You, boy — get me the biggest tofu log you can find,” says Ebenezer Scrooge in a far less popular version of “A Christmas Carol.” We get it. Sometimes you just want a traditional meaty Christmas dinner.





With these 40 vegetarian or vegan options, you’ll get all the festive flavors without the meat. The recipes are so good that even hardcore carnivores will be impressed.