What to Serve a Vegetarian at Christmas Dinner

So you have invited a vegetarian over for dinner.  How sweet of you to include them and volunteer to feed them something with no meat and fish in it.  Cue the panic setting in.  What the heck do I feed this person?  I don’t know what to give them that is vegetarian!  Don’t panic, I have some easy ideas you can incorporate into your holiday table with little to no extra work from you.

Help! I invited a vegetarian to dinner and I don't know what to feed them! This post can help. Click To Tweet

One important thing to know:  are they vegetarian or vegan?  Vegetarian is no meat or fish (or by products) but vegan’s are also no dairy, no butter, no honey, no eggs, big difference between the two.  Ask up front what they do and do not eat to make it easier on you for planning.

First up, vegetarian doesn’t mean it has to be something really weird, we eat normal food too!  The key thing is protein, that is really important to serve a vegetarian, otherwise they will not get full and still be super hungry.   I’ll touch more on this below.

What to Serve a Vegetarian at Christmas Dinner - If you are hosting a vegetarian for dinner here are some great ideas on meals and tips to make things easier.

Easy sides you can have at your Holiday meal that everyone can enjoy:

  • Mashed potatoes
  • Roasted sweet potatoes
  • Squash
  • Asperagus
  • Corn
  • Sauteed mushrooms
  • Sweet potato pie
  • Peas
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Stuffed Squash (Recipe down below for this awesome dish).
A plate of great SIDES, I was starving an hour after eating this as there is no protein on it.

A plate of great SIDES, I was starving an hour after eating this as there is no protein on it.

One thing to note:  read the ingredients on everything before you serve it to a vegetarian.  Although it might seem like it contains no meat, it may.  For example, Vegetable soup usually has a beef broth base, which obviously is not vegetarian.   Look for beef and/or chicken stock, bacon, anchovies, etc. in everything before you serve it to a vegetarian.  Lard is in a lot of pastry, so if you are serving pie or anything like that make sure you check the ingredients and use vegetable shortening instead of lard.

For the protein, this is really important to serve.  Give me a plate or two of the above mentioned veggies, awesome I will appreciate it and it will be delicious, BUT I will be starving in an hour unless I have something more substantial with protein.  Things you can serve with protein:

  • Lentil soup
  • Tofurkey (I have a easy recipe below you can make in the crock pot so it doesn’t clog up the actual turkey’s precious oven space).
  • Veggie stuffing (containing eggs and cheese).
  • Anything with beans, chick peas, tofu, soy, etc. in it.

tofurky-feast2428003_jpg_thumb_420_420_marginIf all this is out of your comfort zone you can buy some pre-packaged stuff at the grocery store (fake chicken breasts, fake meat balls, vegetarian roasts) and just pop them in the oven.  Check out the specialty section or ask an employee, even Wal-Mart carries veggie meat alternatives.  Even scrambled eggs are extra protein and appreciated.

150886You can buy packaged mushroom or onion 136603gravy (in can or envelope format where you add water) and it is super easy to make for vegetarians and a great treat to have on the table, again check ingredients to ensure it is in fact vegetarian.

When feeding a vegetarian read the ingredients on EVERYTHING for hidden meat ingredients. Click To Tweet

Other things to note if a vegetarian is around:

  • We get really grossed out if our food so much as touches meat, so that means, make sure you use separate utensils for cooking meat and vegetables, have a separate spatula, wooden spoon etc.
  • If BBQing have a designated veggie side (try to clean it of the meat as well as you can) and use a separate spatula to the meat.
  • Same goes for serving utensils, make sure there are separate serving utensils for the meat and the vegetarian items.
  • Do NOT combine vegetarian food and meat-containing food on the same plate.  Yuck.  I will not touch that food if it has touched meat.
  • As the host you want to ensure that your vegetarian guest actually eats, so it is great if you pay attention to other guests and ensure that the vegetarian gets their pick of vegetables first before they are all gone, take care that other guests are not mixing up the meat and vegetarian serving utensils, and not serving meat OVER the vegetarian dishes, thus dropping meat juice all over the vegetable stuff (had this happen to me too).

It can be really easy to host a vegetarian and not a lot of extra work if you plan and serve them enough of the right kinds of food.  My whole family (husband, toddler, and baby/almost toddler) are vegetarian and we do not eat at other people’s house a lot because we hate to impose on other people.  We sincerely appreciate it when someone does go out of their way to host us and feed us though and since it is almost Christmas I thought a few tips would be handy for anyone going out on a limb and hosting a vegetarian too.

