Food

The best vegan Christmas dinner recipe ideas

Posted by
Alessia Armenise
Published

With news that Kate and Will are passing up meat for a vegan Christmas dinner this year, we’re taking a look at some of the most delicious plant-based dishes to serve on the 25 December. 

The idea of preparing a dinner for friends and family is stressful enough, but, when it comes to one of the most awaited meals of the year, the expectation bar climbs even higher.

And, if making sure to prepare stunning and comforting food for everybody you love wasn’t difficult enough, planning a completely plant-based (yet traditional) Christmas dinner for your (probably) meat-eating family can prove quite the challenge. Unless, of course, you follow our handy recipe guide.

So, from a delicious nut roast to mince pies, tasty gingerbread and Yorkshire pudding, here is Stylist.co.uk’s top tips on how to cook the perfect vegan Christmas dinner.  

Seitan Roast

The roast is, without a doubt, the most important part of a traditional British Christmas dinner. Thanks to this delicious seitan-based recipe, though, you won’t miss the turkey one bit.

This meat-free recipe serves 6 and takes 1½ hours.

What you’ll need

Dry ingredients:

  • 260g vital gluten flour
  • 65g/¼ cup gram flour
  • 25g/¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme

Wet ingredients:

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 250ml strong vegan stock
  • 60ml/¼ cup soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp vegan syrup eg agave, maple etc
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the Apricot & Chestnut Stuffing:

  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 225g dried apricots, snipped into small pieces
  • 225g breadcrumbs
  • 75g vegan margarine or odourless coconut oil
  • 225g vacuum-packed or frozen chestnuts (defrosted), roughly chopped
  • 600ml water
  • Medium bunch of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • Salt and black pepper

What to do

First, prepare the stuffing. Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan)/400°/ Gas Mark 6. Oil a shallow, ovenproof dish. In a small frying pan lightly fry the onion until soft. Set aside. In a medium-sized saucepan add the apricots and 600ml water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Drain. Place the breadcrumbs into a large bowl. Melt the fat in a frying pan and pour half of this onto the breadcrumbs. In the remaining oil, fry the chestnuts over a high heat until lightly browned. Tip into the bowl with the breadcrumbs and mix in the apricots, onion and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Turn into the greased ovenproof dish and bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes until crisp and hot. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 180˚C (fan)/350˚F/Gas Mark 4. Mix all of the dry ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl and set aside. Whizz all of the wet ingredients together in a high speed blender.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix thoroughly. Gather the dough into a ball and then knead it with your hands for a few minutes . This is your seitan dough.

Get a large sheet of foil and place it in a deep baking tray so that it’s hanging over the edges. With your hands, stretch the dough into a rectangle around 8 inch by 12 inch (A4 size) and about 1 inch deep, straight onto the foil sheet. Fill the middle of the seitan dough with your stuffing, fold up each end of the dough around it and then roll it up lengthways so that it’s fully sealed. Wrap the tin foil around it tightly and add another sheet of foil if it’s not completely covered.

Place the seitan, wrapped in the foil, onto the baking tray and fill the baking tray with about half an inch of water. Place in the oven and cook for 45 minutes. Take from the oven, remove the foil and the water and put the seitan back onto a dry baking tray. Brush with a little oil and put back in the oven for 15 minutes.

Recipe and picture from the ” Deliciously Vegan Christmas Guide” by Viva!

Hazelnut Roast and veggies

This nut roast is very special – it really tastes of nuts, and the gravy is made using long, slow cooking methods to achieve a beautiful depth and complexity of flavour. It is a lot of work to make all the elements, but they can each be made up to three days ahead and reheated when needed, or you can make just the nut roast and gravy and add accompaniments of your choice. 

This recipe serves 4.

