When you sit down to eat your Christmas meal, you can be as traditional as you like, or go for some more modern alternatives.
There are so many meat free turkey substitutes and alternatives on the market compared to several years ago, the hardest part will be choosing one!
Nut roast is the traditional, very popular and long standing option, which for many years was the only real alternative for vegans and veggies alike. You can make your own, or for a ready prepared one, I recommend Clive’s Organic Nut Roast.
For a meat replacement option, I’d go for Tofurkey. They offer a large range of palm oil free meat alternatives, including several Christmas roasts. Plus, they are a Certified B Corporation – which means they have met or exceeded a set of standards relating to the treatment of workers, sourcing of supplies, community engagement and environment impact.
There are many brands of stuffing that are vegan, either accidentally, or from independent brands, just check the ingredients. You can also make your own of course, using vegan sausages.
Roast your potatoes in organic olive oil, and if you usually toss your vegetables in butter, swap it out for a vegan alternative.
Then we’re onto the gravy – the delicious sauce that brings in all together. For convenience, choose the Marigold Gravy powder blend, or you can simply make your own using vegetable stock, yeast extract (Natex is my favourite), and thicken with cornflour.
Desserts & Puddings
There are a vast array of vegan puddings and cakes on the market now – or you can cook your own.
In our family, we’re not huge fans of the traditional Christmas pudding, but there are loads of them available to buy, and beautiful recipes to follow. Having lived in Denmark for several years however, we fell in love with their traditional Christmas dessert – Risalamande – which you can find the vegan recipe for on my website.
And who can forget the humble mince pie? My personal favourites are from Riverford Organic, and Artisan Bread Organic Mince pies – also gluten free. They’re both completely free from palm oil.
Once again, as with the various options listed above, many supermarkets do their own budget versions, however, I’d recommend shopping in independent stores – you can often find vegan shops in many bigger towns and cities, or at least a health shop.
The main considerations when buying chocolate is that it’s dairy free and ethically sourced. For a luxury truffle box Booja Booja are our go to brand. They are an independent company, and they ethically source from a single supplier, to produce melt in your mouth chocolate delights. Vego and Ombar are another two of our family favourites - producing organic chocolate, made with consciously sourced, fairly traded cocoa.
Crisps & Nuts
We all love a good bowl of crisps or nuts to pick at over the Christmas period. Unfortunately, some of our favourite flavours contain milk powder. Nuts can often be honey roasted, or they contribute to non fair-trade practices. Ten Acre are a completely vegan crisp company, with delicious flavours – including a cheese and onion alternative. Whilst Crazy Jacks are my go to for nuts and dried fruits – for all the simple, organic taste and none of the exploitation.
For many, Christmas isn’t Christmas without a cheese board. Now, there are many vegan cheeses on the market and I don’t have time to go into them all now, but for true Christmas luxury, I’d recommend Tyne Chease – artisan cultured cheese, made using organic cashew nuts.
As a non-drinker myself, I’m not an expert in the field of alcohol, but it’s important to mention, as many people are surprised to discover that some beers, wine and cider contain animal products.
That’s because many ingredients are hidden, such as isinglass (made from the dried swim bladders of fish) which is used in the filtration process. There’s no obligation to list the animal products used in the production process, and so it can be difficult to identify if something is vegan by reading the label.
Other ingredients in alcohol include gelatine (made from boiled bones, flesh and ligaments), casein (a protein derived from cow’s milk), and albumin (from egg whites).
Fortunately there are many vegan alternatives for both beers and wines. Stellar Winery and Emiliana are Ethical Consumer best buys for vegan, organic wines, and small vegan breweries such as Little Valley and Atlantic come out on top when it comes to beer and lager.
Enjoy your Christmas!
So, all that’s left to say is I hope you have enjoyed reading about our family Christmas, and that you and yours have a very merry vegan Christmas too.