(BPT) – Fewer people around the table, virtual meal sharing and car trips that take you no farther than the local grocery store are making holiday gatherings look a bit different this year. As a holiday host and master chef in your home kitchen there are still plenty of ways to usher in new traditions and show-off your culinary skills by adding some new twists to the classic holiday menu.
Whether cooking for family or a small group of friends, consider these tips to help create memorable meals that will add to everyone’s holiday cheer:
Serving up tasty, yet simple, appetizers
Appetizers are the perfect start to whet appetites while a delicious holiday meal is cooking in the oven. Keep appetizers simple — think finger-foods and one-bite indulgences — and have enough variety to keep everyone pleased. A charcuterie board can be easily assembled with cheeses, nuts, meats or fruits and you can add a compound butter in a ramekin or two by combining a dairy free, plant butter with herbs or spices mixed in, offering something for everyone to enjoy. Then offer a few hot and cold appetizers, like stuffed mushroom bites or mini avocado bruschetta toasties.
Add more plant-based food options to the menu
Whether it’s because of a dietary or lifestyle choice, allergies or just personal preference, more and more people are choosing to eat plant-based foods so make sure you include some options on your holiday menu. If you want to put a plant-based spin on that familiar buttery recipe that’s been handed down through generations, while still meeting the expectations of your family’s taste buds, use new Flora™ Plant Butter in the dish. With a rich and creamy flavor, this vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free and non-GMO plant butter is made with plant-based oils, uses no artificial flavors or preservatives, and can be swapped with butter 1:1 in baking and cooking. It’s also wrapped in paper packaging rather than plastic, making it a food choice that’s also more environmentally responsible for the planet.
‘Tis the season to put a twist on the classics
Sometimes holiday traditions are meant to be bent, and you can start with your menu. Try spicing up traditional recipes with seasonal-inspired ingredients or herbs, but with a twist. For instance, a side of baked sweet potatoes can be delicious but switching up this classic with sweet potato gratin with cayenne seasoning elevates your menu and adds a dish with the perfect mix of heat and sweet. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new flavor pairings, moving out of your comfort zone to put your own unique spin on holiday dishes.
Inspired to take your holiday recipes to the next level? Try this plant-based dessert recipe for a twist on traditional apple pie. It’s the perfect ending to any holiday meal!
For the apple filling:
4 cups Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 lemon, juiced, 1 pinch salt, 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
For pecan streusel:
1 cup pecan halves, coarsely chopped, 2/3 cup lightly packed light brown sugar, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 cup Flora™ Plant Butter Salted, melted
Vegan caramel sauce, vegan vanilla ice cream
1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
2. Let the mixture sit for 20 minutes to allow the apples to release their natural juices.
Pecan streusel topping:
1. Mix chopped pecan halves, light brown sugar, all purpose flour, cinnamon and oats together.
2. Slowly pour melted Flora™ Plant Butter into the bowl and stir until all ingredients are combined. Set aside.
Assembly and baking instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Place six, 8-ounce oven-proof jars onto a baking sheet.
2. Scoop a heaping tablespoonful of pecan streusel into each jar. Then add the apple filling to jars, followed by another tablespoonful of pecan streusel.
3. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until apple filling is bubbling.
4. Serve with a vegan vanilla ice cream and a vegan caramel sauce, if desired.