Christmas dinner ideas for vegans
'Tis the season, and while the majority of people are choosing between turkey and ham, the vegans of the world are wondering what they'll be eating for Christmas dinner.
Whether you're a vegan who's catering an all-vegan Christmas feast or looking for one or two dishes you can bring to a family member's house, we have some excellent ideas for you.
With a little planning and preparation, there's no reason why vegans can't eat, drink, and be merry alongside meat-eating friends and family members!
Just because vegans choose to abstain from animal products doesn't mean mock meats are off the menu. You can find an increasingly large number of commercial mock meats in supermarkets and health food stores, including faux ham and turkey. Be sure to check the ingredients, as not all of these are vegan (some contain egg or dairy products). If you're feeling adventurous, you could whip up your own seitan roast from vital wheat gluten.
You'll find plenty of recipes online, though some of the best require the use of an Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker. Seitan is a traditional mock meat that's been prevalent in Asia (though with different names) since the sixth century. You can blend the wheat gluten with other ingredients and seasonings to produce any meat-like textures and flavors of your choosing. Although it takes a bit of time and effort, a seitan roast is the perfect vegan Christmas main dish.
Whether mashed or roasted, potatoes often feature heavily on Christmas menus. While some people roast potatoes with meat or in animal fat, it's easy to roast them in olive oil or other vegetable oil. With a huge range of non-dairy milks and butters on the market, it couldn't be simpler to cook vegan mashed potato. Baked potatoes, scalloped potatoes, and potato gratin are other excellent options, as long as you switch out dairy products for non-dairy alternatives where necessary.
Other side dishes
A significant portion of Christmas dinner side dishes are already vegan, or could be with just a few tweaks. Leave the butter off steamed or boiled vegetables and everyone at your dinner table can enjoy them. Rather than roasting carrots and parsnips in honey, use maple syrup as a vegan alternative.
You'll find plenty of dinner rolls that are vegan, but watch out for recipes containing milk or egg. Cornbread often contains eggs and milk, though you can find vegan versions with a simple internet search. If you like to have a pasta dish on the Christmas table, use egg-free pasta (the vast majority of dry pasta is vegan) and stick to tomato-based sauces, and use vegan cheese or cashew cream.
While plenty of families go for a meat roast and all the trimmings, plenty more have different traditions. If your family originally hails from Central or South America, for instance, your Christmas food tradition might be steaming up a huge batch of tamales.
There's no reason why you can't put a vegan spin on your family's usual Christmas foods. Just make simple switches such as using mock meats in place of meats, vegan cheese and milk in place of dairy cheese and milk, and vegetable stock in place of meat stock.
Let's not forget the most important part of any meal--dessert! While shops are stocking more vegan options, desserts are still somewhat rare, so you may need to put on your apron and whip out the measuring cups for this one. What's great about vegan desserts is they can be every bit as indulgent as non-vegan options and will fool even dedicated omnivores, as long as you choose the right recipe.
Unless you have any other dietary requirements, avoid gluten-free, refined sugar-free, low-fat vegan dessert recipes--it is Christmas, after all. You can bake a vegan version of almost any dessert from cheesecake to pavlova, but we'd recommend looking for a specific vegan recipe (rather than veganizing an egg- and dairy-laden recipe) unless you have loads of experience making these kinds of substitutions.
You might want to think about what types of Christmas drinks--both alcoholic and non-alcoholic--you could enjoy. Eggnog is a festive favorite, but the clue's in the name. Not only does it traditionally contain whipped egg whites, it's also filled with milk or cream, so definitely not vegan. You can, however, buy commercial vegan eggnog, and add the booze yourself. If you're the designated driver, hot spiced apple cider is a Christmas classic and naturally vegan, too.
Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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