Winter Holiday Menu

The Physicians Committee

Food for Life

Winter Holidays Menu

Holiday MenuPCRM has a variety of healthful vegan recipes to share at any of your holiday festivities. The key is to incorporate fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables into your recipes and to keep your recipes simple. Tips like using vegetable broth in place of oil or creamed cashews in place of dairy products in soups make for tasty, yet healthy versions of traditional favorites. For more tips like this, click here.

Appetizer: Garlicky Green Beans

Salad: Bulgur and Orange Salad

Soup: Mushroom Barley Soup

Main Dish: No-Meat Loaf

Side Dish: Brown Rice Pilaf

Dessert: Masala Chai Apple Crisp


Garlicky Green Beans

Makes about four 1-cup servings

These green beans have a delicious Asian-inspired flavor and can be prepared simply and easily.

1 pound fresh green beans
2 tablespoons vegetable stock
8 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Rinse beans, remove stems, then steam until just tender, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Heat vegetable stock in a nonstick skillet and cook garlic, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in vinegar, soy sauce, water, and cooked green beans. Sprinkle with black pepper and cook, stirring constantly, until very hot, about 2 minutes.

Per 1-cup serving: calories: 77; fat: 2.6 g; saturated fat: 0.4 g; calories from fat: 30.1%; cholesterol: 0 mg; protein: 2.5 g; carbohydrates: 12.8 g; sugar: 4.7 g; fiber: 3.3 g; sodium: 253 mg; calcium: 57 mg; iron: 0.9 mg; vitamin C: 11.6 mg; beta-carotene: 398 mcg; vitamin E: 0.5 mg

Recipe from Jennifer Raymond, found in Healthy Eating for Life for Children by Amy Lanou, Ph.D.

Bulgur and Orange Salad

Makes about six 1-cup servings

This nutritious salad, which contains beans, grains, vegetables, and fruit, may be used as a side dish or served as a complete meal. The wholesome fiber makes it low-fat, yet filling. The addition of orange slices is quite refreshing.

1 cup dry bulgur
1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed, or 1 1/2 cups cooked beans
2 green onions, thinly sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 orange, peeled and chopped
2 cups boiling water

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Place bulgur in a large bowl and mix with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add boiling water and stir just to mix, then cover and let stand until bulgur is tender, about 25 minutes. Cool completely.

When bulgur is cool, add orange, bell pepper, green onions, and beans.

In a separate bowl, mix vinegar, orange juice concentrate, cumin, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add to salad and toss to mix. If possible, chill before serving.

This salad is very flavorful the next day. Stored in a covered container in the refrigerator, leftover Bulgur and Orange Salad will keep for up to 3 days.

Per 1-cup serving: calories: 174; fat: 0.7 g; saturated fat: 0.1 g; calories from fat: 3.5%; cholesterol: 0 mg; protein: 7.5 g; carbohydrates: 37 g; sugar: 6.9 g; fiber: 8.2 g; sodium: 473 mg; calcium: 59 mg; iron: 2 mg; vitamin C: 33.9 mg; beta-carotene: 258 mcg; vitamin E: 0.3 mg


Recipe from The Survivor’s Handbook: Eating Right for Cancer Survival by Neal D. Barnard, M.D., and Jennifer Reilly, R.D.

Mushroom Barley Soup

Makes about three 1-cup servings

This soup takes just minutes to make if you have cooked barley on hand. Because it is very low in fat, it helps the immune system recognize and destroy cancer cells. All fats, including healthful vegetable fats, should be kept to a minimum when it comes to cancer prevention and survival. Barley is also known for its cholesterol-lowering properties.

2⁄3 cup water

1⁄3 cup pearl barley, regular or quick-cooking

2 cups fortified plain rice milk

2 tablespoons barley flour

1 can (4 ounces) mushrooms, undrained, or 6 fresh mushrooms, quartered

1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

Pinch of dried marjoram

Pinch of dried sage

Pinch of dried thyme

Pinch of dried dill weed

To cook the barley, bring the water and barley to a boil in a medium saucepan. Lower the heat, cover, and cook until all of the water has been absorbed, about 30 minutes for regular barley or 10 minutes for quick-cooking barley.

Place the rice milk and flour in a blender and process on high speed for a few seconds. Add the cooked barley and process on high speed for about 10 seconds, just until the barley is coarsely chopped. Add the mushrooms and their liquid and process very briefly, just until they are coarsely chopped.

Transfer the blended mixture to a medium saucepan and stir in the garlic powder, salt, marjoram, sage, thyme, and dill weed. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, or until the soup is hot and slightly thickened.

Stored in a covered container in the refrigerator, leftover Mushroom Barley Soup will keep for up to 3 days.

Note: If you prefer, omit the water and barley and substitute 1 cup cooked barley.

Per 1-cup serving: 172 calories; 1.7 g fat; 0.2 g saturated fat; 8.9% calories from fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 3.2 g protein; 36.7 g carbohydrate; 9 g sugar; 4.1 g fiber; 350 mg sodium; 213 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 0.9 mg vitamin C; 9 mcg beta-carotene; 1.2 mg vitamin E

No-Meat Loaf

Makes 12 1-slice servingsno-meat loaf

This savory loaf is delicious with Mashed Potatoes and Brown Gravy or as a sandwich filling. The vegetables need to be finely chopped, which can be easily accomplished with a food processor.

