Guinness Gingerbread Cake

guinness gingerbread

Not that I really needed more sweets and desserts after Christmas, but I was rather restrained over the holidays and wanted to challenge myself by coming up with a gingerbread cake as a treat for my sweetie and best friend Basil. I am more of a cook than a baker, so I was a little apprehensive about drafting my own recipe. Well, the result was heavenly and my gingerbread aficionados declared this to be one of the best renditions of gingerbread they have ever enjoyed.

Deliciously moist, unlike many gingerbread recipes, and not overly sweet, even this savory girl was coming back for seconds. This is my first time using Guinness for baking and surely it won't be the last. The stout adds a nice depth of flavor that compliments the fresh ginger. You may of course use ground ginger, but for the complete gingerbread experience, I highly recommend going fresh.

guinness gingerbread cake

Guinness Gingerbread CakeGuinness Gingerbread Cake
Recipe by
Published on December 30, 2012

Rich, moist, flavorful and not-too-sweet gingerbread cake made with Guinness and fresh ginger

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Ingredients:
  • 1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup agave syrup or honey
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 cup Guinness or other stout
  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached white or spelt flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups plain yogurt
  • icing sugar for dusting
Instructions:
  • Generously grease a standard 10-inch bundt pan and preheat an oven to 350°.

  • In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, syrup, molasses and Guinness, and stir over medium-low heat until the butter is melted and the mixture is well combined. Remove from heat and set aside.

  • In a large bowl, whisk the together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamon and ginger. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and yogurt and transfer to the flour mixture along with the butter and sugar mixture. Whisk until everything is combined and the batter is smooth.

  • Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven until a cake tester comes out clean — about 50 to 60 minutes. Let sit in the pan for 20 minutes on a wire rack and then invert the cake onto a serving platter or plate. Dust with icing sugar and serve with whipped cream if desired.

Makes one 10-inch cake
guinness gingerbread

More gingerbread delights from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Healthy Gingerbread
Chocolate Brownies with Fresh Ginger
Fresh Gingerbread Cake with Lemon Icing
Gingerbread Muffins

On the top of the reading stack: How to Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You

Audio Accompaniment: Lux by Brian Eno

Brown Rice and Quinoa Cakes with Parmesan

From time to time, I like to share my spontaneous late night cooking experiments here, especially when they are particularly successful and pleasing to the palate. This is a rather unorthodox recipe I suppose because I fused together leftover grains, mixed in a blend of spices and herbs, incorporated some chickpea flour into the mix and then added some Parmesan cheese. Certainly a unique combination of flavors and textures that comes together in a surprising way that turned out to be a palate pleaser. The layering of spice is nicely tempered by the grain and cheese, and the herbs are understated but make their presence known in a low lying sort of way to complete the experience.

rice quinoa savory cakes

Crispy, slightly dense due to the addition of besan flour, but still moist inside, I'll be making these again and again because the possibilities are endless and I always find leftover grains a welcome challenge to dress up and make into a second meal, appetizer, side or snack. I think goat cheese is coming in the near future. Other options to be considered are various combinations of grains, spices and herbs, fresh chilies, onion, sun-dried tomatoes, quinoa flour, spelt flour and anything else that strikes your fancy when the craving hits. Don't be afraid to experiment and don't wait until you have leftovers — cook up some grains and come up with your favorite savory grain cakes.

Brown Rice and Quinoa Cakes with ParmesanBrown Rice and Quinoa Cakes with Parmesan
Recipe by
Published on December 28, 2012

Crispy golden brown rice and quinoa cakes with a chewy and flavorful inside seasoned with spices, herbs and Parmesan cheese — a great way to use leftover grains

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Ingredients:
  • 1 cup leftover cooked brown rice (1/3 cup uncooked)
  • 1 cup leftover cooked quinoa (1/3 cup uncooked)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • pinch of mustard powder (optional)
  • pinch of asafetida (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chickpea (besan) flour
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • oil for frying
Instructions:
  • Combine the rice and quinoa in a large bowl. In a small bowl, beat the egg until frothy and then beat in the ground spices, herbs, salt and black pepper. Transfer to the bowl with the rice and quinoa and stir well to combine.

