Handmade Vegan Holiday Gifts You Can Find on Etsy

As you might know, my love for Etsy knows no bounds. I’m constantly in awe of the creative independent makers who offers just about everything under the sun. I always want to support small businesses when it comes to holiday gift-giving, which means that many of my gifts end up coming from Etsy.

If you, too, would like to shop small this holiday season, read on! I’ve compiled a massive list of vegan-friendly, cruelty-free finds for everyone on your list. Happy shopping!

For the body!

For an exfoliating scrub that smells just like the holidays, check out this Vegan Balsam Flaxseed Rosehip Scrub. Loaded with flaxseed, colloidal oatmeal, and coconut milk, it’ll smooth away rough skin and leave you silky smooth.

If you need stocking stuffers, vegan lip balms are super affordable and come in tons of creative flavors. Mint Cocoa or Sugar Cookie (below) make great seasonal options!

Epically Epic Soap's Sugar Cookie Lip Balms

Image copyright Epically Epic Soap

>> For an extensive list of vegan lip balms you can find on Etsy, check out this post.

I don’t know about you, but I love receiving fancy soaps I wouldn’t necessarily buy for myself. You can’t go wrong with classic English Lavender; it’s a season-neutral scent that’s so lovely and calming. For tea enthusiasts, try this beautiful Vanilla Rooibos Gift Set, which includes soap, lip balm, and a fragrant unisex perfume. (Or check out the Earl Grey Gift Set instead.)

For the facial-hair-havers on your list, beard oil could be fun. Try Ranger of the North if you want an Aragorn smell-a-like (swoon), or Headmaster if you’d prefer to channel Dumbledore.

This list would be remiss without including some of the fabulous accessories you can find on Etsy. The sweet Floria bag in one of its many beautiful colors makes for an affordable, fun gift, while this bold sapphire-blue clutch (below) is a splurge for someone whose style you know well.

Image copyright MeDusa Brand

Image copyright MeDusa Brand

>> For an extensive list of vegan handbags, purses, and backpacks you can find on Etsy, check out this post.

For the home!

Candles make great gifts because they’re useful, long-lasting, and fun. For the Harry Potter fans in your life, how about a handmade soy wax candle that’ll make their house smell like Christmas at Hogwarts or Mrs. Weasley’s Jumpers? Or for the fan of classic holiday movies, try a Whoville-scented candle.

If you know your recipient’s decorative style, an art print could be a sweet, thoughtful option. I love the food-inspired watercolors at Marcella Studio, especially this Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil print. (Though this one, which features kale varieties, is pretty great too.)

Fettle and Fire's pig planter

Image copyright Fettle and Fire

Plants make any home a little bit homier — so how about gifting this adorable ceramic pig planter (above) filled with an easy-to-care-for succulent? I love the simple design and how charmingly rotund this piggy is.

For a recipient with a fireplace, check out these Scented Fire Starters — they’re both pretty and practical.

For the belly!

In my personal opinion, handmade, high-quality chocolates are one of life’s greatest luxuries. In other words, if someone were to give me a box of fair-trade vegan chocolate truffles from Creek House for Christmas, I would not turn it down. (And I would not share (unless you asked really nicely).)

Creek House Patisserie's truffles

Image copyright Creek House Patisserie

Creek House offers samplers in a few different sizes (6 pieces, 12 pieces, etc.) and with some mouthwatering flavors (like chili mango dark espresso). I’ve given Creek House chocolates to vegan/dairy-free folks a few times in the past, and everyone has enjoyed them — but nobody offered to share. Alas. (Okay, fine, all the recipients live out of state so I can’t really blame them!)

Perhaps you want to share the joy of vegan baked goods with a loved one, but your baking skills end at popping open a can of cinnamon buns and squeezing on ready-made icing. Of course Etsy has you covered. You could try these incredibly decadent chocolate and peanut butter dessert bars from The Healthy Vegan, or maybe a six-pack of dark chocolate cannoli from Veganlotus. (I haven’t had cannoli in years so it’s taking me loads of self-control not to order these right now.)

For that other tea enthusiast in your life (you know, the one who didn’t receive the tea-scented body care goodies listed above!), how about a loose-leaf tea gift set? I’ve tried many of these myself, and I love the creative, tasty blends. This sampler comes with both herbal and caffeinated teas so your recipient can drink them any time of day.

