30 Healthy Vegetarian Christmas Recipes

Classic Christmas dinner main courses, like roasted turkey and baked ham with pineapple, aren’t vegetarian-friendly options. This usually means that vegetarians have to rely on filling up with side dishes on special occasions and holidays.

Fortunately, a fully vegetarian Christmas dinner is possible with meat-free recipes. Even if you aren’t planning a totally vegetarian holiday meal, incorporating some vegetarian and allergen-friendly dishes will make everyone feel included at the dinner table.

Appetizers

Herb-Spiced Mixed Nuts Recipe

Simply Recipes / Alison Conklin

Kick off the festivities with some appetizers. Many appetizers are vegetarian-friendly, such as chips and dip, mixed nuts, cheese and crackers, and more. 

Herb-Spiced Mixed Nuts

Crowds go crazy for trays with a variety of healthy fruits, veggies, and mixed nuts. This spiced nuts recipe from Simply Recipes is sure to please. They offer both salty and sweet flavors with seasonings like maple syrup, rosemary, sage, thyme, and cayenne pepper. Equal parts walnuts, pecans, and almonds are recommended, but you can use whatever kind of nuts you have on hand. 

If you’re in a pinch, this appetizer recipe is a time saver since it only takes 5 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to cook. Plus, it yields 3 to 4 cups of mixed nuts, so there is plenty for everyone.

Salads

butternut squash salad

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt / Serious Eats

Salads are a healthy way to kick off Christmas dinner. Many salads are already vegetarian-friendly, but skipping meat toppings like bacon ensures that vegetarians can enjoy it, too. To capture the essence of Christmas, be sure to use ingredients like cranberries, nuts, and maple.

Roasted Squash and Kale Salad With Spiced Nuts, Cranberries, and Maple Vinaigrette

This make-ahead salad recipe from Serious Eats combines a medley of winter ingredients: roasted squash, spiced nuts, cranberries, and maple dressing. It looks and tastes like it would be served at an upscale restaurant, but it can be made in advance and still impress your guests.

Since it contains a large amount of vegetables, this is a nutrient-dense salad that will set a healthy tone and ensure that at least part of the holiday meal includes a fiber-rich dish.

Soups

cauliflower chowder

The Spruce / Elaine Lemm

Looking to squeeze in extra servings of vegetables during holiday dinners? Soup is an easy way to sneak in vegetables in a tasty way. While cold soups like gazpacho are perfect for summer, a steaming bowl of warm soup is ideal for the chilly holiday season.

Cauliflower Chowder

Cauliflower is a versatile vegetable loved by vegans, vegetarians, and meat lovers alike. It’s also used as a low-carb alternative in many paleo and keto recipes.

This cauliflower recipe from The Spruce Eats is a great example of making classic holiday recipes even healthier. Instead of a clam chowder or something similar, opt for a vegetarian-friendly version made with cauliflower. It still has the creamy texture and depth of flavor that one would expect in a chowder recipe, with added nutrients and an ingredient list to please any dietary preference. 

Vegetable Side Dishes

green bean casserole

Elizabeth Barbone / Serious Eats

Many classic holiday recipes are vegetable heavy, such as mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and glazed root vegetables. When you are vegetarian, it may feel as though your entire plate is filled with vegetable side dishes. Here are some veggie-based sides that stand above the rest and make your plate look a little more interesting.

Gluten-Free Green Bean Casserole

This casserole recipe from Serious Eats is a healthier take on a classic holiday recipe. While most green bean casserole recipes are naturally vegetarian-friendly, they are often heavy on butter, cream, and other indulgent ingredients.

This particular recipe is not only vegetarian, it’s also gluten-free. With vegetables like green beans, white button mushrooms, and onions, this dish is practically your entire days’ worth of vegetable servings.

Main Dishes

Root Vegetable Skillet Pot Pie

Simply Recipes / Ariane Resnick

Main dishes are where many vegans and vegetarians get stuck. Since traditional Christmas entrees consist of meats like turkey, pot roast, and ham, vegetarians must get creative with vegetables, legumes, and grains. If you’re looking for a vegetarian main dish for your Christmas dinner table, these recipes are failproof.

Cast Iron Skillet Root Vegetable Pot Pie

A pot pie is a satisfying main dish that consists of vegetables, crust, and a savory sauce. With this pot pie recipe from Simply Recipes, vegetarians won’t miss any of the texture or flavor of meat-based recipes. It contains a hefty amount of carrots and potatoes in a flavorful concoction of vegetable broth, spices, and butter.

The outside is crispy while the inside is soft and moist. If you’re looking to impress your guests with your vegetarian cooking skills, give this recipe a try.

Sauces

cranberry sauce

skhoward / Getty Images

The key to a flavorful recipe is by adding spices, seasonings, and sauces. At a holiday dinner party, some sauces are expected: cranberry sauce, gravy, salad dressing, white pasta sauce, and more. This can take an ordinary dish to one that is particularly special.

Honey Cranberry Sauce

No Christmas dinner table is complete without cranberry sauce. However, they can be high in sugar. This sauce recipe from Verywell Fit packs all the sweet cranberry flavor with a natural sweetness from honey and only takes 15 minutes from start to finish. If you’re expecting a big turnout, this recipe makes eight servings per batch.

Desserts

apple crisp

Dana Angelo White / Verywell Fit

After a big holiday meal, there’s always room for dessert. Classic Christmas desserts include apple pie, pumpkin pie, raspberry tarts, sugar cookies, cheesecake, and more. You can’t go wrong with dessert, and fortunately, many of them are already vegetarian-friendly.

Since dessert is an indulgent part of Christmas dinner, opt for a healthier fruit-based dessert. If you want to celebrate, enjoy traditional desserts in moderation.

Healthy Apple Crisp

Healthy desserts are hard to come to by at the store, but you can make this dessert recipe by Verywell Fit at home. It satisfies the sweet tooth without going overboard on added sweeteners. This recipe consists of chopped apples, rolled oats, brown sugar, butter, walnuts, and spices. The final result is a crispy, sweet, and fruity dessert.

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