The holiday season is a time of joy, togetherness, and indulgent feasts. If you’re vegan yourself or have vegan loved ones joining you for Christmas this year, fear not! With just a little planning and creativity, you can host a holiday gathering that’s not only vegan-friendly but also incredibly delicious. A recent UK survey found than one in six people are considering a fully plant-based Christmas meal this year. Mainstream supermarkets all over the country are stocking a variety of plant-based festive foods, and you can also easily make them yourself at home.
In this guide, which comes from Viva!’s food and cookery manager, Maryanne Hall, we’ll explore how to cater to vegans during Christmas, offering product recommendations, recipe ideas, inspiration – and some important dos and don’ts.
Embrace Plant-Based Ingredients
Start by embracing a variety of plant-based ingredients. Incorporate fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains into your menu. These form the basis of many delightful vegan dishes.
Vegan Products to buy for Christmas
Here are some essential vegan-friendly products to stock up on for your Christmas feast:
- Vegan Butter: Brands like Flora, Naturli and Violife offer excellent vegan butter alternatives
- Plant-Based Milk: Almond, soya, oat, and coconut milk are excellent dairy replacements. Soya milk is the best for baking due to its high protein content. It’s not quite a milk but it’s certainly worth mentioning that Carnation now offers a vegan condensed milk, available in most supermarkets
- Tofu and Tempeh: Great sources of protein and versatile in a variety of dishes, not to mention in a lovely vegan fry-up!
- Vegan Cheese: For a cheese board, we love I Am Nut OK and La Fauxmagerie – don’t forget the chutney! For melting, we like Illchester Melting Mature and Applewood Vegan Block. Our favourite cheddar alternative is Cathedral City Extra Mature. For a cheap and cheerful vegan camembert (ready for baking with garlic and rosemary), try Nurishh
- Vegan Cream: It’s now possible to buy vegan cream for every occasion. We like to use Alpro Single Soya for all single cream needs. Elmlea Plant Double, The Coconut Collaborative and Oatly Whippable Creamy Oat all whip up to create a lovely thick consistency. Don’t forget Oatly and The Coconut Collaborative crème fraîche if you fancy a spoonful on the side of desserts and various savoury dishes. Food Heaven offers a delicious vegan squirty cream and there’s even a vegan ‘flotted’ cream out there now – buy from The Greenwood Tree Café!
- Nutritional Yeast: A cheesy and nutty-flavoured product that can be used to enhance various dishes and adds a distinct umami flavour
- Yorkshire puds: Have a go at making your own but if you’d prefer a cheating option, our favourites are Mabel’s and Plantside
- Mince Pies: Ocado and nearly all of the supermarkets and health food shops stock vegan mince pies, so there’s no need to go without! Our favourites are Waitrose Free From and Holland & Barrett
- Vegan Desserts: Look for vegan ice cream, cakes and cookies from brands like GU Puds, Wicked Kitchen, M&S, English Cheesecake Company, Ben & Jerry’s, Jude’s and Swedish Glace. The supermarkets and health food shops all have an extensive range of delicious festive treats and desserts. Ocado also has a great selection!
Don’t: forget to read labels carefully, as some products may contain hidden animal-derived ingredients
Delicious Vegan Recipes
Do: Wow your guests with these delectable vegan recipes from Vegan Recipe Club:
- Easy Vegan Turkey-less Roast: This roast is heavenly and the ultimate centrepiece for your Christmas dinner!
- Chestnut, Mushroom & Red Wine Pithiver: This traditional French dish, with its sunbeam pastry, is a feast for the eyes, rich, tasty, easy to create and makes for the perfect festive main
- Creamy White Wine Mushroom Sauce: Enjoy a rich, creamy, delicious and versatile sauce that goes with – well – pretty much everything!
- Maple Roasted Parsnips: There’s nothing better than crispy golden roasted parsnips – apart from ones covered in maple syrup!
- Lemon Roasted Brussels Sprouts: These luxury greens will convert even the most sceptical palettes into certified sprout lovers
- Cinnamon & Thyme Roasted Carrots with Pine Nuts: A delicious, colourful side dish packed with vitamin C
- Cauliflower Cheese: No Christmas dinner is complete without cauliflower cheese!
- Ultimate Roast Potatoes: This is our favourite way to make festive roasties. If you’re feeling brave, try adding a teaspoon of yeast extract at stage three of the recipe
- 5-Ingredient Yorkshire Puddings: Guaranteed to add some sparkle to your Christmas spread
- Sticky Toffee Puddings: There are few things in life as enjoyable as a sticky toffee pudding!
- Super Easy Chocolate Oreo Torte: The name says it all, but this really is the easiest dessert ever and always goes down a treat – win, win!
- Christmas Brandy Truffles: Chocolate, brandy and creamy richness. What more can we say? Just don’t eat them all at once!
Dos and Don’ts for Hosting Vegans
- Ask About Dietary Restrictions: Check with your guests ahead of time to ensure you accommodate their specific preferences
- Label Dishes: Clearly label vegan dishes to avoid confusion
- Be Open-Minded: Embrace the opportunity to discover new flavours and dishes
- Buy Shop-Bought Food if Feeling Nervous About Cooking: There are so many delicious vegan festive dishes in the shops – there are plenty to choose from and some are very high quality
- Pressure Anyone: Don’t pressure your guests to try non-vegan dishes
- Disregard Cross-Contamination: If you’re using shared kitchen equipment, be mindful of cross-contamination issues
With these dos and don’ts in mind, you can create a Christmas celebration that’s inclusive, delicious and memorable for everyone at the table.
Catering for vegans during Christmas is a thoughtful gesture that shows you care about the dietary preferences of your loved ones. By incorporating plant-based ingredients, offering vegan-friendly products, preparing delicious recipes, creating an inviting atmosphere, and respecting dos and don’ts, you can host a festive holiday gathering that celebrates the spirit of Christmas while also embracing the values of compassion and inclusivity. Happy holidays and happy feasting!