There are a lot of days in the year when it’s easy vegan, but December 25th is not one of them. Pigs in blankets, honey-glazed hams and turkeys in brine… the traditional Christmas carnival is traditionally an array of animal products.
Christmas and veganism seem to go hand in hand like chalk and cheese, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it all vegetarians Grinch-kind of cranky crying into their carrots. Sure, in some households, vegan options may be limited – but that’s over for now.
While Christmas plans may be at stake due to the new coronavirus variant, Omicron, there’s no reason you still can’t cook a vegan feast for your family. Even if you are a house of one.
We spoke with the plant-based chefs behind the popular YouTube channel BOSH!, Henry Firth and Ian Theasby, to figure out how to cook the perfect vegan meal for Christmas Day – and their recipes are as fun as your grandmother’s Christmas pudding.
Instead of roasting turkey… try mushroom wellington
This dish combines earthy herbs with cranberries and chestnuts, creating a hearty meat substitute. Spices like nutmeg and cinnamon combine with rosemary and thyme to give it a festive flavor.
- Olive oil, for drizzle
- 3 tablespoons of oil from a jar of sun-dried tomatoes
- 4 long shallots
- 8 cloves of garlic
- 4 sunny tomatoes
- 1 carrot
- 1 stick of celery
- 8 sprigs of thyme
- 4 sprigs of rosemary
- 2 sprigs sage
- 500g chestnut mushrooms
- 200ml red wine
- 2 tablespoons cranberry sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 200g chestnuts
- 200g pecans
- 100g dry bread crumbs
- 2 320g pre-rolled plant-based puffs
- 2 tablespoons vegetable milk
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Bake mushrooms: Arrange 10 beautiful chestnut mushrooms in a row in the center of a piece of foil. Drizzle some olive oil, sprinkle with some salt and pepper, and arrange four sprigs of thyme, two sprigs of rosemary, three cloves of garlic, and a sprig of sage over the mushrooms. Wrap the mushrooms tightly in foil, place the package in the roasting tin, place the tin in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
- Prepare your filling: While the mushrooms are roasting, peel and finely chop the long red onion. Peel and grate the carrots. Finely chop celery. Chop sun-dried tomatoes. Peel and grate the garlic. Pick up the leaves of four thyme, two rosemary, and a small sage sprig and finely chop them. Put 300g mushrooms in a food processor to grind. Put 100g of chestnuts and 200g of pecans in a food processor to make a meal. Chop remaining chestnuts.
- Warm the sun-dried tomato oil over medium heat in a deep saucepan. Add the shallots to the pan and fry for five minutes until tender. Add sun-dried tomatoes and garlic and stir for one minute. Place the carrots, celery, rosemary, thyme, and sage in the pan and stir for 4-5 minutes. Put the minced mushrooms in the pan, increase the heat to high, cook for 10 minutes until sweating. Pour the red wine and cranberry sauce into the pan, add the bay leaves, and simmer for six to seven minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Reduce heat to low, add nutmeg and cinnamon and stir for one minute.
- Remove the baked mushrooms from the oven and open the foil. Place the mushrooms on a plate and pour the liquid from the tin foil into the mixing bowl. Pour the breadcrumbs and granules into the mixing bowl and mix them together with a spoon. Pour the minced mushrooms into the mixing bowl, remove the bay leaves, fold everything together to form a thick dough, and let cool to room temperature.
- Prepare your well: Place a sheet of puff pastry on a baking tray. Spread half of the mushroom mixture lengthwise down the center of the pastry. Use your hands to shape into a rectangle with the top flat, leaving at least 5 cm of space between the sides. Place two lines of mushrooms neatly down the center of the mix, you will have a total of five lines. Coat the rest of the mixture on top, covering the mushrooms. Smooth and mold into a long, neat rectangular mound.
- Using a pastry brush or your fingers, sweep some plant-based milk around the edge of the exposed pastry. Place the second pastry sheet on top of the filling and press down evenly, making sure there are no air bubbles. Seal the edges by pressing all the way down with your fingers. Trim off excess at the edges, making sure you leave a 1 ½ cm thick crust around the base of the wellington. Set the leftover cake aside for later. Use a fork to fold the edges around the edges of the pastry to secure the mouth of the well for a decorative look.