What you’ll need

For the nut roast:

  • 1 large celeriac (celery root) (at least 900g/2lb to give 500g (1lb 2oz) peeled)
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled but whole
  • 25ml (1fl oz/5 tsp) rapeseed oil
  • 8g (¼oz/1½ tsp) sea salt
  • 100g (3½oz/¾ cup) hazelnuts
  • 100g (3½oz/¾ cup) cashew nuts
  • 50g (1¾oz/1/3 cup) sunflower seeds
  • 30g (1¼oz/¼ cup) cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 15g (½oz/1 tbsp) mustard or shop-bought wholegrain mustard
  • 1/8 nutmeg, grated
  • rapeseed oil

For the potato galette:

  • 4 baking potatoes
  • 1 onion, peeled
  • 8g (¼oz/1½ tsp) sea salt
  • 150ml (5fl oz/2/3 cup) water
  • rapeseed oil

For the cider gravy:

  • 25ml (1fl oz/5 tsp) rapeseed oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 250g (9oz) button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 turnip, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, skin on, smashed
  • 0.5g (¼ tsp) caraway seeds
  • 15g (½oz/1¼ tbsp) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) cider vinegar
  • 250ml (8½fl oz/1 cup) cider
  • 20g (¾oz/4 tsp) tomato purée
  • 2.5g (½ tsp) yeast extract (such as marmite), or 5ml (1 tsp) soy sauce)
  • 750ml (26fl oz/3 cups) water, plus extra for flour paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 20g (¾oz) dried mushrooms
  • 3g (½ tsp) sea salt
  • Cornflour (cornstarch)

For the Celeriac (celery root):

  • 1 large celeriac (celery root) (at least 1kg/2¼lb) or several smaller ones, skin and roots removed
  • 100ml (3½fl oz/scant ½ cup) cider
  • gravy (see above)
  • 100ml (3½fl oz/scant ½ cup) water
  • 3g (½ tsp) sea salt

For the cider-poached apples:

  • 150g (5½oz/¾ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 150ml (5fl oz/2/3 cup) water
  • 250ml (8½fl oz/1 cup) dry cider
  • 3g (½ tsp) sea salt
  • 3 Granny Smith apples (or other tart variety), peeled

For the garlic parsley oil:

This makes: 200ml (7fl oz/generous ¾ cup)

  • 10 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 15g (½oz/4 tbsp) parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • 175ml (6fl oz/¾ cup) extra virgin olive oil

For the brussels sprouts:

  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 20 Brussels sprouts, trimmed, cut in half and outer leaves discarded
  • Sea salt
  • 2 tbsp garlic parsley oil

What to do

Preheat the oven to (fan) 160°C/180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Prepare the garlic parsley oil putting all the ingredients into a blender and process until smooth. This will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month.

It’s now time to prepare the nut roast. Peel the celeriac (celery root) and onion and cut into 2cm (¾-inch) chunks. Place in a large bowl along with the garlic, rapeseed oil and 3g (½ tsp) of the salt. Mix everything together, then spread out on a large baking tray (sheet). Cover the tray with tin foil and roast the celeriac (celery root) in the oven for 30–40 minutes until soft.

Meanwhile, put the hazelnuts and cashews on a baking tray (sheet) and roast for 7 minutes or until golden. Put the sunflower seeds in a frying pan (skillet) with a splash of oil and fry until dark golden. Transfer the seeds to a food processor, process until fine crumbs, then put in a large bowl. Put the cashews and hazelnuts in the food processor and pulse to a coarse crumb, with some lumps, then add to the sunflower seeds. Put the onions, garlic and celeriac into the food processor and pulse to a coarse mash. Add to the nuts and seeds and mix everything together. Add the cornflour (cornstarch), mustard, remaining 5g (1 tsp) of salt and grated nutmeg and mix well. Lay out a 45cm (18-inch) strip of cling film (plastic wrap), then lay another strip on top. Spoon a quarter of the mix onto this and form into a rough sausage shape about 4cm (1½ inches) thick. Fold over the bottom edge of the cling film (plastic wrap) and roll the mix up to form a sausage about 3cm (1¼ inches) thick. Fold the cling film (plastic wrap) over and roll the sausage tightly in the cling film (plastic wrap). Twist one end of the cling film (plastic wrap) to tie it closed. Squeeze the air out of the other side and twist the other end to form a tight, round, water-tight sausage shape with no air pockets. Tie closed. Repeat with the remaining mix to make 4 sausages in total. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and add the sausages. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, then remove one at a time and plunge into a bowl of ice-cold water. Once cool, transfer to the fridge for at least an hour but ideally overnight, to firm up.

