5 Tasty Vegan Side Dishes for Your Holiday Shindig

No matter how you celebrate the holidays, chances are you’ve got at least a couple of parties on your calendar this month. Whether it’s tree-trimming parties, a Hanukkah celebration, a New Year’s party, or something else, it’s always nice to show up with a yummy side to share. These tasty vegan sides are total crowd-pleasers – your hosts won’t miss the meat or dairy for a second!

Holiday food is often very heavy on the animal products, especially the butter, meats, and cheeses. Animal ingredients might be traditional in holiday recipes, but they’re not so hot for the environment.

Animal products are woefully inefficient. Instead of using our land to grow healthy fruits, vegetables, and grains, millions of acres are dedicated to producing feed for animals. In fact, animal agriculture (including egg and dairy production) is responsible for 18 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions that humans produce. Even replacing a few dishes with vegan alternatives can make a difference.

Related Reading: 5 Soy Free Milk Alternatives

Vegan food sometimes gets a bad rep. If you’re used to a meat-and-three kind of diet, when you take out the meat you’re left with a bunch of mushy veggies. Bo-RING! You might think that all vegans eat are crudites and salads, but that’s not true at all. Check out some of the vegan side dishes on the next pages to liven up your holiday menu!


1. Curried Lentil Hummus

Deep curry seasonings make for lovely holiday fare!


  • 2 cups of cooked lentils
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon each yellow curry powder, turmeric, coriander and ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • water, as needed


Combine all of the ingredients except for the water in your blender or food processor, and blend until nice and smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add water – 1 tablespoon at a time – until you get your desired consistency.

Serve with toasted organic corn chips, pita triangles, and fresh veggies for dipping.

Up Next: Raw Sunflower Seed Pate

photo by Becky Striepe


2. Raw Sunflower Seed Pate

It’s important that you use raw, soaked seeds in this recipe, because toasted ones won’t blend up as smoothly.


  • 3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds, soaked for 4-6 hours in enough water to cover, then drained
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon each of your favorite hot sauce and soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup sweet peppers, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 plum tomato, chopped, for garnish


Place everything but the tomato into your food processor or blender, and blend until creamy and smooth. Be patient – it might take some time to get a good consistency! Just keep on blending. If you need, you can add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to thin this out, but the 1/4 cup usually works fine for me. It really depends on how well the seeds absorbed the water when you soaked them.

Chill for at least 30 minutes, then garnish with the chopped tomato just before serving. This is great on whole grain crackers or with carrot, celery, and endive to dip.

Up Next: Quinoa Pilaf

photo by Becky Striepe

quinoa pilaf

3. Quinoa Pilaf

Pilaf is traditionally a rice dish, but making it with quinoa gives you a protein and nutritional boost!


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1/2 cup eggplant, chopped
  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup each fresh mint and basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup scallions – green and white parts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Heat the olive oil on medium high in a large pot or Dutch oven, and cook the onions, pepper, garlic, zucchini, and eggplant until the onions start to brown slightly.

Add the quinoa and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring, just until it’s toasted slightly. Add the water, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the quinoa is cooked.

Toss in the herbs and pine nuts, season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

Up Next: Sweet and Sour Potato Salad

photo via Thinkstock


4. Sweet and Sour Potato Salad

Sweet potatoes take this traditional side dish to the next level.


  • 4 cups sweet potato, cooked and diced (you can choose to peel or leave the skin on)
  • 1/4 cup spicy mustard
  • 1/4c Vegenaise – Vegenaise is vegan mayo, and I cant recommend this brand enough. There are other vegan mayos out there, but they just do not stack up! Even my mayo-loving, omnivore mother likes this stuff. If you can’t bear the thought of vegan mayonnaise, you can use olive oil instead and add a couple of extra tablespoons of nutritional yeast to thicken the dressing.
  • 1/4 cup pickle juice
  • 1/4 cup minced sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup minced celery
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast – you can often find this in the bulk section at your local health food store or co-op.
  • salt and pepper, to taste


Toss all of the ingredients together right in your serving bowl, season with salt and pepper, and chill until you’re ready to serve.

Up Next: Easy Asian Slaw

photo by Becky Striepe

asian slaw

5. Easy Asian Slaw

It’s cabbage season! Put those cruciferous veggies to work in a peanutty slaw!


  • 1 head of cabbage, shredded
  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened, natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons mirin, a Japanese cooking wine
  • 2 tablespoons organic low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds


In a large bowl, toss the cabbage and onion.

In a smaller bowl, mix all of the remaining ingredients, whisking until the peanut butter is completely dissolved. Toss the dressing with the cabbage mixture, and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes, or until you’re ready to serve.

photo by Becky Striepe

7 Ways to Reduce Holiday Food Waste
5 Seasonal Vegan Soup Recipes
10 Tasty Vegan Crock Pot Recipes

Love This? Never Miss Another Story.


Linda Wallace
Linda Wallace11 months ago

Need those recipes. Thank you.

Julie Cordner
Julie Cordner2 years ago

Once went to a party (taking a Vegetarian dish), and overheard the hostess complaining in the kitchen that all the Vegetarian dishes were being eaten and not those containing meat.... Ha! Go Vegan!! (which I now have...)

Cynthia B.
Cynthia B.2 years ago

Vegan cooking is the best!!

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra2 years ago

Thank you Becky, for Sharing this!

Les M.
Les M.2 years ago

the asian slaw is good all year long. it's really good with fresh cucumbers.

Sarah M.
Sarah M.2 years ago


Spirit Spider
Spirit Spider2 years ago

I love sunflower seeds, thanks :-)

Shae H.
Shae H.2 years ago

I'll most likely be saving the recipe for the Quinoa Pilaf! You can do endless things with Quinoa, and it's one of those vegan friendly foods that many non-vegans will enjoy, too. :)

Molly S.
Molly S.2 years ago

The lentil hummus sounds delicious.

Lika S.
Lika S.2 years ago

The hummus sounds good, but I'm sorry, sweet and sour potato salad? Um... That is scary.