Switch up your Christmas menu this year to please all of your friends, like those who are vegan and vegetarian! Vegan meals are known to be both healthy and delicious, but often times they are missing from the dinner table come Christmas time. Butter, milk, meat, and eggs are often a staple when it comes to cooking up a holiday feast but that doesn’t have to be the case!
Cooking up a few vegan options can also bring more diversity to your spread, allowing for your guests to try a smaller portion of many different options, instead of a large amount of turkey, potatoes, stuffing, etc. It can also help you cut down on how much meat you buy and by using more vegetables you can also lower your overall costs.
Here are a few delicious vegan alternatives to your holiday favourites that will be sure to please your guests.
Mixed Mushroom Stuffing
With this delicious recipe by Jamie Oliver, no one has to miss out on the stuffing this year!
- 2 shallots
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 350 g mixed wild mushrooms
- 400 g closed cup or chestnut mushrooms
- ½ a bunch of fresh thyme
- 350 g stale bread
- 100 g pecans or hazelnuts
- 1 bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 25 g dried porcini
- 80 ml olive oil
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- Peel and finely chop the shallots and garlic, and roughly chop all the fresh mushrooms. Pick the thyme leaves and tear the stale bread into small chunks.
- Lightly toast the nuts in a dry frying pan, then roughly chop. Pick and roughly chop the parsley.
- Cover the porcini with 300ml of boiling water and leave aside to rehydrate.
- Heat the oil in a large, wide pan and add the shallot and garlic. Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 8 minutes or until the shallot is softened but not coloured.
- Drain the soaked porcini over a bowl, reserving the liquid. Add these and the rest of the mushrooms to the pan along with the bay and thyme leaves and cook until all the mushrooms are well softened. If they release a lot of liquid, pour it onto the diced bread and carry on cooking.
- When the mushrooms are tender and browned, tip the mixture into a large bowl and leave to cool completely.
- Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5.
- Once the cooked mushroom mixture has cooled, add the chunks of bread, a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper, the pecans or hazelnuts and about half of the porcini’s reserved soaking liquid (make sure you pour it through a sieve first to stop any grit getting through). Combine well.
- If the stuffing seems too dry, just add a little more of the reserved porcini liquid.
- Add most of the parsley and stir it through then tip the stuffing into a lightly greased baking dish of approximately 20cm x 25cm and cover with foil.
- Place in the oven and bake for 35 minutes, then remove the foil and cook for a further 10 minutes. Scatter over the rest of the chopped parsley before serving.
Baked Cauliflower with Spiced Lentils
- 1 Cauliflower
- 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp Chilli Powder
- 1/4 tsp Ground Cumin
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1-2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 Shallots
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 1 Green Bell Pepper
- 2 tsp Chilli Powder
- 1 cup (200g) Black Lentils
- 3 + 3/4 cups (900 ml) Vegetable Stock
- 1 can Crushed Tomatoes
- 3 tbsp Tomato Paste
- 1/2 tsp Chilli Flakes
- 1/2 tsp Cocoa Powder
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- Prepare the cauliflower first. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Peel the leaves off the cauliflower and cut the bottom of the stalk off so you can lay the cauliflower flat on the base.
- Mix together the oil and the spices and rub all over the top of the cauliflower. Cover the cauliflower in tin foil and place in a baking tray. Bake for 60/90 minutes until cooked through.
- While the cauliflower is cooking, prepare the lentils.
- Finely dice the shallots and green pepper. Fry the shallots for 2-3 minutes in a large stock pot, then add the minced garlic and fry for another 2 minutes. add the green pepper and chilli powder and continue to fry until the pepper is soft.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 30-35 minutes until the lentils are cooked and the mixture is thick.
- Serve the cauliflower on a bed of lentils and top with some freshly chopped coriander, pomegranate seeds and flaked almonds.
Roasted Balsamic Brussel Sprouts
- 200g Brussel sprouts, cleaned and halved
- ½ red onion, chopped
- 2tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1tbsp olive oil
- Salt/pepper to taste
- 1 sprig fresh thyme (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4/350F.
- Add the Brussels sprouts and onion to an oven-proof dish. Pour over the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and toss to cover the vegetables evenly. Season to taste and sprinkle over the thyme, if using.