If your giftee’s caffeinated beverage of choice happens to be coffee, how about a pound of freshly roasted and ground fair-trade coffee? This seller roasts beans to your roast level of choice (and helpfully explains each one) and will also grind them to your specifications, if you’d like.

And if beans are too obvious a gift for the coffee fiend in your life, check out the Etsy Editors’ Picks coffee-themed gift guide for dozens of creative, coffee-related accoutrements.

>> What’d I miss? Share your favorite Etsy shops and gifts in the comments!

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Vegan holiday gift guide for Etsy // govegga.com

All images copyright their respective owners.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through my links, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies. I’m not looking to make a fortune, just to cover hosting costs. :)

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This list was originally published as part of the Vegan Month of Food, in line with the final prompt about giving vegan food gifts for the holidays.

10 Vegan Recipes to Make for the Holidays

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Week Five: Holidays!

It might not be December yet, but if you’re anything like me, you’re already planning your holiday cooking and baking. With that in mind, I thought I’d share a roundup of some of my favorite holiday-appropriate recipes from the blog! From drinks through dessert, I’ve got you covered.

1. Creamy Caramelized Onion Soup

This luxe, creamy soup makes the perfect start to your holiday dinner. Serve it alongside a loaf of crusty home-baked bread for extra deliciousness!

Nutty Quinoa-Stuffed Delicata Squash

2. Nutty Quinoa-Stuffed Delicata Squash

Serve individual squash halves as the main course, or halve them again to serve smaller portions as a side dish. Heck, if you don’t have squash on hand, just make the filling and serve it alone as a warm side dish.

Warm Lentil & Brussels Sprout Salad with Roasted Radicchio Wedges

3. Warm Lentil and Brussels Sprout Salad with Roasted Radicchio Wedges

If the combination of lentils, Brussels sprouts, and pomegranate seeds doesn’t scream “filling winter dish!” then I don’t know what does. Feel free to double the dressing if you’re serving someone who loves a big pop of flavor.

Butternut Squash Risotto with Sage and Toasted Hazelnuts

4. Butternut Squash Risotto with Sage and Toasted Hazelnuts

It is a scientific fact that you cannot fail to impress your guests if you serve risotta. Your secret? It’s incredibly easy to make! This version features pureed butternut squash, and its golden hue makes for a beautiful presentation.

Caramelized Onion and Broccoli Quiche

5. Caramelized Onion and Broccoli Quiche

Hungry houseguests clamoring for breakfast the morning after a holiday? Bake up this rich quiche. Who needs eggs when you’ve got aquafaba? You could also go rogue and serve this with your holiday dinner — why not?! It’s your house; you make the rules.

In the foreground, three chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips. In the background, a container of instant espresso powder, a glass of soymilk, and a stack of more cookies.

6. Espresso-White Chocolate Chip Cookies

My favorite part of the meal: dessert! For chocolate-y, caffeine-y decadence you can bake in advance, these cookies can’t be beat. Bring them to your annual cookie swap and you’ll be everybody’s favorite swap partner.

Chocolate-Orange Chia Seed Pudding

7. Chocolate-Orange Chia Pudding

Chocolate and orange: the quintessential Christmas flavor pairing? They come together in this creamy, healthier version of chocolate pudding. You could even eat it for breakfast!

Gluten-Free Vegan Sweet Potato Pie with a Pecan-Date Crust // govegga.com

8. Sweet Potato Pie

I know I keep talking about this darned pie — but it’s just so good! Whether you serve it in a gluten-free nut crust or a more traditional pastry crust, the creamy, pumpkin-like filling will make your guests salivate.

Chocolate-Hazelnut Buckwheat Bites

9. Chocolate-Hazelnut Buckwheat Bites

Sure, buckwheat doesn’t exactly sound like the most indulgent of ingredients. But trust me — these rich, chewy buckwheat bites do indeed taste indulgent! Buckwheat offers a beautiful crunch and a little bit of savoriness to counteract all that rich chocolate.

Vegan chai hot toddy // govegga.com

10. Chai Hot Toddy

Wrap up your holiday evening the way it’s meant to be ended: on the couch in front of a crackling fire, wrapped in a cozy blanket, with a mug of something steaming hot. I recommend this hot toddy, but if you want something non-alcoholic, you could do worse than my hot molasses mug!

So — what are you making for the holidays?

Holiday Baking and Cooking Plans

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Week Five: Holidays!

Today’s prompt is so appropriate for me: “Holiday Bake Day! – What are you planning on baking over the winter holidays? Do you make cake, or cookies? Or something savory?”

