Maddie Belden

During the holidays, the majority of us fall into the trap of consumerism and forget the intention to express thankfulness before the beginning of a new year. It’s important to show gratitude to the earth for its provisions and a significant way to do that is to eat mindfully. Below, you’ll find some suggestions for delicious sustainable and meat-free recipes that weigh less on your conscious! Eating fully ethically may not be feasible or possible in our society, but we can do our best to minimize the scope of our impact in the way we eat. 

Whether or not you choose to try these recipes, here is a link to a Colorado produce calendar to guide you towards local and seasonal goods for your holiday dishes. 

Disclaimer: I have not made all of these dishes, but I chose them based on my own experience as a vegan. The links to the original websites will also be included in the dish’s title. Happy cooking and baking!

Appetizers & Sides

Vegan Spinach Dip
Vegan spinach dip with paprika and sliced bread on the side


Personal Note: I use vegan cream cheese and sour cream and add a lot of artichokes to make a creamy, spinach and artichoke dip. I like to pair it with bread, roasted vegetables, and pita chips!

Main Ingredient: Tofu, Vegetable

Diet: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low Sugar, Low-Carb, Pescatarian, Vegan, Vegetarian

Prep Time 5 minutes

Cook Time 15 minutes

Total Time 20 minutes

Servings 6 servings

Calories 196 kcal


  • 400 grams soft tofu
  • 100 grams raw cashew nuts (3/4 cup soaked in water overnight and drained)
  • 25 grams nutritional yeast (~1/4 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 grams salt (~1/2 teaspoon)
  • 260 grams spinach (175 grams cooked and squeezed)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 175 grams onion (1 medium )
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 100 grams water chestnuts (diced)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • paprika


  1. Add the tofu, soaked cashews, nutritional yeast, vinegar, and salt to the bowl of a high-speed blender (such as a Vitamix) and blend until it forms a smooth puree. If the blender won’t spin, try adding a little water (or coconut milk) at a time and use the tamper to help it along. The mixture should have the consistency of pudding.
  2. Chop the roots off the spinach and put it into a large bowl. Wash the spinach under running water while agitating it with your fingers until the water is no longer muddy. Then, stop the water and give any remaining grit a chance to settle to the bottom of the water.
  3. Lift the floating spinach off the top of the water, leaving any remaining sand at the bottom of the bowl.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the spinach. Boil until the spinach is tender. 1-2 minutes.
  5. Drain the spinach, rinse with cold water and then squeeze the excess water out of the spinach.
  6. Chop the spinach into small pieces.
  7. Add the oil, onions and garlic to a frying pan and sauté over medium-high heat until the onions are a caramel brown color and have reduced to about 1/4 of their original volume.
  8. Add the water chestnuts and spinach and, sauté to heat through.
  9. Turn down the heat and add the tofu and cashew puree. Stir constantly until the spinach dip is heated through. Adjust salt to taste.
  10. Drizzle with a little olive oil and then dust with paprika. Serve with vegetables and bread.


Lemon Garlic Roasted Broccoli (Oil-Free)
Lemon and garlic roasted broccoli on pan


Prep Time 10 mins

Cook Time 30 mins

Total Time 40 mins

 Servings: 2 people

Calories: 44 kcal

Author: Simple Fit Vegan


  • 1 medium bunch broccoli
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • Instructions
  • Preheat oven to 400 F/ 200 C.


  1. Divide broccoli into individual florets, slicing thicker stems. Rinse under cold water. Place in a medium bowl.
  2. Combine broccoli florets with garlic. Toss in lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  3. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes, until soft. Please check at 20 minutes to see if done. Do not let burn.
  4. Let cool before serving.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 4   Fat: 0.4 g Saturated fat: 2 g   Carbohydrates: 9.7 g Dietary Fiber: 3.2 g   Sugar: 2.3 g Sodium: 31 mg Protein: 3.1 g



Sourdough Bread Stuffing 
Sourdough bread stuffing


Prep Time 20 minutes

Cook Time 1 hour 5 minutes

Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes

Servings 8 people

Calories 239kcal

Author Melissa Huggins


  • 1 pound sourdough bread (about 12 cups) cut into bite-sized pieces (about 1/2-1 inch)
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter, divided
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 ounces mushrooms, sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon ground sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped (+ more for garnish)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, more to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 2-3 cups low sodium vegetable broth (more if needed)* See note


