There’s no other meal throughout the year that is so heaped with tradition as Christmas dinner. Let’s face it, most of those who eat turkey only have it because that’s what you do on December 25th and households up and down the country will be reenacting the famous sprouts scene from The Vicar of Dibley.
So, how do you make it feel like Christmas Day if you’re not going to be tucking into mounds of pigs and blankets and mince pies with brandy butter? Fear not, here’s how to hack your festive feast like a pro.
Make veg a showstopping centrepiece
It’s time to go big or go home and when it comes to veg, butternut squash can come in epic proportions. The Veg Space has done a very clever thing and stuff the gourd in a way that emulates a roast joint, making it the perfect centrepiece for your Christmas meal. Carve it at the table and you’ll find all festive traditions remain intact.
Get nutty with the sprouts
Most meat eaters swear by cooking bacon in with their sprouts to disguise the flavour, but if you’re vegan and not a fan of the tiny cabbage, there’s something you can do about it too – add chestnuts. This extra ingredient is so Christmassy it even features in the festive tunes. Let’s just hope you don’t have Jack Frost nipping at your nose. Epicurious will show you how it’s done, just switch out the butter and cream for your favourite substitute.
Crisp up the potatoes the vegan way
There’s always loads of debate about how to get crispy roasties, especially at Christmas time, but everyone deserves a good potato all year round. You just need olive oil and a high heat to get that perfect texture. Since veggies are going to be the focus of your dinner, be sure to add loads of flavour, just like The Spruce Eats has with garlic and rosemary.
When you think about it, the main things that make Christmas dinner taste festive are actually the sauces and many of these can be made vegan style. Try Amuse Your Bouche’s recipe for a traditional bread sauce, replacing the milk for whichever alternative you prefer. Cranberry sauce tends to be vegan by nature, so there’s no reason not to slosh this really easy version from Cookie and Kate all over your veggies.
Lashings of gravy
Whatever you put on your plate on Christmas Day, it’s the gravy that will make it feel right. Find yourself a really good vegan gravy recipe, like this one by Loving It Vegan and perfect it. You’ll discover it serves you well throughout the whole year, not just the festive season.
Go off-piste with your dessert
Before you go diving headfirst into A Virtual Vegan’s expert recipe for Christmas pudding, just check that you like it first. It’s a simple question to ask yourself, as you don’t want to fall into the trap of putting a lot of effort into making a pud if you’re only doing it for tradition’s sake. If the answer’s yes, then you’re in for a treat. Otherwise, use your vegan status to swap in a dessert you’re going to truly enjoy instead. You can’t beat this vegan caramel tart with gingerbread from Rainbow Nourishments for instance.