How to Have a Vegan Christmas Feast With All the Trimmings

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Vegan-Christmas-2014

Whether you’re catering for a crowd of hungry vegans or determined to wow your meat-eating family members with delicious plant-based food, Christmas is a time to go all-out with your cooking. When it comes to designing a festive vegan menu, there are no limits to how creative you can be. But we thought we’d give any newbie vegans a few starting points for cooking up a Christmas dinner that might bear a close resemblance to the ones you remember from your childhood – with the key difference that absolutely no animals will be harmed!

To Start

Bread roll swirls

Bread Rolls copy

These make an unusual snack to nibble on prior to the main event and can be filled with anything you like, such as piquant black-olive tapenade, artichoke purée, or homemade pesto. Recipe here.

Coconut, pumpkin and carrot soup sOUP Supping on a brightly coloured bowl of soup is a cheerful way to start your meal, while leaving plenty of room for the courses to follow. Recipe here.

Veggie sausage rolls  sAUSAGE rOLLS We can guarantee these little morsels will be gobbled up in no time! Recipe here.

Centrepieces

 Savoury stuffed squash  Stuffed-Acorn-Squash copy Decorative and delicious! Get the recipe.

Festive vegan roast Festive Vegan Roast Don’t knock a classic. Construct your own nut roast (here’s a basic recipe that can easily be customised) or take it easy in the kitchen with a ready-made version from brands such as Vegusto or Artisan Grains. Vegusto is offering PETA supporters a 10 per cent discount on its roasts. Learn more here, but be quick. The offer ends at midnight 21 December 2014.

French fishless pie Pie A hearty pie makes a great focal point for the groaning Christmas table. This French-inspired version, based on a classic regional dish, uses seaweed to create a distinctive “fishy” taste. Alternatively, choose a filling such as chestnut and mushroom for a more traditionally British taste.

Essential Accompaniments

Dairy-free bread sauce bREAD SAUCE NOT SQUARE Creamy and comforting! Make your own from scratch (recipe here) or opt for a packet mix that substitutes unsweetened soya milk for dairy milk. (Many brands are vegan, but be sure to check the ingredients before buying.)

Cranberry sauce cRANBERRY SAUCE WORDS OK, you don’t really need to “veganise” this one because it’s traditionally free from animal products. All you need are cranberries, sugar, a few spoonfuls of orange juice and (optionally) a splash of red wine or port.

Vegetarian gravy Gravy copy Gravy is the magic ingredient that will bind your whole meal together, so make plenty. We have a sneaky soft spot for the quick-mix powder variety, but recipes abound for homemade vegan gravies, too, such as this classic Onion and Red Wine Gravy by Rose Elliot.

Sumptuous Side Dishes

Brussels sprouts roasted with chestnuts Sprouts copy This method of cooking sprouts in the oven rather than boiling them is sure to win over even steadfast sprout-haters! Add in fried strips of veggie bacon if you’d like to make the dish more substantial.

Sage and onion stuffing Stuffing Crop copy For people who prefer stuffing that hasn’t been inserted into the intimate orifices of a dead bird, this is a foolproof recipe.

Crispy roast potatoes Potatoes copy copy The ultimate carb of Christmas. No goose fat is needed to make spuds as crispy, fluffy and flavoursome as you like. A few sprigs of herbs such as rosemary, thyme or sage will add variety.

Roasted root vegetables Roast Veg copy Drizzle carrots, parsnips and onions with oil and cook them in the oven until meltingly soft – easy and delicious!

Kale, pomegranate and almond salad Kale text This easy-to-prepare salad makes a vibrant green addition to the Christmas table. Simply combine torn kale leaves, pomegranate seeds and toasted almond flakes in a bowl, dress them with balsamic vinaigrette and leave to infuse for a couple of hours before serving.

Spiced red cabbage Cabbage copy Add a dash of cinnamon, allspice and orange zest for subtle festive flavours.

Desserts

Traditional Christmas pud xmas pud TEXT Whether shop-bought (many supermarkets, such as the Co-Op, sell vegan puddings) or homemade, this is the quintessential way to finish off your dinner. Serve with soya cream or vegan brandy butter.

Fruit jelly with mixed berries Jelly copy If you feel like breaking with tradition a little, jelly is always a jolly dessert. Just buy some vegetarian jelly crystals (such as these from Holland & Barrett), add hot water and some fresh fruit and leave to set. A dash of alcohol will give it a slightly more adult flavour.

Poached pears in red wine with cinnamon  PEAR TEXT copy This makes for a lighter yet impeccably sophisticated dessert. This version is served with decadent dairy-free caramel ice cream. Get the recipe.

*****

There you have it – a hearty Christmas feast sure to satisfy everyone at the table. And the best thing about vegan celebrations (in addition to knowing that you’ve saved animals’ lives, of course) is that you can indulge to your heart’s content without feeling terrible the next day. For more tips on compassionate cooking, order a free vegan starter kit today!

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Comments

  • Karen commented on December 6, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    Started eating Quorn instead of chicken or other meats. Really cried after the Paul Mcartney glass walls Video. Just couldn’t get past half way through that without freaking out. Couldn’t get it out of my head for days even at work ! So bad but necessary for more people to see !

