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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Being plant-based over the holidays can be hard. My first Christmas as a vegetarian (and the only one in my family at that) consisted of me sitting at a table laden with gammon, turkey, duck…you name it. And it was difficult not to feel just the tiniest bit of FOMO. Over the years, instead of sticking to the meat-free staples of vegetable bake and roasted potatoes, I’ve learned that a plant-based holiday season can, in fact, be as exciting, innovative and delicious as before. The internet is full of vegan/vegetarian inspiration that’s certain to satisfy those holiday-season cravings (and if my experience is anything to go off of, even your non-plant-based family and friends will attest to this).

The important thing to remember though is this: these recipes are suitable for absolutely anyone. Just adding one plant-based dish to your holiday-season menu makes a huge difference to the environment (and your budget- because, let’s face it, meat isn’t cheap). In light of the looming ramifications of climate-change and the pressure that our planet is under, it’s crucial that we all try our best to cut down on our consumption of animal-products. There’s no ‘incorrect’ way of being vegan/vegetarian – what matters is that we all do our part, to the best of our ability.

  • So, without further ado, let’s start with a holiday-season favourite: gravy. This vegan alternative is from Jamie Oliver’s meat-free Christmas collection, and is super easy to make. It takes approximately 40 minutes, and let’s be honest, can Jamie Oliver ever go wrong?

https://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/vegetables-recipes/vegan-gravy/

  • One of my favourite dishes for the holiday season is a healthy and delectable veggie loaf. This recipe is not only vegan, but contains no oil, refined sugar or gluten (this truly is a win for those of us who have those pesky intolerances). All ingredients are whole-foods, and leftovers can be refrigerated or frozen for up to a week- so there’s no waste!
  • @bestofvegan is without a doubt my go-to for easy plant-based inspiration, and can be found on Instagram for easy access and user-friendly recipe formats. The Wellington is just one of those recipes that never gets old. This vegan alternative is stuffed with lentils and mushrooms, and is packed with spices to add flavour. Luckily, like all of these dishes, the ingredients can be found at your local supermarket or grocer, and it’s super easy to make.
  • And last (but certainly not least): pudding! This is a non-negotiable for the holiday-season (and pretty much anytime else). This caramel apple cheesecake is 100% vegan and gluten-free! The recipe is comprised of only 10 ingredients, so it truly is one to keep in your arsenal for a quick sugar fix. As an added bonus: it can also be frozen to reduce any unnecessary waste.
  • Christmas pudding: you either love it or (like me) not so much. But, it’s a holiday-season favourite, so for the sake of tradition, this is a vegan alternative. For those who prefer not to use alcohol in the recipe, the second link contains some useful substitutes.

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/vegan-christmas-cake

Whatever you’re celebrating this holiday season, I urge you to all spread the love. To each other, and to the planet. Eat your greens, wear a mask and take a well-deserved break.

I'm currently in second year at UCT, pursuing a BSocSci. I am triple majoring in psychology, political science and gender studies. As of late 2020, I began working as the co social media director for Her Campus at UCT. My vision for our community is one that promotes environmental sustainability, is politically active and is centered around providing a platform for South African women to create and inspire.
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