For the gallette, slice the potatoes and onion very finely on a mandolin, then transfer to a bowl with the salt. Mix well and leave for 30 minutes until soft and pliable. Line a 900g (2lb) rectangular loaf tin (pan) with baking parchment and layer the potatoes right up to the top. Season well. Add the measured water and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 45 minutes or until a knife passes cleanly through the centre. with cider apples, braised celeriac (celery root), potato galette and cider gravy. Remove from the oven and carefully press down on the foil to compress it. Set aside to cool, then place in the fridge for 2 hours.

To make the cider gravy, heat the rapeseed oil in a large saucepan until very hot, then add all the sliced vegetables, the garlic and the caraway seeds. Stir well and fry, stirring occasionally, on a high heat for up to 20 minutes until it begins to take a dark colour. While this is cooking, put the sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat gently until it melts and forms a golden caramel. Add the vinegar and cook until it evaporates by half, then add the cider and stir. Add the tomato purée and yeast extract to the saucepan with the vegetables. Stir well and then cook for 5–10 minutes until a crust begins to form on the bottom of the saucepan (do not let this burn). Deglaze the saucepan by adding the sugar and cider mix and stir until the crust has dissolved, then bring to the boil and simmer until the cider has reduced by half. Add the water, bay leaf, dried mushrooms and salt and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 30 minutes.

For the cider-poached apples, put the sugar, water, cider and salt into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Using a parisienne cutter (melon baller) scoop as many balls of apple as you can from each apple, taking care not to get the woody core. Turn the cider mix down to a gentle simmer and add the apple balls. Simmer very gently until just beginning to soften, then remove from the heat and leave to cool. Once the cider gravy has infused, strain into another saucepan, measure, and bring to the boil. Boil to reduce the sauce to a quarter of its measured volume. Measure the reduction. For every 250ml (8½fl oz/1 cup) of reduction, mix 10g (¼oz/1¼ tbsp) of cornstarch (corn flour) with 20ml (4 tsp) of cold water. Mix the flour paste in and heat gently, stirring to prevent it sticking, until it has thickened. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with salt if needed. Keep warm until needed.

Now, prepare the braised celeriac (celery root). Preheat the oven to (fan) 160°C/180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Cut the celeriac into 1cm (½-inch) slices, then cut these into neat triangles or squares. Put them into a small casserole pot and pour the measured cider gravy, water and salt over the top. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes until they are almost melting. At the same time, slice the galette into 1cm (½-inch) slices. Line a baking tray (sheet) with baking parchment and drizzle it with rapeseed oil. Place the slices of potato galette on it so they are covered with oil on the bottom side. Brush the top side generously with rapeseed oil and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes turn over each slice – you want an even crispy golden brown colouring all over – and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove the cling film (plastic wrap) from the nut roast, trim off the ends and cut into 1.5cm (½-inch) thick slices. Line a baking tray (sheet) with baking parchment and lay the nut roast slices on it. Drizzle oil over each slice and put into the oven for 25 minutes to warm through and crisp up. Heat the rapeseed oil for the Brussels sprouts in a wide saucepan and add the sprouts, cut side down, with a generous pinch of salt. Fry until they go a dark golden colour and then add the garlic parsley oil. Toss to evenly cover them and then turn down the heat and gently cook for 2–4 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover the saucepan with a lid or plate so they steam in their own juices for 4 minutes. Lay 3 slices of nut roast on each of 4 large dinner plates to form a stacked line. Add a piece of potato galette, 2 pieces of braised celeriac, 3 or 4 apple pieces and the Brussels sprouts on each plate. Generously drizzle cider gravy over everything and serve hot.

Recipe and picture from “Plants taste Better” by Richard Buckley, £25, Jacqui Small.

Bangers in Blankets

If you don’t want to miss the full Christmas experience, this vegan version of the traditional “pigs in blankets” is a must-have for your festive table. 

What you’ll need

For the ‘bangers’:

  • 6 imperator carrots

For the ‘blankets’:

  • 1 medium aubergine
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp smoked salt
  • 1½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp black pepper

What to do

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Peel the carrots, cut off the stalks, put them in a saucepan, cover with cold water, put the saucepan on the stove over a high heat and bring the water to the boil. Drain the carrots after 5 minutes of boiling and leave them to steam dry.

