Vegan food

My Very Easy Vegan Christmas Feast – (Yes it includes Protein)

With more people turning to meat free and vegan diets Christmas dinners have seen a change from the traditional Turkey and ham. Chick peas, aubergines & tofu are now staples on many dinner tables across the country. To eat a vegan diet isn’t actually all that complicated, as many seem to think it is. You can still get all the proteins you need in your diet with out having to eat animals and animal products. Below are my top recipes for you to enjoy a delicious vegan Christmas feast.

Alcohol is one thing we often forget to think of when it comes to animal by-products. O’Briens are super helpful in pointing you in the right direction and Marks and Spencers have vegan wine clearly labeled. Good news for those who like a guinness with their mince pie as it’s now suitable for Vegans!

Starter

To start I like to keep it simple with soup. Everyone can eat it and it can be made ahead of time, taking some of the cooking pressure of you.  My favourite is this apple and parsnip soup. It’s not too heavy and a great way to start he meal. 

Ingredients:

  • 50g/2oz vegan margarine like Pure brand
  • 5 parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 large Bramley apple, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 litre veg stock (eg Marigold Bouillon – red or purple tubs; Green Oxo; Kallo vegan. Always check the ingredients as those from lidl are not suitable for vegans)
  • 600ml soya milk

Method:

  1. Melt margarine in a pan, add parsnips and apple and cook for 5-10 mins.
  2. Add stock and simmer for 20 mins until parsnips are cooked.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  4. Add the soya milk and blend until smooth. If the taste is too sharp with a cooking apple, add an eating apple such as a Cox.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with some nice crusty fresh bread.

Yep it’s that simple!

Mains

Your main course doesn’t need to be complicated. All your sides, veg, potatoes, stuffing etc can be prepared vegan, if you are willing to forgo animal products. Switch Animal fat for oil. Butter, milk or cream can be swapped for Vegan friendly versions like vegan marge, soy milk or soy cream. All of these are easily found in Tesco, Dunnes, Supervalu. Bisto original and Vegetable gravy is suitable for vegans too.

A quick google for vegan Christmas recipes will throw up a plethora of ideas, from the good old reliable nut roast to Brussel sprout pad thai!  Last year I made this Aubergine Tomato and pine nut Roll and it was so tasty i’m going to make it again.

Ingredients:

Outside layer

  • 2 blocks shortcrust pastry (you will have some left over)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Sesame seeds to sprinkle

Filling

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 350g aubergines, finely chopped
  • 175g tomatoes, skinned and chopped (put in a bowl, pour a kettle of boiling water over them then count slowly to ten! Remove them carefully from the hot water – the skins should then come off very quickly. I made the mistake of using a tin of peeled tomatoes last year and it was a but watery!)
  • 1 dsp tomato purée
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • Black pepper
  • 50g/2oz pine kernels  chopped roughly

Method:

  1. Heat oil for filling and gently fry aubergine, onion and garlic for 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
  2. Preheat oven to 180Cº/350Fº/Gas Mark 4.
  3. Add chopped tomato, tomato purée, oregano and basil to the aubergine mixture and season with black pepper. Stir well and simmer for 5 minutes until tomatoes become pulpy and mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in pine kernels.
  4. Place the mixture onto the centre of a sheet of shortcrust pastry (laid out on a baking tray).
  5. Carefully lay the second sheet of shortcrust pastry over the top and push down with your fingers. Cut off the edges of the pastry with a pizza cutter (or a very sharp knife) & remove the excess (use this to cut of shapes to decorate the top).
  6. Seal the edges with a fork – take care here, make it look good! Decorate the top with shapes you cut out of the spare pastry & fork in air holes.
  7. Transfer the roll onto an oiled baking sheet, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake in oven at for about 25 minutes until golden brown.

Dessert

I am not going to lie to you, I  won’t be making a dessert this year as I have already ordered a vegan salted caramel tart from the Maritime cafe in Dun Laoghaire. If I was going to make something though, I would whip up these delicious Vegan Brownies which can be served with some dairy free ice cream . You can pick up chocolate or coconut dairy free ice cream from Aldi. Ben and Jerry’s now have 3 dairy free flavours if you are looking for something a bit more luxurious. If you are looking for something a little more traditional you can get vegan mince pies from Foods of Athenry. However if you are on a cooking roll and fancy whipping up a storm then try out the brownie recipe below. 

Ingredients:

  • 5 tbsp coconut oil
  • 200g vegan dark chocolate
  • 170g self-raising flour
  • 180g golden caster sugar
  • 3 heaped teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 230ml unsweetened soya milk
  • 200g pecan nuts
  • Large pinch of sea salt

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4.
  2. Grease a square baking tray (20cm) with a little coconut oil and line with greaseproof paper.
  3. Melt ¾ of the dark chocolate in a microwave or in a dish over a pot of boiling water.
  4. Sieve the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl.
  5. Add the caster sugar, sea salt and cocoa powder.
  6. Halve the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds.
  7. Add the seeds, soya milk, coconut oil and melted chocolate and stir until you reach an even consistency.
  8. Chop the pecan nuts and rest of the dark chocolate and add to the mixture.
  9. Spread the mixture evenly onto your baking tray.
  10. Cook in the oven for 25 minutes.
  11. Allow to cool for a few minutes
  12. Serve with vegan vanilla ice cream and berries.

Good to also note that Baileys have a an almond milk version too, so you can enjoy a vegan tipple with your dessert.

So there you have it, a Vegan christmas made easy and if you have any left over mince pies, send them my way!

If you would like to know more about Jess you can follow her profile and social media here

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