Soul-warming and special, this meal has plenty of vegetable sides and a decadent chocolate cake.

Maybe your brood celebrates Christmas; maybe they come home for Hanukkah. Whatever your tradition, this dairy-free menu invites everyone to the table—including vegetarians, thanks to a medley of vibrant sides. So, polish your silver and pull up the extra chairs. This feast is a Festivus for all of us.

miso-tomato braised short ribs plated with pomegranate
Credit: Yuki Sugiura

Warm Their Hearts

Our succulent short-ribs platter embodies American cooking today: It melds flavors from cultures all around the world. Miso is the magical marinade. Rubbed all over the ribs, it adds salt, umami, and a subtle fermented tanginess. Fennel, tomatoes, and orange juice brighten the braise, while ginger offers a hint of heat. And the gravy's a breeze: The sauce cooks down in the oven, so all you need to do is strain it, whisk in a mixture of broth and flour, bring to a boil, and serve (no lengthy simmering). Garnish with sparkling pomegranate arils for a sweet and special finish.

Create a Side Show

Like voices in a chorus, they'll lend diverse flavors and textures that harmonize on your plate.

kale-and-frisee salad with sherry vinaigrette atop toile pattern tablecloth
Credit: Yuki Sugiura

Kale-and-Frisèe Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette

Topped with celery, hazelnuts, and fried capers, this winter salad has plenty of flavor-packed crunch.

tender carrots and turnips with mint dressing atop toile pattern tablecloth
Credit: Yuki Sugiura

Tender Carrots and Turnips with Mint Dressing

Instead of the classic brown-sugar glaze, baby carrots and turnips are tossed in rice-vinegar dressing; a spoonful of apricot marmalade gets stirred in for sweetness.

kabocha-cauliflower mash atop toile pattern tablecloth
Credit: Yuki Sugiura

Kabocha-Cauliflower Mash

A luscious, Asian-inflected alternative to mashed potatoes featuring mashed kabocha squash and cauliflower blended with coconut milk and minced ginger. Decadent and delicious without cream or butter. Hallelujah!

dairy-free chocolate-raspberry cake and fortified wines
Credit: Yuki Sugiura

End on a High

A showstopping holiday dessert that's a piece of cake? Meet this four-layer chocolate confection, which comes together from a one-bowl batter and three-ingredient frosting. Coconut oil gives it an especially tender crumb and also lets you bake it days in advance (butter-based cakes get dense in the fridge). And raspberry jam between each layer makes it even more extraordinary. Not to mention it's dairy-free, too, with almond milk in the batter and coconut milk in the frosting, so it's a fabulous final act for a kosher meal.

Slow Sips

Complement our rich chocolate cake with something equally bold and smooth. Here are three fortified wines (meaning a spirit has been added during the winemaking process) we love to serve alongside hot coffee. Your first option is a Malmsey Madeira. Madeiras get heated, then aged, which gives them their amber color and full-bodied flavor. Malmsey (also known as Malvasia) is the sweetest style, which makes it an excellent dessert wine. We like Broadbent 10-Year Sercial Madeira ($51.99,

Next up, a Pedro Ximénez Sherry: Made with grapes dried in the sun, PX sherry (as those in the know call it) is dark and syrupy, with a complexity that comes from aging. Think figs, dates—and chocolate. Our pick is Lustau Pedro Ximénez San Emilio Sherry ($29,

Last but not least, consider serving a Tawny Port. The Cuban cigar of after-dinner drinks, this pour gets its deep hue, plus flavors like vanilla and nutmeg, from at least a decade of aging in oak barrels. Our pick is Taylor Fladgate 10-Year- Old Tawny Port ($29.99,

Recipes and food styling by Greg Lofts. Prop Styling by Tanya Graff.

Martha Stewart Living, December 2019


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