Worried how to find vegan alternatives for your festive table at Christmas? Here are some tips on how to cater for your vegan guests.
For most of us Christmas is about family, friends, fun and of course food! But with more people turning vegan than ever before you may well find yourself catering for a vegan this Christmas and wondering what alternatives you could offer.
Veganism is a plant-based diet with no animal-derived ingredients such as meat, dairy, eggs and honey, so you may feel that to find delicious vegan alternatives to the traditional Christmas dinner is quite a challenge. But don’t worry; help is at hand. Georgina Camfield, associate nutritionist at AXA PPP healthcare has come up with some tasty food that all your guests, not just vegans, will enjoy.
A few vegan-friendly tweaks to Christmas dinner
How about ditching the traditional turkey and serving a delicious nut roast or lentil loaf instead? You could also substitute your Christmas meat centrepiece for quorn, tofu or jackfruit, which has grown in popularity recently as it has a texture just like meat.
Vegan sausages and vegan bacon can be found in most supermarkets and so could be a very easy vegan alternative to ‘pigs in blankets’. Or perhaps wrap vegan sausages in slithers of carrot or aubergine for a change?
Traditional stuffing can easily be swapped for a vegan version made with quinoa and vegetables and Yorkshire puddings can be made using unsweetened soya milk and vegetable oil.
Christmas dinner would not be complete without gravy so try making it with plenty of vegetables, tasty herbs and a splash of vegan red wine.
Some tasty Vegan-friendly hors d’oeuvres, starters and desserts
It’s not just the main course that can be tweaked. Your vegan guests will appreciate vegan-friendly canapes, savoury snacks and puddings too.
Sausage rolls can be swapped with mushroom rolls, as long as you use vegan pastry which increasingly can be found in larger supermarkets. You can then be creative with vegetable filo parcels or tarts. Kale crisps are a tasty vegan-friendly snack along with nuts, seeds, vegetable sticks and hummus.
Instead of a traditional smoked salmon starter how about tomato brushetta, tabbouleh and flat bread or a zesty salad as an alternative? Or a tasty soup such as tomato, carrot and coriander or vegetable, just remember to use vegetable stock for flavour.
If you decide to bake then coconut and almond milks are easily obtainable dairy substitutes and vegan pastry can be used for your mince pies. If you fancy a lighter option for dessert – and let’s face it who wouldn’t after all that food – a fruit salad or a lemon sorbet are great alternatives.
Planning is key
To take the stress out of catering at Christmas how about trying out a new recipe on your family ahead of the big day. That way, if it’s a hit then you could always batch cook and freeze so eliminating the last minute panic.
If you’re catering for a few days over the Christmas period then consider re-using left over food perhaps in a curry or a soup. This should save time and help your pocket too!
Christmas doesn’t have to be unhealthy
Traditional Christmas food doesn’t need to be high in calories or particularly unhealthy. See our article for tips on how to eat a healthier Christmas.
If seasoned well and spices added for flavour then vegetables need never be boring. They are full of antioxidants and vitamins and you can eat as many as you like!
It is sensible, however, to be mindful of portion sizes over the Christmas period and try a few sensible swaps such as steaming vegetables or using olive oil to roast your potatoes and so reducing calories and fat.
Above all – enjoy your Christmas and try not to overdo it!
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