10 Tips For A Merry Vegan Christmas
Christmas is all about quality time and quality food. But it can be a tricky time to be vegan, what with the emotional mind-field of relatives upset that you wont be trying their “famous” Christmas dish.
Likewise, if you’re not a vegan but you’ve got a plant-based-pal coming over for the big meal, it can be quite the challenge. If you’ve never catered for a vegan before, save your overwhelmed googling and have a little scroll over our top tips for the Merriest vegan Christmas.
Tip 1: What vegans eat
This ones are for those that are new to the vegan game. Vegan diets are 100% plant-based. And at the risk of stating the painfully obvious, this means only consuming foods made from plants and there’s a couple of foods you might be surprised aren’t vegan.
Check the labels on your foods and drinks to be sure. (We stock some vegan wines on Gousto Market if you need a hand)
Tip 2: Don’t Break the Bank
Christmas isn’t about what you spend, and none of your friends and family want you to spend all your hard earned money on them. Homemade gifts are great and it’s so easy to keep it vegan when you’re giving the gift of DIY.
Vegans usually appreciate a sweet treat, seeing as too much of their lives seems to be taken up with saying “I can’t eat that, I’m vegan”- so I’d say your best bet is cookies or brownies. Replace your non-vegan ingredients with plant-based alternatives or check out our recipe here.
Tip 3: Nibbles
With meat spreads and cheese plates being the go-to Xmas nibble. The plant-based among us can often go hungry. But why, when hummus is everyones favourite snack and it’s vegan too! Serve with some vegetable sticks and tortilla chips (or make your own crisps) along with a few other dips like salsa and guacamole. Delicious!
Our Easy Red Pepper Hummus Recipe
- De seed 1 red pepper and cut into wedges
- Pop on a baking tray with a drizzle of olive oil and put them under the grill for 10 minutes of until soft and lightly charred.
- Drain and rinse a can of chickpeas and peel and roughly chop 1 clove of garlic
- Add the red peppers, chickpeas and garlic to the food processor with 4 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp salt and the juice of half a lemon.
- Blitz until smooth
And if you’re feeling too tired for even that (I feel you). Check out our recipe for tasty savoury Pumpkin Seeds in the video below, for another delicious vegan snack.
Tip 4: Veg out on sides
Vegans are used to living off sides after years of only being able to order off the “starters” and “sides” sections on the menu. So if in doubt, serve ’em what they know with some classic sweet potato fries.
Tip 4: Vegan Gravy
Christmas isn’t Christmas unless it’s drowned in gravy. But with a lot of great gravy recipes relying on butter and meat juices for flavour, whats a vegan to do? Well don’t worry, we’ve got you.
Gousto’s Easy Vegan Gravy
- Heat pan with 1tbsp coconut oil over a medium heat with 1 tsp flour. Cook for 1-2 min, stirring frequently until you’re left with a sandy paste.
- Gradually stir in 200ml boiled water, 15ml soy sauce and 1tsp Henderson’s Relish. Cook for 4 min or until the gravy has thickened.
- Add 1/4tsp sugar to taste and season with a very generous grind of black pepper!
Tip 5. A perfect Vegan Christmas Pud
You wont hear many vegans singing “Bring us the Figgy Pudding” – because this Xmas fave isn’t vegan-friendly. Luckily nutritionist, Jessica Andersson has this tasty recipe in her arsenal…
- 30g olive oil or vegan spread
- 30g coconut oil
- 70g self-raising flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp allspice
- 40ml black treacle
- 60ml stout beer
- 2 tbsp rum
- Zest from an orange
- 200g vegan mincemeat
- 25g mixed peel
- 20g chopped blanched almonds
- 70g raisins
- 2 apples peeled and grated
- Preheat the oven to 180C, fan 160C and line and grease an ovenproof pudding bowl with oil.
- Sift the self-raising flour, baking powder and salt in to a large bowl. Add the cinnamon and allspice. Mix well.
- In a jug mix together the treacle, stout and rum. Pour into the bowl with the flour and whisk together.
- Stir in the orange zest, apple, almonds, currants, mixed peel and mincemeat.
- Pour the mixture into the lined bowl. Place the bowl on a baking tray and surround with 2 cm of boiling water. Bake in the oven for 50 min to 1 hour or until the puddings are springy and firm. Remove from the bowl.
- Allow to cool and either serve or store in an airtight container.
Tip 6: Alternatives to cream
Cream is a Chrimbo staple, and one that we can’t really ignore. We all love to drain our festive desserts with it, so its lucky that switching your classic dairy with a cashew version is easy, delicious and great for vegans.
Just soak 150g of cashew nuts overnight. Drain them, then blend with 150ml of water (or more depending on what consistency you like). Add vanilla paste and a little icing sugar for the perfect dairy free accompaniment to your pud.
Tip 7: A wintery vegan cocktail
Tell a vegan you’re whipping up a plant-based eggnog and you’ll become their new favourite person. Borrow the flavours of cashew cream and blend them with bourbon, maple syrup and nutmeg for a super special Christmas treat. Here’s how:
Simple Vegan Eggnog (serves two)
- 2 cups of cashew milk
- 2 teaspoons of maple syrup
- Ground nutmeg and cinnamon
Bring to the bubble and taste – you might fancy a bit more spice. Stir in the alcohol, and serve in a mug!
Tip 8: Don’t forget the classics
It can feel tempting to slip into full force with Christmas flavours – spice here, winter berries there. And why not? If there’s one time a year to go all out, now’s the time.
But, don’t forget what works and is popular. All year classics like meze boards filled with Mediterranean flavours like olives and soft, warm bread can be the happiest and fastest way to please both vegans and meat-eaters alike.
Tip 9: Communication is key
If you’re hosting a vegan friend, family member or work colleague this holiday season don’t be afraid to ask them if they have any ideas they’d like to bring to the table. Chances are, they’ll have a few cracking recipes you might never have heard of that they’d be delighted to share with you. It’s also possible that they have a slightly flexible approach to their diet and are happy to make a few exceptions to the totally plant-based rule.
Equally, if you’re eating a vegan diet and you’re a guest around someone else’s table this Christmas (or if you’re heading out to an office Christmas party) make sure to flag this to whoever’s in charge of food well in advance. No one wants to get stuck with a plateful of plain sprouts on Christmas day.
Tip 10: Give it a go!
If Christmas is a time for sharing, might you find yourself inspired to give plant-based dieting a go?
Whether it’s one meal a week, or a dinner party where you can serve one of our vegan inspired dishes, let next year be a year of branching out with your dishes!
We hope we’ve left you with a bank of inspiration with these festive ideas for plant-based dieters. But if you have any top tips for vegans at Christmas we’d love to hear them. Just drop a comment below.