If Raveena Taurani were to host a 4-course Christmas dinner at Yogisattva, a culinary academy with a farm-to-fork café, the menu would not be an average one. Christmas staples such as the Pork Vindaloo, Dukryache Maas, Duck Moilee, Mince Pie and Duck Roast would go off the radar, and instead organic and vegan would make a debut. Yogisattva is Taurani’s initiative to promote organic plant-based vegan lifestyle and her Christmas spread would include Gingerbread-spiced Cakes, Cranberry Cookies, plum-based desserts and eggnog!
If you’re looking for vegan options for your Christmas meal, LF has you sorted.
Vegan Christmas Drinks:
At your Christmas do, before you pour yourself and your vegan guests a glass of vino or bubbly, think twice: not all wines are vegan, despite being made of fermented grapes. Animal products such as “blood and bone marrow, casein (milk protein), chitin (fibre from crustacean shells), egg albumen (derived from egg whites), fish oil, gelatin (protein from boiling animal parts), and isinglass (gelatin from fish bladder membranes),” tend to find their way into wines right before the bottling process, according to PETA.
You can always opt for spirits such as bourbon, whiskey, vodka, gin, and rum are good to go. If you’re after something a bit more Christmassy and homemade, this Vegan Eggnog recipe by Taurani is the answer to your prayers:
400 ml coconut milk
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup water
3 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Since Taurani prefers having the eggnog chilled, she recommends refrigerating it for at least 1 to 2 hours.
Now that you’ve got your festive spirit high (literally), snacks and mains are the way to go
Vegan Christmas Sides:
Wondering how do you put together the best vegan Christmas lunch or dinner? You start by creating what you would normally make, but veganise it. PETA suggests getting the help of vegetable stock, vegan margarine, and unsweetened soy milk for stuffing and mashed potatoes with gravy.
In bread and savoury dishes, use can use egg substitutes and in sweet baked goods, apple sauce or bananas, suggests PETA’s official website. Some sides to consider: roasted seasonal vegetables such as mushrooms, beets, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and such.
For bite-sized dishes, this faux smoked salmon with cream cheese recipe, sprout canapes and roasted sweet potato tart could work well. This raw jackfruit curry and mushroom gravy comes highly recommended.
Vegan Christmas Roasts
A roast is like the crown jewel of the Christmas dinner table. Even the folks at Yogisattva couldn’t resist. They came up with a nut roast with sweet potato mash and cranberry chutney for their Christmas menu. If you're willing to give the humble jackfruit or soya a fair chance, you could follow your family’s very own guarded Christmas recipe.
If you’re open to experimentation, you could give the British chef, TV host and cookbook author Jamie Oliver’s Vegan Nut Roast recipe a try. Full of festive flavours the chef’s vegan recipe features vegan faves such as tofu, avocado, mushrooms and even spinach and sweet potato.
Vegan Christmas Mains
If you want to remain as close to the meaty traditions as possible then simply start by substituting the meat with vegan alternatives such as soya, mushroom and tofu in classics such as chicken xacuti, pork vindaloo, sorpotel, and such. If you’re open to branching out and embrace the power of veg, check out this Mushroom Wellington recipe from The Big Bosh! Roast chapter is a good start:
7 garlic cloves
5 sprigs fresh rosemary
6 sprigs fresh thyme
4 portobello mushrooms (about 160g)
1 tsp + 1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt, plus a little extra
2 tsp black pepper, plus a little extra
1 large red onion
2 tsp light brown sugar
300 gms chestnut mushrooms
125 ml white wine
200 gms vacuum-packed chestnuts
250 gms pecans
2 slices seeded bread (about 80g)
2 sheets ready-rolled dairy-free shortcrust pastry
4 tbsp plant-based milk
1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper. Place a large frying pan on medium heat.
2. Peel and mince 4 of the garlic cloves using a sharp knife. Remove the leaves from 4 rosemary and 4 thyme sprigs and then finely chop.
3. Lay the portobello mushrooms on one of the lined baking trays with the stems pointing up. Drizzle 1 teaspoon oil over the gills of each mushroom and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Divide the chopped rosemary, thyme and garlic between the mushrooms. Put the tray in the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.
4. Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the red onion. Add the tablespoon of oil to the frying pan. Add the red onion to the pan and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until softened.
5. While the onions are cooking, peel and finely chop the remaining 3 garlic cloves. Remove the leaves from the remaining rosemary and thyme sprigs and finely chop. Measure 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon of the pepper and the sugar into a small bowl. Add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper and sugar into the pan and stir everything round for 1 minute.
6. Put the chestnut mushrooms into the food processor and whizz until very finely chopped. Tip them into the pan, increase the heat to high and cook until softened and all the liquid has evaporated, about 5-7 minutes.
7. Pour the white wine into the pan and stir it around for about 3 minutes, or until almost all the liquid has cooked off. Tip the mixture into a large mixing bowl and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
8. Put the chestnuts, pecans and bread into the food processor and whizz until they resemble breadcrumbs (you may need to do this in batches). Add to the bowl with the onions. Using a wooden spoon, thoroughly stir everything together until you have a thick dough-like mixture.
9. Lay 1 pastry sheet on the other lined baking tray. Spread half the chestnut mixture lengthways down the middle of the pastry sheet. Use your hands to mold it into a rectangle shape with a flat top, leaving at least a 3cm gap on all four sides. This shape will dictate the shape of the Wellington so make sure it's nice and straight and level on top.
10. Place the 4 cooked portobello mushrooms neatly on top of the chestnut mixture, stems facing up, making sure the sides of the mushrooms don't hang off the edges. Layer the rest of the chestnut mixture over the top, encasing the mushrooms. Smooth and shape into a neat, long, rectangular mound.
11. Using a pastry brush or your finger, brush a little of the plant-based milk around the exposed pastry edge. Lay the second pastry sheet over the mushroom filling and press it all down well, ensuring there are no air bubbles. Seal the edges by pushing down all the way round the filling with your fingers. Trim any excess pastry from the edges, making sure you leave a 1½cm crust around the base of the Wellington. Set the excess pastry aside for later. Use a fork to crimp all around the edges of the pastry to firmly seal the Wellington and to make it look nice.
12. Roll out the excess pastry if necessary and use a pastry cutter to cut out shapes. Brush the Wellington lightly with the plant-based milk and decorate the top with the pastry shapes. Brush the shapes with the plant-based milk. Pierce some air vents in the top of the Wellington with a fork or sharp knife.
13. Put the Wellington in the oven and bake it for 40 minutes, checking after 30 minutes (if it looks ready, remove it from the oven). Use a bread knife to carefully cut the Wellington into slices and serve.
Vegan Christmas Dessert
You have to have dessert whether or not you have room for it. If it’s your grandmother’s tried and tested pudding, fruitcake or plum cake recipe that you swear by, you could simply go about by replacing eggs with flax or chia eggs, butter with vegan butter or coconut oil and milk with almond or coconut milk, shares Taurani.
If these Christmas treats don’t impress you, try this chocolate vegan cake recipe, which promises to send you into a squidgy cocoa coma.
For the ice cream to go with your cake, this vegan ice cream making guide is at your rescue. In case your sweet tooth craves for desi
sweets, but the vegan in you doesn’t approve of it, here’s a whole guide on
making your own Vegan Indian desserts, perfect for sharing with your guests.