  • Now add the chickpea flour and stir until the mixture comes together. Add more flour as needed to make a uniform mixture that is moist but dry enough to shape into small patties.

  • Flour your hands and shape the mixture into roughly 2-inch round patties.

  • Heat a 1/4 inch of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add the shaped patties and fry for about 5 minutes or until the bottoms begin to turn golden brown. Flip and fry for another few minutes to brown on both sides. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain and serve hot with your favorite chutney or dipping sauce.

Makes about ten 2-inch patties
rice quinoa patties

More delightful fried and baked savories from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Baked Italian Brown Rice Balls (Arancini)
Corn Cakes with Blue Cheese and Honey
Spicy Baked Chickpea Koftas
Northeast African Millet Patties

On the top of the reading stack: How to Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You (the answer is yes)

Audio Accompaniment: Robert Rich

Baked Eggplant Stuffed with Curried Vegetables


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
stuffed eggplant

This space will likely be rather quiet until the new year as I spend time with my family and recover from a particularly stubborn and nasty chest cold.

In the meantime, I want to share my latest experiment with eggplant. This spicy, stuffed and baked dish makes for a most satisfying vegetarian meal, especially when served with a steaming hot bed of rice. It is rather easy to prepare and yet another excuse to warm the kitchen and your body too because it has some extra kick to really highlight the eggplant and vegetables that make up stuffing.

You likely will have more filling than you need, depending on the size of your eggplants. If you do, serve it along side the stuffed eggplant or save it for the next day and serve over a grain of your choice.

Read this recipe »

Chocolate Quinoa Ricotta Bread

quinoa chocolate ricotta bread

For years found only in natural food specialty stores, quinoa can now be found in every supermarket thanks to its growing reputation as one of nature's healthiest foods. It's a popularity that's well deserved. With a nearly perfect amino acid balance, its protein profile is the highest and most complete of all grains, making quinoa an important food for vegetarians. It's also gluten-free and a good source of fibre, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, antioxidants and vitamins B and E.

But it's the light, fluffy and slightly crunchy texture and delicately sweet and nutty taste of cooked quinoa that's helped make it a staple in so many households these days. Delicious on its own, quinoa also pairs easily with any number of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seasonings, making it a versatile ingredient to have on hand for all kinds of simple side dishes and breakfast porridges. Quick cooking, substitute quinoa for rice in any recipe. It's also ground into a flour that can be used as a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour in cookies, muffins and loaves. Turns out that quinoa flour is perfect for baking with and great as a gluten-free alternative. And if you do still visit the natural food stores you can find quinoa pasta as well as the more exotic and earthier-flavored red and black varieties of quinoa.

Chocolate Quinoa Ricotta BreadChocolate Quinoa Ricotta Bread
Recipe by
From 500 Best Quinoa Recipes: 100% Gluten-Free Super-Easy Superfood
Published on December 18, 2012

Simple, moist, chocolatey gluten-free cake made with quinoa flour

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Ingredients:
  • 2 cups quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2/3 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup loosely packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup peanut or sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips or carob chips
Instructions:
  • Preheat an oven to 350° and grease an 8-inch loaf pan.

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, ricotta cheese, oil and almond extract. Gradually whisk in the milk.

  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl and stir until just combined. Fold in the chocolate or carob chips.

  • Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the batter evenly with a spatula.

  • Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for at least 5 to 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool. Can be served warm or cool.

  • This loaf with keep for about 5 days if wrapped well in foil wrap or plastic wrap and stored in the fridge.

