How To Have A Vegan Christmas Dinner: Recipes, Ideas And Simple Swaps
Considering having a vegan Christmas dinner this year? It has never been easier to enjoy a festive feast that aligns with your ethical standards. Thanks to all the seasonal, plant-based recipes and vegan products that are now on the market, keeping your Christmas drinks, starters, mains and desserts cruelty free is simple and tasty.
Fri 29 Nov 2019
Sitting down to a vegan Christmas dinner makes a lot of sense. If you want to keep up with the spirit of the season, going for some plant-based options is a simple way to do something sustainable for the planet and its inhabitants.
Does the word ‘vegan’ still mean lettuce and stodgy lentils to you or the people you cook for at Christmas?
Or are the meaty Christmas dinner staples sacred and non-negotiable in your book? Read on.
The plant-based options here will wow and satisfy even the most devoted meat lovers and stalwart traditionalists. Simple and delicious, they mean you won’t miss out on flavour or indulgence this Christmas.
Whether you decide to go the whole hog (excuse the pun), just incorporate one course, or even swap a single meat or dairy item for a Christmas vegan alternative, it will make a difference but you won’t notice any.
If you want to go for minimal effort and keep things traditional there are all kinds of scarily realistic vegan meat alternatives out there. That being said, if you’re up for branching out and being a little more adventurous with your vegan Christmas dinner, we have some more creative culinary plant-based options too.
Vegan Chrsitmas Drinks And Nibbles
Seasonal Vegan snacks
Family and friends arrive, the mingling commences, you need to pass around something to snack and sip on before you sit down to the main event.
Nuts are a great, easy festive vegan option. Roasting them with your favourite Christmassy herbs and spices makes for an extremely simple crowd pleaser. Veggie Desserts have a recipe for Rosemary Maple Spiced Roasted Nuts you could draw on. It has a brilliant balance of spicy, sweet, salty and savoury flavours.
If your oven is already full of festive vegan dishes, you might not have the sapce to roast your own nuts. Don’t worry, Liberation Nuts have got you covered. Pass around a selection of their Chilli & Lime Cashews with peanuts and roasted corn. They’re palm oil free and have a lovey Christmassy zing.
After something a little more substantial, but keen to skip the smoked salmon? You could go for some vegan ‘not pigs’ in blankets, using these amazing veggie cocktail sausages from Gosh! There are plenty of vegan bacon, or ‘faken’, brands out there to wrap your ‘not bangers’ in. If you’d rather skip the ‘faken’, marinated slivers of carrot or aubergine work really well too.
You can make your ‘not pigs’ even tastier by serving them with a delicious vegan dip. This beautiful carrot, tomato and cardamom Christmas chutney by veggie/ vegan food blogger Jagruti's Cooking Odyssey will really set off the saltiness.
Vegan Christmas Drinks
To keep the boozy beverages simple, pick from the huge selection of vegan wine and bubbly that is available in all supermarkets.
If you’re after something a bit more homemade, a sustainable vegan Christmas cocktail is a great option.
The Paloma is refreshing, festive and won't weigh you down too much before dinner.
- 60ml Altos Plata, or any Altos tequila
- 30ml of lemon juice
- 60ml fresh pink grapefruit juice
- 15ml agave syrup
- 0.1 g salt
- A sprig of something Christmassy
Making this cocktail is not difficult.
Step 1: First frost the glass rim with salt and, if you want to go all out, a few crushed pink peppercorns.
Step 2: Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker, leaving out the grapefruit juice. Swirl and stir everything around to make sure the Agave has dissolved.
Step 3: Shake everything together and then strain over ice cubes.
Step 4: Add the pink grapefruit juice as a finishing touch. Garnish your cocktail with a slice of pink grapefruit or its peel and a sprig of rosemary for an extra festive flourish.
Want to bypass the booze as well as the animal products? A Not A Gin is the way to go. Sea Arch will give you a sober but superior G&T experience.
Now that everyone has a buzz (or a ‘not buzz’) on, it’s time to sit down to vegan Christmas dinner.
Take a look at these other Christmas plastic free essentials if you want to incorporate some zero waste place settings and Christmas crackers into your sustainable supper as well.
Vegan Christmas Starter
You can’t go wrong with a warm wintery soup as a starter. Find the full recipe for this Golden Cauliflower And Almond Soup here. It is taken from Seasonal Soups, the cookbook from soup-obsessed greengrocer, Fraser Reid. So simple to make and so hearty, it is the perfect plant-packed way to kick off your vegan Christmas.