ALL OF THE ABOVE!

No, seriously. I LOVE the holiday season! And I love holiday baking and entertaining. Steven and I are hosting a holiday party in a few weeks — the first party in our new house — and you better believe I’ve already started planning the menu. Since we’ll have 20+ guests, we won’t serve dinner, but we’ll whip up a boatload of snacks and drinks to keep everyone happy. That’s what we did last year — check out the spread at our 2015 holiday party.

 

Holiday party spread 2015

Last year’s menu was such a success that I probably won’t change it too much this year. Here’s a rough outline, along with my notes:

  • Savories:
    • Homemade vegan cheeses
    • Crackers, some store-bought and some homemade because I like to make things more complicated than necessary
    • Hot caramelized onion-bacon dip — a perennial favorite; I think our guests would boycott the party if we didn’t serve it.
    • Sliced baguettes (store-bought)
    • Veggie crudités
    • A couple other dips — mushroom pâté? olive tapenade? a classic hummus?
  • Sweets:
    • Regular fudge
    • Maple fudge (insert heart-eyes emoji here)
    • Gingerbread cookies? Or regular gingerbread, and sugar cookies instead?
    • Candied nuts
    • Something else — pie? cake? cupcakes? Probably a cake.
  • Sippables:
    • Mulled wine
    • Assorted beer, wine, and hard liquor
    • Various mixers (cranberry juice, apple cider)
    • At least one cocktail — I made cranberry martinis (with homemade cranberry simple syrup) and this creamy coconut cocktail (with homemade coconut-infused vodka and coconut cream) last year

Holiday party spread 2015: cheese!

What am I missing? What would you choose for my TBD items? And do you want to come to my party? :P

Vegan Memories

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Week Four: Memories and Traditions

Today’s prompt is “vegan memories” — which is remarkably appropriate for this blog, since I’ve been keeping it on and off since becoming vegan. Here are a few posts and foods that bring back particularly strong vegan-newbie memories for me:

  • This post, regarding Isa’s ancho lentil soup. A friend made the soup back in my early flirting-with-veganism days, so it holds a particularly strong spot in my taste-memories.
  • The Mucho Margarita cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.I made them for my college graduation party, and I remember my little cousin (not so little now) eagerly helping. Everyone was surprised that the cupcakes were — gasp! — vegan. Little did they know that in a few years, nearly all shared food items at family gatherings would be vegan.
  • Banana soft serve, eaten any old way. Banana soft serve exploded onto the blogosphere in summer 2009, right before I went vegan — and it was one of the first “raw foods” (hah!) I tried.
Similar photo to the previous one, but this one is taken from a bit further away.

A sundae on Sunday.

Note: This post contains an affiliate link. If you purchase something through my link, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies. I’m not looking to make a fortune, just to cover hosting costs. :)

Easy Vegan Apple Crisp

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Week Four: Memories and Traditions

It was perhaps inevitable that apple crisp would make an appearance during this tradition-based week. I’ve reminisced about the spicy, buttery dessert before, I’ve got a recipe for a quick unbaked version, and I’ve made the classic recipe countless times — including a few nights ago.

Easy vegan apple crisp // govegga.com

Truth be told, I just follow the Betty Crocker recipe, subbing Earth Balance for butter. So simple. Don’t get cute like I did and increase the number of apples without also increasing the pan size and the topping amount, or you’ll end up with a sub-optimal apple-to-topping ratio. You want a thin layer of apple slices so they cook through and absorb all that buttery, sugary goodness, resulting in a gooey, pie-like filling. Bake it longer than you think you need to, till your apples are on the verge of disintegrating into a mushy mess. Don’t worry about appearances — this dish is all about taste.

What’s your favorite apple crisp recipe?

Veganized Pepper Steak

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Week Four: Memories and Traditions

One of last year’s MoFo prompts was to veganize a family recipe. Pressed for time, I didn’t actually make the recipe I chose: pepper steak. It’s been on my to-make list for literally a year, but somehow I’ve never gotten around to it — till now.

Original pepper steak recipe

A frequent fixture at family dinners, pepper steak reads to me like a retro ’70s throwback: not very fancy, maybe a little odd (ketchup + soy sauce), but total comfort food. We always served it over mashed potatoes, where the brown sauce could shine.

