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Cooking For A Vegetarian This Holiday? 4 Chef Tips For Making Veggies Everyone Will Love


Editorial Operations Manager

By Emily Kelleher

Editorial Operations Manager

Emily Kelleher is the editorial operations manager at mindbodygreen. Her work has appeared in Shape, Well + Good, Greatist, Romper, Fatherly, and more.

Image by Lauri Patterson

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Cooking for a crowd is hard enough before dietary restrictions are thrown in the mix. Add requests for vegetarian gravy and gluten-free stuffing to the equation, and suddenly you’re feeling more like a short-order cook than a gracious host. If you’re cooking for plant-based folks this holiday, don’t sweat it. There’s no need to double up your work. We tapped Chef Morgan Jarrett, who specializes in plant-based cooking, for tips on how to make veggie dishes that everyone at the table will enjoy. Thank us later!

Lesser-known veggies can make an occasion feel special

Who said green beans and sweet potatoes were the only veggies that had a place on your holiday table? Try purple sweet potatoes, trumpet mushrooms, and kohlrabi. Champagne grapes, with their miniature size,are an elegant, luxe, and affordable choice to top salads and garnish holiday platters.

Try a warm salad

Salads are a great way to add some freshness and crunch to an otherwise creamy and indulgent spread. (Contrast is everything!) But don’t limit yourself to cold ones. Something about cooking your greens just makes them that much more satisfying. Grilled romaine, roasted cabbage, and crispy quinoa are personal favorites. Chef Morgan is partial to a warm salad of grilled radicchio and fennel topped with fresh citrus, black pepper, and pecorino.

Choose your squash wisely

Honeynut squash is easier to work with than thick-skinned butternut squash. It’s smaller, more tender, and has a delicious flavor. You should be able to find it at most grocery stores and farmers markets.

Don’t forget dressing

A great sauce can make just about anything taste good. Maple dressing is a seasonal favorite, bringing sweet, spicy, and tart flavors, plus a gorgeous color. Chef Morgan says she puts it on everything. “It’s a dressing, it’s a marinade, it works on roasted carrots or fresh salads.” 

Maple Dressing


2 shallots4 garlic cloves3 c maple syrup1 qt cider vinegar2 qts neutral oil1 T Aleppo pepper (or ½ T chili flakes)Salt and pepper to taste


Simply blend all ingredients together. Use as a dressing or marinade. It will keep in the fridge for several days.

The takeaway

Eating plant-based doesn’t have to mean being confined to a selection of boring sides. With these inventive tips from chef Morgan Jarrett, you can whip up fresh takes on your favorite fall veggies that everyone will want seconds of. Happy cooking!

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