Food and Drink

Vegetarian Christmas dinner: 25 delicious alternatives to nut roast

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Stylist Team
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Vegetarians often get a raw deal when it comes to Christmas lunch. Either we get lumped with a meagre combination of side dishes, or good old nut roast – that fail-safe veggie option – rears its unimaginative head.

While we’ve no problem with the perennial festive favourite, nut roast needn’t be the only option for vegetarians at Christmas.

With global cuisine offering all manner of fresh, seasonal and unusual flavours, the culinary world is simply bursting with tasty, and creative, meat-free meal ideas for vegetarians.

So to help spice up your veggie Christmas dinner, we’ve rounded up a selection of delicious recipe ideas to replace your nut roast, from zesty salads and soups to hearty mains.

Dive in for the Stylist guide to a tasty vegetarian festive feast this December (and after that, check out our top five vegetarian recipes for Christmas).

  • Hearty Lentil and Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie

    A delicious stew of mushrooms and lentils topped with creamy mash potatoes makes this a hearty addition to the table.

    Find the full recipe here (via

  • Brussels sprout and goat’s cheese galettes

    “I love the way food like this can make you feel uplifted, refreshed, cosy and indulgent,” says chef and food stylist Donna Hay. “This recipe is enriched with nature’s sprouts in a filling and hearty pastry case.”

    Find the full recipe here

  • Lentil Roast with Balsamic Onion Gravy

    Gluten-free and nut-free, yet none the less filling. A perfect main dish for meat-free plates.

    Find the full recipe here (via Pinterest/

  • Parmesan snowflakes

    “Seasonal celebrations offer me the chance to skip back to a more innocent time,” says Gizzi Erskine. “Cooking parmesan in rounds makes the most beautifully lacy snowflake-like bases. Too Christmassy to ignore.”

    Find the full recipe here

  • Polenta bake with feta, tomato and mushrooms

    We’re big fans of any dish that a) can be made in one pot, saving on the washing up and b) uses not one but two different kinds of cheese.

    Find the full recipe here

  • Whole-roasted cauliflower with spicy yoghurt


    “A whole roasted cauliflower is a wondrous thing” says food blogger Made by Margie. “It becomes gorgeously soft in the middle and this spicy yoghurt marinade forms a delicious crust. It also makes an epic centrepiece for any table.”

    Find the full recipe here

  • Brussels Sprouts With Balsamic and Cranberries

    There’s no shortage of flavour in this delicious dish, thanks to the thick honey-balsamic glaze and a sprinkling of tangy cranberries.

    Find the full recipe here (via Pinterest/

  • Sweet potato roulade with lemon ricotta, sundried tomato, pesto and rocket

    “A savoury roulade is gloriously retro and makes a great Christmas dish as it’s served at room temperature and can be made ahead of time,” food blogger Made by Margie tells us. “Roulades are easy to make and this sweet potato one hits all the right notes.”

    Find the full recipe here

  • Butternut Squash with Sage & Chickpea Stuffing

    Get your stuffing fix with this delicious sage, chickpea and warm butternut squash recipe.

    Find the full recipe here (via Pinterest/

  • Leek, squash and broccoli pie

    Packed full of veggies, this hearty pie is tasty and filling - ideal for piling on you Christmas Day plate.

    Find the full recipe here (via Pinterest/

  • Lentil, tamarind and date dhansak

    Nigella Lawson’s combination of earthy lentils, sour tamarind and sweet dates makes for the perfect main dish.

    Find the full recipe here

  • Mushroom Wellington with spinach

    Swap beef for garlic mushrooms, seasoned spinach and melted blue cheese fillings.

    Find the full recipe here (via Pinterest/

  • Spinach and coconut soup

    Another Christmas dish from Nigella Lawson, this Thai-inspired soup makes for the perfect starter or a delicious supper.

    Find the full recipe here

  • Beet Bourguignon

    Step aside beef, we’re doing a veggie take on the classic bourguignon using beetroot. You still get all the rich wine ooziness of the original plus added arrowroot (a type of starch extract) which thickens the stew.

    Find the full recipe here

  • Gordon Hamersley's Beet, Goat Cheese and Walnut Tart

    Roasted beetroot, walnuts and goat cheese all baked into one creamy tart with flaky pastry. Seconds will be a must.

    Find the full recipe here (via Pinterest/

  • Anna Jones’ Goodwill pie

    Beetroot, sweet potatoes, parsnips, leeks, greens and Lancashire cheese, all roasted and baked into one delicious pie.

    Find the full recipe here (via Pinterest/

  • Vegetarian Christmas Cracker Starters

    Serve it as a canape, a starter or make them super sized and dish up as a main. Things can’t much more festive than this.

    Find the full recipe here (via Pinterest/

  • White wine mushroom bruschetta with halloumi

    Creamy and moreish, these make for a great veggie starter or canape.

    Find the full recipe here (via Pinterest/

  • Butternut Squash with Sage & Chickpea Stuffing

    Get your stuffing fix with this delicious sage, chickpea and warm butternut squash recipe.

