Holiday Recipes for the Flexitarian Food Lover

Enjoy these “delicious-first, meatless-second” holiday recipes for the meat lover, flexitarian and vegetarian alike.

| April 26, 2013

Meatless Celebrations Cover 1

The Meat Lover’s Meatless Celebrations, by author Kim O’Donnel, offers full-flavored holiday recipes, from pumpkin pudding with molasses cookies to black-eyed pea paella, for the flexitarian-minded.

Cover Courtesy Da Capo Press

Kim O’Donnel knows meat eaters. In fact, she is one. As a voice for the Meatless Monday campaign, she’s been cooking up delicious you-won’t-miss-the-meat fare for the vegetarian-curious-but-vegan’s-too-crazy crowd. With a focus on holidays (or any celebration), the versatile recipes found in The Meat Lover’s Meatless Celebrations (Da Capo Books, 2012) ensure that eaters of all dietary stripes will leave the table satisfied. Cast aside those fears of cardboard tofurkey and gray starches. Instead, revel in dishes that inspire, surprise, and are so tasty, “meatless” is an afterthought (with allergy- and animal-free options, to boot). The excerpt below comes from the introduction.

Buy this book in the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: The Meat Lover’s Meatless Celebrations.

Thanksgiving, 2005. My pals Liz and Matt invited me to Matt’s parents’ house for the big meal. As my contribution, I made a tofu pumpkin pie, a decision that brought smiles to the newly vegetarian couple but elicited nervous laughter from the hosts. A pie filled with soybean curd was not on the table in Norman Rockwell’s famous Thanksgiving painting. But my pie was hardly a shock compared to what was to precede it on the table. Liz and Matt had requested real estate on Mom and Dad’s turkey-centric table for a boxed Tofurky roast with all the trimmings. The meatless fixin’s were innocuous enough: a drab monochromatic scheme of gray (or was it beige?) that reminded me of hospital bed fare, a striking example of “meatless at any cost,” especially taste. I had one bite of that faux turkey, which was more than enough.

The symbolism of the curd bird and pie ran deep. Our additions to the holiday table were perceived as odd, even otherworldly (and certainly not festive), setting the stage for an us-versus-them dynamic. Frankly, the real bird wasn’t doing much for me, either, but our menu additions were challenging the Rockwell status quo, the way things had always been done. It’s as if Liz and Matt ripped open the dining room ceiling and ushered in a lightning storm.

Um, please pass the rolls. . . .

If you’re too young to remember Rockwell, surely you understand the feeling from How the Grinch Stole Christmas! the infinitely charming Dr. Seuss tale of a villain and his efforts to squelch the holidays for the townsfolk of Who-ville, which includes absconding with the “roast beast.” Those two words are how the kids of my generation came to refer to the meaty centerpiece of any holiday feast: ham or lamb for Easter, spare ribs, franks and burgers on the Fourth of July, corned beef and cabbage for Saint Patrick’s Day, andouille gumbo for Mardi Gras, and of course, turkey on Thanksgiving. A feast without the beast was unheard of.

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