HOW TO: HAVE A VERY MERRY VEGAN CHRISTMAS

19.12.2018

 

The big day is almost here, and if you're anything like us, you're not even remotely ready for it! We love this time of year; the celebrations, cosy family get-togethers and merry festivities with friends are, for us, what Christmas is all about. However, this time of year doesn't go past smoothly without a few stresses! There's always so much to organise and prepare for, and if you're vegan, it can sometimes seem just that little bit harder. My first Christmas as a vegan was tricky, I was certain I was going to be missing out on all those yummy festive traditions I knew and loved. What would I have for breakfast on Christmas morning whilst my family tucked into cream cheese and smoked salmon croissants?! What would I be getting in the bottom of my stocking instead of the classic Terry's Chocolate Orange?! I always knew that things would be different and that we'd be creating some new traditions, but I was also completely unaware of how little things had to change. In the Christmases since going vegan, I've enjoyed yummy mince pies, mulled wine, bucks fizz, Christmas pudding, chocolate Santas, advent calendars, delicious Christmas dinners with all the trimmings, cheese boards with crackers and chutneys, and even vegan cream cheese croissants on Christmas morning!

 

If you're feeling a little overwhelmed with the Christmas madness and need some inspiration, then look no further! We've gathered all our info and top tips on how to have a vegan Christmas. You'll find everything you need to know on what to eat on Christmas day, what vegan-friendly gifts to buy your loved ones, what festive food to take to that Christmas party or just what yummy Christmassy treats you can enjoy at this time of year.

 

 

CHRISTMAS DAY

 

   Breakfast:

This is the main event, the day we're all counting down to and preparing for, so getting the food right is pretty important. After opening your stocking from Santa most people tend to sit down to a special family breakfast. In our house, we always have croissants with cream cheese, some fresh fruit and a glass of bucks fizz. Croissants with cream cheese is a super quick and easy breakfast to make, which is perfect for us as we'll be doing lots of cooking later in the day. As a vegan alternative, we have jus rol croissants and either Tesco or Sainsbury's dairy free soft cheese with some cucumber slices and ground black pepper. It feels decadent enough for a special occasion without being too heavy or filling, perfect to start off your Christmas day in style.

 

 

If croissants aren't really your thing (although who am I kidding, everyone loves croissants) then there are plenty of other options for your Christmas morning breakfast. How about something a little healthier like a warming bowl of pumpkin pecan pie porridge with fresh berries ? Or perhaps some delicious french toast or banana pancakes sound more tempting? Anyone of these options would make for a very special breakfast to share with your family.

 

    Lunch:

The Christmas roast dinner really is the pinnacle of all things foodie in the festive season, so you've gotta get it right! To nut roast or not to nut roast is the question. I love a nut roast as much as the next vegan, but sometimes you want to mix things up a little and go for something a bit more exciting, like a Wellington or a pie. Here are some of the best vegan supermarket centrepieces for your Christmas dinner:

 

- Waitrose Beet Wellington, £6.99

- Waitrose Christmas Nut Roast, £5.00

- Tesco Winter Vegetable Galette With Red Cabbage, £4.00

- Tesco Finest Cauliflower Wellington, £6.00

- Tesco Finest Stuffed Half Butternut Squash, £9.00

- Sainsbury's Three Nut & Mushroom Roast, £5.00

- Asda Extra Special Mushroom & Spinach Puff Pastry Parcels, £2.50

- Asda Extra Special Beetroot & Spinach Melts, £2.00- Asda Extra Special Mushroom & Lentil Nut Roasts With Caramalised Onion Melt, £2.50

 

Of course, if you're feeling extra fancy and have the time to make your centre-piece from scratch, then there are loads of amazing recipes online. We love Jamie Oliver for vegan recipes, he has a delicious sounding tart, nut roast and whole baked cauliflower which would be perfect for the main event. Some other great options can be found on these websites:

- Bosh

- BBC Good Food

 

 

    Sides & Desserts:

There are also plenty of vegan alternatives for all your sides and desserts. We love Jamie Oliver's recipe for perfect roast potatoes with rosemary, garlic and clementine peel. Swap out the traditional goose fat for olive oil or dairy free butter and I promise you won't even taste the difference. Many of the other vegetable side dishes can be made the same as always such as the roast carrots and parsnips. We love adding a drizzle of orange juice and maple syrup to ours. When making your bread sauce just swap out the milk and cream for some plant-based alternatives like almond milk and Oatly cream. We find the earthy nutty flavours go perfectly with the spices in a Christmas bread sauce. If you're looking for some shop bought options, here are our selections:

 

Sides

- Morrison's veggies in blankets, £2.50

- Sainsbury's Cranberry, Orange & Chestnut Stuffing, £1.00

- Marks & Spencer's Cauliflower Bake, £3.25

- Waitrose Cauliflower & Broccoli Bake, £3.29

Desserts

- Waitrose 6 Month Matured Christmas Pudding, £5.00

- Waitrose Chocolate Tortes, £4.00

- Waitrose Iced Christmas Fruit Cake, £7.00

- Co-op Irresistible Jewelled Berry Terrine, £3

- Asda Extra Special Vegan Chocolate Torte, £4.00

- Asda Extra Special Chocolate & Raspberry Dome, £6.00

- Booja Booja Ice Cream, £5.99

- Oatly Creamy Oat Single Cream, £0.89

 

    Drinks:

No Christmas day would be complete without lots of booze! We, like many others, always enjoy a glass of bucks fizz on Christmas morning, topping it up slowly throughout the day. Why not get a bit creative and add some cranberry juice and fresh cranberries to the traditional orange juice and champagne/cava combo. We think it makes things that little bit more Christmassy.

 

 

Some other great bevs to have this Christmas include Baileys Almande or a delicious festive cocktail made with a vegan-friendly spirit of your choice. Check Barnivore to double check which alcohol is suitable for vegans. They have over 42,000 different entries listed on their site that are "checked and often double or triple checked by the Barnivore community"!

 

 

CHRISTMAS GIFTS

 

One of the biggest tasks this time of year is always shopping for gifts. Lots of people find it an incredibly stressful activity, and I can understand why! One thing that's always in the back of my mind when buying vegan gifts for my non-vegan family and friends is making sure that it doesn't feel like I'm forcing my personal choices on them, without compromising on my own morals. I want to give them vegan gifts without them feeling like I've given them a less tasty vegan alternative.

 

By far one of the best ways to relieve any stress is by putting a list together before heading down town. Here are some of the things that have made it onto our lists this year which have proved big hits in the past:

 

    Chocolate:

I love getting gifts from Hotel Chocolat, because the brand is known for its quality. They have everything from smaller gifts like the chocolate snowflake which we previously talked about in our Secret Santa Gift Guide to larger boxes like the All Dark Vegan Chocolate Hamper for £27.50 which would make a great gift for under the tree. Most of the vegan options you'll find there are going to be dark chocolate, but if you are looking for something a little less intense then the Gianduja Bombe Selector at £3.95 is beautifully silky and smooth. Hotel Chocolat also stocks flavoured alcohol such as the Salted Caramel Cocoa Vodka Liqueur at £25 for 500ml, £15 for 200ml and £4 for a 50ml stocking filler.

 

 

Other fancy brands we really like are BoojaBooja, Montezuma and Ombar. BoojaBooja makes the most delicious truffles in smaller boxes like the Chilled Six Truffle Packs from £3.79 and also beautifully hand painted 16 truffles The Artist's Boxes from £19.99. Montezuma make an amazing 100% dark chocolate which is an experience in itself! Ombar are perfect for anyone with a sweeter tooth, you can see our previous blog post here on their products.

 

Some of our other favourite chocolate brands are:

 

- Vego

- iChoc

- Bourneville (just released a new Dark Orange that gives Terry's a run for its money)

- Moo Free

- Supermarket Ownbrands (Our favourites are Asda, Sainsburys and Tesco)

 

    Subscription Boxes:

These are the perfect gifts for vegans new and old. Companies like The Vegan Kind will send you a selection of goodies which you might not have tried before, opening you up to a world of new vegan treats. It's also not the kind of thing you would necessarily buy for yourself, as it's quite a luxury item, making it a special gift for anyone. Their boxes start at £8 a month. There are lots of other great subscription boxes like the Vegan Tuck Box, starting at £16.50 a month, which have a mix of sweet and savoury snacks to make sure you are stocked up with goodies all year round.

