The Independent’s journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission.

Vegan this Christmas? Try this plant-based feast

Saturday 04 December 2021 07:00
Comments
<p>Miso beetroot tarte tatin and cashew bread sauce</p>

Miso beetroot tarte tatin and cashew bread sauce

Are you about to have your first plant-based Christmas or cook for new vegans? If so, you’re not alone. Hundreds of thousands of Britons are also likely to be approaching their first festive season without animal products after one in five started eating more vegetarian and vegan food since the start of the pandemic. A similar number are now planning to go fully meat-free.

There probably couldn’t be a better time to adopt a vegan diet: the plant-based foods market has exploded, and there’s an abundance of suitable ingredients on supermarket shelves with which to get creative. But when faced with the lofty expectations that come with plating up a Christmas feast, nerves can take over, sapping the imagination. Blind panic can ensue.

Worry not. To help you navigate your way through the gastronomic festivities and offer inspiration, we’ve gathered a selection of our favourite vegan Christmas recipes. Give these a whirl, and your guests will be wowed, and you’ll be left satisfied – and proud.

Miso beetroot tarte tatin and cashew bread sauce

A vibrant dish, rich with deep, earthy flavours that is partnered with a plant-based take on a Christmas dinner classic.

Prep time: 15 minutes plus soaking time

Cook time: 1-1hr 20mins

Serves: 6

Ingredients

For the tarte tatin:

500g (approx 5-6) beetroot, peeled and sliced into segments

1 red onion, peeled and sliced

5tbsp olive oil

1tbsp tamari

2tbsp miso paste, see tips

1tbsp coconut or brown sugar

Juice and zest from one small orange

1 sheet of ready-rolled vegan puff pastry

Fresh thyme to decorate, optional

Pomegranate seeds to garnish, optional

For the cashew bread sauce:

150g raw cashews, soaked overnight in cold water or for an hour in hot water

2 slices of wholemeal bread, crusts removed, torn into small pieces

1 clove of garlic, finely minced

1tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1tbsp of thyme leaves, tough stalks removed

½tsp sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper to season

You will also need an ovenproof frying or saute pan and a high-speed blender or food mixer

Method

1. Preheat oven to 200C.

2. In a large bowl, add the olive oil, tamari, miso paste, orange zest and juice and coconut or brown sugar and whisk together until combined. Add the sliced onion and beetroot and stir through to well coat with the oil mixture. Pour into a frying pan and put over a medium heat stirring for 5 minutes.

3. Use a wooden spoon to spread the beetroot and onions to cover the base of the pan evenly. Remove the pan from the heat, place a sheet of foil over the top and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

4. Scatter a light dusting of flour over a work surface and roll out the puff pastry until slightly bigger than the base of the pan. Using the measurement of the pan base as a guide, use a knife to cut a rough circle in the pastry.

5. When the beetroot has baked for 30 minutes, remove it from the oven and discard the foil. Place the pastry circle on top of the beetroot, making sure it covers all the beetroot and tuck the edges in slightly. Return to the oven and bake for another 30-40 minutes or until the pastry has risen and is golden brown.

6. Meanwhile, make the cashew bread sauce. Drain the pre-soaked cashew nuts. Add to a blender or processor with the torn bread, minced garlic, salt, lemon juice, thyme and 6tbsp of fresh cold water. Blitz on a high speed until combined. Keep adding more water while blending to reach the desired consistency, something like thick yoghurt. Add black pepper to taste. Store in the fridge if not using straight away.

7. When the tarte tatin has baked, remove it from the oven and leave it to stand in the pan for 5 minutes. Find a large plate and, taking care, place the plate over the pan and flip over, so the tarte tatin now has the pastry on the base. If some of the beetroot remains in the pan, just spoon out and place on top of the tarte, as well as any juices.

8. Decorate the top with pomegranate seeds and sprigs of thyme. Serve along with the cashew bread sauce. Can be served hot or cold.

