Vegans enjoy tasty alternative holiday fare





Vegan gingerbread cupcakes from the all vegan Reverie Bakeshop in Richardson.

Courtesy of Reverie Bakeshop







 Dec. 16, 2013

By Minnie Payne

Turkey, roast and dairy and egg-based goodies are customarily found on festive holiday tables in most American homes, but more and more vegans are developing healthy veg-based dishes, sides and desserts that satisfy the taste buds marvelously. 

According to an article published by PETA, approximately 5 percent of the U.S. population is vegetarian while about half of those are also vegan. Many more are planning their meals around veggies -- about 10 percent of the population is vegetarian-inclined, reports The Vegetarian Times.

A true vegetarian eats no meat at all, including chicken and fish. Veganism is often a lifestyle choice and a philosophy as much as a diet, in that vegans don’t eat anything of animal origin. Neither do they use animal-based products for clothing or any other purpose. Usually a person becomes a vegan in an effort to improve their health, the environment or ethical reasons involving animal rights.  

Courtesy of

Many meat eaters will argue that vegans don’t get enough protein. The web is chocked full of websites, advising otherwise

An abundance of vegan recipes can be found online and to give you a few, the following are some of Dallas’ top vegans’ favorite recipes:

The Main Course

Donald Moy, past president of the Black Vegetarian Society of Texas, says a good substitute for meat is this delicious lentil-walnut loaf.

Lentil Waltnut Loaf

Meanwhile, James Scott founder of and the Texas Veggie Fair, says that probably the oldest and most well-known substitute for a turkey is Tofurky, a soy-based “roast” that has a taste and texture similar to meat and is versatile enough to prepare almost anyway you might prepare a turkey.  

“This Thanksgiving, I decided to deep fry my Tofurky, taking a cue from what seems to be a popular cooking method for the turkey,” says Scott.

He also recommends the store-bought Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute by Field Roast.

Hazelnut Cranberry Roast

On the Side

Ken Botts, dining services manager for the University of North Texas, who launched the first all-vegan dining hall in the U.S. at UNT, shares a delicious butternut squash soup recipe and a stuffed Portobello mushroom entrée that will make meat eaters set their plate aside. 

And for a side dish that will please any diabetic, he suggests this healthy guilt-free yam mash recipe. 

Scott of added that these days there are vegan substitutes for just about every condiment or food staples used in recipes, so it’s easy to take just about any non-vegan recipe and “veganize” it. Good choices are non-dairy soy or almond milk, vegan butter made from soy, sour cream and cream cheese.

“I never have a problem preparing holiday favorites such as sweet potato casserole, cornbread dressing, and green bean casserole,” he says. “The same thing goes for desserts, as far as ‘veganizing’ them.”

Butternut Squash Soup

Just Desserts

Speaking of desserts, Nancy Castillo, coowner of Dallas’ first all-vegan bakery, Reverie Bakeshop, suggests that when baking vegan desserts, instead of using eggs, substitute flaxseed, fruits, tofu and nut butters.

Egg replacer, courtesy of

“It all depends mostly on what kind of desserts you’re making,” says Castillo. “For cookies, muffins and bars, we lean toward using banana puree or applesauce, which gives a wonderful soft and fudge texture. Flaxseed and egg replacer powder (Bob’s Red Mills is our preference) is our egg alternative for cakes and cheesecakes. Mix these two with two tablespoons of water, and they make great egg substitutes.”  

Almond and coconut milk don’t affect the texture or taste of their goodies, so the bakery substitutes them for dairy products.  

“We use these milks cup for cup…nothing is different, and we love it.”

Soy-based cream cheese is used for cheesecakes. Castillo says there are many brands, but their favorite is from Tofutti Company.

“We can sneak our cheesecakes as ‘real’ cheesecakes with this substitute, and no one notices until we say something about it,” she explains. “It’s definitely a mental thing, we’ve learned!”

Vegan eggnog cheesecake from Reverie Bakeshop

A coconut oil (priced reasonably at Target, Sprouts, Sam’s, Costco, Whole Foods and Central Market) substitutes well for butter as it melts easily, and the cup for cup method works for most vegan recipes.

A few items found on Reverie Bakery’s all 100-percent vegan holiday menu are gingerbread and decorated sugar cookies, eggnog cheesecake, peppermint cheesecake, gingerbread cupcake, a variety of fudge flavors, white chocolate cranberry bars and gluten-free bread rolls. 

Gluten-free vegan sugar cookies from Reverie Bakeshop

Minnie Payne is Carrolton-based freelance writer. She’s written for Pegasus News and presently freelances for Living Magazine and Frisco Style Magazine. She can be reached at

Sign up for the weekly Green Source DFW Newsletter to stay up to date on everything green in North Texas, the latest news and events.