Makes 1 loaf (10 to 12 thick slices)
quinoa chocolate loaf

More chocolate treats from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Chocolate Nut Butter No Bake Fudge
Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake
Peanut Butter Chocolate Squares
Flourless Chocolate Cake

On the top of the reading stack: For the Time Being, Annie Dillard

Audio Accompaniment: Vladislav Delay

Tomato Tamarind Soup (Rasam)


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
tamarind tomato soup

Though this delicate yet most flavorful soup could appear on menus all year round, it is particularly comforting during the winter months. Easy to prepare, thin and often watery rasams are typically served as the second course of a South Indian meal. Tamarind, tomatoes, and lemon or lime figure prominently. In this case, I had some homemade sambar powder in the cupboard that really worked just as well as rasam powder, and I skipped the citrus though you may want to include some. I made this a bit thicker than traditional rasams, so feel free to adjust the water to achieve your desired consistency.

As is the case with most soups, this one tastes even better the next day as the flavors have a chance to meld together.

Read this recipe »

Indian Tomato Chutney with Spices


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
tomato chutney with sesame seeds

As I have been enjoying a healthy dose of savory Indian pancakes of late, there is always a good supply of chutneys and sauces on hand in the house. This cooked tomato includes vinegar, so it will keep for quite a while in the fridge in a well sealed container. Fragrant, spicy, and good for the mind and body, this chutney should certainly be considered a staple — it is a perfect multi-layered condiment that will enhance and complement any Indian savory food.

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Chickpeas with White and Wild Rice, Cranberries and Spices

Yotam Ottolenghi's first two cookbooks — Ottolenghi and Plenty — occupy treasured spaces on my cookbook shelves as much as for the distinctive and accessible recipes as for the stunning photographs that illustrate them. With this year's release of a new cookbook, this was the easiest present to buy for myself.

Jerusalem: A Cookbook is a culinary journey back to the food of this London restauranteur's and his head chef Sami Tamimi's home city. Ottolenghi and Tamimi share dishes and stories about food from the many cultures that inhabit this ancient and astonishingly diverse city, all with their characteristic love of good ingredients and wonderful flavors — it's actually a pleasure to read even if you don't make anything from it. But as with the previous two books, the recipes in Jerusalem are all straightforward and typically elegant in their simplicity, letting just a few fresh ingredients combine with a handful of seasonings to create spectacular dishes.

chickpea wild rice salad

This simple warm chickpea salad with white and wild rice, dried cranberries and spices is just such an example of a simple mingling of ingredients into something that is greater than the sum of its parts, but without losing the unique contributions of flavors that each ingredient has to offer. Adapted from Jerusalem, it's easy to make, absolutely delicious, and a perfect light meal for any time of year and certainly a shining addition to your festive table.

This is my contribution to this month's My Legume Love Affair, a popular monthly event started by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook that celebrates the goodness and diversity of legumes. The host this month is Sukanya of Saffron Streaks.

I am also sharing this with Jac's Bookmarked Recipes monthly event.

Chickpeas with White and Wild Rice, Cranberries and SpicesChickpeas with White and Wild Rice, Cranberries and Spices
Recipe by
Adapted from Jerusalem: A Cookbook
Cuisine: Israeli
Published on December 10, 2012

Simple and elegant warm salad of chickpeas, white and wild rice with spices and dried cranberries

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Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup dried chickpeas (1 1/2 cups cooked or 14 oz can)
  • 1/3 cup wild rice
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1 to 2 fresh green or red chilies, cut into slivers
 
  • 1/2 cup peanut or cooking oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 cup dried unsweetened cranberries
  • small handful fresh parsley
  • sea salt to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
Instructions:
  • Rinse the chickpeas and soak for 8 hours or overnight covered in several inches of water. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a small saucepan and cover with several inches of fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Drain and set aside to cool.

  • Meanwhile, rinse the wild rice and add to a small saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes or until the grains are just tender but not falling apart. Drain and set aside.

  • At the same time, rinse the basmati rice and add to a medium saucepan. Add 2 cups of water, 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer undisturbed for 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

  • chickpeasHeat the remaining olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Toss in the cumin seeds, ground spices and chilies, stir for a few moments, then add the chickpeas and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Stir for a couple of minutes to heat the chickpeas, then transfer the contents to a large mixing bowl.