Tips: The tarte tatin is best eaten on the day it is made, but leftovers should keep well for a couple of days, stored in the fridge. The cashew bread sauce can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week. For a lighter taste, choose yellow or white miso paste. Red miso paste will give a much stronger, more intense flavour, so consider reducing the amount the recipe suggests.

© Sarah Hemsley/ Robert Welch

Hemp seed and herb festive roast

This is a hemp twist on a traditional nut roast, this time laced with nutty squash, festive herbs and a sweet and crunchy hemp seed topping. The result is a sweet, salty roast filled with excellent ingredients to make your celebrations super-seeded and even more delicious.

Ingredients

For the hemp seed and herb festive roast:

600g winter squash, washed, deseeded and roughly chopped (we use crown prince)

1 large white onion, peeled and roughly chopped

3 cloves garlic, unpeeled

3tbsp Good Hemp Oil or olive oil

3tbsp water

100g sunflower seeds

100g Good Hemp seeds

100g gluten-free oats

30g chickpea flour

1tbsp chopped rosemary

1tsp dried sage

¼tsp chilli flakes

1tsp white miso

For the hemp seed crunch:

100g Good Hemp Seeds

1tsp chopped rosemary

1tsp dried sage

¼tsp chilli flakes

1tsp miso

1tbsp maple syrup

2tbsp Good Hemp Oil or olive oil

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C.

For the roast:

1. Place the squash, onion and garlic on a large baking tray lined with baking paper and drizzle the vegetables with oil and water.

2. Roast the vegetables in the hot oven for 30 minutes until they are soft, gently shaking them halfway through.

3. While the vegetables are roasting, place the sunflower seeds on a small baking tray and roast them for 15 minutes until golden.

4. Place the oats, chickpea flour, herbs and hemp seeds into a food processor and process them until they form a fine flour.

5. When the sunflower seeds are golden, take them from the oven and add these to the food processor and process them too.

6. When the vegetables are ready, take them from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes. Then carefully take the peel off the garlic.

7. Add them to the food processor with the seedy flour and process until you have a smooth mixture. Set this aside to rest.

8. Line a small loaf tin (roughly 15x10cm) with baking paper and lightly oil it.

9. Spoon the squash and hemp mixture into the tin and press it down to make a smooth and even layer. Top with the hemp seed crunch and press it into an even layer.

10. Bake the roast in a preheated oven for 45 minutes until golden. Take it from the oven and let it rest in the tin for 5 minutes and then outside the tin for 5 minutes.

For the hemp seed crunch:

1. Place the hemp seeds into a bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mix well, set aside.

2. To serve, slice the roast into 1-2cm thick pieces and serve hot with all the festive trimmings.

© Good Hemp

Corn toasted aubergine fillets with butter bean and chestnut hummus

Festive chestnuts are given a new lease of life in this Mediterranean-style dish. Meanwhile, layers of soft, flavourful vegetables are combined with crunchy elements for a medley of textures to delight the palate.

Serves: 6-8 people as part of a meze or 2-3 people as a main

Prep and cooking time: 45-55mins

Ingredients

3 large aubergines

1 bag salted corn chips, crushed or coarse-blended

350g pot natural coconut yoghurt

For the hummus (can be made ahead):

470g tinned butter beans, drained/rinsed

2tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed

180g whole prepped chestnuts (we’d recommend Merchant Gourmet)

1tbsp light soy sauce

2-3 sage leaves

Vadasz kimchi brine, as required

Corn and mushroom saute:

100g roasted red peppers, cut into strips

150g shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and torn

2tbsp sweetcorn off the cob or tinned

1tbsp olive oil

Vadasz kimchi, salted maple hazelnuts and orange salad:

1 pot Vadasz kimchi, strained, reserve brine

350g pot natural coconut yoghurt

Zest and juice of 1 orange

Dressing and garnish for salad:

A good drizzle, quality maple syrup

2tsp smoked cold-pressed rapeseed oil (if no smoked available, add a tiny pinch of smoked paprika)

2tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1tbsp Vadasz red onion pickles

Coconut yoghurt

½tsp nigella seeds

½tsp cumin seeds

1tsp Aleppo chilli flakes

150g whole hazelnuts

Big pinch fresh coriander

Method:

1. Thinly slice (5mm) aubergine lengthways. Season well and gently fry in a large pan with olive oil for about 10-15 mins or until soft and caramelised. Carefully transfer to a large plate to rest.