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F (176° C) and lightly grease a 3-Quart Casserole Dish.
  2. Spread bread cubes onto a baking tray and place in oven until they are dry & toasted. About 15-20 minutes. Move them around occasionally and keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. Place the toasted cubes in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. Increase heat to 375 degrees F
  4. In a large pan, add 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add onion, celery & garlic, sauté until softened. About 5-6 minutes.
  5. Add mushrooms, remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, fresh parsley, dried thyme, dried rosemary & ground sage, sauté for 6-7 minutes. Until mushrooms are softened & their moisture is cooked down a bit.
  6. Add 2 cups of broth, salt & pepper to the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes to combine flavors.
  7. Remove from heat and slowly add the mixture to the bowl of bread cubes, using a ladle. Toss gently to combine. Keep adding broth until desired moisture is achieved. The bread should be very moist, but not soggy. Let the bread sit a minute to determine if it needs more broth. Make sure all of the liquid is absorbed into the bread. If more moisture is needed after the pan is emptied, just add plain vegetable broth to the bowl. Taste for seasoning and add more as needed.
  8. Place mixture into a greased casserole dish and wrap tightly in foil.
  9. Place in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until heated throughout. Remove foil and bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until lightly brown & crispy on top. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.


  • Another way of prepping and drying your bread cubes (instead of toasting in the oven) is by spreading them out on a large baking sheet and leaving them out overnight to get stale.  
  • If you don’t have sourdough bread, this recipe will work the same with white bread. You can also do half of each for a milder sourdough taste. 
  • The consistency of stuffing is all a matter of taste. Some people prefer it moist (almost bread pudding-like) and some people prefer a drier stuffing. So this is why the broth amount is just a guideline. Add more or less liquid according to your stuffing preference. Just remember to add liquid slowly and give it time to absorb into the cubes. 

* Check out blog post for step-by-step photos, and troubleshooting tips.  

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 239kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 640mg | Potassium: 345mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 675IU | Vitamin C: 8.5mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 3.4mg


Baked Mac and Cheese
Baked mac and cheese


Prep Time 15 minutes

Cook Time 40 minutes

Total Time 55 minutes

Servings 8 people

Calories 400kcal

Author Melissa Huggins


  • 16 ounces dried elbow macaroni, gluten-free if preferred
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs, gluten-free if preferred
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter, melted and divided
  • 2-3 cloves garlic

Cheese Sauce

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in very hot water
  • 2 1/2 cups soy milk, unsweetened
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth, low sodium
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed
  • 3 tablespoons tapioca flour/starch
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup Jarred pimientos, drained
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika


  1. Preheat oven to 400° F (200° C). Lightly grease a 3-quart casserole dish and set aside.
  2. To soak cashews, boil water in a small pot and remove from heat. Add cashews and cover for 15-20 minutes, until softened. (*See note)
  3. Place macaroni in a large pot of salted boiling water. Cook until al dente & according to package directions (about 9-10 minutes). Drain and cool with water. Drizzle and gently toss with olive oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.
  4. Combine the melted butter and breadcrumbs in a small bowl. Set aside.
  5. Drain and rinse cashews (discard soaking water). Now place all the cheese sauce ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend until cashews have completely broken down and the sauce is smooth, about 1-2 minutes. 
  6. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat (I used the same pot I cooked the macaroni in). Now add minced garlic & sauté for 1-2 minutes, until lightly brown (be careful not to burn).
  7. Pour in the cheese sauce and cook for 4-5 minutes, until sauce thickens up. Stir often to prevent burning. Taste for seasoning, and add more if needed. Remove from heat. Pour the cooked macaroni into the cheese sauce and gently stir to combine.
  8. Now evenly pour into the greased casserole dish. Sprinkle with prepared breadcrumbs and place in the oven uncovered for 25-30 minutes, until heated throughout and the breadcrumbs are golden (*Rotate casserole dish a few times for even browning). *Optional: You can broil the top for 2-3 minutes to make it super crispy, just watch very carefully so it doesn’t burn. Remove from oven and serve. Enjoy! 


  • Optional toppings:  fresh-cut parsley, vegan parmesan, crushed red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, fresh-cracked pepper. 
  • Cashews: To make things easier, you can prep ahead and pre-soften your cashews by placing them in cool water for 4 hours or overnight in the fridge Then they’ll be ready to pop in the blender right away. * If you don’t have a high-speed blender, the cashews might not completely break down and this could result in a gritty texture. You can try soaking the cashews longer for 12 hours or more.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 400kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 410mg | Potassium: 335mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 490IU | Vitamin C: 8.3mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 2.6mg



Apple Pie 
Apple Pie


Prep Time 25 mins

Cook Time 50 mins

Total Time 1 hr 15 mins

Servings: 8 -12 slices 

Author: Sarah De la Cruz



  • 2 1/4 cups flour I use all-purpose
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons shortening I use Earth Balance, cut into small cubes
  • 1/3 cup cold water