It’s been more than 10 years since I’ve eaten meat, and at least that long since I had pepper steak. I was curious whether the vegan version would bring me back to those childhood meals in my grandparents’ dark wood paneled kitchen. It did, 100%. And Steven — who’d never tried this retro delicacy — enjoyed it too.

Vegan pepper steak // govegga.com

As you can see by comparing the recipe card and my recipe, I had to modify the method a bit to accommodate vegan beef strips, which don’t exactly stand up to an hour in a pan of hot liquid. But that just means this recipe comes together much quicker than the original — you’ll get it on the table in less than 30 minutes. (If serving over mashed potatoes, you can easily make them in this amount of time — just get the potatoes boiling before you start the pepper steak.)

Vegan Pepper Steak

Serves 2-3

  • 1 T neutral oil, like canola
  • 1/2 white onion, sliced into half-moons
  • 1 large green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 package vegan beef strips (Gardein, Trader Joe’s, Wegmans)
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 C ketchup
  • 1/2 T cornstarch whisked with 1 T cold water
  • Mashed potatoes to serve

Method

In a large saucepan, heat the oil on medium. Sauté onions for about 3 minutes, then add peppers. Sauté for another 5 minutes, then add the beef strips. (Pour in a little vegetable broth if the pan gets dry.) Cook for another 5 minutes, then add the wet ingredients and simmer for ~7 minutes. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the sauce to thicken, then turn heat to low. Once the sauce has thickened slightly, serve over mashed potatoes.

PIN IT

Vegan pepper steak // govegga.com

Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash Gratin

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Week Four: Memories and Traditions

Memories and traditions! An appropriate theme this week. Today I bring you a recipe that’s not quite a tradition, but does hearken back to a dish my family served pretty frequently at holidays: scalloped potatoes. But this version features squash instead of potatoes, and a creamy cashew-based sauce instead of cheese.

Sometimes I think that squash varieties don’t quite match their names. With gorgeous, ethereal names like butternut, delicata, and pattypan, you expect something light and, well, delicate. Instead, you get an oddly thick, bulbous, often warty fruit that is decidedly not delicate. But it’s what’s inside that counts, and squashes lend themselves so well to dozens of applications.

Creamy vegan butternut squash gratin // govegga.com

This savory butternut squash recipe would not be out of place doubled and served as a side for Thanksgiving dinner. Roasting squash brings out its inherent sweetness, and seasonal herbs (sage, thyme) add a complementary savory note. A beautifully simple yet complexly flavorful cashew cream sauce elevates the dish, and a sprinkling of toasted panko adds just a little crunch. Thanks to the coconut milk and cashews in the sauce, this dish is surprisingly filling and nutrient-rich; you might be surprised that you’re full after a small helping! Eat straight out of the oven for optimal deliciousness.

Creamy Butternut Squash Gratin

Serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side dish

For the squash

1 butternut squash
5-7 fresh sage leaves, rolled and sliced into ribbons
2 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 tsp salt
fresh black pepper
1.5 – 2 T olive oil (start with less and add more if needed for a larger squash)
2-3 T panko

For the cashew cream sauce

1/2 cup whole raw cashews, either soaked for 6 hours ahead of time or boiled for 15 minutes
1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk
1 large clove garlic
2 T nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp salt (or more, to taste)

Method

Preheat the oven to 400˚F.

Using a sharp knife, cut each end off the squash, then cut it half both vertically and horizontally. Stand each piece on end and use your knife to cut off the peel, then scoop out the seeds with a fork. Slice the squash into half-moon shapes about 3/4″ thick.

Combine the olive oil, sliced sage, thyme, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper to a large mixing bowl, then add the squash slices. Stir to coat evenly, then add the squash to a 9 x 13″ glass casserole dish.

Bake for 20 minutes while you prepare the cream sauce.

Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender or food processor and blend/process until you have a smooth, creamy sauce. It will be fairly thin — that’s okay. Taste and adjust for salt. Set cream aside while the squash bakes.

At the 20 minutes mark, use a fork to check whether the squash is done. You want it just about tender. Remove from the oven and pour the sauce over the squash; aim to drizzle it and don’t worry about coating each piece.

Return the dish to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes until the sauce thickens and starts to bubble. Remove it from the oven and sprinkle the panko on top; you want a nice layer. Broil the casserole for 2-3 minutes and remove just as the panko begins to turn golden brown.

Let sit for about 3 minutes, then serve.

 

Going Green — Green Tomato Galette

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Week Three: Rainbow Week

Today’s prompt (“It’s Easy Being Green – Look after the environment, or just eat green veg – go green today!”) immediately made me think of a recipe I shared exactly a month ago (!) for this gorgeous green tomato galette.

