The roast potatoes are in the oven, the gravy is bubbling away nicely and the pudding steadily steaming away. This year, make your Christmas a very vegan affair.
The festive season is well and truly upon us. The emotive adverts are streaming live across the TV and radio, supermarket shelves are stacked high with mince pies and festive treats for all, whilst we are bombarded with songs of yuletide joy blaring from every retail outlet around us. Ah, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. In most households, 25 December centres on one thing and one thing only – a sequence of traditional eats, gifts and practices that date back many a generation…that is, until someone (that someone may indeed be you!) decides turkey is off the menu.
First of all, let me applaud you merrily and wholeheartedly for your conscious decision to remove cruelty from your festive agenda this year. Or perhaps you’re a veteran, nay, an accomplished vegan and festive-season connoisseur looking for a few additional tips and hints to make your Christmas a little more in-keeping with tradition. Well, just because cruelty isn’t on the menu, there’s no need to banish tradition altogether. Being vegan in 2018 means there are some delicious plant-based swaps for every meat-based item you can imagine, alongside some accidentally vegan supermarket finds and simple homemade recipes to fill your home with the aroma of Christmas. There’ll be no FOMO to be had here, just delicious eats and simple ways to help make your festive season as effortless as possible.
Possibly one of the easiest ways to keep tradition alive this Christmas is simply to swap your transitional eats with innovative plant-based alternatives. Switch your turkey for a Tofurkey roast, seitan wellington or vegan roasted “beef” by Linda McCartney. I would always advise making two different turkey replacements on the big day, as this will ensure that you and your guests are happily satisfied by the offerings prepared. Your vegan gravy will be just as thick, delicious and sumptuous as that which is traditionally prepared, with the use of yeast extract (marmite) to help re-create the meaty, umami flavour of this roast dinner staple. Your sausages, or pigs in blankets, can be substituted for a shop-bought alternative (Morrison’s just launched a vegan version, sure to delight the crowd this Christmas). Alternatively, you can wrap aubergine bac’n or vegan bac’n around your favourite vegan sausage, and secure with a skewer.
Choose to cook your roasted vegetables in a little vegan butter or spread, alongside lashings of olive oil, fresh rosemary and seasoning. Be sure to par-boil your potatoes, and toss them around in the pan a little when drained to create a fluffy texture. Love them or hate them, sprouts can also be roasted in the oven (no need to boil or steam here) with a little addition of vegan bac’n and some chestnuts. If you’re one for Yorkshire puddings alongside your roast dinners, you can create your own vegan version of these delightful staples quite easily with a few easy ingredient swaps. I would recommend testing these once or twice before the big day, just to be sure you are happy with the results as all Yorkshire puddings in my experience are a little hit and miss!
Vegan Wines and Tipple
To complete the meal, you’ll be lusting after a delicious glass of wine. Or perhaps you’re more of a festive sherry drinker? Fear not, there’s an easy way to discover which beverages on the market are suitable for vegans. I swear by the website Barnivore to answer my every alcohol-related question! This simple website is an online database of just about every alcoholic beverage on the market. Simply search by name or type of drink and a list of suitable drinks will appear! Some of the best vegan beverages at this time of the year include Bailey’s Almande, M&S Chocolate & Coconut Liqueur and Waitrose Cream Sherry.
If a traditional cheeseboard features on your Christmas food list, there’s no need to miss out simply because you are vegan! There’s a plethora of delicious vegan ‘cheezes’ on the market these days, with alternatives to every flavour and type of cheese you can imagine! Serve alongside frozen grapes, oatcakes, crackers and a selection of freshly cut fruit for maximum wow-factor. Alternatively, this celebration selection by Violife is a fantastic all-in-one alternative to try.
In keeping with traditional practice, there’s a great range of accidentally vegan products available on the market to satisfy the most pedantic of relatives. A fantastic list can be found here, bursting with Christmas puddings, accidentally vegan mince pies, sweet treats and even crumpets to make your festive morning that little more gluttonous!
These days, vegan swaps are so convincing that there’s nothing that can’t be veganised using similar ingredients! The best way to have a traditional affair is to wholeheartedly embrace the small changes in eats and drinks which you’ll be introducing your family to this year. Whilst it’s easy to be apprehensive, my best advice is to remain calm and view this Christmas as an exciting exploration into all things indulgently vegan! Nine times out of ten, your family will be embracing and positive, and welcome the change with open minds and hungry stomachs! The incredible food will be evidence enough for your conscious and ethical festive swap! After all, tis the season of goodwill.
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