If you’re vegan and hosting Christmas day at your house, happy days. Finally, you can cook and eat what you want, after years of being served a plate of potatoes and vegetables without the potatoes because the cook forgot and cooked them in the meat juices.
If you’re a meat-eater, but have a vegan coming for Christmas (it’s usually just the one), the key is preparation, but then isn’t everything on Christmas Day.
Here are some top vegan recipes to keep everyone happy. Most can be made in advance and there isn’t a nut roast in sight!
Prep: 35 mins. Cooking time: 75 mins. Serves 6.
300g white basmati rice
50g pine nuts
2 garlic cloves
A thumb of ginger
A handful of flat leaf parsley
6 cardamom pods
A splash of olive oil
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 large winter squashes, around 2kg each
1. Warm a splash of olive oil in the frying pan. Add the leek. Season. Stir and fry for 5-8 mins till it’s soft and glossy.
2. Stir in the garlic and ginger. Add the cardamom, fennel and cinnamon. Drain the rice. Stir it into the pan. Pour in 750ml hot water. Cover. Bring to the boil. Turn the heat down. Simmer for around 5 mins till the rice is almost cooked and still a little wet.
3. Slice the tops off the squashes. Scoop out the seeds. Stir the pine nuts and parsley into the rice. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Divide between the squashes.
4. Pop the squashes on a baking tray or in a roasting tin. Put the tops back on the squashes. Roast in the middle of the oven for about 50 mins till tender. Carefully lift the squashes onto a platter or board. Serve in slices with the Hot Harissa Tomato Sauce.
Makes 12 mince pies
For the crust
400g of ground almonds
6 tablespoons of coconut oil
4 tablespoons of water
20 medjool dates (400g)
For the mince
2 apples (200g)
1 vanilla pod
100g dried cranberries
The juice of 2 oranges
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of ginger
Start by making the mince. Chop the apples into small pieces (discarding the core) and place them into a saucepan. Slice the vanilla pod in half and scrape the seeds into the pan. Then add in all the remaining ingredients and stir it together. Let the mince simmer for about 30 minutes, until the apples are soft.
Place all the crust ingredients together in a food processor and blend for a minute or so until everything has mixed together and the dates are totally broken down. Sprinkle flour over a surface and roll the mix out so that it’s half a centimetre thick.
Heat the oven to 180C. Grease muffin tins with coconut oil and then mould the mix into the individual tins, once you’ve done this cut the remaining mixture into shapes (I normally do stars), . Then place the tray of crusts in the oven for 8 minutes, until they start to turn golden brown – at which point take them out and allow them to cool while the mince mix finishes cooking.
Once the mince has cooked start assembling the pies. Simply add two heaped teaspoons of mince into each pie before placing a star over the middle of the mince. Bake the pies again for 8 minutes. Once they’ve baked leave for 20 minutes to cool and finish setting before eating.
An alternative to Yule Log: Sweet Potato Chocolate Brownies by Deliciously Ella
½-3/4 mugs coconut sugar
1 cinnamon stick
A hit of freshly grated ginger and/or a hint of vanilla (extract or seeds)
1 ½ mugs red wine (plus a little more, if needed)
4-6 firm pears (Conference pears are ideal)
Coconut cream, soya cream or Coyo dairy-free yoghurt (to serve)
Dark chocolate (to serve)
1. Place a lidded saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar and spice. Stir to warm through. Slosh in a bit of wine and stir till the sugar has dissolved. Add the remaining wine.
2. Cut a strip of zest off the orange. Add to the pot. Halve the orange and squeeze in the juice.
3. As your wine simmers, prep your pears. Cut a small slice off the bottoms to help them stand straight. Peel. Pop into the mulling wine. If your pears are sticking out of the wine quite a lot, add a bit more wine, so they’re nearly submerged. Cover. Cook till tender, about 30 mins.
