Festive Vegan Food – 5 Christmas Recipes


This Christmas, tens of thousands of people are choosing not to eat a turkey and instead opting for a compassionate vegan Christmas dinner. We all love to treat ourselves to festive foods over the holiday season, which makes it a great time to try out some new dishes. All of the following recipes are vegan (and some are gluten-free), not to mention totally delicious and packed with Christmas-y flavours.

Whether you want to show loved ones how tasty vegan food can be or simply indulge in some sweet treats, these recipes are sure to please:

Iced Gingerbread Biscuits

Full of aromatic Christmas spices, these traditional Polish gingerbread biscuits can be decorated with melted chocolate or simply iced. Easy to make, they can be used as Christmas-tree decorations, given as a gift or just enjoyed with a mug of hot chocolate.

100 g unsweetened apple purée

180 g sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp baking powder mixed with 3 Tbsp cold water

200 ml golden syrup

450 g plain flour

100 g powdered sugar

2 Tbsp water

Sprinkles, for decorating

  • In a large bowl, beat the apple purée with the sugar.
  • Add the spices, baking powder–water mixture and golden syrup and mix well.
  • Add the flour gradually and mix into a stiff dough. Shape into a ball and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  • On a flat, floured surface, roll the dough out to 1-cm thickness and cut with holiday-themed cookie cutters. Place the cut-out shapes on a baking tray lined with baking paper. (Allow some space in between, as they will spread a little while baking.)
  • Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Allow to cool.
    Mix the powdered sugar and water until smooth. Spread on the cookies and decorate with sprinkles. Store in an airtight tin.

Makes 4 servings

Candied Orange Peel (Gluten-Free)

Candied orange peel, which can be expensive to buy and hard to find, is actually easy to make – and the wonderful citrus aroma will fill the whole house. These make a good accompaniment for coffee or indulgent snack.

2 large oranges

700 ml water + more for boiling

750 g sugar

200 g high-quality vegan chocolate, broken into pieces

  • Cut a 1-cm slice off the top and bottom of each orange, then cut into four vertical segments.
  • Remove the insides, including the pith. Slice each segment of peel into 5-mm-wide strips.
  • Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the orange-peel strips and boil for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • In another saucepan, add 700 ml water and the sugar and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the orange-peel strips. Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Drain and allow to cool completely.
  • Melt the chocolate over a very low heat, stirring constantly.
  • Dip half of each orange-peel strip in the chocolate and place on a sheet of baking paper to allow the chocolate to set.

Makes 4 servings


Crispy Asparagus Bundles

Soft canned or bottled asparagus makes a perfect filling for these parcels, which have a crispy coating. These provide you with not only all the vitamins and minerals you’d expect from asparagus but also a midwinter mineral boost from the seaweed flakes in the sauce.

10 g dried seaweed flakes

3 Tbsp hoisin sauce (usually vegan, but be sure to check the label!)

500 g canned or bottled asparagus, cut into 4-cm pieces

1 pkt filo pastry, cut into 12 squares

2 Tbsp olive oil

  • Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  • In a small bowl, mix the dried seaweed flakes and hoisin sauce.
  • Place a few asparagus pieces in the middle of each piece of filo square and top with 1 teaspoonful of the hoisin mixture. Fold the top and bottom of the pastry over the asparagus, then fold in the sides.
  • Turn upside down (to prevent from opening) and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Brush with the olive oil.
  • Bake until lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings


Root-Vegetable Fritters with Green Lentils and Fig Chutney (Gluten-Free)

These hearty caramelised root-vegetable fritters – which are healthy and nutritious, thanks to the green lentils – are topped with a tangy chutney. This meal is easy to prepare in advance, meaning that you only have to heat it up on Christmas Day.

For the Fritters:

700 g potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-cm square chunks

Water, for boiling

100 ml soya cream

30 g vegan margarine

Olive oil, for frying

500 g parsnips, peeled and coarsely grated

250 g celeriac, peeled and coarsely grated

Salt and pepper, to taste

  • In a large pot, boil the potato chunks in water until tender. Drain and return to the pot. Add the soya cream and vegan margarine and mash. Set aside to cool.
  • Pour a generous splash of olive oil into a frying pan and gently fry the grated parsnips and celeriac until lightly browned. Add to the potatoes, along with salt and pepper to taste, and mix well.
  • With your hands, form eight round, flat fritters.
  • Heat some more olive oil in a large frying pan. Fry the fritters until one side is golden and crispy. Using a spatula, gently lift and turn each fritter over. Fry the other side and gently place on a paper towel.

For the Green Lentils:

700 ml water

250 g green lentils

1 Tbsp soy sauce

1 small red onion, finely chopped

3 sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped

  • Add the water and lentils to a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and return to the saucepan.
  • Add the remaining ingredients. Cook together for 10 minutes over medium heat. Set aside.

For the Fig Chutney:

300 g chopped ripe figs

1 small onion, finely chopped

40 g sugar

40 ml vinegar (red wine or cider)

30 ml water

20 g raisins

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground ginger

  • Put all the ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves, stirring frequently.
  • Simmer over low heat until the mixture thickens and becomes darker, about 40 minutes.
  • Spoon into a bowl and leave to cool.

To Serve:

  • Place a hot fritter on a plate and top with the warm lentil mixture and chutney.

Makes 4 servings


Fondants au Chocolat with Vanilla ‘Cream’ (Gluten-Free)

In French, “fondant” means “melt”. These are literally melt-in-your-mouth chocolates with rich, dairy-free vanilla cream. The fondants au chocolat in the photo were made using a silicon shell-shaped mould, but another option is to pour the liquid chocolate mixture into shot glasses and top with the vanilla “cream” once it has set.

400 ml coconut cream

2 g agar-agar powder

1 Tbsp golden syrup

30 g vegan margarine

Pinch salt

1 Tbsp cocoa powder

100 g high-quality plain chocolate, broken into pieces

2 Tbsp brown sugar

1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla essence

  • Put 200 ml coconut cream, the agar-agar powder, golden syrup, vegan margarine, salt and cocoa powder in a small pan and gently bring to a boil.
  • Remove from the heat and add the pieces of chocolate, stirring until melted.
  • Pour into small greased moulds and leave to set in the fridge.
  • Gently heat the rest of the coconut cream in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the brown sugar and stir until dissolved. (A light-brown sugar will result in a light sauce, and a dark-brown sugar will result in a more traditional dark-coloured sauce.) Remove from the heat.
  • Cut the vanilla pod in half lengthwise with a sharp knife and scrape out the sticky black seeds. Add the seeds to the sauce, then let sit to infuse.
  • To serve, place a spoonful of warm vanilla “cream” in the centre of a plate followed by two fondants au chocolat.

Makes 4 servings

Try making some of these great animal-friendly recipes for your family this holiday season. You can get more help “veganising” your Christmas dinner with our guide How to Have a Vegan Christmas Feast With All the Trimmings, and if you have a sweet tooth, learn how easy it is to bake vegan treats over the holidays. Don’t forget to order a free vegan starter kit for even more cruelty-free recipe ideas.