Peaceful Plant Based and Peaceful Holidays

The holiday season is fast approaching. It is a time of joy, excitement, celebration, increased festivities, and social and family gatherings.

 It can also be a time when differences in food choices among friends and family are more at the forefront, bringing about tension and frustration – from all sides.

 Enjoy the holidays. Keep the evangelism at home for the day. Don’t be defensive. It only escalates the situation. Instead, show non-vegan friends and family the same respect and understanding you would hope to receive from them.

 Why not try a different approach this holiday? Rather than think about what ‘they’ will have or not have for us to eat, what if we thought about ‘them’ instead? Is there anything ‘they’ like that you can bring that is whole food plant-based (WFPB)? Maybe there are plenty of options that we can offer to bring.

 Offer to make the vegetable side dishes to help relieve the host from some of the stress of making a holiday dinner. Side dishes may include:

  •  glazed carrots
  • green bean almondine
  • cranberry sauce
  • mashed sweet potatoes
  • baked delicata squash
  • wild or black rice salad with vegetables and cranberries
  • roasted vegetables
  • brussels sprouts

 There is not enough room here to list all these side vegetable dish recipes, but you can Google some of the key ingredients you want or don’t want in your vegetable side dishes to find delicious ways to prepare the vegetables.

 You can also make an ordinary mixed greens salad, something out of the ordinary with special add-ins. Some ideas may include candied pecans using maple syrup, raspberries, blueberries, orange or tangerine slices, chopped roasted or pickled beets, dried cranberries, fennel, and watercress. What fruits or vegetables do your family members like? Add it to your salad. Any of these add-ins will give your salad more flavor and texture and let the family know you are trying to include their likes in what you bring to the table.

 Dessert ideas include fig bars, fruit (apple, pear, peach, plum, blueberry, etc.), crisp, or vegan pumpkin pie.

 What entreé to bring for yourself? Here is a suggestion. Don’t let the unique ingredient of raw buckwheat groats stop you from making this delicious lentil loaf    

Juicy Vegan Lentil Loaf

 Lentil Loaf

  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 cups champion or white button mushrooms*
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked brown lentils
  • 1/2 cup hulled raw buckwheat groats (it will be 1 cup after soaking)**
  • 1/2 cup water to blend the buckwheat groats
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika


Maple Tomato Glaze

  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch



  • Preheat the oven to 390º. 
  • Peel and chop the onion and garlic. Wash and chop celery. Wash, peel, and chop carrots. Rinse and chop mushrooms.
  • Soak the buckwheat groats in boiling water for 15 minutes. If you can squash them with your fingers, they are soft enough. 
  • When the groats are soft, drain the soaking water and add the 1/2 cup water. 
  • Use a hand blender or food processor to roughly blend the buckwheat with the water. It doesn’t need to be smooth. When you have a paste-like texture, stop.
  • Heat a frying pan to medium heat and add the 1 tablespoon water. 
  • Cook the onion for 1-2 minutes. 
  • Add the chopped garlic and cook a few seconds. 
  • Add the carrots and cook 5-6 minutes. 
  • Add chopped celery and pepper, oregano, and thyme. Stir well. 
  • Add the mushrooms and cook 5-6 minutes. When they are fork-tender, take the pan off the heat.
  • Add the just cooked chopped veggie mix to a food processor. Add the lentils, soy sauce, paprika and the buckwheat paste. Pulse a couple of times to blend. Do not over blend or the mixture will be a puree and the lentil loaf will be mushy. The mixture should be chunky.
  • Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and pour in mixture. 
  • Bake for 40 minutes or until firm to the touch and has a dark brown crust. 
  • Let cool for 20 minutes in pan. 
  • In the meantime, add all tomato glaze ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a boil until thickened. 
  • Remove from heat and pour on top of the loaf. 
  • In 10 minutes, remove from loaf pan and finish cooling on a wire rack.

 * I buy a 12 oz. package of mushrooms. What is not used in this recipe, I chop up and make mushroom gravy.

** The recipe calls for hulled raw buckwheat groats. This is different from roasted buckwheat groats (a.k.a., kasha). The loaf texture will be different if using roasted buckwheat. I have yet to make this recipe using roasted buckwheat. Raw buckwheat can be found at international stores or online.

Modified recipe from

Food brings people together. We can extend an olive branch by offering to bring food everyone will enjoy and still meet our dietary choices. Doing this will show we have more common ground than we imagined.

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