Meatless Monday with Katie Cizewski
When it comes to the Christmas meal, there are two camps: tradition-lovers and those like me to whom the Christmas meal looks a little stale. Â If you're thinking of starting a new tradition this year for your Christmas meal and don't know how to finesse the yuletide feast into an impressive, family-convincing meal, I have compiled a vegetarian menu full of traditional Christmas dishes from around the world to help you.
The meal begins in Denmark, with a traditional starter of roasted chestnuts with salt and butter. Â Roasting chestnuts smell heavenly, and will scent your home with sweetness and nostalgia.
Then, a bright borscht soup from Ukraine cleanses the palate for the main event. Â It has a bright, Christmas color from the beets. Â The vermilion soup is studded with cubes of beets and topped with a dollop of refreshing sour cream.
For your main course, I suggest either Polish pierogis served with sauerkraut and mushrooms, or the Italian version: ravioli. Â If neither appeals, try a lanttulaatikko. Â Not only is the name a mouth-full, but this traditional Finnish casserole packed full of rutabaga is hearty, and will be sure to please even non-vegetarians.
In the Czech Republic, a side of potato salad with eggs, peas, and onions is traditional.Â A warm basket of the Belgian Christmas bread, cougnou, which means "bread of Jesus" is a perfect accompaniment to this extensive feast.
And of course, the most important of all: dessert. Â In Hong Kong, like other Christmas-celebrating locales, gingerbread is a popular treat. Â In Australia, pavlova, a beautiful meringue cake topped with whipped cream and pomegranate seeds ends the holiday meal. Â Bolo Rei, or King Cake, is the Portuguese tradition, and it contains a prize for the eater who discovers a shiny gift. Â Despite the excitement of finding this trinket, it's discoverer has to pay for the Bolo Rei the next year. Â Maybe it's just in line with the spirit of Christmas, and the gift of giving, after all.
Here's to the holidays, and may your vegetarian Christmas be delicious!