The number of people following a plant based diet has continued to grow steadily throughout 2020 and with the festive season just around the corner we asked our Vegan Nutritional Therapist, Emily Lamont, to share her ideas and recipes for the perfect vegan Christmas.
Are you looking for some vegan inspiration for the main event at your Christmas meal?
This year, supermarkets have dramatically increased their vegan festive range which is really encouraging and reflects the growth in that the number of people turning vegan or at least wanting to add vegan options into their diet. A ready-made alternative certainly makes it much easier, especially when your friends or family are feeding you and you don’t want to add to their to-do list! However, money is particularly tight for many this year and cooking from scratch is usually much cheaper, plus if you’re anything like me, much of the joy of Christmas is the home cooked fare made with love – and in 2020 especially, I think love is the essential ingredient!
It’s easy to ensure that most of the vegetable sides on the festive plate are vegan – just use olive oil instead of animal fats for roast potatoes, parsnips and the like. From a nutritional point of view, it is better to steam the rest of the vegetables to preserve their nutrients, and you can stir Naturli Organic Vegan Block through greens for a vegan buttered alternative.
Brussel Sprouts are key to the Christmas meal – they belong to the Brassica family and offer important support for our gut, liver and immune system – which traditionally takes quite a battering this time of year! I’m tempted to try the classic side of Brussels, chestnuts and bacon using “This Isn’t Bacon Rashers”. I am quite cautious with meat alternatives because, from a health point of view, you need to be careful what has been added (or removed!) to turn a plant into something that has the taste and texture of meat. This product is not too bad from that perspective and as it’s part of a side, you wouldn’t be having much of it anyway.
It is essential for people following a plant-based diet to obtain adequate protein, and so below I share my two favourite roast dinner meat alternatives. The first is a lentil and chestnut roast; despite being quick and simple to make, it’s flavoursome, moist and satisfying AND non-vegans could enjoy this as a stuffing too.
If you don’t tolerate pulses and beans well and want more of a wow-factor centrepiece then try the Butternut Squash Wellington. I have to follow a gluten free diet, so I make my own vegan sausage mix and if you contact me I am happy to share my recipe for this with you.
No roast is complete without gravy and the secret is using a good stock. To simplify life, I use Kallo organic vegetable stock and intensify the flavour with red wine, balsamic, tamari soy sauce and a smidgen of pomegranate molasses or date syrup. Dried porchini mushrooms (or the powder) can help give gravy a rich depth of flavour.
Christmas Pudding is one of the easiest desserts to convert to vegan and no-one need know! Ground flax with water/plant milk can be used to make an egg substitute (Google for recipe) and vegan suet is readily available on the internet. Last year I used these to convert an old favourite recipe and it was delicious. I have mine with dairy free oat cream, but there are plenty of vegan options available in the shops which aren’t necessarily nutritionist approved all year round, but hey, it’s Christmas!
If you need help making a vegan or free-from alternative to an old festive favourite, or if you have any questions please get in touch. You can find me on Facebook (EMpoweredhealth) or Instagram (Em.Powered.Health) or email: email@example.com or visit http://seedwellness.co.uk/what-we-offer/nutritional-therapy/
I am a BANT and CNHC Registered Nutritional Therapist and ILM accredited Wellbeing Coach. My special interests are vegan nutrition and helping my clients with realistic weight loss which is both sustainable and enjoyable.
Lentil & Chestnut Roast
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 medium portobello mushrooms, finely chopped
1 medium carrot grated
1 packet Merchant Gourmet chestnuts, finely chopped (or 400g can of any beans eg kidney, drained)
400 g tin of cooked puy lentils, rinsed
1 tbsp gluten-free tamari soy sauce
2 tbsp mixed dried herbs
4 tbsp nutritional yeast
Black pepper, to taste
65 g rolled oats, (gluten-free, if needed)
Butternut Squash Wellington (recipe from Indigo Greens)
1 medium butternut squash
150 g vegan sausage mix
105 ml water
9 sprigs thyme
50 g cranberries
40 g dried onions
0.25 teaspoon nutmeg
0.50 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon fresh sage (finely chopped)
200 g toasted almond flakes
0.50 tsp chili flakes
3 tablespoon tablespoon garlic (grated
1 small orange (zested)
0.50 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
200 g kale
salt and pepper
1 garlic head