  • In the same saucepan, pour in the peanut or cooking oil and heat over high heat. Meanwhile, toss the sliced onion with the flour in a bowl with your hands to lightly coat the onion. When the oil is very hot, gently place some of the onion in the oil and fry for 2 or 3 minutes or until the onion is golden brown and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain. Repeat in batches until all the onion is fried.

  • Fold the rices, fried onions, cranberries and parsley into the chickpeas. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Other recipes you may enjoy:
Ottolenghi's Chickpea Sauté with Greek Yogurt
Chickpea, Olive and Feta Cheese Salad
Wild Rice and Asparagus Salad

On the top of the reading stack: "Simply Satisfying" by Jeanne Lemlin

Audio Accompaniment: Sima Deep - Make Me Flow

Indian-Style Black-Eyed Peas with Roasted Squash


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
black-eyed pea and squash curry

This rather quick and easy curry is an ideal way to take advantage of winter squash and a good excuse to turn on the oven to warm up. There is a healthy dose of nutrients in this dish and lots of spice to help cure ailments which is surely important this month as the colds that are going around are most persistent indeed.

Roasting the squash not only adds some heat to your kitchen but also brings out the natural sweetness of this treasured vegetable. More so than years past, I have been exploring and enjoying various types of squash. I am still amazed how filling it is, especially when paired with beans and grains.

Serve with rice and savory Indian flatbreads or, as I did, cooked quinoa for a not so traditional pairing but certainly your body will thank you either way. Lots of goodness in the meal and that is just what this time of year calls for. Also a good choice for your holiday tables as well. I am particularly smitten with the blend and amount of spices in this dish, but of course, feel free to adjust accordingly to suit your palate.

Read this recipe »

Vegetarian Christmas Entertaining Ideas

Whether you observe Christmas or another religious or cultural holiday, or just an opportunity to take some time off work, this is a season for celebrating family, friends and — of course — food. With cherished traditional recipes and tantalizing displays of elegant dishes and treats, food plays an important role in our observance of Christmas, from a special family breakfast through to the snacks passed around during the day, and finally to a memorable dinner.

Over the years I've created treats and meals for my own loved ones at Christmas, and I'm so happy that they have become as cherished to themselves as to me. Friends and families of vegetarians such as myself often have to forgo or add to earlier Christmas food traditions out of necessity, but one of the purposes of my cooking for friends and family has been to show them that vegetarian food can be just as rewarding an experience on special occasions as it is for everyday eating. One of my greatest rewards is to find that they themselves have discovered that Christmas traditions can grow and change through time without any loss of flavor or delight.

I cannot serve my treats and dishes to you, my readers, as much as I would like to. But I hope that sharing the recipes with you will provide you with inspirations and ideas that will add to your own Christmas eating and entertaining experiences, and make your holidays a time of sharing wonderful food as much as sharing time with the most important people in your life. Most of all, I hope that each and everyone one of you have a very warm and blessed Christmas.

Check out these and other menu ideas on   vegetarian Christmas menu ideas


Christmas Treats & Desserts

Nigella's Christmas Pavlova
Nigella's Christmas Pavlova

Like an enormous roasted marshmallow with a thick crispy caramelized-sugar exterior surrounding a light and creamy meringue, pavlovas have the same lumpy and carefree charm of appearance, sweetness and ease … or a charm that is actually improved by a jaunty slathering of whipped cream and a reckless scattering of fruit on top.
Christmas Rum Balls
Lisa's Famous Christmas Rum Balls

A Christmas classic, these rum balls disappear in moments once they're served. Somewhat like truffles, but with a smooth chocolate interior flavoured with crushed vanilla wafers and — of course — rum. A dark Jamaican rum will add extra intensity to the taste. Crushed hazelnuts or macadamias can be substituted for the vanilla wafers for a nuttier sensation.
Tropical Fruit Christmas Fruitcake
Tropical Fruit Christmas Fruitcake