Roasted Green Tomato Galette with Tofu-Walnut Ricotta / #vegan / govegga.com

Why? Well, not just because it features the color green, but also because it represents one of my personal attempts at going green in the metaphorical sense. By growing my own food — even just a little — I’m  reducing my carbon footprint (no trips to the store; no food driven or flown thousands of miles) and providing flowers for pollinators. (I’m also feeding local wildlife, though not totally by choice — we’ve got some industrious little creatures in my neighborhood!) Plus, it feels great to get my hands in the dirt and to eventually be so richly rewarded for my labors. :)

Vegan Brownies Galore!

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Week Three: Rainbow Week

Today’s prompt is “Goth Day – Blues, purples, blacks? Let your dark side shine.” So because it’s the weekend and I had to get up at 5 am to pick up Steven from the airport and I’m sleepy, I’m going to share a simple roundup of brownie recipes. Brownies: dark and delicious. (Plus, many of these are from MoFos past — it’s like a trip down memory lane!)

Fudgy Black Bean Brownies

First up, these black bean brownies I developed a few years back, when I was sharing nutrient-rich recipes for Vegan MoFo 2014. Although I still think putting beans in dessert is a bit of a precious foodie trend, these were surprisingly fudgy and tasty. Plus, you get 7 grams of protein in each square. Win!

Next, how about the brownie recipe showdown from Vegan Mofo 2011? Yeesh, that was five years ago. The world of vegan baking has evolved pretty substantially since then, with the introduction of new commercial egg substitutes, lots of new plant milks, and the discovery of aquafaba (praise be unto you, bean juice!).

In fact, my current favorite brownie recipe takes advantage of black bean aquafaba and is incredibly rich and delicious — you can find it here. I’ve subbed out other neutral oils in place of the coconut oil to no ill effect. This recipe is particularly great if you want a crackly top. Mmm.

Close-up of a blue plate piled high with three thick, fudgy brownies. They have noticeable bits of raspberry, and there are a few raspberries surrounding them on the plate.

Undeniably fudgy.

Or perhaps you want something with a little fruit. How about Isa Chandra’s raspberry truffle brownies? Somewhere between fudgy and cake-y, these brownies are oil-free as written… but I cheated and used an oil/applesauce blend when I blogged about them during Vegan MoFo 2012.

So… what’s your favorite brownie recipe?

 

Easy Greens and Grains Bowl

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Week Three: Rainbow Week

This is a bit of a cheat post. I haven’t really got a new recipe for you, just a template for making a filling, healthy greens ‘n grains bowl. Mine featured steamed kale from the garden (hoorah for cold-weather produce!), lots of quinoa, five-spice toasted tamari almonds, and a miso-maple sauce to pull everything together.

Greens & Grains Bowl // govegga.com

This pretty, colorful bowl was delicious, and it took me 50 minutes to eat because I’m the world’s slowest chomper. (I know it was 50 minutes because I watched an entire episode of The Fall while eating dinner. Normally I’m not a fan of eating in front of the screen (iPad, in my case), but Steven’s out of town and hey, you gotta live it up when you’ve got the house to yourself.)

I don’t eat bowls like this often enough. I do love simple meals, like a giant plate of roasted veggies and baked tofu, but bowls haven’t made it onto my dinner rotation — and that’s a shame. They’re endlessly versatile and eminently healthful, and I’d love to hear your favorite combinations. This template provides the perfect balance of greens, grains, and a crunchy topping.

Greens & Grains Bowl Template

Serves 1; easily doubled

  • Large handful hearty greens, like kale or chard
  • ~1/2 cup uncooked grains, like quinoa, bulgur wheat, or millet
  • 1/3 cup your favorite sauce, like maple-miso
  • 1/3 cup toasted nuts, like tamari almonds

Method

Start cooking grains according to package (or internet!) instructions. While they cook, make toasted nuts according to the recipe you’re using.

Wash and tear the greens into bite-sized pieces. When your grains are about 10 minutes away from being cooked, put a pot of water on to boil. Steam greens for about 5 minutes or until desired level of tenderness. Whisk together the sauce while the greens are steaming.

To serve, layer the greens at the bottom of a large bowl and scoop in the grains. Pour on sauce, top with nuts, and enjoy.

PIN IT

Greens & Grains Bowl // govegga.com