- Place in the oven and roast for around thirty minutes, stirring halfway, until the sprouts are tender but not mushy.
Nutty Wild Rice and Shredded Brussel Sprout Stuffed Mini Pumpkins
- 1 1/4 cups uncooked wild rice
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 6-8 mini pumpkins
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 pound brussels sprouts halved and then shredded, about 2 cups
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme chopped
- 1 cup raw pecans chopped
- 1/4 cup apple cider
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- salt + pepper to taste
- 1 cup manchego cheese shredded (optional)
- In a large sauce pot, bring the water to a boil, add the wild rice. Cover and cook over low heat for 35-45 minutes or until the water is gone and the rice is fluffy. Note that wild rice takes longer to cook than traditional rice. If yours still seem hard after 45 minutes, add 1/2 cup more water and cook over low heat for another 15-20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Slice the tops of your mini pumpkins and scoop out the seeds (reserve the seeds for roasting and then topping the dish if desired). Place the pumpkins on a baking sheet and rub each with a little olive oil, salt + pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until the pumpkins are just tender.
- Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Add the brussels sprouts in a single layer and season with salt + pepper. Let sit 1 minute then stir. Continue to cook for another 8-10 minutes, until tender and caramelized. Stir in the thyme, pecans and cider, cook another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the wild rice (there should be around 3 cups of wild rice). Stir in the cranberries, and manchego cheese.
- Arrange the pumpkins in a large baking dish and stuff each pumpkin with the wild rice mixture. If desired, sprinkle the top of each pumpkin with a little manchego cheese.
- Place in the oven and bake for 10-20 minutes or until the pumpkins are soft and the wild rice has heated through. Serve hot!
Chocolate Orange Christmas Pudding
- 60 g plain flour
- 3 tbsp arrowroot powder
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp xanthum gum
- 120 g dark brown muscovado sugar
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- 150 g fresh white breadcrumbs
- ½ tsp ground mixed spice
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- Zest and juice of 2 oranges, approx 100ml orange juice
- 60 ml vegetable oil
- 80 ml water
- 4 tbsp contreau or brandy
- 1 tsp natural orange extract, optional
- 100 g dark chocolate chips
- 350 g brandy soaked mixed dried fruit & citrus peel*
- 100 g pitted dates, chopped into small pieces
You will also need
- 1 litre pudding basin/tin
- Greaseproof paper
- Tin foil
- String and scissors
- A pot large enough for the pudding basin
- A small trivet or heat-proof saucer
To prepare the pudding mixture
- If you can’t get hold of ready-soaked mixed fruit, prepare it the previous day by adding the mixed fruit and peel to a bowl with approx 3 tbsp brandy. Leave overnight.
- Prepare a 1 litre pudding basin by greasing it with vegetable oil and placing a circle of greaseproof paper at the bottom.
- Mix the flour, arrowroot powder, baking powder, xanthum gum, cocoa powder, sugar, breadcrumbs and spices together in a bowl.
- Stir in the orange juice and zest, vegetable oil, water contreau and orange flavouring.
- Fold in the dried fruits and the chocolate.
- Transfer the mixture to the pudding basin.
To steam the pudding
- Tear off a large square of the greaseproof paper and tin foil, placing the greaseproof paper on the bottom. Create a pleat by making a 1-inch thick fold in the centre of both layers.
- Place on top of the pudding tin and scrunch the foil around the sides to secure. Tie securely with a piece of string.
- Fold in the excess paper and foil to help make it water-tight.
- Create a handle by tying another piece of string to one side of the tin (where you made the knot from the previous string) and tying it on the opposite side so you can easily lift the pudding out of the pot.
- Place a trivet or upturned saucer at the bottom of the pot (I used a small heat-proof container lid) and place the pudding on top. Fill the pot half way up with hot water and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with a lid and leave to steam for 3 1/2 hours.
- After 3 1/2 hours, lift the pudding out of the pot and leave to cool for a few minutes, until the pudding starts to shrink away from the sides of the tin. Carefully, using a spatula knife, loosen the pudding from the sides and turn over onto a plate.