As we bring our loved ones together, it’s also a time that might mean you’re catering for people with a vegan, plant-based or flexitarian diet. Here, we’ve gathered our very best vegan Christmas recipes to bring the festive spirit to all your guests, no turkey required.November 10, 2020 4:27 pm
Whether it’s chestnuts roasting on an open fire or the smell of freshly baked gingerbread, everyone has a food that reminds them of Christmas. The warming scent of cinnamon and nutmeg, orange and cloves takes us back to our festive celebrations of years gone by. Hours spent playing board games or huddled over the floor hunting for a missing jigsaw puzzle piece as mulled wine warms gently in the kitchen.
Many of us were brought up with traditional Christmas foods which are often full of meat and dairy products. But, luckily, it’s perfectly possible to have a fully festive Christmas laden with plant-based goodies. Our very favourite vegan Christmas recipes are gathered here to inspire you to try a plant-based Christmas menu for yourself.
Cooking for vegans
If you don’t follow a fully plant-based diet yourself, hosting a fully vegan dinner party or family gathering can seem like a daunting prospect.
Many traditional Christmas foods, from the turkey to the cheese board, are based around meat, fish and dairy. If you’re used to feeding your family and friends these familiar foods, it can be tricky to imagine how to recreate a festive atmosphere without using any of these ingredients.
Or, perhaps you’ve decided to adopt a fully plant-based diet this year and aren’t sure how to navigate the festive season without the foods you would normally eat at this time of year.
The good news is that there are plenty of easy swaps you can make to turn your favourite Christmas foods vegan. Not only that, but you’re about to discover a whole new range of Christmas foods you might never have tried before!
If you are preparing vegan meals for family and aren’t a vegan yourself, there are a few tips to remember.
A few tips for vegan hosting
Check your ingredients carefully. Some products might seem to be purely plant-based, but may be hiding animal-derived ingredients. This is especially true for processed foods and kitchen staples such as seasonings and condiments.
The same goes for snacks and packaged foods such as nibbles and crisps. These often contain animal-derived products such as milk powder, even when the flavour is vegetable based.
Don’t feel obliged to simply swap out meat products for processed vegan substitutes. There are many convenient meat substitutes out there, and making these simple swaps can work very well. However, if you’d rather avoid processed foods, you can also sub in some of the ‘meatier’ and denser vegetables. Aubergines, mushrooms and artichoke work well, or you could try tofu, tempeh or seitan.
When baking, you might feel stuck as recipes tend to ask for butter, milk and eggs. Luckily, you can easily swap butter for oil, apple sauce or margarine, use a plant-based milk, and make your own flax eggs.
While cooking vegan might seem restrictive if you’re usually an omnivore, a little experimentation will soon reveal that there’s a huge amount of variety and creativity to be had in plant-based cooking!
Here are our best vegan dishes that’ll keep your vegan and omnivorous friends coming back for seconds.
Breakfast and snacking
It can be easy to focus all your energies into dinner when you have guests. But, If you have people staying over, make sure to stock up on vegan-friendly snacks and breakfasts too.
Pancakes are a universally loved indulgent breakfast, and great for feeding a crowd.
Our vegan cakes and breads can be brought out at tea time, and we have a few suggestions to make them more festive than ever.
Our fluffy breakfast pancakes are made with whole wheat flour to add fibre and apple sauce to bring natural sweetness. We flavour them with toasty cinnamon and sweet vanilla to get festive scents wafting through your kitchen from the very start of the day.
Try adding half a teaspoon of ground ginger to your pancake batter to evoke gingerbread-themed nostalgia.
Stick with our classic apple and maple topping, or go fully festive by spooning over warmed vegan mincemeat. Alternatively, finish with a decadent drizzle of dark chocolate and a scattering of dried cranberries.
Christmas is perhaps the only time of year when cake can be justified as breakfast. Top a slice of our apple bread with vegan yoghurt and berries for an indulgent start to the day. Or, bring it out at teatime for a sweet afternoon snack.
Dates and apples provide natural sweetness, while our Organic Sweet Almond Oil brings a moreish nuttiness. It makes a beautiful pairing with a freshly brewed cup of tea.
Completely vegan and free of refined sugar, our apple bread may also be among the healthiest things you eat this Christmas.
"Christmas is perhaps the only time of year when cake can be justified as breakfast."
Whether you Christmas tradition has you eating your main meal at lunchtime or dinnertime, the key is to provide a balance. A light, fresh starter will awaken the palette without filling your guests up too much. It will also help cut through the richness of the main course and dessert.