Pour the olive oil, maple syrup, smoked salt, smoked paprika and black pepper into a wide bowl and mix together with a fork until the salt has dissolved.

Chop the stalk off the aubergine and slice off the skin with a small sharp knife. Cut the peeled aubergine longways into quarters. Cut each quarter into thin slices that are roughly 3mm thick. Toss the aubergine slices in the marinade and leave for 5 minutes.

Cut the carrots into 2-inch-long pieces and carefully round off the ends with a sharp knife. Tightly wrap the ‘bangers’ with the marinated slices of aubergine, securing with a cocktail stick. Put the bangers in blankets on the lined baking sheet.

Put the baking sheet in the oven and bake the ‘Bangers in Blankets’ for 30 minutes until totally cooked through and dark in colour. Turn the sausages halfway through the cooking time. Take the sausages out of the oven and serve immediately.

Recipe and picture courtesy of Tesco. To try the bangers, check out Tesco Vegmas feast in collaboration with BOSH! that will take place the 4th of December in London. All proceeds from ticket sales will go charity partners of Tesco.

Bread sauce

Whether you love it or hate it, it’s not a British Christmas without a creamy bread sauce to drizzle on the main (and everything else). Good news, though, because now you can make it vegan… and gluten-free!

What you’ll need

  • 1 litre (1 3/4pts) unsweetened soya milk
  • 1 onion
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 225g (7 1/2oz) gluten-free white bread, cut into cubes, preferably stale
  • nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 1 tbsp soya vegan spread

What to do

Place the milk in a pan. Stud the onion with the cloves and place in the pan. Add the peppercorns, garlic, bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Bring the mixture to just a boil. Switch off the heat and allow to stand for at least 30 mins. Strain the milk and discard the herbs and onion.

Place the milk in a pan. Add the bread and heat gently stirring for 3-4 mins until the mixture has thickened.

Just before serving the bread sauce, add the vegan spread to the saucepan and stir until it has melted. Season to taste. Grate over nutmeg to serve.

Recipe and picture courtesy of Tesco Ireland. 

Yorkshire puddings

If you are making a roast – either with seitan, nuts or a regular turkey – the dish is not going to be completed without a fluffy Yorkshire pudding on the plate. It’s time to turn on the oven and get ready to bake. 

What you’ll need

  • 225g self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 300ml soya milk
  • 100ml warm water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 12 tsp vegetable oil

What to do

Preheat the oven to gas 7, 220°C, fan 200°C. In a large jug, whisk the flour, baking powder, soya milk, water and salt together, until you have a smooth batter without any lumps. Set aside to rest at room temperature for 10 mins.

Meanwhile, add a tsp of oil to each hole of a 12-hole muffin tin. Put the tin in the oven and allow the oil to heat up for 5 mins.

Remove the tin from the oven and carefully pour the batter into the holes. Bake in the oven for 25 mins, until golden and risen.

Recipe and picture courtesy of Tesco Ireland. 

Christmas pudding

This vegan version of the Christmas pudding takes a couple of days to prep, just like the regular one. But it’s well worth it: honestly, if you are trying to find a way to surprise your guests, this is definitely the way. 

What you’ll need

  • Mixing bowl
  • Pudding Basin(10cm to 16cm wide is fine)
  • Ingredients:
  • 1kg dried mixed fruit
  • 100g walnuts, chopped
  • 100g pecans, chopped
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 250ml rum or whisky (replace with orange juice if you want to go non-alcoholic)
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 2tbsp mixed spice
  • Vegan custard to serve

What to do

One day before, place all the dried fruit, nuts and booze in the mixing bowl and mix together well. Cover with clean tea-towel and let soak in the fridge for at least 8 hours or ideally overnight.

On the day, preheat oven to 150 c/ gas mark 2. Add the flour and mixed spices to the soaked dried fruit and stir well until everything is mixed together. Lightly grease the pudding tin with vegan butter and tip the boozy fruit and flour mixture in. Bake for 1.5 hours to 2 hours but check after the 1 hour mark. Use a skewer to test. if the skewer comes out clean your pudding is ready. If the pudding looks like it’s browning too much drape silver foil over the top to stop burning. Keep checking until ready. Tip putting out on a clean plate, dust with icing sugar and serve with vegan custard.