Here are a few recipes to make for vegetarians:

Baked Acorn Squash STUFFING - Dress up your holiday table with this delicious Baked Acorn Squash Stuffing, perfect for any vegetarian and super easy to make.Crockpot Tofurkey- Tofurkey is a great meat-alternative to a roast or turkey, perfect for a holiday dinner, or just a special weekday meal. Making it in the crockpot means it is even less work so you don't have to worry about it throughout the day.Vegetarian Stuffing - TW1

For those vegetarians reading this, any other tips I missed?  What are your favourite dishes to have at holiday meals?  Has anyone gone out of their way for you while hosting to accommodate you?  Please comment below and let me know.

Are any of you hosting a vegetarian this season?  Any tips of your own from the meat-eaters perspective?  Please share below.

What to Serve a Vegetarian at Christmas Dinner - If you are hosting a vegetarian for dinner here are some great ideas on meals and tips to make things easier.

Follow Raising Fairies and Knights’s board Vegetarian Yummys on Pinterest.

A mom of two trying to stay sane while running a household, working part-time from home and looking after her baby, toddler and husband.


  1. avatar
    Sarah says:

    This is SUCH a great read. My sister is a vegetarian and will be here for Christmas so I will definitely reference this while cooking!

    • avatar
      Hil says:

      My daughter loves chickpeas! It’s like a baked cauliflower hummus!! I am totally going to try making that too. Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. avatar
    ReviewsSheROTE says:

    I think the stuffed acorn squash sound delightful! We only have one vegetarian in the family and she always just brings her own chick pea burger…and then just grabs up a few sides.

  3. avatar
    Lottie L'Amour says:

    This is a great little guide for someone who has never had to worry about a vegetarian at Christmas dinner before! The idea of Tofurkey freaks me out a bit for some reason though!

    Lottie xx

    • avatar
      Hil says:

      Ha ha! My sister won’t touch it either, my dad likes it though. I didn’t like it at first but it grew on me. But then again, I’m a vegetarian because I didn’t like meat so simulated meat was not appealing. I love it now though so you never know, you may be surprised!

  4. avatar
    Tara says:

    I’ve been a vegetarian for 20 years or so now, and usually I just eat all the veggies and other veg sides at Christmas dinner and Thanksgiving. Sometimes I bring a main dish that I’m proud of, but I’m just as happy to eat soup, bread, and of course, dessert.

    I am grateful when people try to accommodate me, but I figure they have enough to do planning a big dinner. Your tips are great though.
    Tara recently posted…The Winter Road Trip Survival GuideMy Profile

  5. avatar
    Channing says:

    I’m glad I found this! My brother is vegetarian and we always have a hard time trying to cook for him and everybody else, not to mention he’s picky. These are some great ideas!

  6. avatar
    Dana says:

    These are great vegetarian dish options! I have two guests that come to our Christmas day dinner every year and we make sure to prepare especially for them – usually the Tofurky (I love saying that word LOL) or a baked ziti with marinara in lieu of the usual meat sauce. Great post!

    • avatar
      Hil says:

      Ha ha! I don’t have a lot of friends or family stopping by so I know exactly who is stopping by but it must be nice to have so many people around at Christmas time!

  7. avatar
    Mimi Rose says:

    This is such a great post! I’ve grown up in a vegetarian household pretty much my whole life so the holiday dinners are always a tad different. Being from California, our Christmas feast usually includes vegetarian enchiladas as the main dish. 🙂

  8. avatar
    Tamara says:

    We have a couple vegetarians in my family our go to is monster mash which is carrot and turnip mashed together. Everyone loves it!

  9. avatar
    Lori says:

    Awesome! I’m a vegetarian, and while Christmas has just passed, it will be nice to be included next dinner – or have savory options to force on my meat eating friends!

  10. avatar
    Molly @ Love the Everyday says:

    My cousin-in-law has been a vegetarian most of her life and I always watch my family struggle to try to feed her. She doesn’t choose very helpful choices for herself either, very little protein and not many vegetables. She relies heavily on pastas.
    Molly @ Love the Everyday recently posted…Coping with Life ChangeMy Profile

    • avatar
      Hil says:

      I used to be like that too. It makes it hard to get full with no protein, and a lot of carbs isn’t the healthiest easier. I hope she figures out a healthier way to eat (and get full!) soon.

  11. avatar
    Eugenia says:

    These are all such amazing meal ideas! I didn’t know there is difference between vegetarian and vegan! Good to know that! Thanks for sharing the recipes! The stuffed acorn squash and tofurkey look so delicious!
    Eugenia recently posted…Best way to communicate joy!My Profile

  12. avatar
    Amanda | Maple Alps says:

    I decided to be a vegetarian at 12, and my mom was always so creative and understanding when it came to christmas dinner! She made some awesome vegetarian stuff for me, and I never felt left out! Thanks for sharing this post. I’m sure it really helped someone out. For me, it helped me remember the good feelings I had when someone took the time to make sure I had a great Christmas dinner!

    • avatar
      Hil says:

      I was fully veggie too by 13 🙂 But a lot of my family still need reminders sometimes, extended of course. That’s so sweet that your mom was so accommodating.

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