As my brother once said, Christmas dinner is the ‘best meal of the year’, but for new vegans it can be a daunting prospect. Questions like ‘what can I have instead of turkey?’ and ‘where can I find a dairy-free Christmas pudding?’ immediately spring to mind. But having a cruelty-free Christmas needn’t be a massive hassle.
If you’re confident in the kitchen, there are all sorts of things you can whip up as a centrepiece for your Christmas lunch in place of turkey. Nut roast is the traditional veggie option, of course, and you can find countless recipes on the internet for versions with various ingredients and levels of complexity. If you can’t be bothered to make your own – and let’s face it, there’s enough to do on Christmas Day – Tesco and Morrisons are both selling a nut roast that is suitable for vegans this year, and you should be able to find the VBites’ Seed Roast in most health food shops. Another great option is to go for something wrapped in pastry. This lentil and spinach roulade has been a favourite in our house for years, and this mushroom and chestnut wellington is a good bet.
If you prefer something that’s a bit more ‘meaty’, there are options for you too. VBites produces a mock-turkey Celebration Roast that includes gravy and vegan sausages wrapped in faux bacon, which can be found in most health food shops. Simply stick it in the oven for 40 minutes and it’s done. Something that has been a hit in the US for years and has recently arrived in the UK is the Tofurkey Roast, which comes with a stuffing centre and herb gravy. It’s still a little hard to come by, but you can order it online from Planet Organic or Natural Grocery. Another company to check out is Vegusto, who offer a selection of different readymade roasts on their website, and Fry’s produce a Soy and Quinoa Contry Roast that can be found in the freezer section of most good health food shops and comes in its own foil try for easy cooking.
It’s pretty easy to make sure most of the traditional veg are vegan-friendly, just make sure to use dairy-free margarine instead of butter, if that’s what you like, and ensure that the roast potatoes are cooked in vegetable oil rather than goose fat. If honey-roasted parsnips are your thing, why not use maple syrup instead? And if you like Yorkshire puddings, you could give this recipe a go.
If you’re not completely stuffed after all that, you’ll be glad to hear that most of the major supermarkets are selling vegan-friendly Christmas puddings this year. At Sainsbury’s, the 6 month matured and Be good to yourself puds are both fine, and the M&S Classis recipe Christmas pudding is vegan-friendly too. At Morrisons there are three suitable puddings; rich fruit, nut and alcohol free, and the ‘Nu Me’ one. The 12 month matured Christmas pudding and Classic fruity Christmas pudding at Iceland are both animal-free, as are the Co-op Christmas pudding, and the Asda Free from Christmas pudding.
Mince pies aren’t quite so readily available, but there are still a few about. The Co-op has come to the rescue with its Puff pastry mince pies, and at Iceland the ‘We love cake’ gluten-free mince pies are fine too. Lidl’s Favorina mince pies are vegan and come in a massive box of 12, in case you have a big family. The Morrisons ones are also vegan-friendly, not to mention Sainsbury’s Free from mince pies and the Waitrose essential ones.
Fancy some custard with that? You can find cartons of delicious Alpro custard in most major supermarkets (even my non-vegan family members love it), or if you prefer ice cream, Swedish Glace is a good bet and widely available.