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7 easy tips for a vegan-friendly Christmas dinner

7 easy tips for a vegan-friendly Christmas dinner

Recently, The Healthy Food Guide reached out to our head chef Louisa for advice catering for plant-based eaters this Christmas. With turkey typically taking centre stage, and so many other dishes to think about, veggie options can sometimes seem like, well, an afterthought. But there’s no reason for plant-based options to come second. Often, our

Recently, The Healthy Food Guide reached out to our head chef Louisa for advice catering for plant-based eaters this Christmas.

With turkey typically taking centre stage, and so many other dishes to think about, veggie options can sometimes seem like, well, an afterthought. But there’s no reason for plant-based options to come second. Often, our favourite holiday dishes can be made vegan, even creamy sides and indulgent puds. We’ve got a delicious recipe for an updated nut roast and some other ideas for mains, so keep reading for Louisa’s favourite tricks and tips.

Tip 1: UPDATE THE VEGGIE MAIN

Take your nut roast up a level with our sugar-free homemade cranberry sauce. Here’s a recipe for both. Or think beyond the traditional nut roast, to more adventurous options like this show-stopping whole roasted harissa cauliflower. You can actually buy a readymade version from the supermarket but it’s super easy to make yourself and will taste fresher and more festive. It makes a dramatic addition to the table and is fun to carve for guests.

Mindful Chef whole roasted harissa cauliflower

Tip 2: MAKING A MEATY MEATLESS GRAVY

Many vegan ingredients activate our umami receptors and give us a sensation of meatiness or cheesiness while being entirely vegan (mushrooms are a great example of this). If you add some umami-rich ingredients such as miso paste, tamarind or black garlic to sauces and gravies, they will taste as luxurious and filling as a meat-based gravy, but without any of the animal products. For extra richness, stir in a bit of plant-based milk or cream at the end. Be sure to add a little at a time though, these ingredients pack a flavourful punch! 

Tip 3: DON’T FORGET ABOUT PROTEIN

A carb-heavy vegan Christmas dinner is sure to feel unsatisfying, so it’s important to ensure you include enough protein in your dishes. Thankfully many festive ingredients, such as nuts, pulses, seeds and chestnuts, contain important proteins and fats. A small handful will do, and add a rich, toasted flavour to recipes. Unless you’re ready for sore fingers and lots of peeling, be sure to buy chestnuts in ready-prepared pouches – we like the ones from Merchant Gourmet.

Everyone can enjoy a vegan stuffing, provided it’s delicious: we recommend this chestnut, mushroom and caramelised onion stuffing: mix roughly chopped chestnuts, ready-to-eat lentils, sautéed chopped mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and onions slowly cooked with balsamic vinegar. Blitz together with some herbs and serve as small stuffing balls baked alongside your roasted veg.

Tip 4:  SENSIBLE SWAPS FOR DAIRY

 Dairy-free butters are really good these days and work very well in most recipes, from gravies to crumbles. They even create a flakier, nicer shortcrust pastry than butter! For potato gratins, coconut oil has a high burn point and ensures a crispy, delectable finish. For pouring, plant-based custards are available in shops – we love Alpro and Oatly. And for extra kudos, try this recipe for vegan coconut whipped cream.

Tip 5: CREAMY SAUCES AND PUDS

Do cauliflower cheese, dauphinoise potatoes, or custard feature on your menu? You can create a creamy béchamel sauce with dairy-free butter and almond, soya or oat milk. Just make sure to buy unsweetened! Add a pinch – or ten – of nutritional yeast flakes for a cheesy flavour.

You can often substitute the creamy texture of dairy for nuts. If you’ve got a bit of extra time, a delicious and satisfying nut cream will earn you some serious appreciation from dinner guests.

Mindful Chef chocolate avocado mousse

Tip 6: A LIGHT-AS-AIR, VEGAN CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

What contains healthy fats and an indulgent, creamy texture? Avocados, of course! Actually a fruit, you can use a ripe avocado instead of double cream for a moreish chocolate mousse. Try our recipe for silky smooth chocolate avocado pots that are extra creamy, with added coconut milk.

Tip 7: VEGAN-FRIENDLY LEFTOVERS, FROM BRUNCH TO BOXING DAY

Make filling sweet potato röstis topped with avocado and tomato salsa to get your brunch off to a tasty start. Fresh ginger gives these sweet potato röstis a zingy kick.

For the classic boxing day curry, chop up your leftover sprouts and veg and stir-fry with crushed garlic, grated fresh ginger, garam masala and finely chopped chilli to taste. Stir in a can of coconut milk and the juice of 1/2 lime, and you’re done!

Mindful Chef sweet potato röstis

Looking for healthy vegan recipes to kick start your new year? Get £20 off Mindful Chef – split across your first two recipe boxes – by entering code BLOG20 at checkout.

Mindful Chef recipe boxes provide you with the tools to cook delicious nutritious meals, in under 30 minutes. Each box contains recipe cards and quality pre-portioned ingredients from small award-winning British farms. 



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