With its joyously vivid colour, our beetroot soup is a celebration in a bowl. What’s more, its wintry flavours make a comforting start to your meal.
In Poland, beetroot soup is traditionally served on Christmas Eve. The traditional borscht is crystal clear, but we’ve forsaken that here for the luxurious addition of coconut milk. Given that the Polish Christmas Eve meal can consist of up to twelve rich dishes, we think it’s a fair trade.
Polish borscht is often made with Christmassy spices. Here, we’ve used caraway seeds, but don’t be afraid to add star anise, allspice and bay for extra festive flavour.
Light, clean-tasting and bursting with festive colour, our fennel and amaranth salad will perk up your tastebuds with citrus and spice.
Start with a base of roasted sweet potato and lentils to add bulk, then top up with crisp fennel.
Our flavourful dressing provides the magic. Made with plenty of lemon, Sichuan pepper, chilli and fresh mint, it adds a bright, spicy flavour to the freshness of fennel, mint and dill.
It’s just the ticket to warm up the tastebuds in preparation for the meal ahead.
Now is the moment for richness. It’s a time of celebration, so don’t hold back!
For our selection of mains, we’ve gone for warming, comforting flavours which can also be elegantly presented. They’re smart enough for any Christmas dinner table, and are also packed with healthy nutrients.
Smart and sophisticated, our gnocchi is made with sweet potato for colour and a hint of sweetness. Semolina flour adds lightness and an irresistible fluffy texture.
Spoon over a homemade gremolata sauce made with our fresh Transylvanian walnuts, garlic and thyme. Its classic Italian Italian flavours are bound together with our Organic Walnut Oil, rich in polyphenols and unsaturated fatty acids.
Served with a peppery rocket salad, our gnocchi makes an elegant main course for vegans and omnivores alike.
Spring greens in winter, you say? Yes, we know it’s slightly unorthodox, but our Italian-inspired risotto is the ultimate in comforting, rich and decadent vegan dinners.
If you’re having trouble getting hold of asparagus over the winter, green beens, chard or mange tout would make an elegant swap. Alternatively, eschew the greens entirely and go fully autumnal; this recipe will work beautifully with roasted pumpkin or butternut squash, too.
Our risotto is made with plant-based milk for extra creaminess, loaded with vibrant fresh herbs, and infused with a little nutritional yeast for a comforting cheesy flavour.
Scatter with a handful of our Italian almonds to add toothsome crunch.
The traditional Christmas pudding can be made vegan with a few simple swaps. If you’d like to give it a try, remember to start early (Christmas pudding takes several weeks to ‘mature’).
Luckily, most of a Christmas pudding is made up of dried fruit, which gives you a head start when it comes to making it vegan. It’s also quite dense, which relieves some of the pressure of getting a good rise without eggs.
Swap butter for margarine, and try using aquafaba or flax eggs if your recipe calls for them. There are lots of fabulous vegan Christmas pudding recipes available online which can provide you with the right quantities.
Alternatively, try something new with one of our festive desserts.
Arguably more of a Thanksgiving dessert than strictly Christmas themed, our Pumpkin Pie is a wintry crowd-pleaser which simply begs for festive decoration. Packed with autumnal colours and flavours, it features warming Christmas spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
Start with a gluten-free ‘pie crust’ made from our Tigernut granola and coconut oil. Then, prep a decadent filling of pumpkin purée, coconut milk and warming spices. Fill your crust to the brim and bake.
Once cool, why not pipe on a few royal icing snowflakes, or stud the top with almonds to recreate a classic Christmas fruit cake decoration?
While traditional sweets like Christmas pudding and Panettone might not be suitable for your vegan friends, our festive Gugelhupf certainly is.
Much like Italian panettone, it is traditionally made with yeast and is a hybrid between a bread and a cake. However, for speed and ease, we’ve created a recipe that is more similar to a straight-forward cake, but retains the light, fluffy texture of a classic Gugelhupf.
Some say that the gugelhupf was invented around Christmastime. One legend has it that the three kings, on their way back from Bethlehem, passed through Alsace where the delighted locals presented them with this cake.
Whether or not that’s true, our gugelhupf makes an impressive finale to any meal, topped with a snowy crown of icing sugar. We make ours with sea buckthorn, a tangy, vitamin-packed berry which will bring a burst of freshness to the end of your meal.
Cooking for others can be a great way to bring people together, and Christmas is truly a time for indulgence. For us, preparing and cooking food that our families and friends will love is one of the very best parts of the festive period.
Whichever menu you choose, we hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas. And – if you’d be so kind – save us a slice of that gugelhupf?
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