Meat-free mains for your seasonal spread

shutterstock_73467079It’s the season for feasting with family and friends. And while feathered fowl usuallytakes centre stage at the table over the holiday season, those who choose a meat-free diet for ethical or health reasons can often feel left out when it comes down to their dinner plate.

Side dishes, such as veggies, cranberry sauce and stuffing, can easily be prepared without meat, as well as dairy or egg to appeal to vegans. But a main course that’s fit for the festivities can often be challenging.

With the below entrée ideas for inspiration, however, you’ll be well on your way to a seasonal spread with a meatless main attraction that may even steal the spotlight from turkey.

Whole roasted cauliflower

Cauliflower has made a comeback in haute cuisine and it’s also a tasty option as a main course for vegetarians and vegans. When slow-roasted in its entirety, cauliflower also serves as a carvable alternative to a classic roast. The beauty of what was once considered a beastly member of the brassica family is that you can rub it in a range of fresh herbs and spices for a wide spectrum of flavours.

Nut loafs

It may not have a fancy a name, but a well-prepared nut loaf deserves a premium spot on the holiday menu – and not as a trimming. A centerpiece in itself, the dish is made with nuts, rice, onion, garlic and herbs. And while it mimics the texture of meatloaf, doused in a vegetarian or vegan-friendly gravy, a nut loaf can be tastier than the real deal.

Stuffed squash

A halved and roasted gourd makes for a perfect vessel to get stuffed over the holidays. Plus, this twist on turkey won’t put you to sleep. The obvious choice would be to fill your gourd with traditional trimmings, such as stuffing, as you would a bird. But you can also use it as an edible container to hold a grain pilaf, like quinoa, for added protein for your vegan or vegetarian guests?

What meat-free mains will you be serving this holiday season?