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A home cook wearing a blue striped apron chopping fresh vegetables, like corn, carrots, bell peppers, onions, and bok choy

A Meatless Nutri-Sarap Menu for Media Noche

The holidays are so heavy with calorific feasts that it only makes sense to end it on a lighter note. If you don't want to roll in the New Year – literally – you can opt for a vegetable-centric, nutri-sarap menu for Media Noche instead. You can also minimize costs, especially since meat products have been fetching hefty prices. 

This meatless Media Noche menu is a five-course meal celebrating local produce, staple carbs, and meat alternatives. Altogether, these dishes are hearty and satisfying without being “too much” for overloaded tummies. Start the New Year light with these recipe ideas. 

Appetizer: Fried Lumpiang Gulay

A plate of fried vegetable spring rolls on a banana leaf

Your celebratory Media Noche food spread won’t be complete without fried lumpia! This recipe keeps it meat-free by loading each roll with colorful veggies. The mixture includes protein-packed togue, malunggay leaves, and string beans, sautéed with Knorr Pork Cubes. You’ll still get that meaty flavor minus the heaviness of ground pork. 

Enjoy these crunchy goodies with complementary sawsawan, like sweet chili sauce or spiced vinegar with garlic. Alternatively, pair them with fresh atcharang papaya to offset the oiliness. 

Soup: Ginisang Monggo

A bowl of ginisang monggo with malunggay leaves

For your soup, you can prepare a big pot of this rainy-day favorite. Despite its name, ginisang monggo can be more than just sautéed aromatics and mung beans. It also has a savory broth that can be made more substantial with gata. Other recipes feature pork strips, shrimp, or smoked fish, but you can keep yours purely vegetarian.

Feel free to bulk it up with more veggies, like kalabasa and ampalaya. Recreate the crunch you’d get with chicharon by topping each bowl with crispy fried tofu. Keep the textures interesting by mashing half of the monggo mixture until creamy. When you add it back to the pot, it should produce a good balance of chunky and smooth.

Salad: Ensaladang Talong

A plate of ensaladang talong with bagoong, chili, and calamansi on the side

Filipino cuisine isn’t big on salads, but that doesn’t mean there are no worthy options. Ensaladang talong is one of them! Like other ensalada, it’s traditionally served alongside fried or grilled meats to contrast the richness with bright, fresh flavors.

Make sure to roast the eggplant until the skin is charred and blistered. That’s how you’ll know the insides are cooked and ready for your toppings. The usuals are diced onions and tomatoes. But you can also include fresh mango for sweetness, cucumbers for crunch, and red chilies for heat. Toss your add-ons in vinegar and salt before layering over your eggplant boat. Enjoy as a side dish or solo salad.

Noodles: Pancit Canton

A platter of homemade pancit canton with shrimp, green beans, carrots, cabbage, and bell peppers

You’ll typically spot palabok and bihon in Pinoy celebrations. The Chinese-inspired canton is more of an everyday favorite. That’s because it’s much easier to make than the others. Yes, even the homemade non-instant versions can be fast and simple. They require minimal prep, and all ingredients can be stir-fried together in a single pan! 

This recipe features several meaty proteins, including chicken liver and shrimp. Swap these for vegetarian alternatives, like tofu and mushrooms. The secret is in the umami-filled sauce! Don't skip the broth cubes and soy sauce. Some people also swear by an additional glug of oyster sauce or a sprinkle of sugar to take it up a notch. 

Main: Tofu Sisig and Ginataang Gulay

A plate of sizzling tofu sisig garnished with red and green chilies

Sisig is a local Kapampangan dish that highlights the creativity of Filipino cooks. It traditionally uses chopped pig’s face, complete with snout and ears. Chicken liver and pork belly make it more indulgent. You grill or fry these until crispy, finish with calamansi, and serve the dish on a sizzling plate. 

This tofu sisig recipe is a healthy-ish take on the classic. It retains the original elements, including that distinct savoriness achieved with Knorr Liquid Seasoning, but replaces all the pig parts with tofu! Decadent but easy on the calories. 

Since Pinoy Media Noche is a once-a-year occasion, it’s best to prepare more than one ulam for the table to share. Variety keeps the dining experience fun! Keep it light and simple with ginataang gulay since your fried sisig will be decadent already. Cook a big batch of sinangag to complete the meal. 

This meatless menu proves that you need not serve lechon to make your Media Noche feast memorable! Creativity and technique can transform basic veggies into tasty, well-balanced dishes. You won't even miss the meat.

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