    Find the full recipe here (via Pinterest/

  • Vegetarian sausage rolls

    Hot, crisp and flaky packed full of strong Double Gloucester cheese, mixed herbs and onion. These deserve more than a canape dish - add them to the main plate as little extras.

    Find the full recipe here (via Pinterest/

  • Grilled sweet potato and vegetable skewers

    Courgette, sweet potato and mushroom skewers are a great alternative to chunks of chicken or lamb.

    Find the full recipe here (via

  • Shaved Radish and Celeriac Salad

    From Jacob Kenedy, chef and owner of Bocca di Lupo and Gelupo


    • 1 bunch breakfast radishes (about 8)
    • ½ black radish, or 5cm green mooli (available from Chinese greengrocers), or mooli
    • a chunk of celeriac, about ¼ very small bulb, peeled
    • a little chunk of Pecorino Romano cheese
    • ¼ pomegranate, seeds picked out, or 6 tablespoons seeds
    • a few sprigs of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked


    • 1 tbsp white truffle oil
    • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
    • Juice of ¼ lemon (or 2 more tbsp white balsamic)


    1. Make a dressing with the oils, vinegar, lemon, salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning

    2. Do the following just before you serve, as radishes dry out, and celeriac blackens with time. Wash the radishes (both red and black, don’t peel either), and shave thinly – best on a mandolin. Use a potato peeler to shave the celeriac and Pecorino. Toss the lot with the pomegranate seeds and parsley and dress lightly

    3. Serve in haphazard but tall piles on individual plates, or in a bowl to share from

  • Fattoush with pomegranate molasses dressing

    From Comptoir Libanais by Tony Kitous and Dan Lepard (£20, Preface)


    • 2 pitta breads
    • olive oil
    • 2 tsps sumac (found in all major supermarkets)
    • 3 baby gem lettuce, chopped
    • small bunch of mint, chopped
    • small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
    • 2 small cucumbers, diced
    • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 2 spring onions, chopped
    • 4-5 radishes, thinly sliced
    • 1 pomegranate

    For the dressing:

    • 72ml pomegranate molasses (found in all supermarkets)
    • 50ml cider vinegar
    • 1 tsp dried mint
    • 2 tsps sumac
    • juice of 1 lemon
    • 125ml olive oil
    • 1 clove garlic, mashed


    1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Cut the pitta bread into 1-2cm squares and spread these out on a baking tray

    2. Pour a little oil over them, then sprinkle with sumac and toss so they’re lightly coated. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until crisp and slightly brown. Leave to cool

    3. Put the lettuce, chopped herbs, cucumber, tomatoes and spring onions in a bowl. Scatter the radish slices and pomegranate seeds over the top

    4. Make the dressing by whisking the ingredients together until smooth. Then add salt to taste. Many people like this dressing quite tart but play with the flavours to suit yourself

    5. To serve, simply pour about half the dressing on the salad, add the pitta croutons and toss everything together. Serve the remaining dressing in a bowl to accompany the salad

  • Lentil, tamarind and date dhansak

    From Nigella Lawson's collection of exclusive Stylist recipes


    • 3 tsps garlic oil
    • 2 tsps cumin seeds
    • 3cm ginger, peeled and grated
    • 200g red lentils
    • 3 x 15ml tbsps tamarind paste from a jar
    • 750ml freshly boiled water
    • 75g soft dried dates, each one scissored into 8 small pieces
    • 2 bay leaves
    • Few sprigs of fresh dill, chopped
    • 1 tbsp of pomegranate seeds


    1. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan that has a lid and fry the cumin seeds for a few seconds. Add the ginger and stir for another minute or so

    2. Add the lentils to the pan, stirring them into the cumin and ginger, then spoon in the tamarind paste and pour in the water

    3. Tip in the chopped dates and the bay leaves and bring to the boil

    4. Clamp on the lid, turn the heat down to very low and simmer the lentils for about 30 minutes, by which time they should have absorbed most of the liquid and will be soft

    5. Serve with rice or couscous as desired and sprinkle the lentils with dill and pomegranate seeds

    Click here to view all 10 of Nigella's exclusive-to-Stylist recipes

  • Orange, Carrot and Date Salad

    From River Cottage Veg Every Day! By Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (£25, Bloomsbury)


    • 1 large or 2 small oranges
    • 1/4 small red cabbage, core removed, finely shredded
    • 1 small-medium parsnip, peeled and coarsely grated or cut into juliennes
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 Medjool dates, stones removed, sliced
    • A couple of sprigs of thyme, leaves only, chopped
    • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


    1. Slice the top and bottom from the orange. Stand it upright on a board and work your way around it with a sharp knife, cutting off the skin and all the pith. Cut out the segments from between the membranes, working over a bowl to save the juice, letting the segments fall into the bowl. When finished, squeeze the juice from the remaining membrane into the bowl too

    2. Put the finely shredded cabbage and grated parsnip into another bowl, add most of the orange juice (not the segments) and trickle over the olive oil. Add a little salt and pepper, toss the lot together with your hands and then transfer to serving plates

    3. Scatter the orange segments and date slices over the red cabbage and parsnip and finish with a scattering of thyme. Serve straight away


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