Whether it’s your first one or not – a full vegan Christmas can be a terrifying concept.
What are you going to cook? How will you impress? What will fill the table to win over and satisfy every guest? I’m always trying to show how vegan food CAN be rich, decadent, delicious and meat-free. But it’s not the simplest task on Christmas Day.
Any seasoned vegan knows that there are millions of cruelty-free options, but I’m always on the hunt for new ideas and am certainly finding them! With the rise in veganism around world (and all over my Internet), there are many amazing festive ideas going around that I hope can inspire you in this article!
I’ve been spending the last few weeks planning my Vegan Christmas Feast for friends and family and wanted to share my ideas for keeping everyone happy and making some bloody delicious food! This article is inspired by many brilliant recipes I’ve found, tried and tested dishes from my family’s last vegan Christmas (which was a roaring success!) and finally – share with you my Christmas Menu for this year.
This is how I’ve rediscovered excitement for Christmas in my adult age. FOOOOOD. Can you tell?
First Things First: Planning Your Christmas Menu
The food isn’t THE MOST important thing about Christmas, but…. Well… let’s be real, it totally is.
We are all too adult and Zen to worry about presents (right?), we know we love/tolerate our families, so really, it’s all about the food and the booze.
Sit down with a computer (or just this article), your pen and paper and have a think about the kind of food you want to serve. Start with your favorite foods, maybe what you remember eating as a child at Christmas? What is festive to you? Even if it involves meat or dairy, that’s okay – we can veganize it!
I always go for abundance on Christmas; plenty of different dishes so people can make up a generous plate of food from whatever they like. Usually a few salads, some canapes, a heavier dish (the meat stand-in), roasted vegetables and my family have a lovely traditional potato bake every year! We are cool like that. It’s everyone’s favorite part of the meal year after year.
Once you’ve sat down and had a think about what you’d like to serve – now – get some research in and see what’s out there. Let’s get cracking!
Where’s My Meat?
It’s a good idea to have something heavy and delicious on the table to stand in for your meat, especially if you’re serving some non-veggies. I know I could personally be happy with a million different salads on Christmas day (with some rosemary potatoes, OBVIOUSLY) but I do see the value in making something rich and exciting to replace that classic.
What are your options? Well – let’s start with the most obvious: A good-old Nut-Loaf
It’s obvious for a reason. A good nut-loaf is DELICIOUS and the perfect meat replacement. A lot of Nut-Loaf recipes online are Vegetarian not Vegan, but if you do some hunting you can find a winner! I’ve linked below to one of my favorite recipe bloggers – Oh She Glows. In her post she’s tried and tested a number of Nut Loaves and published her winning recipe; certainly can’t wait to try it myself!
Ultimate Vegan Lentil Walnut Loaf
And for all you Jamie Oliver fans (can’t pretend I’m a massive one, myself) he has published his own Vegan Nut Loaf recipe that does sound delicious.
Purchased Vegan Roasts
Another option? You can actually BUY a “Vegan Roast” these days! Yup, not kidding. The age we live in, eh? Lots of companies including Vegusto (famous for their fake cheeses) sell 100% cruelty free “Roasts” that you can glaze, pop in the oven and serve as a replacement to your meat this Christmas.
Check out this great video they’ve made:
And here’s a link to the products on their site.
What Goes With My Meat?!
When planning your sides/salads/mains – I have one overwhelmingly obvious idea to help plan your menu: get in the Christmas classics!
Figs! Pecans! Hazelnuts! Cranberries! Brandy! Cherry! Find ways to get these into your dishes and everything will feel a whole lot Christmasy-er a whole lot faster. Not only are these foods festive, they are inspiring. Just thinking about Figs, I get a million ideas of different salads and desserts….
Festive Salad Ideas!
Salads have always been a big part of our Christmas table, vegan or otherwise! I love mixing the sweet and savory and – getting in those classics where possible. If you can add some chestnuts or Pecans or Cranberries to your salad – you will be on to a Christmas winner. Here are some quick ideas that barely scratch the surface of what is out there! I also always try to go for where you are? Are you hot and sweaty in Australia? Are you feeling the cold in the UK? This can and should impact the kind of salads you make.
How about a: roasted Fig, Sweet Potato and Pecan Salad?
Steamed Brussel Sprouts with Brandy and Cranberries
Candied Carrots with Kale and Shaved Almonds
My Mum’s Asian Rice Salad (a total Winner!)
Something More Exciting….
A few recipes I came across that look pretty brilliant!
And Don’t Forget!
Don’t forget – a mass of oven roasted vegetables is a key part to any Christmas dinner. You’ve got your decadent dishes, your exciting salads, but now you need the basics.
How about – a giant plate of candied parsnips? A mountain of rosemary potatoes? A mixture of all the root vegetables known to man mixed with spinach and almonds?
All the above? I think I’ll go for all of the above!
My Christmas Menu for 2014
Shall I share my Christmas Menu with you all?
Okay – here goes. I plan on making:
Mushroom, Spinach and Pine-nut Filo Roll with Vegan Gravy
Sesame and Chilli Broccoli
Thyme Winter Parsnips
Soft Center Chocolate Pudding with Whipped Coconut Cream
Apple Pie with Vegan Custard
Merry Cruelty-Free Christmas everyone!
In the words of Jamie Oliver: “Just because you’re vegan, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice taste.”
Cheers Jamie. I never do.