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Annie Somerville, Executive Chef at Greens, on How to Make a Holiday Meal Veg-Friendly

How to Make Your Holiday Meal Veg-Friendly

Vegetarian Holiday MealWhile holiday roasts will likely be a seminal part of this year's Christmas celebrations, don't forget that 2010 was the year of the vegetable, too.

Even if you aren't making an entirely meat-free meal, there are a number of ways you can still make the night's menu vegetable-driven without missing the animal protein.

I asked Annie Somerville, executive chef at landmark vegetarian destination Greens in San Francisco, CA, for some of her recommendations.

To see chef Annie's best bets this yuletide season, keep reading!

  • Don't feel obligated to rely on meat substitutes. "Do something with mushrooms," she suggests, like shepherd's pie: "Layer wild or cultivated mushrooms with caramelized onions, cheese, and herbs, then top it off with a layer of mashed potatoes. It's something you can make in a casserole dish, a Dutch oven, a Pyrex dish, or individually. We make a mushroom sauce [to go with it]. That's a delicious main event."
  • Beans: Another magical main. "There are so many good varieties of beans! They all have different flavors and characteristics. Think about beans as being the main event, as opposed to a side event. We would've thought that customers wouldn't have been interested in [that], but they are!" She suggests trying something new, like stuffing poblano chiles with beans.
  • Take advantage of in-season root vegetables. "Right now at the farmers market, there are all these beautiful carrots, parsnips, brussels sprouts. Roast those up with a little olive oil, salt, fresh black pepper, sprigs of herbs, and serve that as another dish," Somerville recommends. Weather willing, this side can be done on the grill, too.
  • Remember some veggies actually flourish in the harsh Winter. "Kale gets even better; it's sweetened by the frost and the cold night." And don't forget that citrus: "Satsumas are definitely at their peak, and blood oranges are just getting started."

If you're making a meatless (or vegetarian-friendly) holiday spread this year, feel free to share your own tips with us below.

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