What’s for Christmas Dinner? Here are some yummy and quick vegan recipes!

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by JL Fields on December 25, 2011

Good morning! Dave and I are on our way to the airport!  We will be home, cuddling the kitties, by late Christmas afternoon.  Can’t wait to see this ornery cuss:

Ernie, the kitten

And the matriarch and the middle child:

Matisse and CK

Dave and I had a wonderful Christmas Eve celebration with his mother, Diana, and three family friends:  Connie, Jean and Debbie.

I whipped up a few easy vegan dishes that I wanted to share with you.  There’s a good chance you have most of these ingredients on hand–or the perfect substitute– so if you’re still trying to think of what to make, consider these quick dishes.  NOTE:  I don’t use a lot of measurements here. You know I’m a fan of intuitive cooking.  Taste while you’re creating and make these dishes your own!

Nutty Quinoa and Cherry Salad

by JL goes Vegan

Ingredients (Serves 8 – 10)

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups water
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dried cherries, rehydrated, rinsed and drained (I used 1 cup)
  • Pecans, chopped (I used half a cup)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Sea salt to taste


Cook quinoa (quinoa, water and pinch of salt) using your preferred method (pressure cooker, rice cooker or stove top).

Let cool and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Rehydrate cherries by soaking in water for 30 minutes. Rinse and drain.

Chop pecans.

Mix the cold quinoa with olive oil and lemon juice (I used 1 and a half lemons). Toss with rehydrated cherries and chopped pecans and add salt to desired taste.

Serve and enjoy.

Garlic Almond Kale

by JL goes Vegan

Ingredients (Serves 6 – 8 )

  • 3 bunches of kale, washed, dried (salad spinner or pat with a paper towel) and torn into bite size pieces
  • Olive oil
  • 3 (or 4!) cloves of garlic, minced
  • Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or sea salt)
  • Slivered almonds


Heat olive oil on medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add garlic and quickly saute for a few minutes.

Add the kale and a bit of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or sea salt) to taste. Stir and cover.

Reduce the heat to low, keeping the skillet covered. Keep an eye on the kale — it will wilt down perfectly in just a few minutes.

Remove the cover and stir in almond slivers.

Serve and enjoy.

Chili-Ginger Chickpeas

by JL goes Vegan

Ingredients (Serves 6 – 8 )

  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Scallions (save some for garnish)
  • Red peppers, diced (save some for garnish)
  • Ground chili powder
  • Ground ginger powder
  • 2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • Fresh rosemary, dried in oven (optional)
  • Sea salt, to taste


In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.

Saute the scallions, garlic, red pepper for a few minutes.

Add chili powder (about 1 tablespoon), ginger (about 1 teaspoon) and sea salt to taste and saute for a few more minutes.

Reduce heat to low, add rosemary if you’re using it*, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Garnish with scallions and red peppers.

Serve and enjoy.

*For the rosemary

My mother-in-law has a rosemary bush in her yard, She cut a few sprigs for me, which I washed and tossed into the over (200F degrees) to dry for about 30 minutes. I added the dried rosemary to the dish, which was lovely.

Connie was up for the challenge of bringing a vegan dish. She rocked it!

Connie’s Crock Pot Sweet Potatoes & Apples


  • 4-5 sweet potatoes (sliced or cubed)
  • 2 granny smith apples (sliced or cubed)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 tablespoon nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Place sliced or cubed sweet potatoes and apples in crock pot
  • Mix syrup, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper on pour on top of potatoes and apples
  • Cook for 5 hours on high heat setting.

It was an amazing meal.

There were only three non-vegan items on the table. A ham (boo) and two non-vegan desserts.  I opted for two raw, vegan cookies and So Delicious Coconut Milk Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.

Spirulina/Gojiberry Thumbprint Cookie + Vanilla Cookie/Cacao Cream –um, the cookies were okay.

It was a truly delicious meal and I was so grateful that everyone was up for a mostly vegan holiday meal! In fact, they all said they loved the vegan dishes and that they also loved that the dishes were accessible and flavorful. Food is activism!

Enjoy your day — back here tomorrow with vegan news you can use!

  • Beth

    Totally making the chickpeas and sweet potatoes this week. Have a safe trip home!

    • JL

      You’ll love them, Beth! Hope you had a wonderful holiday!

  • Bonnie

    These recipes sound GREAT!  Not too hard and no exotic ingredients.  Can’t wait to try them.  Thanks for this post.

    • JL

      Thank you, Bonnie! You nailed it — I wanted to show that it’s not complicated to eat vegan! Please let me know how you like the recipes!

  • Jschild

    I cannot say enough about the meal other than it was fantastic and it was truly my first vegan meal and experiencing it at Holiday time was special and experiencing it with all of you was special.  JL you are a great cook and I highly recommend all the dishes you prepared.  Jean

    • JL

      Jean, it was a wonderful holiday! I was so happy to meet you and Debbie and to celebrate with you!

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  • Only 3 non vegan dishes?? Impressive! My family loves their meat and cheese.

  • DBingham

    Hi JL! It was great fun meeting you and Dave and sharing Christmas dinner. The dishes you prepared were delicious as was Connie’s sweet potato dish!  I love your blog! It’s certainly a beautiful, creative expression of you filled with lots of creativity, energy and enthusiasm! I have forwarded link to your blog to several like minded friends.  Loved seeing pictures of your babies.  Got to give a shout out to that gorgeous Tumba who shared the shot with you and your lovely toes.  Love and blessings for a beautiful, prosperous New Year to you and your family.    

    • JL

      It was so wonderful to meet you and to enjoy the holiday with you! i thought the dinner conversation was fascinating! Until next time…

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