Best Vegan Christmas Dinner Ideas and Recipes for a Meat-Free Christmas to Remember
With the interest in veganism and plant-based diets hitting an all-time high in 2020, it’s fair to say that many of us are going through the highs and lows of approaching veganism with family and friends for the first time this year.
For many, the Christmas period is the only time of the year when we reconnect with our relatives, friends, and neighbours to share a hearty homecooked meal, so it’s only natural that many new vegans (or even seasoned plant-based eaters!) will be feeling a little trepidation and doubt when thinking about how this Christmas is going to be.
Is there such a thing as a vegan Christmas dinner?
Nowadays, with the abundance of plant-based options available online and offline, the answer is a resounding yes! All you need for the perfect vegan Christmas dinner is a little bit of extra preparation, a good understanding of how to substitute traditional ingredients, and a healthy dose of creativity – we hope this article can help you figure out where to start!
Vegan Christmas recipes to substitute traditional favourites
Turning a traditional Christmas dinner into a plant-based feast is much easier than you’d think. The key is understanding how to substitute core ingredients such as meats, dairy products, and animal fats with equally tasty cruelty-free options.
This is the best course of action if you have non-vegan guests that you don’t want to disappoint and want to show just how delicious a plant-based diet can be, or if you’ve decided to bring some vegan-friendly treats along to share with your family.
Here are our suggestions for a fool-proof vegan Christmas menu that will have even the most meat-loving of your loved ones coming back for more!
Leek and Potato Soup
A classic leek and potato soup makes for a satisfying entrée that’s neither too light or too heavy, incredibly easy to make, and bound to be loved by everyone at the table.
Here’s how to make the perfect creamy vegan leek and potato soup:
Start by chopping one large brown onion, two cloves of garlic, and three/four leeks, sauteing them in a pre-heated pot with plenty of olive oil or vegan butter. Coat the sauteing veg with a tablespoon of paprika and ginger before adding two cups of water with a veggie stock cube.
Chop five large potatoes into bite sized cubes and add them to the boiling pot, covering it and letting the soup simmer on a low heat for around 25 minutes. Go back to the boiling pot and add half a cup of your favourite non-dairy milk, along with salt and pepper to taste and, optionally, half a cup of nutritional yeast.
Once the potatoes are fork-tender, turn off the heat and use a stick blender to blend everything together and achieve a creamy consistency, adding more non-dairy milk if needed. That’s all for a comforting entrée that will start your vegan Christmas dinner with a bang!
A hearty vegan seitan wellington makes for a slightly more challenging recipe to prepare, but the reaction you’ll get from your non-vegan loved ones will definitely make the hard work worth it. Seitan, the popular vegan meat alternative made from wheat gluten, is the star of this satisfying meal, so make sure you have enough unflavoured seitan in your kitchen cupboard before diving into this recipe!
Start by preparing a marinade for your seitan, mixing together the dry ingredients first: one teaspoon of dried sage, rosemary, all spice, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, nutmeg, and a pinch of cinnamon, salt, and black pepper. The wet ingredients will be a teaspoon of soy sauce, a tablespoon of white miso paste, a tablespoon of maple syrup, a tablespoon of liquid smoke, and a teaspoon of lemon juice, plus a little warm water to adjust consistency. Marinate the seitan in this mixture for up to one hour, flipping it at the 30-minute mark to coat all sides evenly.
As the seitan is absorbing these incredible flavours, start getting your puff pastry ready. If you don’t want to make it from scratch, you’ll be happy to know that all major supermarket chains carry vegan-friendly puff pastry – all you have to do is sprinkle some flour on a chopping board, roll it with a rolling pin until it’s around 3 mm thick, and cut the sheet into a rectangle. Add the marinated seitan to the middle of the pastry sheet, brush the pastry with a mixture of oil and non-dairy milk to replicate egg wash, and fully wrap your seitan. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for around 20 minutes, or until puffed up and golden.
Pair your wellington with a delicious veggie gravy, vegan chutney or jam before serving and your ultimate vegan roast is good to go!
Vegan Cheese Board
What’s a Christmas dinner without a scrumptious cheese board? Vegan cheese has come a long way from its humble beginnings, and you have plenty of options to choose from if you want to impress your omnivore guests.
Root Vegetable Roast
How can you make perfectly crispy and fluffy potatoes without duck fat or butter?
The secret is to boil the spuds with some veggie stock until they are fork-tender, coating your baking tray with plenty of olive oil and letting it heat up and sizzle in the oven will guarantee perfectly baked potatoes, every time! To spice up a boring roasted potatoes recipe, add in some different root veg to bake alongside your spuds: parsnips, beetroot, celeriac, and carrots are the classic winning combination. Sprinkle some garlic powder, black pepper, rosemary, paprika, nutritional yeast, and salt before coating all your veg with more olive oil and bake at 200C for one hour.
Classic Apple Crumble
Apple crumble is definitely the easiest Christmas pudding to “veganize” and there are so many different variations of it you can try, all best enjoyed with a generous dollop of vegan ice cream on the side.
We love Rachel Ama’s berry-fuelled take on this classic just as much as we recommend The Minimalist Vegan’s gluten-free version. The only thing that really sets a vegan apple crumble apart from a traditional one is the use of butter, which you can now easily get dairy-free!