In a season ruled by pigs in blankets, vegans and vegetarians don’t always fare that well at Christmas. When it comes to a traditional turkey dinner, meat-free guests are too often landed with a lacklustre side (Christmas salad, anyone?), or they’re encouraged to dig in where they can – oh and by the way, those roast potatoes were made with goose fat…
Fusing vivid Indian flavours with seasonal British produce, Gill is something of a pro when it comes to imaginative meat-free dishes. In 2019, the BBC chef and food writer released a cookbook Zaika: Vegan Recipes from India, dedicated to Indian vegan recipes which, as Jamie Oliver notes, is packed with “veggies like you’ve never seen them before”.
So, in the name of fine festive cooking, here are five of Gill’s most delicious yet super-simple vegetarian dishes to wow your guests with this Christmas – each one brimming with her trademark flair.
Roast potatoes with herb and spices
- 650g potatoes, peeled, washed and diced into chunks
- 1tsp sea salt (fine salt is fine too, if you don’t have the sea salt)
- 1tsp dried parsley
- 1tsp chilli flakes
- 1tsp ground coriander
- 6tsp olive oil
- 1tsp Balsamic vinegar
Add the potatoes into a deep saucepan with hot water and boil them until half-cooked. Add a pinch of salt and cook for about ten minutes. Drain the hot water immediately after ten minutes, and let the potatoes cool down before using a fork to scrape the outside of the potatoes on all sides.
Add the salt, parsley, chilli flakes, ground coriander, balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and mix together. Add the potatoes and stir them together, so that all the potatoes are well-coated. Leave to rest for 10 minutes before roasting them.
Pre-heat the oven at 200C fan. Place the baking tray in the middle of the oven and roast them for 15 minutes.
Steamed Brussels sprouts
Romy says: “This recipe is simple yet full of flavour and enjoyed by my family.”
- 18- 20 Brussels sprouts
- 3tsp olive oil
- 1tsp cumin seeds
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped roughly
- ½ tsp sea salt
Steam the Brussel sprouts for 8-10 minutes. Add oil in a separate pan on medium heat and start toasting the cumin seeds. Once they start to pop or sizzle, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Then add the steamed sprouts and cook for two minutes.
Roasted small carrots
- 230g of small carrots, washed (tip: keep the stem of the carrots on: they look pretty and tastes delicious once roasted)
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1tsp dried oregano
- 1tsp white sesame seeds
- 4tsp olive oil
Pre-heat the oven at 180C fan and line a baking tray with a baking sheet.
Mix all the ingredients together and the place the marinated carrots on a baking tray in the middle of the oven and roast them 15 minutes.
Roasted parsnip chips
Romy recommends these easy parsnip chips as a perfect snack or side anytime over Christmas.
- 600g parsnips, washed, peeled and cut into chips
- 1tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2tsp corn flour
- 1tsp sumac (if you don’t have this, leave it out and add 2tsp of lime juice instead)
Pre-heat the oven at 200C fan oven and prepare a baking tray with a baking sheet.
In a bowl add the parsnips, sea salt, chilli flakes, ground cumin and corn flour.
Mix all the ingredients together. Place them on a baking tray in the middle of the oven and roast them for 20 minutes. Half way through, check the chips and stir them so they are evenly cooked.
Once the chips are crispy and roasted, sprinkle the sumac or add lime juice and mix.
- 200g carrots, grated
- 125g white onion, chopped
- 100g almonds
- 100 cashews
- 50g pecan nuts
- 50g walnuts
- 100g glace cherries, chopped roughly
- 50g dried cranberries or goji berries
- 2tsp dried parsley
- 1tsp ground black pepper
- 1tsp ground ginger
- 1tsp ground nutmeg
- 2tsp Olivio buttery spread
- 1tsp vegan/vegetarian stock cube
- 1tsp salt
- Juice of one medium-sized orange, plus grate the zest of the orange
Pre-heat the oven at 180C fan oven and line a rectangular loaf tin with baking parchment.
In a blender, add all the nuts and pulse into a coarse powder. Once done, add the ground nuts into a bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
Pour the mixture into a prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes. Keep the mixture in the loaf tin until it’s cool down to shape it into golf balls.
Find more delicious vegan recipes in Zaika: Vegan recipes from India
Images: Portrait of Romy Gill (photo by Matt Inwood), food images by Romy Gill