Vegan Cooking for a Crowd at the Holidays

Hey Sirens! This is a great time of year to reconnect with family and friends. Especially as triathletes, we know how much our loved ones do (and put up with!) in the spring and summer. Now is a great time to step up for family events while our training load is lighter.

In our home, the kitchen is the center of it all! With grandparents and kids and dogs and all the rest of it, making high-quality meals that feed everyone is a challenge. See below for a day of vegan recipes that can help you get it done!

- Breakfast: Banana bread
- Lunch: Tapas
- Dinner: Chili and cornbread
- Dessert: Rosemary chocolate chip cookies from Isa Chandra

Big hugs!


Banana Bread
This is a nice choice when you make it the night before because folks can grab a slice or two as they wake up. And with whole wheat flour, it’s satiating enough to get you through wrapping presents all morning!

Preheat oven to 350°F (or 325°F if using convection oven) and lightly grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.

In a high-speed blender, make your egg replacer. Blend together for several minutes until thick and gooey:
30 grams flax seed
6 tablespoons water

In a large bowl, beat together:
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted non-dairy butter (try Earth Balance!) at room temperature
1/2 cup (3 3/4 ounces) packed brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Add the flax seed mixture you just made, along with:
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) mashed super-duper ripe bananas (very brown skins makes for more flavor!)
1/4 cup (3 ounces) honey

2 cups (8 ounces) whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) chopped walnuts

Spoon your batter into the prepared loaf pan and let it rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

If you want, you can add this optional streusel topping to make this a bit more indulgent. While the batter is resting, use your fingers to combine into a thick crumb-like mixture:
1/3 cup (42 grams) flour
1/3 cup (66 grams) cane sugar
1/3 cup (75 grams) cold non-dairy butter

Spread the streusel on top of your loaf. Bake for 50 minutes, then lay a sheet of tinfoil across the top and bake for 10-20 minutes more or until a cake tester comes out clean.

When the bread is done baking, move it onto a cooling rack. Allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning it out of the pan and onto the rack to cool completely.

Tapas for lunch
There’s no science to this! Let lunch be casual. Grab a few pretty serving platters and lay out sliced fruit (pears, clementines, and apples are wonderful this time of year!), avocado, carrot sticks, crackers, almonds or pistachios, hummus, or anything else that looks yummy. Even sliced vegan cheeses or field roast/tofurkey can be great!

Vegan Chili
I love making soups in the winter, in part because they taste awesome and in part because they lend themselves to freezing in single-serving bags for an easy lunch or dinner when you have a late workout and need to eat, like, an hour ago. This recipe is the closest I’ve come to recreating the delicious chili my dad used to make in the slow cooker when we used to go skiing.

There are many ways of making this recipe your own. Add slices of pan-fried vegan sausage to increase the protein, or slightly steamed cubes of winter squash. Chili is great for improv!

In a large bowl, start soaking beans at least 4 hours before you want to start the chili. Sort and then cover in about 8 or more cups of water:
1 cups chili (or black, kidney, or other) beans

Drain the beans and add them to a large soup pot. Add:
2 teaspoons epazote (optional, but usually available in Mexican grocery stores)
Cover the beans in 4 inches of fresh water and boil 5-10 minutes. Skim off any foam, then lower heat to a simmer and partially cover.

While the beans are cooking, heat a dry skillet over medium heat. Then, toast until fragrant:
4 teaspoons cumin seeds
In the last 5 seconds, add:
2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican oregano
Shake the herbs in the skillet so they don’t burn, then quickly turn them out onto a plate for them to cool. Grind the herbs together into a powder with a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle.

In a skillet over medium heat, sauté:
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 onions, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1-2 carrots, diced
1/2 cup textured vegetable protein (TVP), pre-soaked for 30 minutes (optional)

Then add the toasted cumin mixture from above, along with:
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 tablespoons ground red chili (New Mexican chili powder is my favorite!)

Lower heat and cook until the onions are softened, about another 5 minutes. Then add:
2 cups (about 5) chopped tomatoes and their juice
2 teaspoons pureed chipotle chili (comes in a can and is available in most stores in the Mexican food aisle)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Simmer all these vegetables for another 15 minutes and then add them to the beans. Continue cooking the chili until the beans are very soft (under-cooked beans can hinder digestion). Keep water above the beans, adding more as necessary or to achieve preferred thickness.

Taste and season with more chipotle, salt, or a dash of red wine vinegar to enliven it a bit. Serve and garnish as you like, with cilantro sprigs, vegan cheese or sour cream, or whatever you prefer.

What would chili be without cornbread?! I have many cornbread recipes I love, but this one is special because it’s my momma’s and she’s generously allowed me to share it with you. She likes to serve her cornbread right out of the oven, wrapped in a clean towel in a small basket. And both of us agree you can never have too much local honey drizzled on top!

Preheat oven to 350°F (or 325°F if using convection oven) and lightly grease a 9 x 9 baking pan (or a pie pan will work, too).

In a large bowl, mix together:
1 cup non-dairy yogurt
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
3 teaspoons egg substitute
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons honey

In a medium bowl, whisk together:
1 cup (180 grams) fine cornmeal
1 cup (120 grams) whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined, but without over-mixing. Spread into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

What is your favorite vegan or holiday recipe? Tell us in the comments below!

Written by Kyra Wiens

Follow Kyra on Instagram @kyrawiens

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Sarah, Thanks!! I totally agree, I’m protein obsessed right now!

Kyra Wiens

Very cool, thanks for sharing! I like how you pointed out how to add additional vegan protein, which we know is so important to recovery and making the most of our strength workouts.

Sarah V.

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