4. Just before time’s up for the pears, peel and segment your clementines. Swirl them through the wine. Let them cook for a few mins.
5. Spoon the pears into bowls. Divide the clementine segments between the bowls. Add a good puddle of wine to each.
6. Finish with a dollop of soya cream or a slosh of coconut cream, then a generous grating of dark chocolate. (Or for non-vegans, use crème friache, vanilla yogurt or mascarpone.)
Prep: 20 mins. Cooking time: 1 hour
1 red cabbage
1 red onion
2-3 tbsp coconut sugar
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
Handful of dill
1. Quarter the cabbage. Slice out the thick, hard core. Peel off the torn outer leaves. Finely slice the cabbage. Pop it into a colander and give it a good rinse.
2. Peel and finely slice the onion. Peel the apples. Quarter them. Finely chop the apples.
3. Stir the sugar and red wine vinegar together for a minute or two to start dissolving the sugar.
4. Pop a third of the cabbage in the bottom of a large casserole dish or heavy-based pan. Top with half the onion and apples. Season.
5. Top with another third of the cabbage, then the rest of the onion and apples. Season and top with the rest of the cabbage.
6. Pour in the sugar and vinegar mixture. Put the lid on. Bring to the boil. Once boiling, turn the heat to low. Simmer for 1 hour till the cabbage is tender but not mushy.
7. While the cabbage is cooking, quarter the pomegranate and scoop out the seeds. Finely chop the dill.
8. Taste the cabbage and adjust the seasoning. Top with the dill and pomegranate to serve.
For the pastry
Plain flour, 500g, plus extra for rolling
Fine sea salt, 1 tsp
Baking powder, ½ tsp
Coarse polenta, 100g
Fresh thyme, a small bunch, leaves picked and very finely chopped
Vegetable shortening, 200g
Ice-cold water, up to 250ml
Soya or almond milk for brushing the top
For the sweet potato
Sweet potatoes, 3, scrubbed clean. Olive oil, a little. Fresh nutmeg, a good few gratings
For the beetroot
Beetroots, 5 medium, peeled and cut into rough cubes. Olive oil. Red wine vinegar, a splash. Fresh marjoram or oregano, 2 sprigs, leaves picked. Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the parsnip
Parsnips 4, peeled and cut into little fingers. Fresh sage, a couple of sprigs, leaves picked. Unwaxed orange, zest of 1. Honey, 1 tbsp (*not strictly vegan, instead of honey you can use rice syrup)
For the leeks
Leeks, 2 good-sized, washed, trimmed and sliced. Olive oil, 25g. Fresh thyme, 3 sprigs, leaves picked.
For the greens
Winter greens, 2 heads, stalks removed, roughly shredded. Unwaxed lemon, grated zest and juice of ½. Red chilli, 1, finely chopped. For a vegetarian option: 200g Lancashire cheese
To make the pastry
Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl and add the polenta and chopped thyme. Cut the shortening into small bits and rub these into the dry ingredients until you have a breadcrumb-like mix.
Add the water and knead to a smooth dough, but don’t overwork it. (You could also use a food processor: pulse to breadcrumbs, then add the water and pulse until it just comes together.)
Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and chill while you get on with everything else.
Now get your veg on the go – all this can happen at once. Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7.
Roast the sweet potatoes for 1 hour until soft. Meanwhile, prepare the beetroot and parsnips. Pop the beets into a roasting tin, with a splash of olive oil and the vinegar, add the marjoram or oregano, and season. Cover with foil and roast at the same timeas the sweet potatoes for 1 hour, removing the foil for the last 15 minutes.
Put the parsnips into a roasting dish with the sage, orange zest, honey and a drizzle of olive oil, mix to coat, then cover with foil. Roast with the other veg for 45 minutes, until golden, removing the foil for the last 5-10 minutes. When all the veg are cooked, remove from the oven and turn the temperature down to 200C/gas mark 6.
