If you are hosting vegans for Christmas this year there’s one key piece of information to remember: You don’t have to do everything twice! Meat and dairy substitutes and a little outside of the box thinking make it possible to concoct a Christmas menu that even hardcore carnivores will love.
Likewise, many people around Britain now embrace a lifestyle that involves consuming less meat, for a range of ethical, health and environmental reasons. If you’re a reducetarian or flexitarian seeking to limit your animal product intake around the season of good will, these ideas will help you along the way.
Be aware that store bought items like traditional crackers and cranberry sauce should be clearly labelled if they’re suitable for vegans, with alternatives available in most major supermarkets. Those stores also have a solid array of vegan cheeses and spreads to keep people happy throughout the day. Let’s dig in.
- Get more ideas with our best vegan cookbook shortlist
Best vegan Christmas food
1. Mushroom WellingtonGet the recipe at Tasty
A meat alternative so tasty it’d blow the boots off Wellington himself. This vegan version of the classic pastry dish, from Tasty, switches out beef for cremini mushrooms, spinach and potatoes. Pair it with the vegan gravy recipe below and your favourite cranberry sauce.
2. NibblesGet the recipe at The Vegan Larder
The traditional prawn cocktail, cheese array and pigs in blankets are going to leave your vegan guests hungry before you start serving actual dinner, and they can’t just eat nuts! The Vegan Larder has some lovely ideas including these quinoa crackers, roasted sweet potato slices and grilled courgette. Topping ideas include olive tapenade, tomato relish, hummus, and avocado (that’s how you really get in vegan hearts) puree.
3. BorschtGet the recipe at Connoisseurus Veg
Add some festive colouring and continental culture with the addition of this vegan borscht to kick things off. This beetroot- and cabbage-based soup from Connoisseurus Veg features a hearty batch of veggies and is served with vegan sour cream or cashew cream. Sprinkle with fresh parsley for a proper festive feel.
4. GravyGet the reipce at Pea Soup Eats
Many veggies or vegans will tell you, it’s not the meat they miss, but the gravy. There’s really nothing like Christmas dinner gravy. There’s a reason it comes in a receptacle called a boat. However, this easy, one-pot recipe from Aine Carlin is a great alternative and it uses… wait for it…. Marmite! Carnivores, you don’t have to skip your meat juices-based Christmas dinner gravy, making this one for your vegan guests takes just minutes.
5. Carrot smoked ‘salmon’Get the recipe at Delightful Vegans
No, we’re serious! Some finely-sliced (use a peeler) carrot steamed, coated with liquid smoke, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper and then lightly baked will impress your plant-based guests, especially if served with some vegan cream cheese on a bagel (vegan friendly of course). Hat tip to Delightful Vegans for the inspiration
6. Lentil nut roastGet the reipce at The Minimalist Baker
Some ethical vegetarians and vegans may miss the texture of a meat dish, while also requiring a suitable protein source. A meatless meatloaf is a tasty substitute in both respects. The Minimalist Baker has a great recipe containing protein-heavy lentils, walnuts, and pecans. Skip the ketchup glaze and serve with vegan gravy, or cranberry sauce topping.
7. Whole roasted cauliflowerGet the reipce at Jamieoliver.com
Why should the carnivores be only ones to enjoy a good old roast? Make your vegan guests feel part of things with this whole roasted cauliflower perfectly seasoned with everyone’s favourite Christmas flavours. This recipe, from our old mate Jamie Oliver, might even surprise you! Plus it looks beautiful.
8. Vegan VegetablesGet the recipe at Bosh.tv
All vegetables are vegan friendly, right? Well not if they’re prepared with pints of butter and milk, as is often tradition at this time of year. Thankfully all our favourite Christmas sides can be made vegan without anyone noticing. For mashed vegetables, substitute butter or milk for dairy-free alternatives like oat or almond milk, or a non-dairy spread. For roasted veggies, use your normal oil. If you’re making a glaze, be aware that many vegans don’t eat honey, so agave syrup would be a good substitute. We love these roasted veggies recipes from Bosh.
9. Roasted balsamic sproutsGet the recipe at Bosh.tv
It’s not Christmas dinner without sprouts and we have a recipe that means you won’t have to force them down. Roasting Brussels sprouts can make them delicious and crispy rather than plain and crunchy. This recipe from Bosh uses olive oil, a balsamic glaze and adds flavour with roasted chestnuts and caramelised shallots. You’ll never hear anyone complain about sprouts again.
10. StuffingGet the recipe at BBC Good Food
Who wants a good stuffing for Christmas? Ok, enough of the Rik Mayall festive jokes and more of the vegan Christmas recipes. These nut- and lentil-based stuffing balls from BBC Good Food include sage, red onion and breadcrumbs (check to ensure they’re suitable for vegans, if store bought).
11. Peppermint browniesGet the recipe at The Minimalist Baker
Mint and chocolate go together like a miserable episode of Eastenders and Christmas Day, and
everyone loves brownies right? And we’re of the opinion that isn’t just because of the eggs and butter usually used to make them. Unconvinced? Give these vegan peppermint brownies from The Minimalist Baker a trial run before Christmas. It uses black beans to add texture but you’ll never notice.
12. Vegan Christmas cakeGet the recipe at The Domestic Gothess
Nothing makes your vegan guests more anxious than thinking they’ve forced change upon hosts. There’s no need to drop the traditional boozy, moist and fruity Christmas cake – which everyone will enjoy. This recipe from the Domestic Gothess, made with dairy-free margarine will win the day. And, as with all good Christmas cakes, it’ll stay moist well beyond the festive season.