This recipe (and picture) is courtesy of Vegan Apron and is available to buy as a recipe kit at VeganApron.com.

Mince pies

It’s not Christmas without a delicious mince pie at the end of the meal or, in fact, all day long, before we even sit down at the dinner table. We asked Valentina, founder and head chef at Lele’s (a great vegan restaurant in East London), to share her incredible mince pie recipe with us. 

What you’ll need

For the mix:

  • 2 apples
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • The zest of a lemon
  • 100g cranberries
  • 100g raisins
  • One jar of black cherries in Kirsch (390g)
  • 100g of pumpkin seeds
  • 50g of hazelnuts, roasted and roughly chopped
  • 80g of walnuts roasted and roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, ginger and cardamom powder,
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • 100g brown sugar

For the pastry:

  • 380g of all purpose flour
  • 180g of margarine - room temperature
  • 20g icing sugar plus a little bit more for dusting
  • 30-50ml of non-dairy milk for brushing
  • 2tbsp of water

What to do

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees. In a frying pan toast the pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts and walnuts (without using any oil) over medium heat. Then add a teaspoon of cinnamon and maple syrup, toss the nuts to make sure they are toasted on all sides - it should take around 3 to 5 minutes to do this.

In a deep roasting tray, mix together the following: apples, orange juice and its zest, lemon zest, pumpkin seeds, hazelnut, walnuts, salt, nutmeg, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom powder. Cover with foil and place in the oven for about 40 minutes. You can switch it off once the sugar has melted and the juice has reduced.

In a large bowl mix the flour, a pinch of salt and the margarine with your fingers - you want to get a nice crumbly texture - then add sugar and the water, and a sprinkle of lemon zest before kneading the dough on a flat surface (dusted with some flour) and patting it down into a disc. Wrap the dough with cling film and let it rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Take the dough and cut off one third of the pastry then roll it out on a clean surface (dusted with flour) - roll out to a thickness of about 0.7mm. With a cookie cutter (I use a 9cm cutter), cut out 24 shapes and then line the pastry in two 12-hole cupcake tins. Make sure you grease and dust with flour your cupcake tins first. Add about one spoon of the roasted fruit and nut mixture in each circle. Roll out the pastry you have set aside to a tackiness of about 0.5mm then with a star cutter cut 24 stars to place on your pies - push them gently on top of the mixture, then use the milk to brush them gently.

Bake at 160 degrees for 25 minutes. They need to be golden and crispy. Dust with icing sugar before serving. Lele’s trick: we mix our icing sugar with a pinch of cinnamon.

This recipe is courtesy of Lele’s.  

Gingerbread cake with coconut maple glaze 

Everybody likes it and everybody will want it. Get ready to leave your guests stunned thanks to this delicious gingerbread cakes. 

This recipes makes 6 cakes.

What you’ll need

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp ground ginger powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • A pinch of salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 10 Medjool Dates, chopped and soaked overnight in ¼ cup almond milk
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 chia eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200 gr soya yogurt
  • ¼ cup almond milk

For the glaze:

  • ½ cup pureed coconut cream
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

What to do

Preheat the oven at 180 C and grease well either a loaf pan, an 8-inch (20 cm) round pan, 12-cup muffin tin or 6 mini Bundt pan. Mix all the dry ingredients together and keep aside.

In a blender or food processor, blend the soaked dates along with the soaking liquid.

Once the date puree is smooth, add the rest of the wet ingredients and blend into a smooth batter. Add the wet batter into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not overmix.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes (for loaf pan), 35 to 40 minutes (for 8 inch round cake tin), 20 to 22 minutes for muffin tins, 25 to 30 minutes for mini Bundt cakes, or until a toothpick or a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes, comes out clean.

Cool the cake completely over a wire rack. Meanwhile make the glaze. Whisk the coconut cream with maple syrup until combined. Store in the refrigerator until it’s time to use it. Drizzle the glaze all over the cooled cake and serve immediately.

Recipe and photography by Hedi Fountain.

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Alessia Armenise

Alessia Armenise is picture editor of Stylist and Stylist.co.uk. In her free time you'll find her tasting vegan street food around east London and sharing her (many) opinions on London Fields Radio.

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