Dark, rich, chewy and moist, this may be the best Christmas fruitcake you've ever had. Quality dried pineapples, lychees, mangoes, golden raisins and coconut, fresh cut citrus peels, and a splash of island rum — this fruitcake only improves with age. This year you can pass around a fresh and beautiful fruitcake, instead of all those fruitcake jokes that usually get passed around at this time of year.
Tropical Christmas Steamed Pudding
Tropical Christmas Steamed Pudding

The plumpness and fresh vibrant flavours of dried tropical fruits are the star qualities of this steamed Christmas pudding. Any kind of dried fruit that strikes your fancy can be used, but a mixture of tropical fruits — mangoes, papayas, pineapples and bananas — will let you imagine you and your family are sitting on a sandy island beach at Christmas-time surrounded by warm tropical breezes.
Santa's Panforte
Santa's Panforte
 


These little sweet and chewy bites of dried fruit and nut candy are a delicious addition to your holiday entertaining platter. Best of all this wholesome treat can be prepared weeks or even months ahead of time, as long as you can keep out of them yourself before Christmas.
Fresh Gingerbread Cake with Lemon Icing
Fresh Gingerbread Cake with Lemon Icing

Gingerbread is a classic Christmas treat, and this delicious, sticky and moist gingerbread cake made with fresh ginger has plenty of zing to satisfy the traditionalists in the family while adding a modern sweet lemon icing for the bolder and more adventurous crowd.
Cocoa Fruit Treats
Cocoa Fruit Treats
 


Naturally sweet, these no-bake cocoa treats with pistachios, dried fruit and a hint of chili are entirely guilt-free and incredibly easy to make. A great Christmas treat for when you think you've been over-indulging but can't resist the festive platter.
Quick and Easy Healthy Peanut Butter Balls
Quick & Easy Healthy Peanut Butter Balls

These no-bake and guilt-free little peanut butter balls are so easy to prepare that you can make them over and over again over the holidays, and you may need to once you see them flying off the plate.

Christmas Breakfast Ideas

Eggnog & Rum French Toast
Eggnog & Rum Winter Spiced French Toast
 


The perfect wake-up on a Christmas morning, the scent of eggnog combined with the gentle hints of rum and winter spices wafting through the kitchen might just give these breakfast treats priority over the presents under the tree this year.
Ginger Molasses Pancakes with Mixed Dried Fruit
Ginger Molasses Pancakes with Mixed Dried Fruit

These simple pancakes have the same festive flair as Christmas fruitcakes but with a much lighter, fluffier and fresher taste and texture. Perfect for serving up on a Christmas morning with some warmed maple syrup without having to wait around for the store-bought treats to be set out.
Rum and Ricotta Fritters
Rum & Ricotta Fritters

Christmas mornings are the perfect time to put on a pot of hot coffee and stir up a batch of these simple little rum and ricotta fritters — light, airy and golden like the day to come, and just like little pieces of the fluffiest and most delectable pancakes you can imagine. Dusted with icing sugar or dipped in maple syrup or a warm spiced chocolate sauce, the memory of the scents and flavors will linger gloriously in your nose and mouth for hours.
Spiced Pumpkin Waffles
Spiced Pumpkin Waffles

These light and fluffy waffles practically spring out of the waffle iron and onto the plate. The heavenly aroma of baked pumpkin and spices dressed with a little warmed maple syrup makes the most fragrant and delicious Christmas breakfast imaginable. Best of all, the aroma lingers through the house for hours to keep the festive cheer in the air.
Apfelpfannkuchen (Baked German Apple Pancake)
Apfelpfannkuchen (Baked German Apple Pancake)

This soft and sweet baked apple pancake feels like a soufflé in the mouth with the wonderful flavors and aromas of brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. A delicious start to the day with a mug of hot coffee, it's good enough to serve as dessert or as a late-night treat with a mug of hot chocolate instead.
Indian-Style Fried Egg and Potato Cake
Indian-Style Fried Egg and Potato Cake

For hungry people who want a filling and nourishing breakfast to last them through the day until dinner, this hearty savory fried egg and potato cake with Indian seasonings will do just the trick. And the delicious aroma will linger in your kitchen for hours and keep you hungry for more.

