It’s 2019 guys and Christmas is no longer so limited for us vegans – hooray!!!
The great news is that from Aldi to Waitrose there are amazing alternatives available to the usual turkey and trimmings that our culture has become accustomed to.
The plant-based options are on the shelves in plentiful supply this December and with lots of inspiration for our seasonal entertaining schedule.
But, of course – we want to be authentic and show off our own prowess in the kitchen rather than reply on the supermarket versions, don’t we? So, whether you are hosting a family feast at your house or want to whip up something to take along with you to your friend’s place, here are a few plates of vegan yumminess to get your senses aroused…
Starter: Warming butternut squash soup
Low-fat, gluten-free and absolutely gorgeous, this is the heart-warming starter we’re craving this Christmas Day…
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 butternut squash, about 1kg, peeled, deseeded and chopped
3 tbsp Madeira or dry Sherry
500ml gluten-free vegetable stock, plus a little extra if necessary
1 tsp chopped sage
Pumpkin seeds, handful
20 small sage leaves, cleaned and dried
sunflower oil for frying
How to do it
1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and fry for 5 mins. Add the garlic and butternut squash and cook for 5 mins more. Pour in the Madeira and stock, stir in the chopped sage, then cover and simmer for 20 mins until the squash is nice and soft.
2. Blitz with a hand blender or in a food processor until completely smooth. Allow to cool in the pan, then chill until ready to serve. Will keep for 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months if you want to make in bulk.
To serve, ladle the soup into small bowls and top with a couple of sage leaves and a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds.
Main course: The ultimate lentil loaf
Gluten-free and nut-free, you can whip up this lentil roast in a Christmas jiffy.
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 medium portobello mushrooms, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, grated
400 g tin of cooked kidney beans, rinsed
400 g tin of cooked puy lentils, rinsed
1 tbsp gluten-free tamari soy sauce
2 tbsp mixed dried herbs
4 tbsp nutritional yeast
135 g rolled oats, (gluten-free)
How to do it
1. Preheat your oven to 180c and line your loaf tin with greaseproof paper.
2. Heat your veg oil in a frying pan and sauté the onion and garlic until soft. Add the mushroom and carrot and cook for another 5 minutes until they’re soft too.
3. Add the remainder of the ingredients and use a masher to combine until all the ingredients are well mixed in. Add a drop of water if the mixture is too dry, if it's too wet, add more oats.
4. Transfer the mixture into your loaf tin and cook for 40-45 minutes until the outside develops a golden crust.
Serve with a selection of seasonal vegetables and a vegetable stock gravy. Utterly delicious!!
Pudding: Fluffy chocolate and avocado mousse
2 ripe avocados
160g tin of coconut cream
140 g dark (min 70% cacao) vegan chocolate
2 pinches of chilli powder (optional if you like it hot!)
2 teaspoons of vanilla bean paste
3 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 tbsp dark chocolate shavings
a handful of pomegranate seeds
a handful of chopped pistachios
How to do it
1. Place a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, but make sure it doesn’t dip into the water. Break up the dark chocolate into the bowl and allow it to melt, then set aside to cool down a bit.
2. Cut, halve and destone the avocados, then scoop the flesh into a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse for a few seconds. Scrape down the sides with a spatula, then pulse again to combine.
3. Pour in the cooled dark melted chocolate, then pulse a final time until creamy and smooth.
Divide the mixture between your small bowls, and pop in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.
When it’s time to serve, pop on the chocolate shavings, pistachios and pomegranate seeds before presenting your masterpieces!!!