2. To a hot pan, add 2tbsp olive oil and a crushed clove of garlic and 2-3 sage leaves and the chestnuts. Warm through gently, adding the soy sauce after a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and remove the chestnuts and sage leaves to a small bowl for garnishing later.

3. To make the hummus: in a blender, add the garlic and olive oil to the butter beans along with a little salt and pepper and some of the kimchi brine to loosen it and acidify as you blend to a smooth hummus. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Next, in a pan, add olive oil and gently fry the mushrooms, corn and red peppers, season and cook until coloured and slightly caramelised. Cover and set aside for later.

5. Now make the kimchi salad: combine the drained kimchi with the yoghurt and juice and zest of the orange in a bowl. Stir and season well.

6. To make the dressing and garnish: warm a pan on a low heat and add the hazelnuts to toast gently for about 5 mins, shaking the pan often, so it doesn’t catch. Add the spices, season with salt and once toasted, remove into another bowl to cool. In another pan, gently warm through the maple and rapeseed oil and set aside.

7. Now, with a spatula, cover the flesh side of the aubergine lightly with some yoghurt and sprinkle the ground corn chips on top. Flash these under the grill for 5 mins or until warmed and toasted.

8. Now it’s time to construct and plate up: on a large flatish serving dish, smooth out wide across the surface the hummus with a tablespoon, creating an edge.

9. Scatter the toasted chestnuts across the hummus and then the mushroom, corn and red pepper mix. Place the aubergine fillets across the hummus at various angles to make it look lively.

10. Spoon over dollops of the kimchi salad, adding the toasted spiced hazelnuts too. Lastly, pour over the warmed maple oil, extra virgin olive oil and a scattering of Vadasz Red onions and the fresh coriander.

© Nick Vadasz, founder of Vadasz Pickles & Ferments

Stuffed mini yorkshire puddings

If you thought vegans can’t eat yorkies, think again. This recipe shows you how to create the essential roast dinner favourite with a twist.

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients

For the Yorkshire puddings (makes 4 large ones or 6-8 small ones):

100g plain flour

130g cornflour

3tsp baking powder

½tsp salt

½tsp turmeric powder (for colour, optional)

320ml plant milk

4-8tbsp vegetable oil

For the Russian dressing:

60g vegan mayo

½tsp garlic powder

1tsp sweet paprika powder

2tbsp red wine vinegar

1tbsp agave syrup

30g chilli sauce

¼tsp black pepper

½tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (optional)

Salt to taste

For the toppings

1 pack of Squeaky Bean pastrami-style slices and Squeaky Bean roast chicken-style slices

Method

1. Preheat oven to 200C.

2. Put 1tbsp of vegetable oil into each muffin tin hole – a large tin will make four puds, or a small tin will make 6-8. Place the muffin tin inside the hot oven for 20 minutes to get the oil smoking hot.

3. In the meantime, whisk up the rest of your yorkshire pudding ingredients. First, combine the dry ingredients, then carefully pour in the plant milk and stir until well combined and no lumps are left in the batter. Transfer the mixture to a jug to make it easier to pour.

4. Once the oil is hot enough, you have to work carefully – and quickly. Remove the muffin tin from the oven (close the door again as soon as you can) and pour batter into the hot oil of each hole, filling it up until about 1cm below the top. You should hear it sizzle at this point.

5. As quickly as you carefully can, transfer the muffin tin back into the hot oven and shut the door.

6. Allow your puddings to cook for 20-25 minutes, not opening the oven door during the cooking process until they look crisp and golden.

7. Meanwhile, whisk up your Russian dressing in a small bowl.

8. Once ready, take the puddings out of the oven and allow them to rest for 5 minutes before removing them from the muffin tin.

