Love it or hate it, it’s almost here again and, although it can be a bit of a tough time if you’re the only vegan in an unsympathetic family, it doesn’t mean going without. Nor, if you’re worried about it, does it mean causing too much disruption.
If you have space in the kitchen, and the inclination, there are an infinite number of possibilities for your main course on Christmas Day. Nut roast has become the ‘traditional’ vegetarian option, and there are hundreds of different recipes of varying complexity. Some can be very quick and easy, as long as you have a mixer to grind the nuts. But nut roast needn’t be compulsory, (unlike turkey, which appears to be so for meat eaters) – you’ll find countless recipe ideas online.
If you can’t be bothered with cooking and like convenience foods that imitate meat, you could always purchase a Vbites Celebration Roast. It’s a ‘turkey-style’ roast that comes with four veggie sausages, each wrapped in a rasher of veggie bacon and a gravy mix. You just bung it in the oven for approximately 40 minutes. It would probably serve two. Vegusto also sell a range of delicious festive roasts, available through their website.
All the vegetables and accompaniments can easily be made vegan with a little thought. Bisto’s original gravy, as well as its vegetable one, is suitable for vegans, as are many other brands. And you’ll find that lots of packet mixes for stuffing are also vegan. The biggest problem may be ensuring that the rest of the family desists from the common habit of roasting the spuds in the meat fat.
Buying Christmas puddings isn’t usually a problem, though this year, provisional investigation indicates that the choice is slightly more limited than has recently been the case. Tesco Everyday Value Christmas Pudding With Cider is definitely OK, and both Lidl and Co-op puds appear to be suitable, apart from a question mark over the tiny quantity of sherry. (Some beers, wines and ports have been fined with fish swim bladders (isinglass), egg whites, whey or gelatin. Fining is a process to makes the drink clear. To carry out the same process, vegan drinks can be fined with special clay or allowed to settle naturally). However, Animal Aid is selling a vegan plum pudding this year, so visit our online shop to order yours!
Asda Smart Price Mince Pies and Lidl Deep Filled Mince Pies are both fine for vegans, as are Aldi Everyday Essentials Mince Pies. If you want to bake your own, most mincemeat is now 100% animal-free, as is JusRol pastry. (Other, though not all, ready-made pastry brands are also suitable for vegans.)
Christmas cakes are more of a problem. You’ll have to make your own (there are loads of recipes on the internet) or buy one from a specialist mail order company such as Vegan Cake Direct. Order early to avoid disappointment.
Other supermarkets may also have suitable vegan festive foods, especially in the ‘Free From’ section, but although I started with the best intentions of checking them all, I do hate shopping and was losing the will to live after visiting three!
Happy Christmas everybody!