I like to do one vegetarian column a month, and it seems most appropriate to honor the holiday this month. Since so many people are turning to vegetarian cooking, I planned a Christmas celebration without the traditional main feature of fowl or ham.

The menu is designed for eight persons, give or take one or two and depending on appetites. I think you can see how to extend the quantities if necessary. APPETIZERS

Eggplant Caviar Mixed Herbed Seeds DINNER

butter Lettuce and Walnut Salad with Shallot Dressing Walnut Spinach Loaf with Mushroom Sauce Cheese Crisp Potatoes Carrots and Onion Saute served with whole-wheat rolls DESSERT

sweet Potato Pie with Wheat Germ Crust served with honey ice cream EGGPLANT CAVIAR (Makes about 1 quart) 1 medium eggplant 1/3 cup olive oil 1 medium onion, finely chopped 1/2 cup chopped green pepper 2 cloves garlic, mashed 1 medum tomato, cored, chopped 1/3 cup red wine vinegar 2 tablespoons capers 1 cup black olives, halved Basil, salt

Chop unpeeled eggplant and sprinkle with salt. Let sit in a colander for an hour to dry sligtly. Heat oil in large frying pan and saute onion, pepper and garlic until softened. Then add tomato and eggplant. Cover and cook over low heat until all ingredients are soft and blended.

Add vinegar, capers and olives and season to taste. Cover and chill before serving. Serve with wheat crackers. MIXED HERBED SEEDS 1 1/2 cups each, salted and toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds 1/2 teaspoon each, celery salt, onion and garlic powder 1/4 teaspoon savory

Toss together and serve. CHEESE CRISP POTATOES 8 medium potatoes Hardened butter or margarine Freshly grated parmesan cheese Salt

Wash potatoes and scrub well. Do not peel, but slice into 1/4-inch rounds. Lay in a lightly greased baking dish and put a bit of butter or margarine on each slice of potato. Then sprinkle well with parmesan and lightly with salt. Broil 5 inches from coils or flame about 8 minutes on both sides, until golden brown and crisp. (Turn with spatula, but don't add any more butter or seasoning.) Serve immediately. WALNUT SPINANCH LOAF WITH MUSHROOM SAUCE Loaf: 1/2 cup oil 1 medium onion, finely chopped 1 cup finely chopped celery 1/2 cup minced parsley 6 cups finely ground walnuts 1/4 teaspoon thyme 1/8 teaspoon each, sage and marjoram 2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed 3 eggs, beaten 2/3 cup cottage cheese Salt and pepper Sauce: 3 tablesoons butter or margarine 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms 3 tablespoons flour 2 cups light cream Dash nutmeg

Loaf: Heat oil in large frying pan and saute onion, celery and parsley until soft and transparent and stir in nuts and seasonings. Squeeze spinach lightly with hands and ut into a large bowl and add nut mixture. Beat eggs with cottage cheese and combine with other ingredients. Salt and pepper to taste. Shape into a loaf in a long, shallow baking pan. Bake in 350-degrees oven for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Serve with mushroom sauce.

Sauce: Melt butter or margarine in saucepan and saute mushrooms lighty. Sprinkle flour over mushrooms and stir. Add cream slowly and stir until thickened. Add nutmeg and salt to taste. Serve over individual slices of walnut spinach loaf. CARROT AND ONION SAUTE 1 medium onion, thinly sliced 4 tablespoons butter or margarine 8 large carrots, pared, trimmed, cut into 2-inch fingers Salt and pepper Finely minced parsley Lemon wedges

Saute onions in 2 tablespoons butter or margarine in a medium frying pan until softened and golden.

Remove onions and add remaining butter or margarine and carrots. Cover and cook (stirring occasionally) over very low heat. When they are almost tender, uncover and add onions. Turn up heat and cook down any liquid. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley and lemon wedges. BUTTER LETTUCE AND WALNUT SALAD WITH SHALLOT DRESSING 2 medium heads butter lettuce 1 1/2 cups walnut halves 2/3 cup currants Dressing: 1/3 cup light salad oil 3 tablespoons tarragon white wine vinegar 2 shallots, peeled, coarsely chopped Salt and freshly ground pepper

Wash lettuce and spin or shake dry. Tear only if the pieces are very large. Chill to crisp and toss with walnuts and currants. (If currants are dry, plump them in a little water first and then drain them well.)

To make dressing, put oil, vinegar and shallots in blender for 1 minute. Refrigerate until using.

Toss lightly with salad before serving and add salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste.

This is an old southern filling with a northern crust. SWEET POTATO PIE Crust: 1 1/4 cups raw wheat germ 1 cup unsweetened coconut 1/3 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup melted butter or margarine

Mix together wheat germ, coconut and sugar. Stir in butter or margarine and mix well. Press into sides and bottom of 9-inch pie plate and pour in filling. Filling: 1 1/2 cups mashed, cooked or canned sweet potatoes 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted 1 cup honey 3 tablespoon flour 2/3 cup evaporated milk 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ginger 1/4 teaspoon cloves

Mix all ingredients well and pour into unbaked pie shell and bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve with honey ice cream.