My mother only yesterday informed me that my extended family is planning on having a Christmas party on Saturday. She is demanding I bring a dish with me, as she says the fact that my boyfriend and I are vegetarian "makes people feel uncomfortable" because they feel like we "don't have anything to eat there", despite the fact that I insist I'm fine with what's available.
My boyfriend and I have a very tight food budget and cost is a bit prohibitive, but I'd prefer not to embarrass myself by showing up without anything if what she says is true. So the idea is to bring something traditional enough that my family won't think me nuts, filling enough that I'll have something to eat, and cheap enough to not break the bank.
Does anyone have any suggestions? Thank you in advance!
Here are some vegetarian ideas from the BBC. http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/vegetarian-christmas
Here are some vegan ideas from Nava Atlas. http://www.vegkitchen.com/tips/a-colorful-vegetarian-christmas/
Welcome to Veggie Boards, I hope you have a good holiday, and I hope this helps.
Potato or macaroni salad
Sauerkraut (or sauteed cabbage for a hot dish), potatoes and butter beans with noodles (I love to break up lasagna noodles for this)
Garlic mashed potatoes
Seriously, I like to make a vegan version of the usual dishes. Gets people to see it's not that hard.
Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good
It's good to get used to bringing a dish to family dinners when they'll let you, and to convince people to let you when they're not inclined to. This way not only will there be something for sure you can eat, there will be something for sure you like. You should bring something that if the others don't go for it, you can bring it home and enjoy it yourselves later. If you bring a salad, maybe have the dressing on the side instead of mixed in, so it won't wilt before you can get any leftovers home.
It turns out there's nothing easier to make than vegetarian gravy. It's easier than the gravy your mother might be making out of the pan drippings. Water, white wine, olive oil, sage, flour, vegetable bouillon. The measured proportions are variable, but if you google vegan gravy you'll get good ideas of how much of what to use. Add the flour a little at a time and whisk it around until the mix starts to look and feel like gravy, and anything you pour it over will taste great. The wine is optional. Ignore any lumps, or pulverize them in a food processor and add them back in. For Thanksgiving I'd brought my own gravy, and it turned out that my brother who'd made the turkey gravy didn't really know what he was doing and apparently it was watery, bland and nasty, so everyone used mine instead.
You can't go wrong with a tossed salad filled with your own particular favorite salad things. I brought a big salad to my sister's Christmas dinner with greens, tomatoes, cucumber, shredded carrots, avocado chunks, toasted pecans and mandarin orange sections. I could have made a meal off just that. For my own entree -- and some to share -- I brought portobello mushrooms (stems and gills removed) topped with cornbread stuffing. They cooked for about an hour in the oven. The breadcrumbs had been moistened with a combination of water, white wine and olive oil, and I added chopped pecan pieces and some minced seitan sausage. I also brought some vegetarian gravy, and poured it over many things on my plate.
As you might have noticed I like to put wine in things. It's usually cheap white wine, not that great for drinking, but it makes pretty much everything better when you're cooking.