9. Stuff your puddings with the Squeaky Bean slices and drizzle the Russian dressing on top before serving.

© Romy London/ Squeaky Bean

Winter citrus roasted sprouts

Christmas without brussels is like Santa without his reindeers. But forget the soggy, overcooked sprouts of old and try this fresh, zesty take with a nutty bite.

Serves: 2

Ingredients

200g British baby brussel sprouts

1 lemon

1 pink grapefruit

1 lime

140g baked cashews and peanuts with chilli and lime

30g fresh dill

100g fresh turmeric

30g fresh coriander

30g lemongrass

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180C.

2. Slice your sprouts in half, then add all the citrus zest and juice. Drizzle with rapeseed oil, sea salt and pepper.

3. Grate in root turmeric and add the lemongrass and chilli cashews. Toss well and then roast in the oven for 15-20 mins.

4. Serve the roasted sprouts with your Christmas meal.

© James Strawbridge, chef, sustainability advocate and 44 Foods partner

Fig and chocolate tart

From the sweetness of the figs to the luscious, gooey chocolate, this fig and chocolate tart is guaranteed to be a treat for all the family, vegan or not.

Prep time: 40 minutes

Chilling time: 2 hours

Serves: 8

Ingredients

For the base:

100g rolled oats

50g puffed quinoa

40g pumpkin seeds

3tbsp chia seeds

3tbsp cacao powder

1tsp cinnamon

3tbsp coconut oil

3tbsp almond butter

5tbsp maple syrup

For the filling:

100g bar dark chocolate, broken up into pieces

2tbsp coconut oil

2tbsp maple syrup

250g Creamy Original Sheese

2tbsp cacao powder

1tsp vanilla extract

2-3 figs, sliced

Method

1. Mix together the oats, quinoa, seeds, cacao powder and cinnamon in a bowl to make the base. Melt the coconut oil, almond butter and maple syrup, then pour into the bowl and mix well to combine.

2. Leave to stand for 10 minutes. Tip the mixture into a blender and pulse a few times so everything really comes together and breaks down slightly. Then tip into a greased 20cm loose-bottomed tart tin and use your hands to push up the sides and cover the base evenly. Chill while you make the filling.

3. Gently melt the chocolate, coconut oil and maple syrup together, then set aside and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Then whip into the creamy Sheese and vanilla until quite thick and creamy. Spoon this into the case and smooth out evenly – it should fill it generously. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

4. When ready to serve, arrange the figs on top, pop out of the tin and place on a chopping board. Slice into eight portions.

© Sheese

Pavlova with chocolate hazelnut cream and fresh figs

This gorgeous dessert is topped with chocolate hazelnut cream and fresh figs and makes a wonderful alternative to a traditional Christmas pudding after the main event. The meringue needs to be made a day ahead to allow it to dry out thoroughly in the oven, then it is decorated just before serving. Sliced straight away as once the cream is on, the meringue will slowly start to soften.

Prep time: 30mins

Cooking time: 2 hours 30 minutes plus cooling in the oven until completely cold, around 3-4 hours or overnight if possible

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients

For the meringue:

200ml Oggs aquafaba egg alternative

1tsp white wine vinegar, lemon juice or cream of tartar

1tsp cornflour

1/2tsp ground cinnamon (optional)

250g caster sugar

2tbsp toasted chopped hazelnuts, plus extra to serve

For the topping:

270ml pot Elmlea double plant cream alternative

100g vegan chocolate hazelnut spread (we like Mr Organic)

4-6 fresh figs, halved

Method

1. Preheat oven to 140C.

2. Line two large baking trays with parchment paper. Draw a 23cm circle on each piece of paper (you can use a 23cm cake tin as a template) and turn the paper pencil-side down onto the tray.

3. Pour your aquafaba into a large bowl. Using an electric hand mixer, whisk on a medium speed for a couple of minutes until the mixture becomes very frothy, peaks start to form, and a trail is left when the whisks are lifted from the bowl.

