Plant-based Holiday Dinner Alternatives

November 09th 2018

Plant-based Holiday Dinner Alternatives

Plant-based Holiday Dinner Alternatives

In the least surprising survey result ever, 91% of Canadians said they enjoy eating holiday food. Stop the presses!

That means 9% don’t enjoy holiday food. Could they be the nearly 10% of Canadians that are vegetarian or vegan? Let’s explore ways make the holiday season a tastier time for alt-meat eaters.

In addition to increasing numbers of consumers identifying themselves as vegan or vegetarian, plant-based foods are also gaining acceptance throughout the population as a whole. A joint Acosta/Nielsen report released this year found that 71% of consumers who buy plant-based meat alternatives also eat meat.

Why the widespread adoption of a flexitarian diet, even if few use the term? The promise of health benefits tops the list. A study last year showed that 85% of Canadians eating plant-based foods do so to improve their health. Weight management was also a major consideration for 55% of those surveyed, which seems fitting as the season of overindulgence approaches.

There are more meat alternatives than ever

Indeed, to eat, drink, and be merry can be difficult during the season of turkey, glazed hams, gelatin salads, and mincemeat pies if you don’t eat meat, or you’re trying to curb your consumption. Fortunately, we’re entering a Golden Age of plant-based eating. 

We know that people want to include more plant-based foods in their diets. One of the biggest barriers to acceptance, though, is flavour: 42% just don’t like the taste. Time to change some minds!

New alternatives to traditional alt-meat fare (it seems like tofu was the only choice not so long ago) are adding allure to the category. Tempeh and seitan are nothing new in Asia, but they’ve more recently been bringing exotic trendiness to Canadian tables. 

“Repurposing” fruits and vegetables as meat replacements

Using jackfruit for its mild flavour and shredded meat-like texture is a natural way to simulate pork and poultry. Those leftover turkey sandwiches we love after Christmas? Make them “fresh” with seasoned jackfruit! 

Once largely overlooked, cauliflower is hotter than ever in the culinary world. Sliced into “steaks” or portioned into nuggets and “wings”, the texture of cauliflower lends itself to meat dishes with more heft. Also mild in flavour, it’s easy to bread, crust, or otherwise season cauliflower for an authentic taste experience.

Have Yourself a Meatless Little Christmas

So, what would a holiday feast taste like without meat? Here are some ideas to chew on:

  • Whole roasted cauliflower rubbed with black garlic butter, salt & pepper, stuffed with pureed mushrooms and kale seasoned with thyme, sage, and marjoram

  • Kashmiri Masala curried root vegetables

  • Honey lager-glazed tempeh ham with cloves and smoked paprika

  • Jackfruit mincemeat pie seasoned with Moroccan spices and Worcestershire sauce

  • Maple miso gravy with poultry seasoning

Deciding whether to offer straight swaps for traditional favourites or go out on a limb with something new may depend on your target consumer. Are you aiming for the Boomers who are thinking about their health, but cherish their traditions? Or are you after the millennials, with their worldly tastes and interest in breaking free of the ways of their parents?

Whatever your planned path to holiday dinners might be, we’ve got the flavours and the creative culinary team to turn your wishlist into a delicious gift to your customers.