If you’d rather go for something a little more gourmet and a little less effort, Jamie Oliver’s Baby Artichoke Bruschetta is a good bet. It is in the ‘super easy’ category and only requires a bit of chopping, frying, toasting and plating! The creamy texture of chargrilled artichokes and crunch of toast are a guaranteed vegan victory.
Vegan Christmas Dinner
The Plant-based Centrepiece
Vegan or not, Christmas dinner revolves around the main course, which revolves around a standout centrepiece.
If you want to remain as close to the meaty traditions as possible then Tofurkey is the perfect plant-based swap. There are so many brands to pick from now, so have a look in your local supermarket or order one from Ocado or the Natural Grocery.
Dressing up your Tofurkey is an opportunity to go to town with the Christmas spices, marinades and flavours. Country Living have some great suggestions, like Balsamic Caramelised Onion Or Slow Cooker Maple Herb Tofurky.
The centre piece gets all the limelight on the Christmas dinner table, but it is nothing without the sauces and trimmings.
Gravy is a must at Christmas, and this vegan gravy from the Minimalist Baker is a winner. Compared to non-vegan versions, it does not require any meat juices or fats to make it thick and flavourful. Porcini mushrooms and fresh herbs give it a meaty, deep, rich and savoury taste that is the perfect accompaniment for your potatoes.
Speaking of which, the roasted veg is another non-negotiable Christmas dinner delight, and happily it comes fully vegan. There will be so much flavour going on in the other areas of your dinner plate, that it might be best to go for simple, salty crispiness.
If you need a little guidance, you can’t go too wrong with lightly crushed cloves of garlic, plenty of olive oil, generous seasoning and ample rosemary sprigs.
After something a little lighter and more unusual? Since they split opinion and are loathed by so many, maybe it’s time to give your Brussels a vegan rebrand. This Warm Brussell Sprout, Peanut And Pumpkin Seed Salad will make you see the infamous mini cabbages in a totally different light.
Vegan Christmas Sauces
The classic Christmas dinner sauces are very vegan friendly too.
Cranberry relish is naturally plant-based, and traditional bread sauce can be easily veganised by swapping out the dairy for plant milk. Oatly have some great creamy options, their barista version is especially indulgent. Check that the bread you are using does not contain milk as well.
An All In One Vegan Christmas Dinner
Does this all seem too daunting?
Riverford to the rescue. All you have to do with their beautiful readymade Vegan Christmas Dinner Box is heat up its contents and serve them in your most Christmassy crockery. The box comes with a richly flavoured festive nut roast and all the trimmings, from cranberry sauce to vegan gravy. They know their way around organic produce, so every element is tasty, earthy and ethical.
Vegan Christmas Pudding
You have to have some Christmas pudding on the 25th, whether you have room for it or not.
If you love the process and the craft of making your own dense, full-bodied pudding, then you will not be deprived this plant-based year. Whether you always work from your grandmother’s tried and tested recipe, or you look just do a quick google and opt for the first recipe you see, any version of this dessert can be veganised nowadays.
The ingredients that tend not to be vegan in a traditional Christmas pudding are suet, some alcohol, eggs and honey. There are now excellent vegan substitutes for all these products, which will go totally undetected in amongst all the fruit spices and booze.
You can find vegan suets in plenty of UK supermarkets, including Waitrose. It is specially designed for puddings and pies. When it comes to liquor, it’s always best to check labels and online to see whether and what it has been filtered through. Going for the ever more popular unfiltered options is the best way to keep things plant-based.
For a sticky sweetener, you can easily swap honey for agave or maple syrup and if you want to stick to the recipe, vegan honey now exists.
There is more than likely enough sugar in the pudding to make it stick together and glisten, without any eggs. Still, if you want to play it safe then try a simple flax or chia alternative. Flax has a nice nutty flavour that will go well with the other ingredients.
Does that all sound like a total festive faff? Lillypuds have a great selection of vegan Christmas puddings!
To Go With Your Dessert
But what about about the Brandy Butter? The Vegan Society have a three ingredient recipe that could not be more straightforward. If you don’t want to make anything and keep off the booze then try Jude’s amazing vegan ice cream and some Alpro vegan custard instead.
The Vegan Cheese Board
To round off your evening and your vegan Christmas sustainable style, a dairy-free cheese board is the way to go.
Why not combine your grapes and fancy crackers with one of Kinda Co’s Vegan Cheese Boards? They have some sensational selections to help your Port go down, which include the likes of Spirulina Blue and Aged Macadamia Truffle.