Let’s be honest, the holiday season can be a challenging time for those of us who try to maintain vegan diets! Classics like eggnog, roasted meats, and butter-filled dishes seem to surround us like magnets this time of year! However, in my recent trip to Italy, I found that there are some festive Italian dishes which you can totally veganize! Excited? Then follow on for Read on for Veganized: 5 Italian Christmas Recipes You’ll LOVE!
1. Minestrone Soup
Having spent the majority of my time in Northern Italy, I realized that the common misconception of the Italian diet being only pasta and pizza is totally unfair! At nearly every restaurant I dined in, a fresh zuppe (soup) was an option! And, by far the most popular? Minestrone!
The great thing about minestrone is that there aren’t too many hard and fast rules– toss together some seasonal veggies, maybe a variety of beans, and maybe even pasta (optional) in your favorite veggie broth, and you’re good to go.
2. Vegan Cacio e Pepe
Cacio e Pepe is one of Rome’s oldest and most iconic dishes. Delectable Pecorino Romano cheese, fresh cracked pepper, and al dente pasta– that’s it! But, how can we keep a vegan diet while still enjoying this delicacy? The above recipe offers a creative alternative: using cashews and tofu!
While it may seem far-fetched, I’ve personally used the cashews-as-cheese replacement method, and it has proved to be a surprisingly delicious and believable substitute!
3. Eggplant Parm
More of an Italian-American recipe than an authentic motherland dish, eggplant parmesan is a vegetarian favorite. And yet again, we run into the cheese issue! How do you make a chewy, cheesy “parmesan” dish without the parmesan?
This recipe relies on nuts to do the miracle work! Today, cashew and other nut cheeses are actually more widely available than you think. There are also many options that are relatively low on processing. Pick some up on your next grocery trip!
4. Polenta with Mushrooms
In the Italian Alps, polenta is a staple. A derivative of cornmeal, polenta can be boiled into a fluffy consistency (much like mashed potatoes), or even baked into squares or slices! Being a typical mountain food, polenta makes the perfect winter starch! I enjoy mine with sautéed mushrooms, a meaty alternative to the meat of a traditional polenta dish.
5. Butternut Squash Ravioli
As we conclude harvest season, it’s always a great idea to incorporate the pumpkin family into your holiday recipes! Butternut squash has become one of my favorite vegan staples in the past few years. With its rich, creamy and decadent flavor, it has masses of versatility! Butternut squash is a great ravioli filling alternative to meat or cheese.
Are you inspired to try any of these Italian holiday recipes? Which vegan recipes are you looking forward to try out this Christmas? Let us what plant-based magic you create in the comments below and join in the conversation on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!