Catering for vegan guests at Christmas
Will you be having a vegan Christmas, or catering for vegan or vegetarian guests? It might seem a challenge if you’ve never cooked a vegan main dish before, but avoiding meat, fish, dairy and animal products isn’t that hard! Vegan Christmas meals can be absolutely delicious and packed full of festive flavour too. Find inspiration with these great recipe ideas.
What you need to avoid: meat (obviously), fish, eggs, dairy products including cheese, milk and yoghurt, honey or any other product derived from an animal. This includes common additives like gelatine (made from animal bones and tendons), and some e-numbers or colourings which can be made from insects. Check out the handy Vegan Society guide.
The main event
Meal inspiration – there are SO many amazing vegan recipes out there, give them a try! I couldn’t pick my favourite from some of these, and want to try them all, so dig in and let us know what your favourite was:
Mindful Chef – 7 Easy Tips for Vegan Friendly Christmas Dinner
BBC Good Food – Vegan Christmas recipe collection
Try some showstopper main meals like a traditional Vegan Nut Roast, Beetroot & Red Onion Tarte Tatin, or try a Sweet Potato Parcel or Beetroot & Squash Wellington.
Don’t forget about the gravy! Vegetable gravy powders are commonly available, and a tasty onion gravy is easy to knock up from scratch and suitable for everyone. Most vegetarian ones will be suitable for vegans but just keep an eye on ingredients to look for milk powder. If you do decide to make separate meat and veg gravy options, make sure to label them…
Sides and snacks
Christmas isn’t Christmas without all the snacks and side dishes we usually dig into, so don’t leave the vegans out. Most side dishes usually revolve around some kind of vegetable anyway, so it can be the easiest part of the cooking. If you’re a ‘must have sprouts’ person at Christmas you’ll love this delicious Sizzled Sprouts with Pistachio & Pomegranate, and everyone can enjoy tucking into Paprika Roast Potatoes, Roasted Harissa Whole Cauliflower or Vegan Yorkshire Puddings. The Festive Tray Bake from the Vegetarian Society can easily feed a crowd, just make sure you’re including vegan-friendly stuffing.
If you serve up starters before the Christmas main, try something like Roasted Garlic & Parsnip Soup, a festive winter warmer everyone will enjoy.
Remember to use olive oil or other plant oils, or non-dairy butter and milks when preparing any roast or mashed potatoes, vegetables, crackers or sides.
You can even get dairy-free cheeses for that traditional cheese platter!
Vegan Christmas puddings, cakes and treats are easily available from bakeries and stores these days, but you just have to be mindful of a few common ingredients like milk, eggs, honey and gelatine. Take inspiration from these amazing recipes! Whether you fancy a vegan trifle, a stunning Black Forest Cherry Cake, Chocolate Orange Mousse or moreish Mexican Hot Chocolate Sugar Cookies there’s something to finish off every Christmas feast.
Serve with some of our favourite vegan custard, or cream replacements like vegan squirty cream from Food Heaven or Schlagfix (we’ve taste tested both in the office, they’re great!), and we have a whole host of dairy free milks to try in your recipes or drinks. If you prefer a cooler dessert, vegan ice cream is easy to make!
It’s not Christmas without some vegan chocolate coins, great for after the meal.
Did you know beer, wine and even fizzy drinks aren’t always suitable for vegans? Alcohol can often be produced using isinglass, a fish bladder. And all that does is make the liquid clearer. Even my carnivore friends reacted with a resounding ‘ewww!’ when they found that out! Find out more about vegan drinks with the Vegan Food & Living guide, or look for vegan certified brands on the Vegan Society list.
If you’re partial to a festive hot chocolate (who isn’t?) avoid the marshmallows (which contain animal gelatine) or find vegan ones – we love our Freedom Confectionery mallows!