4. Now whisk in the vinegar, lemon juice or cream of tartar and the cornflour with the cinnamon, if using, then start to add the sugar a tablespoon at a time gradually. Scrape down the sides to make sure all the sugar has dissolved into the aquafaba, then turn the mixer speed to high and continue mixing for another 3-4 minutes or until the mixture looks glossy, forms stiff peaks and doesn’t move around the bowl at all. It’ll be slightly stiffer at this stage and look glossy. You should be able to turn the bowl upside down over your head without it falling out.

5. Divide your meringue equally between the 2 prepared baking trays and spread out in an even layer to the edges of each circle. (You can put a little bit of the mix under each corner of the baking paper so that it doesn’t move from the baking tray). Make a slight dip in the middle and form swirls and peaks in the meringue with your spoon to decorate. Sprinkle the hazelnuts evenly over the top surface.

6. Pop in the oven to bake for 2 hours. Do not be tempted to open the door to allow it to set completely.

7. After 2 hours 30 minutes, turn off the oven and leave the meringues in there until the oven is completely cold so that it sets and doesn’t crack. You want it to be as dry on the outside as possible, so the baking paper peels away easily but is still slightly chewy on the inside. Switching the oven off and leaving it overnight works well, and you’ll wake up to perfect meringue.

8. When ready to serve, carefully slide a palette knife under each meringue and peel the baking paper away. Transfer one to a large serving plate. Put the Elmlea plant cream into a large bowl and whip to stiff peaks, then whisk in the chocolate hazelnut spread to make a lovely chocolatey cream.

9. Spread half of the cream over the top of each meringue. Place the other meringue on top to sandwich the two and make a double-decker cake. Quickly arrange the figs on top and finish off with a final sprinkle of nuts. Serve straight away.

Tip: The figs are perfect just as they are, but for a special glaze, try this. Mix together 1tbsp good-quality fine-cut orange marmalade and 1tbsp Cointreau in a bowl. Add the fruit and toss to coat, then arrange the figs on top of the pavlova, drizzling over any extra glaze.

© Oggs

Spiced gingerbread Christmas tree biscuits

These spiced morsels make excellent handmade gifts and are the perfect edible decoration for your Christmas tree or fireplace. Get the kids involved too – they’ll love decorating the biscuits they’ve baked.

Prep time: 2 hours 10 mins

Cooking time: 12 minutes

Serves: Makes about 25 biscuits

Ingredients

150g vegan butter, diced

120g light brown sugar

2tsp ground ginger

3tsp ground cinnamon

¼tsp ground allspice

50g black treacle

3 balls Opies stem ginger with syrup, roughly chopped in a food processor

3tbsp Opies stem ginger syrup from the jar

380g plain flour

¾tsp bicarbonate of soda

To decorate

Ribbon or brown string

Icing sugar mixed with some syrup from Opies stem ginger with syrup jar

Silver edible balls

Method

1. Place all ingredients, with the exception of the flour and bicarbonate of soda, into a heavy weight bottomed saucepan. Heat gently to melt the butter and sugar. Stir well throughout.

2. Add in the bicarbonate of soda and whisk until smooth. It may fizz up a little. Add the flour to the mixture and fold in until it is well combined.

3. Wrap the dough into cling film (it may be quite soft at this point). Place in the fridge and chill for 2 hours until it is firm enough to roll out.

4. Preheat the oven to 200C. Line baking trays with baking paper.

5. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out to around 5mm thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes from the dough.

6. Place the uncooked biscuits onto the trays, leaving a little space between each biscuit to allow for spreading. Place the baking trays and biscuits back in the fridge and chill for about 15 minutes.

7. Bake in the oven for 8-12 minutes. If you prefer a soft bake, reduce time to roughly 8 minutes, for crunchier, go for 12 minutes.

8. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the trays for 5 minutes. Then, using a skewer, pierce a hole at the top of the biscuits while still warm so that the ribbon can be threaded through later. Place them onto a wire rack so that they cool thoroughly.

9. Once cooled, ice and decorate the biscuits, then tie the ribbon through the holes so that they are ready to hang onto the Christmas tree.

© Opies

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in