The problem with holiday meals isn’t always what you eat, but how much. Case in point: when Ebenezer Scrooge wakes up and realizes he didn’t miss Christmas, he celebrates the occasion by sending a turkey to the Cratchit’s that’s “twice the size of Tiny Tim.”
Ol’ Ebenezer never mentions a side of Brussels sprouts or roasted root vegetables.
In the spirit of the season, and in acknowledgement that long meals and too much food are part of the holiday tradition, Diana Rice, Meatless Monday’s Registered Dietitian, has a suggestion.
“There’s no reason to go overboard when so many plant-based options are packed with delicious holiday flavors. But if you do overindulge in a heavy meal one night, keep the leftovers light with some of these fantastic meatless options later in the week.”
Here, then, are five festive dishes that will keep your table light and bright. Best of all, no dish is twice the size of your guests.
BARLEY RISOTTO If you had a roasted meat on Christmas and family is still sticking around, nothing beats a comforting, filling meal that keeps the menu light but still provides plenty of flavor. Risotto is the perfect one-dish crowd pleaser, and using barley instead of the traditional white rice adds extra healthy benefits.
BAKED ROSEMARY POLENTA This dish provides everything we typically expect from a holiday meal – aromatic rosemary, savory mushrooms and comforting, creamy polenta – only minus the meat! It’s a great option for omnivorous and vegetarian guests alike.
SPICY LENTIL POMEGRANATE TART This is a festive holiday showstopper that’s worth the extra effort. If you’re putting together a holiday spread, put this on your plate of tasty nibbles, slice it into bite-sized pieces and watch the oohs and ahhs ensue!
ARTICHOKE STUFFING BITES Everyone looks forward to stuffing during the holidays, but it’s not written in stone that the dish has to come from inside a bird – or be served at a dinner table! This snackable version is a total crowd pleaser, and the artichoke leaves lend the dish a healthful, seasonal quality.
RED PEPPER PESTO PÂTÉ Something spreadable is always a hit at holiday parties, and this festive version relies on layers of pepper purees – not cheese – to create a lighter, healthier, seemingly indulgent appetizer for holiday guests.