Christmas Dinner & Entertaining Ideas

Mushroom Nut Roast in Golden Puff Pastry
Mushroom Nut Roast in Golden Puff Pastry

Rich, hearty, earthy and delicious, this flavorful and gorgeous mushroom nut roast wrapped in a golden puff pastry is the centerpiece of any Christmas dinner, vegetarian or otherwise. Loaded with quinoa, different kinds of mushrooms and nuts, sun-dried tomatoes and plenty of spices and seasonings, it's extraordinarily nutritious as well, but you won't have to mention that to your guests to get them to finish it off.
Vegetarian Mushroom Bourguignon
Vegetarian Mushroom Bourguignon

It is often said that mushrooms are the meat of vegetarians, and after eating this mushroom bourguignon you just might be convinced yourself. Tender chunks of plump portobellos and chewy dried lobster mushrooms are simmered into a rich, thick and fragrant sauce highlighted by a robust red wine and served over a bed of steaming egg noodles. Even your carnivorous guests won't miss a thing.
Spicy Lentil Quinoa Nut Loaf
Spicy Lentil Quinoa Nut Loaf
 


This curried "meatloaf" made with lentils, quinoa, mushrooms and cashews is not only an attractive centerpiece for a vegetarian Christmas dinner, it's hearty enough to satisfy any appetite, vegetarian or otherwise. It might also be the healthiest and most nourishing Christmas dinner you've ever had.
Scalloped Potatoes with Best-Ever Mushroom Sauce
Scalloped Potatoes with Best-Ever Mushroom Sauce

Scalloped potatoes are a tradition at many Christmas tables, and these soft, creamy and buttery potatoes get a special treatment worthy of the occasion with generous layers of a tangy and aromatic mushroom sauce that I maintain is simply the "best ever".
Roasted Butternut Squash & Cannellini Bean Soup with Spices and Toasted Pistachios
Roasted Butternut Squash & Cannellini Bean Soup with Spices and Toasted Pistachios

Butternut squash is a seasonal winter favorite, and this simple, warm and creamy soup made with sweet roasted butternut squash soup and puréed cannellini beans is spiced and then topped with toasted pistachios for a hearty, delicious and colorful starter for a lovely Christmas meal.
Quinoa Soup with Beets and Fresh Dill
Quinoa Soup with Beets and Fresh Dill
 
 


This seasonal and spicy beetroot and quinoa soup has all the colors of Christmas, especially if you top off a warm bowl with a dollop of sour cream. Warming, nourishing and earthy, this soup will set the stage for a gorgeous and satisfying meal.
Vegetable Cassoulet with Bread Topping
Vegetable Cassoulet with Bread Topping

An updated vegetarian take on a classic French winter staple, this rich and savory baked bean and vegetable casserole with dried herbs and a baked bread and Parmesan cheese topping makes for a delicious side dish but is also filling and hearty enough for a main course.
Popovers
Hot Popovers
 


Simple light and fluffy "egg-y" popovers are a single serving size version of the classic British Christmas Yorkshire Pudding bread. Slather with butter and sprinkle salt and pepper on top of a hot fresh cooked popover for an absolutely delicious dinner roll that will fly off the table — better make a couple of batches at least.
Curried Indian Vegetable Soup
Curried Indian Vegetable Soup

This Indian-style vegetable soup has long been one of my very favorite soups to serve to friends and families on special occasions. Healthy, but most importantly delicious, cooked fresh vegetables seasoned with Indian spices bursts with an astonishing array of flavors in one bowl. Your guests may just want to fill up on this before even starting the main course.
Curried Red Kidney Beans with Paneer
Curried Red Kidney Beans & Paneer

Looking for a spectacular Indian main course to try for a change this Christmas? This colorful red kidney bean chili-style curry served with tender pieces of fried paneer cheese is rich, earthy, spicy and incredibly flavorful, and never fails to blow people away.