 

    Drinks:

A fancy bottle of your favourite tipple is a classic gift. It can be a bit of a minefield though looking for a vegan bottle. Sometimes the processes needed to make the drinks require non-vegan ingredients, and what makes it difficult is that it's not always listed on the bottle itself. This is a key thing to look out for especially when buying beer and wine, but most spirits are safe. We think that Edinburgh Gin makes for a perfect prezzie, as does Baileys Almonde! But the best tip is to check out the vegan alcohol directory www.barnivore.com

 

If you're looking for a non-alcoholic drink then you can't go wrong with one of my all-time favourite foodie gifts; a bag of delicious aromatic coffee! If the person you're buying a gift for isn't into coffee then why not give them some fancy herbal tea or a decadent hot chocolate?

 

    Savoury Treats:

As well as gifting chocolate and alcohol, you could always give someone an equally special and tasty savoury treat. Here are our favourites making it on to our list this year:

 

- nice cooking oils

- spices

- salts

- fancy pasta

- nuts

- special condiments & preserves

 

 

CHRISTMAS PARTY

 

The Christmas period is well known for being a bit of a party season. Ring up your friends and invite them over, it's time to break out your tackiest jumpers festooned with pictures of Santa, Rudolph and idyllic snowy Scenes. Once everyone is together and dressed to the nines, put on some cheesy Christmas tunes and sing along! Whether you are hosting or attending this year, a good Christmas party is never complete without Christmas themed snacks. This year we've seen a positive increase in the number of vegan choices from the big chain supermarkets, and this years Christmas snacks are no exception. Some of our favourite treats are Sainsbury's vegan-friendly Maple Bacon Flavour Festive Pretzels and Tesco's chocolate and hazelnut filled churros. If you wanted to go one step further and make something from scratch, you could try making our chocolate peanut butter squares which are always a party favourite.

 

 

However, between all the wrapping and decorating, you don't always have the time to make food from scratch, so here are some of our favourite Christmas party food:

 

- Waitrose 12 Vegan Jackfruit Tacos, £7.00
- Morrisons Vegetable Tartlets, £2.50
- Sainsbury's Korean BBQ jackfruit Bites, £4.50
- Sainsbury's Maple Bacon Flavour Festive pretzels, £1.50
- Sainsbury's Salted Christmas Tree Tortilla Chips, £2.00
- M&S 10 Mini Vegan Burgers, £5.00
- Linda McCartney Sausage Rolls, £2.00
- Violife Christmas Cheese Board, £5.50
- Tesco 12 Chocolate & Hazelnut Filled Mini Churros, £2.00
- Antipasti
- Chips and Dips
- Crackers & Chutneys
- Fruit Platter
- Nuts

 

 

 

SEASONAL TREATS

 

In the lead up to Christmas, there are lots of occasions where you might want a little yuletide treat. Maybe a glass of mulled wine whilst decorating the Christmas tree or a mince pie whilst watching your favourite Christmas film. Here's a list of where to find the best Christmassy treats to enjoy throughout the festive season:

 

- Sainsbury's Christmas Gingerbread Bites, £1.60
- Sainsbury's Delicious Free From White Choc Coins, £0.85
- Coop 4 Xmas Iced Doughnuts, £1.00
- Waitrose Gluten Free Mince Pies, £2.50
- Asda Dark Chocolate & Cranberry Tiffins, £2.30
- Asda Extra Special Vegan Pate, £1.20
- Asda Mince Pies, £0.97
- Sainsbury's Free From Mince Pies, £1.65
- Tesco Mulled Wine, £3.50

 

 

Now you've got all the vegan food you could possible wish for, all that's left is to do is go and enjoy it with your friends and family. Charlie and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Catch you all on the other side where we'll be blogging from Mexico, sharing with you our vegan guide to Mexico City.

 
If you’ve found our tips helpful, we’d love to know! Leave us a comment below, or find us on social media.

 

  

 

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Photograph of Freya and Charlie, the blog authors.

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