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The Multivore Holiday Challenge (by JL Fields)

By JL Fields — December 19, 2012

Our Thought for Food column — featuring rotating columnists (who happen to be foodies) sharing their ideas, their attitudes, an occasional rant, and, most importantly, some of their finest cruelty-free recipes — is quickly becoming one of our favorite parts of the new incarnation of Our Hen House. Today’s piece is written by the fabulous JL Fields, who also serves as a board member for Our Hen House. You’ll be seeing JL here regularly, which couldn’t possibly make us happier!


The Multivore Holiday Challenge

by JL Fields

I live with an omnivore. As do you many of you, so it’s not so shocking, right? Well, trust me, when people find out my husband eats meat, they are surprised. After all, I am a vegan lifestyle coach and educator. If I can’t make my husband vegan, they ask, how can I make anyone else vegan? Well, the answer is, I don’t make people vegan. (No one made me one; I came to it.) I simply try to live a joyful vegan life with the hope that it engenders interest and curiosity, and that I just might encourage others to give a compassionate lifestyle a try.

A “multivore” home can make for interesting holiday meals. It’s taken my husband and me a few years to get this thing figured out, but we’ve found our groove. We even make a bit of a game out of it. The Multivore Holiday Challenge: make a meal that is fun, interesting, cruelty-free, and pleases both of our palates.

Last year we traveled to my mother-in-law’s home for Christmas. She invited a few friends over too, so we wound up cooking for six – five omnivores and me! Needless to say, my husband and I were up for the challenge. We made Nutty Quinoa and Cherry Salad, Garlic Almond Kale, and Chili-Ginger Chickpeas. One of the omnivore guests even decided to veganize an old family favorite, Crockpot Sweet Potatoes & Apples, and we all loved it! The entire meal rocked my vegan world.

Did they serve meat? Yes. But, truthfully, everyone was so into tasting the vegan dishes that the ham played second fiddle. Better yet, much of our Christmas dinner conversation was about veganism – they asked a lot of questions, and I enjoyed every minute of answering them. Such is the power of delicious vegan grub.

This year, we are on our own for the holidays. Since we’re living in a new state and city (we left New York last month in exchange for Colorado Springs), we have decided to go out to eat on Christmas Day. I have already called ahead and had a conversation with the restaurant manager about what “vegan option” really means!

December 25 aside, you know what’s great about the holiday season? It’s a season, not just one day. As we have begun to see the huge variety of holiday roasts popping up everywhere – Field Roast, Gardein, and Tofurky, to name a few — we have been inspired. While preparing for a recent Sunday dinner, my husband – to my delight, but not surprise – suggested that we make a familiar holiday meal, that just happened to be vegan. He didn’t have to ask me twice!

We opted for the Gardein Holiday Roast for two reasons. There’s the price ($8, compared to $19 and $22 for Field Roast and Tofurky at a Whole Foods in New York), and there’s also the fact that the calorie, fat and sodium counts were significantly lower. People who read my blog know that I don’t count calories, but I do put thought into how I’m going to eat, and what I put in my body, particularly when I know that there will be many other delicious items on the dinner table. Balance, y’all!

We decided to play up the roast by adding some home-cooked twists to the meal. The roast, stuffed with wild rice and cranberries, comes with gravy. I decided that we would jazz up both the roast and the gravy. We is the operative word here. My husband took care of the roast. He massaged it with sage and thyme before putting it in the oven. With ten minutes remaining, he did as the package instructed – spread vegan butter over the roast – but only he melted it with more of the added seasonings before brushing it on and baking the roast for the final ten minutes.

While the roast was baking, he worked on bulking up the gravy. Specifically, he sautéed Portobello mushrooms in olive oil, onion, and garlic, and added a very generous amount of black pepper. We wanted a special gravy because I had a big idea for mashed potatoes, vegan-style – add something green!


Dinner was served.

We both devoured this meal!

The baking time for the roast is 60 minutes – it goes directly from the freezer to the oven – so you can enjoy this simple, tasty, omnivore-approved vegan holiday meal in an hour!

Do you have ideas on how to get the non-vegans in your home to join in on the plant-based cooking fun?


JL Fields

JL Fields is a vegan lifestyle coach and educator – certified by the Main Street Vegan Academy – at Go Vegan with JL! She is co-authoring Vegan for Her: The Women’s Guide to Being Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet (Da Capo Press, July 2013). JL shares plant-based education, recipes and cooking techniques, as well as animal rights information and resources, on her blog JL goes Vegan. She is the editor of the community blog Stop Chasing Skinny.

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