1 cup dry bulgur
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons water
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, shredded or finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 pound mushrooms, finely chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/3 cup potato flour
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons ketchup or barbeque sauce
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
4 teaspoons stone-ground mustard

Vegetable oil spray
Additional ketchup or barbeque sauce for topping

Place bulgur in a large bowl and pour 1 1/2 cups boiling water over it. Soak until bulgur is tender and most of the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Heat 2 tablespoons water in a nonstick skillet and add onion, carrot, and celery. Cook over medium-high heat for 3 minutes, stirring often. Stir in mushrooms and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and mushrooms are brown, about 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Drain any excess water off the bulgur. Add vegetables along with walnuts, flour, marjoram, garlic powder, salt, thyme, sage, black pepper, 3 tablespoons ketchup or barbeque sauce, soy sauce, and mustard and stir for 1 to 2 minutes, until the mixture holds together. Pat into a vegetable oil sprayed 5"×9" loaf pan and top with ketchup or barbeque sauce. Bake for 60 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Per slice (1/12 of loaf): calories: 120; fat: 3.6 g; saturated fat: 0.4 g; calories from fat: 27.1%; cholesterol: 0 mg; protein: 3.7 g; carbohydrate: 20.8 g; sugar: 5.3 g; fiber: 3.8 g; sodium: 385 mg; calcium: 25 mg; iron: 1.2 mg; vitamin C: 5 mg; beta-carotene: 519 mcg; vitamin E: 0.4 mg


Recipe from Jennifer Raymond, found in Turn Off the Fat Genes by Neal D. Barnard, M.D.

Brown Rice Pilaf

Makes 4 servings

brown rice

This richly flavored pilaf may be served as a side dish or used as a stuffing—it is truly a staple year-round. Brown rice is a rich source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Most of the nutrients available in brown rice come from the bran. When rice is processed and the bran is removed, it becomes white rice, which is essentially devoid of nutritional value and health-promoting properties.

1/4 cup water
8 ounces mushrooms, diced (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup dry white wine or vegetable broth
1 cup long-grain brown rice (preferably basmati or jasmine)
2 to 3 cups boiling water or vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat the 1/4 cup of water in a large saucepan. Add the mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Cook and stir over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mushrooms and onion are soft.

Add the thyme and cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of the wine or vegetable broth and mix in well.

Stir in the rice and 2 cups of the boiling water. Add the remaining wine and the salt and pepper. Stir to mix well. Cover and cook over low heat for about 60 minutes, until the rice is tender and all of the water has been absorbed. Check the saucepan occasionally to make sure the rice doesn’t cook dry, and add a small amount of the remaining water as needed to prevent sticking.

Stored in a covered container in the refrigerator, leftover Brown Rice Pilaf will keep for up to 3 days.


Per serving (1/4 recipe): calories: 216; fat: 1.6 g; saturated fat: 0.3 g; calories from fat: 6.8%; cholesterol: 0 mg; protein: 5.3 g; carbohydrate: 40.9 g; sugar: 2 g; fiber: 6.4 g; sodium: 306 mg; calcium: 32 mg; iron: 1.7 mg; vitamin C: 3.3 mg; beta-carotene: 3 mcg; vitamin E: 0.1 mg

Recipe from The Cancer Survivor's Guide

Masala Chai Apple Crisp

Makes 6 servings

Chai spices are the perfect accompaniment to this quintessential American dessert.

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (preferably from green cardamom pods)

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

4 apples, cored and sliced thinly (2 Pink Ladies and 2 Granny Smiths, preferably)

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 cup apple jelly

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

11/2 cups dried oats

Combine all the spices and the sugar together. Place the apple slices in a mixing bowl and toss them with the spices and sugar. Allow this to sit for about 30 minutes.

At this point, the apples will have released some liquid. Drain the juice from the bottom of the mixing bowl into a small saucepan. Over medium heat, reduce the juice until it is about half the original volume. Mix this with the apple cider vinegar, apple jelly, and grated ginger.

Place the apples in a baking dish and spread the apple jelly mixture over them. Top with the dried oats. Bake this at 350 F for 20 minutes.

The Gourmet Touch: Toast each spice individually, whole, for about 1 minute over medium-low heat, then grind each spice into a powder.

Core Concepts: Dried ingredients like sugar and salt pull out liquid from fruits and veggies through a process called maceration. When making a pie or crisp, this is important because it reduces the amount of liquid released by the fruit during baking, keeping the texture of the dessert tight instead of watery.

Per serving (1/6 recipe): calories: 278; fat: 0.8 g; calories from fat: 3%; cholesterol: 0 mg; protein: 4 g; carbohydrates: 70 g; sugar: 49 g; fiber: 5 g; sodium: 1 mg


Recipe by Jason Wyrick found in 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart: Boost Metabolism, Lower Cholesterol, and Dramatically Improve Your Health by Neal Barnard, M.D.


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