Looking to cut out the meat and have a vegan Christmas? Here are five tips to help you create a perfect vegan Christmas dinner:
Traditional nut roast
Based on experiencing many fails over the years, if you decide to serve nut roast, I’ll share with you a few secrets to success:
First of all, you have to make it look good. A few years ago I purchased a ring mould that works perfectly as a centrepiece and turns any nut roast into a star. Even the plainest of nut roasts looks lovely turned out from a ring mould, and you can pimp up and decorate with rosemary, cranberries, and even holly.
Another secret to success is a succulent nut roast that doesn’t collapse when you slice it and isn’t bullet hard (been to both many times). My tip for that is to use less dry nuts, in favour of chestnuts AND some chestnut puree. Adding things like grated apple gives a delicious depth of flavour as well as a great texture.
And finally – puff pastry. You can encase your whole nut roast in puff pastry which instantly transforms it. If you are feeling even more daring, using a layer of mushroom puree on the pastry before encasing the roast turns it into an instant nut wellington.
You can even use pastry on your ring above. After turning out the roast, wrap with strips of puff pastry all around, decorate with pastry holly leaves, and bake again. Finishing the decorating with herbs, cranberries, or holly.
You could even step out of the box and create little individual nut roasts or wellingtons. There is also a movement away from nut roasts in favour of vegetable roasts and wellingtons instead of nuts, which gives a huge amount of new possibilities, head over to number four for that!
Nut roast is perfect for a vegan or vegetarian Christmas!
My family loves a vegan Christmas roast dinner. A veritable roast potato mountain is demolished by my two teenage children, with lashings of gravy (I’ll come on to that later). It’s a meal that is requested for almost every family occasion. But as someone that loves creative cooking, I need to find ways to satisfy that creativity in the kitchen, especially at Christmas. Innovation with veg and accompaniments is a great way to do this.
Here are some ideas to get you thinking:
Alongside the roast potatoes, of course, try celeriac mash; minted pea puree; maple roasted swede chips; potato, carrot and swede gratin; spicy sprouts or red cabbage with port and orange.
Home Homemade stuffing – this is a lot easier than you might think. Literally mix homemade fresh or semi dried breadcrumbs, with fresh and dried herbs, minced onion, salt, and a generous dollop of melted vegan butter. Bake for 25 mins. It’s fabulous and delicious and so much better than shop bought.
Bread sauce – this is a real trip down memory lane for me. I remember my mum making this at Christmas. I loved watching her put the cloves into the onion, and braise gently in the milk for what seemed like hours, before adding the breadcrumbs.
It’s an easy dish to veganise, by using your favourite plant milk. My guess is many people don’t bother with this anymore, but it’s a lovely accompaniment to a vegan roast.
Don’t forget to make some mulled wine too!
The best vegan gravy
It’s tempting to reach for the instant granules, but gravy can make or break a roast dinner, so if you just go for one of these five tips, make it this one! I developed my recipe for onion gravy many years ago, and I literally have to make quadruple portions of the stuff, it’s so popular. And best of all it’s super simple too. And guess what, never before has this been released, but here it is:
Vegan Onion Gravy
I am going to give you a portion that makes 300 ml, which serves two people who love gravy. In my house, I make four times this quantity for 6-8 people. So just multiply as you see fit 🙂
- 1 medium onion ( I like to use red onions)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp plain flour (you can use cornflour for a gluten-free gravy)
- 1 tsp marmite
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 300 ml vegetable stock (I use one heaped tsp of Marigold stock powder)
Halve the onion and cut it into thin slices. Cook gently in the olive oil for 10 minutes until soft but not browned. Add the stock, soy sauce, marmite and balsamic. Mix the flour with 3 tbsp water until smooth. Add to the gravy mix and stir well. Bring gently to the boil stirring continuously, and simmer for 15 minutes stirring frequently.
Serve in a warmed jug, piping hot. In my house, the gravy is always the last thing to come to the table.
Compassion at Christmas
I stopped eating animals for compassionate reasons, and increasingly people are waking up to the idea that non harming is the right way to live our lives on this planet. Is this why you are having a vegan Christmas?
Christmas is a time of caring and sharing and for me what better time to consider compassion and our impact on others, in particular the other species with whom we share our planet.
We now know without a doubt that we can sustain our human lives without the need to kill and eat other species. We also know that in making more compassionate choices in our daily lives, we not only save animals, we also reduce our carbon impact, and improve our health.
Compassion is also contagious, and I believe compassion to animals increases our compassion and love for all beings, including our fellow humans.
Here’s to a very peaceful and compassionate vegan Christmas!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Louise Palmer-Masterton is the founder of multiple award-winning restaurants Stem & Glory; hip and trendy but accessible plant-based restaurants, serving delicious gourmet vegan food from locally sourced ingredients, 100% made on site. Stem & Glory also offers click-and-collect and local delivery in London and Cambridge. www.stemandglory.uk
Linked in: /louisepalmer-masterton
If you are looking for lots of Christmas information do check out Vividly Christmas!
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