Entertaining for the holidays isn’t just about the presents and having something on the TV in the background. The thing people remember the most – and bond over quickest – is their love of food. Sure, we all need to eat, but if you’re the one doing the cooking, sometimes it helps to mix things up a bit. While there are numerous holiday standbys you can go to, why not throw in a curveball this holiday season and make a gift of your grub.
Add some Indian spice to this year’s holiday get-together with this whole-roasted cauliflower recipe. Cauliflower is remarkably and maybe even surprisingly versatile, as it is both great at absorbing flavor and tough enough to stand up to most heat. Cooking a cauliflower “steak” in Indian spices – specifically Masala – is a fun way to integrate a worldwide popular flavor in amongst this year’s dishes.
Dressing and stuffing are absolute staples of holiday eating, and this recipe for cornbread dressing is a new twist on an old favorite. Using homemade stock, celery, onions, and other spices, along with chicken (which can be substituted if you’re not eating meat), this dressing adds a southern twist to what you’re already bringing to the table.
Vegan Mushroom Stuffed Tofu Roast
It isn’t easy to get non-vegetarians to the table when there’s veggie-heavy fare about, but with the right holiday flavors and the right texture, you can sell even the most stubborn anti-veggie person on this stuffed roast. Using tofu, walnuts and those reliable two – thyme and rosemary – you’ll be cooking up a perfect veggie roast fit for the whole family.
Pecan Pie Cheesecake
This Pecan Pie Cheesecake might be the most decadent thing we’ve ever seen on a holiday dinner table. Using pecan pie filling, vanilla wafers for the crust and reliable cheesecake in the middle, you’ll be in a sugar coma in just about no time. It mixes the classiness of a traditional cheesecake with the reliable hominess of pecan pie, and it’s butterier than all get-out. You won’t be able to make enough of this.
Stuffed and Roasted Butternut Squash
Butternut squash is a reliable vegetable base, as it is, but this recipe lays out three distinct ways to roast and stuff a butternut squash for your holiday feast. One version uses your typical thanksgiving stuffing, integrating maple syrup, sage, apples and cranberries, along with vegan or turkey sausage to round it out. Another uses delicious Persian lentils along with cilantro, dried fruit, yogurt and pomegranate seeds. The third version is a flavor bomb on its own, with mushrooms, miso and tofu.
It doesn’t take a lot of ingredients to make the perfect holiday meal. Usually it takes a few familiar scents to get someone in on the ground floor of something they’ve never tried before, so integrating classic holiday season herbs is one way to be sure that people will be ready to eat whatever dishes you’re about to bring out.