For a New Twist to a Classic Christmas Dinner, Try This Vegan-Inspired Dish


If you followed Chef Michael Newman’s M&F Thanksgiving recipe, you are going to love what he has in store this Christmas. The buff baker and star of “MasterChef: Legends” presents these exclusive dishes for those looking to keep their macros in-check, while still enjoying a whole lot of festive cheer. Stuffed with protein and at less than 250 calories per serving, there’s no need to lose track of your fitness goals this holiday season.

Whether you are vegan or not, these side plates serve as a great way to complement Christmas dinner, using fresh ingredients to keep you in the holiday spirit. Acorn squash is considered to be the most nutritious squash, containing an abundance of folate, calcium, magnesium and potassium. It is also simple to prepare and eat, because you don’t need to peel it before roasting or consuming. While green “string” beans are a great addition to a warming casserole anytime of year, since they are packed full with vitamins A, C, and K.

For Michael Newman, the New Jersey native who earned Gordon Ramsay’s culinary kudos on Fox’s MasterChef: Legends, Christmas is a time of year where he is happy to let the family takeover, so being able to contribute a bit of vegan flavor on the side makes perfect sense. “My mother, who is full Italian, generally takes charge during the Christmas holidays,” he says. “Though, I do enjoy being able to spend time and help her in the kitchen during this time of year because I don’t see her or my father that often during the year because they live out of state. But, I am happy to say that this year my parents have moved back to New Jersey, making it much easier to see more of them!”

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, Newman, who is also a relationship and lifestyle coach, is hoping to continue the growth of this “JerseyStyle” brand while staying fit and reaching out to others “My first resolution would be the most obvious and that’s to maintain, and even become more fit,” says the chef. “I also have a business resolution and that is to expand our lifestyle brand, JerseyStyle with my wife, Basia. Finally, the most important resolution of them all is to continue to help individuals and on a larger scale, the world, to be a more loving and positive place to exist. That is why our JerseyStyle mantra is LOVE + POSITIVITY = SUCCESS!”

The Newman family will also be reflecting on all the good things that have happened to them this year by giving something back to the community. His family are volunteering their time at a local soup kitchen and will also provide support to a nearby food bank. “We will feel extremely blessed and grateful to be able to help people in need on Christmas since, for some, it’s a very difficult time to get through,” says Newman. Now that’s the spirit!

Vegan String Bean Casserole
Courtesy of Michael Newman

Traditional String Bean Casserole: Veganized

Serves: 3-4

Nutritional Values Per Serving:

  • Cal: 236
  • Protein: 12g
  • Fats: 16g
  • Carbs: 20g


  • 16 oz. frozen green beans defrosted (not canned)
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts, blended into a walnut breadcrumb
  • 1/3 cup of raw cashews
  • 3/4 cup oat milk
  • 3 tbsp of nutritional yeast*
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup French fried onions to top

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Cover cashews with 1 cup of boiling water and set aside for 1 hour, then drain.
  2. Place defrosted green beans into a mixing bowl.
  3. Add the drained cashews, oat milk, salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast to blender. Blend until smooth.
  4. Combine cashew cream mixture with green beans and mix thoroughly.
  5. Spray a 9 x 7 baking dish with cooking spray and place combined mixture into dish.
  6. Cover casserole with ground walnut mixture and the French-fried onions.
  7. Place in oven at 375°F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Remove from the oven and you are ready to serve. Enjoy!

*Nutritional yeast adds additional protein to most vegan dishes.

Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe
Courtesy of Michael Newman

Baked Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash

Serves 4-6, depending on size of acorn squash

Nutritional Values Per Serving:

  • Cal: 184
  • Protein: 19g
  • Fats: 13g
  • Carbs: 24g


  • 2 small/medium acorn squash
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 6 tbsp of nutritional yeast *
  • 2 Beyond Meat Italian or Spicy Sausage Links
  • 1/2 cup of Walnuts
  • 1/2 cup of Craisins
  • 1 cup of diced white button mushrooms (2nd highest mushroom in terms of protein)
  • 2 cups of bread for stuffing, or 1 box of Stove Top Savory Herb Stuffing
  • 1 apple of choice, cored and peeled
  • 1 1/2 cup of vegetable stock

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F
  2. Cut off ends of the acorn squash to prevent from rolling. Cut acorn squash in half and scoop out the center and then place on the baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle on some EVOO and season with salt and pepper. Place in oven and partially cook the squash for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.


  1. Dice onion, garlic, mushrooms, and apples. Set aside.
  2. Place 2 tablespoon of EVOO in a pan along with the Beyond Meat Sausage and then mash until ground.
  3. Cook for 2 minutes and then add the onions, garlic, mushrooms, and apples to the Beyond Meat Sausage. Season the mixture with salt, pepper, a pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon, along with 3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast for protein.
  4. While the mixture is cooking, add the vegetable stock to the bread mixture to soften.
  5. Combine sausage mixture to bread stuffing. Next, add craisins and walnuts to mixture. Mix well until fully combined then let cool.
  6. Once cooled, stuff acorn squash with the stuffing, and reduce oven to 375°F, return to oven and bake 20-25 minutes until the stuffing is golden brown and the acorn squash is soft to touch.
  7. Remove from the oven and you are ready to serve. Enjoy!

*Nutritional yeast adds additional protein to most vegan dishes.

Article link