Non-Traditional Christmas Dinner Ideas:
Alright, now I know that Thanksgiving is just days away but I've already started thinking about Christmas dinner. Sue me! This time of year is just so exciting, I can't help it! When it comes to planning an entire dinner menu, it pays to be prepared - right? So I've started early. My Christmas dinnerware is unpacked, silverware polished, napkins and table cloths are pressed - but what are we going to eat? Today, everybody is either a vegetarian, part-time vegetarian, sometimes vegan or has one of 5,000 different food allergies! Good grief! Now I'm not being critical, I'm just saying that all of these dietary restrictions make planning the perfect holiday meal quite difficult. Instead of driving yourself insane - planning individual menus for everyone - why not do it buffet-style and make a little something for everyone? Here are some non-traditional crowd-pleasers sure to be a hit at your Christmas dinner.
- Non-Traditional Appetizers:
When it comes to holiday appetizers - simple and light is better. A nice shrimp cocktail for instance is a perfect idea AND it will satisfy meat eaters and part-time vegetarians (i.e. - "flexitarians") who make an exception for seafood! Serve it up in a Christmas bowl or garnish with some cranberries and you have a festive twist on a classic appetizer! Why not serve up some holiday chips and salsa this year? Sure chips and salsa is a year round standard but change it up by getting some Garden of Eatin' Red Corn Tortilla chips and green salsa Verde? Or alternatively - dip those red chips into some cool green guacamole. Look at that - red and green! Ho, ho, ho!
- Non-Traditional Main Courses:
When you think of a traditional Christmas dinner main course, what comes to mind? Turkey dinner? (Too soon after Thanksgiving, if you ask me!) Ham? (Save that for Easter!) This year, why not get creative?
While a Tofurky might work for some of those picky eaters in your family - I'd rather not compromise when it comes to flavor. WholeFoodsMarket.com has a lot of healthy Christmas dinner alternatives worth checking out. My favorite of the bunch has to be the Thyme-Scented Rib Roast! You got your protein, your fragrant, green Christmassy herb (Thyme) - what more could you need? If you have a good mix of vegetarians and carnivores expected, try some stuffed Cornish Game Hens! These guys are small and compact so you can make a few for the meat-eaters in your family, and still have room at your table for a couple of vegetarian dishes.
For the vegetarians on your list, you need something that's both satisfying and filling. WholeFoodsMarket.com recommends a vegetable-infused Shepherd's pie with a crust made from mashed yams! A baked eggplant also makes for a satisfying vegetarian meal, and of course there's always some kind of tofu.
- Non-Traditional Desserts:
Mmmmm...desert is a necessary part of every holiday meal! Ice cream isn't just good in the summer, you know! Edy's and other ice cream brands have a bunch of seasonal flavors out right now that are very good to the taste buds. Apple pie, peppermint stick and even egg nog-flavored ice cream! Yum, yum! Serve it a la mode with some pumpkin pie and you've got yourself a desert! Drop a scoop into a mug of nice hot chocolate and make a Christmas float.
Vegetarians and vegans, rejoice! Make a non-dairy pumpkin pie that tastes just as good as the real thing! For the vegans in your life, try a vegan-friendly pumpkin and pecan pie! Flourless cakes, cookies and brownies are also a great healthy option for those pickier eaters. Fresh fruit is also a great idea - now's the time to indulge in some fresh pomegranates and citrus. Not only are these tasty treats healthy, but they also add a splash of color to your dining room table!
Isn't the point of Christmas to spend time with close family and friends? Who cares what you're eating as long as you're all together, right? Whether your guests are picky eaters or not, change up your menu this season with some of these non-traditional Christmas dinner alternatives. Serve it up on your finest Christmas dinnerware and you've got yourself a brand new holiday tradition!