- Take a sharp knife and draw a diagonal ridge across the top of the entire well. Pierce a few vents on the top of the pastry. Place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Place the baking tray in the oven and bake the Wellington for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, mix maple syrup and plant-based milk in a small bowl to form glaze liquid and brush entire well, place back in oven until golden brown and crispy, about 25 minutes. Cut the wellington into equal slices and serve immediately with all the trimmings.
Instead of pigs in blankets… try beating in blankets
This recipe uses carrots as a vegetable substitute for the sausage. At this time of year, humble orange vegetables are in season and packed full of flavor. Smoked paprika, smoked salt, and maple syrup combine to give aubergine bacon the sweet, smoky flavor you usually get with regular bacon.
Ingredients for ‘bangers’
Ingredients for ‘blankets’
- 1 medium aubergine
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1½ tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon smoked salt
- 1½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Peel the carrots, cut off the stalks, put in a pot, rinse with cold water, put the pan on the stove over high heat, then bring the water to a boil. Drain the carrots after five minutes of boiling and drain.
- Pour the olive oil, maple syrup, smoked salt, smoked paprika, and black pepper into a large bowl and mix with a fork until the salt has dissolved.
- Cut off the stem of the aubergine and use a sharp knife to remove the peel. Cut the peeled aubergine into quarters. Cut each quarter into thin slices about 3mm thick. Add the aubergine slices to the marinade and let stand for five minutes.
- Cut the carrot into 2-inch-long pieces and carefully cut off the top with a sharp knife. Wrap the ‘bangers’ tightly with the seasoned slices of aubergine, secure with cocktail sticks. Place the rings in the blanket on the lined baking tray.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake ‘Bangers in Blankets’ for 30 minutes until fully cooked and dark in colour. Flip the sausage for half the cooking time. Remove sausage from oven and serve immediately.
Instead of that toffee pudding… try it this Toffee
Toffee pudding is a family favorite year-round, but the hearty dessert plays a big part in many people’s Christmas meal. This recipe uses the same dark brown sugar used in Christmas cakes for a deep sweetness – and no eggs or butter so it’s vegan-friendly. There’s also nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves just like you’d get in the usual carnival sweet streets, and it’s served with a luxurious dairy-free brandy ice cream.
- 200g date
- 350ml plant milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
- 315g non-dairy butter
- 300g dark brown sugar
- 180g homemade white flour
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 75 walnuts, toasted and chopped
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup
- 6 tablespoons canned coconut cream
Ingredients for brandy ice cream
- 300g soaked cashews
- 100ml coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons icing sugar
- 2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons brandy
- 100g walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 160°C. Spread the walnuts on a tray, place the tray in the oven and bake the walnuts for 10 minutes until browned. Set the walnuts aside.
- Cut the dates into small pieces, removing the stones as you slice. Place them in a saucepan along with the plant-based milk and vanilla extract and cook until the dates are tender, about 10 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the bicarbonate of soda and stir well | Let the liquid cool to room temperature. Add 115g buttermilk and 100g sugar. Add the flour, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and salt, stirring with a spoon a few times until just combined but not over-mixing.
- Pour the mixture into the greased mold, place the plate in the oven and bake for 35–40 minutes, until bubbly and a skewer in the center of the sponge comes out clean.
- Meanwhile, clean the saucepan and place it back over medium heat. Place the golden syrup, remaining 200g of brown sugar, and the remaining 200g of unsweetened buttermilk in the pan, stir, and reduce heat to low. Cook for five minutes until you have syrup. Remove the pan from the heat, let it cool a bit, then add the coconut cream and stir well. Pour into a small jar.
- While the tarts are baking, make the cashew cream. Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until completely smooth.
- Remove the pudding from the mold, place in a bowl, drizzle the toffee sauce on top, sprinkle with walnuts, spoon over whipped cream and serve on a plate.
https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/christmas/vegan-christmas-day-lunch-guide-tips-dinner-meal-bosh-tesco-b1778190.html Vegan Christmas Recipes: How to Organize the Perfect Lunch | The Independent