  • 6 cups peeled and diced cooking apples I like Fuji or Gala
  • 1/4 cup flour I use all-purpose
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice apple cider vinegar works too

French Crumb Topping

  • 1 cup flour I use all-purpose
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter cubed (I use Earth Balance)


For the crust:

  1. In the food processor, fitted with the pastry blade, mix flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl (alternately, this can be done by hand).
  2. Add the shortening. Pulse until in becomes crumbly.
  3. Add the water and pulse until it becomes a cohesive dough (you want to do this as quickly as you can, with minimal processing).
  4. Cover with plastic and put in the fridge while you work on the filling.

For the filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Combine the apples, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice.
  3. Roll out the now chilled dough. I use a baking mat with flour to prevent it from sticking. Roll out the dough to be about the size of your pie plate, with about 1″ overlap.
  4. Carefully lift the rolled out crust into the pie plate.
  5. Fold over the excess dough and pinch around the outside of the dough to make a crimped decorative crust.
  6. Fill the crust with the apple filling

For the crumb topping:

  1. Combine flour, sugars, and salt into a bowl.
  2. Add the cubed butter and mix with your fingers until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Sprinkle over the apples. There will be plenty of crumb topping—use your hands to lightly pack it down.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes
  5. Reduce the temperature to 400°.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes more.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool and let the juices from the apples set before cutting.
  8. Serve with vanilla ice cream!


Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls


Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins

Cook Time 20 mins

Total Time 1 hr 50 mins

Servings: 12 Calories: 263kcal 

Author: Gwen Leron



  • 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 3/4 cup room temperature/lukewarm unsweetened non-dairy milk (I use almond)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour


  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup raisins


  1. In your stand mixer bowl, add the yeast, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and lukewarm water. Let stand for a few minutes.
  2. When the yeast has foamed up, add the room temperature/lukewarm milk, pumpkin puree, oil, salt, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, sugar and 1 cup of flour. Mix with a spoon to combine.
  3. Put stand mixer bowl in place, add 2 more cups of flour and using the dough hook, allow the mixer to knead.
  4. The dough will be sticky, add flour 1/2 cup at a time.
  5. Let mixer knead dough for about 4 minutes and until enough flour has been added so it is no longer sticky.
  6. Remove dough from mixer bowl and oil the inside lightly. Place dough back in bowl, cover with a towel and let it sit in a warm spot until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  7. After the hour has passed, punch the dough down and let it sit for a few minutes while you prepare the pan and filling.
  8. Line an 11″ x 13″ pan with parchment paper. Allow an overhang on each side so they can be easily removed from the pan when done.
  9. Prepare raisins (see tip above).
  10. In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and ground ginger.
  11. Lightly flour your work surface, stretch and roll your dough into a rectangle that is approximately 12″ x 18″.
  12. Brush melted coconut oil over the entire surface.
  13. Sprinkle brown sugar/spice mixture onto dough.
  14. Sprinkle raisins evenly onto the dough.
  15. From the long side, firmly roll the dough. Roll slowly to ensure it is tight as can be.
  16. Pinch the entire length of the seam to seal and turn the entire roll seam side down so it’s at the bottom.
  17. Slice off an inch of dough from each end.
  18. Slice the roll into 12 slices.
  19. Place each slice into the parchment lined pan. It’s OK if they are close together.
  20. Cover with a towel and place in a warm spot. Let rise for 30 minutes.
  21. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  22. After the rolls have rested, bake for about 20 minutes or until they are lightly browned.
  23. Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes in pan.
  24. Remove using parchment paper overhang and place on a cooling rack.


  • I use my stand mixer to knead the dough, if you don’t have a stand mixer, knead by hand.
  • Before you add the raisins, follow this tip to ensure they are plump and juicy!
  • If topping with a glaze, add it while the rolls are still warm. To make a quick glaze, simply mix 1 cup of icing sugar with a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and non-dairy milk (add 1 1/2 tablespoons of the milk to start, mix, then continue adding very small amounts of milk at a time until it reaches the desired consistency). Add glaze just before serving.
  • These buns are their best when served warm, but of course, you may not be able to serve all 12 while they are still warm! After they have cooled, store in an airtight container and warm up when serving again.
  • Nutrition info is based on 1 roll and the recipe prepared as written. Nutrition info is only to be used as a rough guide. 

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1roll | Calories: 263kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 107mg | Potassium: 74mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 300IU | Vitamin C: 0.8mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 0.4mg