While all those are roasting, cook the leeks in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the leeks and thyme and cook over a low heat for 20 minutes, until sweet and softened, then set aside. Add a little more olive oil to the pan, add the greens and cook over a low heat for a few minutes, until just wilted. Season, then add the lemon zest and chilli. Set aside. Once the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and mash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a good grating of nutmeg.
To assemble the pie
Take your pastry from the fridge and let it sit for a few minutes. Then roll it out on a lightly floured surface to the thickness of a £1 coin and use it to line a 20cm springform cake tin, leaving the excess hanging over the edges. Now layer the pie. Start with all the leeks, then the beetroot, the greens, then the parsnips and finally the sweet potato mash. If you’re making the vegetarian version, while you’re making the layers grate half the cheese on to the layer of leeks and the other half on to the layer of greens.
Finish by bringing the excess pastry over the top of the mash, twisting the ends and laying them on the mash in a haphazard fashion – the little rough bits will crisp up and look beautiful. The pastry may not cover the whole of the top, but a little vivid orange sweet potato poking through is OK. Brush with some soya or almond milk.
Bake the pie at the bottom of the oven for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown, then remove from the oven and pop out of the tin, brush again with soya or almond milk and pop back into the oven for 5 minutes to brown all over. Serve with lashings of sticky cider gravy.
You might also like: Jamie Oliver’s Vegan Mushroom, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart
100g raw cacao butter
25g raw cacao powder
4 tbsp coconut blossom nectar
¼ tsp rose water
Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
Dried rose petals to garnish
Melt the raw cacao butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Once melted, leave to cool for about 5 minutes before mixing through the raw cacao powder with a spoon. Once fully incorporated, add the coconut blossom nectar and rose water and whisk into the chocolate so that the syrup doesn’t just sink to the bottom of the bowl.
Line either a tin or plate with sides (a 7” x 3” loaf tin is good) with baking paper and pour the chocolate in. Roughly cut up the almonds and pistachios and randomly drop them into the chocolate.
Put the tin/plate into the freezer for 10 minutes then pull out and sprinkle a few more of the nuts on to the top with the rose petals and a sprinkling of pink salt. Then put back into the freezer for 1 hour or until set. Keep in the freezer or fridge until its ready to be eaten.
For the candied pecans
225ml of maple syrup
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
For the chocolate
175g cacao butter
150ml maple syrup
100g raw cacao powder
100g of pecans
65g goji berries
A pinch of salt
Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
Place the maple syrup and coconut oil and cinnamon in a pan on a low heat. Stir gently until everything is nicely mixed in and the coconut oil has melted.
Line a baking tray with baking paper and spread the pecans over the paper. Pour the mixture onto the nuts and stir everything together. Place the tray in the oven for about 10 minutes, until they’re golden brown but not burnt. You may want to stir the mix once during this time.
While the pecans cook, fill a saucepan with water and place it on a hob. Add the cacao butter to a bowl and place this on top of the pan. Stir gently every couple of minutes until melted.
Once the cacao butter is melted, pour it into a mixing bowl with the raw cacao powder, salt and maple syrup. Use a spatula to mix it all together, and allow it to thicken. Be patient with this, it will take a few minute to thicken but it’s an important step.
Line a dish or baking tray with a new sheet of baking paper and pour the chocolate mix over it, so that it is about a centimetre deep. Then sprinkle the pecans and goji berries over it, using a spatula to gently press them into the chocolate so that they stick. Place the chocolate tray in the freezer to set for about 2 hours. Once it is really solid, remove it from the freezer and break it up into large chunks.
Where to buy ingredients
Abel & Cole has vegan Christmas foods including a Cashew Nut, Chestnut and Wild Mushroom Wellington, plus accompaniments such as stuffing mix, cranberry chutney and various other vegan groceries.
All good health shops have raw cacao and cacao butter, and bigger ones have coconut blossom nectar.