    • Scott commented on December 16, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      for me it was watching Earthlings. I’m sure a lot of people would say the same. Anyone that eats animals, wears fur/leather, buys from pet megastores, or goes to circuses should be made to watch it

  • Yvonne Longman commented on December 12, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    The video Glass Walls done it for me. Didn’t get past the cow with it’s throat cut and still responsive. No meat for me. Just can’t get the horrific picture out of my mind. Please try and watch and save another animal life.

    • Susan commented on December 23, 2015 at 12:38 pm

      I became vegan years ago and healthier for it. Hate watching trucks of mournful animals bound for the abattoir!

    • Jan Bowden commented on January 31, 2016 at 4:12 pm

      Vegan is the way, it’s heartbreaking what they do to baby calves and their mothers… all for their baby’s dairy, which is actually acid forming and not good for bones/calcium as the dairy propaganda and advertising would have as believe. Everyone should watch Earthlings, and listen to Forks over Knives by Phillip Wollen…

  • Carmen Brock-Southon commented on December 12, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    I went Vegan overnight after reading an article written by a journalist whobhad observed cows being slaughtered for her piece on slaughterhouses. She described the slaughter men laughing as the cow struggled whilst she had her legs sawn off whislt conscious. Can’t be part of the dairy market. Unfortunately this is standard practice as many large animals are not sufficiently stunned or regain consciousness. I cannot believe we live in such a cruel world. It is difficult for me to describe such people as human. I think the only way forward is to educate regarding thesuffering endured and hopefully one day there wull no longer be a market for animal products.

  • Tulin commented on December 12, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    Stop killing animals for the sake of food that we done need.they suffer so much that we don’t.poor helpless animals need our help not keep kiling them for food or fun.they endure so much cruelty what kind of world we live in.

  • Corrina Faulkner commented on December 12, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    It isn’t just about animal slaughter for me although I think it is wrong. I hate thinking of the poor dairy cows who are enslaved in the industry. They are denied the chance to be mothers to their babies purely so humans can drink their milk instead. It is just as easy to buy soya milk as an alternative and stop animal exploitation.

  • Margaret Massey commented on December 12, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    It was Glass Walls that turned me vegetarian, then vegan and I still can’t walk near a butchers counter or meat aisle without feeling violently sick. Becoming more aware of wider animal abuse issues through PETA, supporting these actions and sharing these with friends and family can really make a difference. It’s like a ripple on a pond. Animals can’t speak for themselves, it’s up to us to speak out for them all.

    • Debbie Godschalk commented on December 23, 2014 at 7:50 pm

      I agree with you 100%. I became vegan after watching, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-F8whzJThe more I read up on animal abuse the more I got involved. Peta is AWESOME! Compassion over killing is another. There are so many ways we can be there for these beautiful,defenseless Animals. The first step would be to STOP EATTiNG THEM Don’t wear them don’t go to places that put them up on display and humiliate them.One day all the cages WILL be empty!

  • Natalie commented on December 16, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    I think a lot of your comments mirror my feelings. I haven’t eaten meat for around 17 years, since I was a teenager, but only this year have I really read about the dairy industry, I honestly don’t even think a lot of people realize how it runs. I suppose when I was younger I just imagined happy cows in a field, I was distracted with many other things then. Now Ive taken the time to look into it and I am so sad, this year I decided to eliminate eggs and dairy too. I live in Czech Republic and the diet here is so heavily meat and dairy based its not easy to make people understand, but next year I am starting up a little business and I will be contributing a percentage of the sales to a chosen animal charity every year. Happy meat free Christmas everyone. Let’s keep fighting for our beautiful friends.

  • Emily McDonald commented on December 18, 2014 at 9:02 am

    Kia ora koutou katoa
    For me it started with watching the expose of the New Zealand pork industry and the horrors of factory farming here in 2009. I was living in the country then so I also viewed first hand how Bobby Calves were treated like objects to be put in black plastic at the front of the farm gate to be picked up as rubbish. That same year was also the Crafer dairy farm scandal here where calves dehydrated to death because none of the staff trained the calves to drink milk, even though the trough was often full they dyed of dehydration in a dirty neglected pen. Obscene cruelty. Before the Ministry of Agriculture arrived they were tipped off the Crafers they were coming. Starving calved were then bludgeoned to death with hammers before the inspectors arrived. How can NZ continue to advertise itself as clean and green after the dairy boom has lead to wholesale pollution and and cruelty to animals. The beast thing I ever did was to go Vegan Kia ora PETA!!!

  • shubhani commented on December 19, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    eat vegan

  • Lesbeth commented on December 19, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    Shame on you British farmers

  • Dave Taylor commented on December 11, 2015 at 12:39 am

    I’m not 100% vegetarian but, I can never understand why lots of vegetarian products are made to look like meat?…like sausage rolls and burgers etc….all vegetarians MUST realise that the sheep,lambs,cows,pigs,chickens,turkeys etc..will never be kept as PETS!….they only have a short life!…but, if there is no demand for meat?…they won’t have any life!…and the farms and fields will be void of animal life!….

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