5 Ways to Add More Plant-Based Foods to Your Holiday Party

Publish Date September 30, 2022
Author by Ashley Martinez, MFN, RDN, LD

‘Tis the season for giving, and what better way to give the gift of health than through your holiday party! Food is at the center of every gathering and there are clever ways to add more nutrient-dense goodness to meals without compromising flavor. Here are five delicious and easy ways to incorporate more plants into your party menu:

Plant-powered mac & cheese

Mac and cheese is always a favorite – so why not add a little plant power to this popular dish? Choose lentil, chickpea or whole-wheat macaroni noodles, add finely chopped broccoli and use cheddar cheese to make a wonderfully delicious broccoli & cheddar mac & cheese. Top with whole-grain panko for a nice crunch.

Spiced-up fruit spread

Kick things up a notch by adding a hot pepper to something tart and sweet! Try combining cherry with serrano peppers for a real flavor explosion that’s full of nutrition, too; each bite provides fiber, anthocyanins and vitamins. Serve with whole-wheat crackers and sharp or goat cheese, or serve as a spread for dinner rolls! The sweet-and-spicy combination will surely have your guests coming back for seconds.

Grilled pineapple ham sliders

Add anti-inflammatory benefits to your ham sandwich sliders by incorporating some grilled pineapple. The grilling process caramelizes some of the natural sugars in pineapple, making the fruit an even sweeter and more delicate bite. You can use the extra pineapple for guests to make their own fruit skewers.

Garden-variety flatbread

Everyone loves the idea of “build your own,” so give them what they want with an array of plant-based toppings. Mix savory and sweet by adding a pinch of pumpkin spice to hummus. Spread that on flatbread and top with dried apricots and sunflower seeds. Another delicious combo is apple compote, aged cheddar cheese and chopped walnuts. If you’re using vegetable toppings, you can roast or sauté them to bring out more flavor.

Caramelized onions

The sweet smell of caramelized onions is heavenly. What’s even better is that they’re so easy to make. Heat a pan on low, add a splash of water and mix in sliced onions. Let simmer for a bit and then sauté occasionally. The longer you simmer the onions, the better (at least 10-15 minutes). Once desired caramelization is reached, remove from the pan and serve as a topping for sandwiches, an addition to your charcuterie board or as a topper for your green bean casserole.

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