Your son-in-law is vegan, your mum is trying to cut out sugar and half the guests are vegetarians. If the thought of trying to cater to all tastes and dietary requirements is making you quiver with fear, read on. We have six fab recipes that are going to lighten the load this Christmas. Our vegan mince pies, chocolate pots made with avocado and a pie that will make you legendary means you need not worry about a thing. You are very welcome.
Pumpkin and Feta Pie
Pumpkin is a beautiful autumnal vegetable and in this recipe, its soft sweetness contrasts with the creamy, tangy feta. There’s nothing more satisfying than pulling a golden pie out of the oven on a cosy Sunday afternoon, so why not make this hearty and warming recipe for your hungry veggie guests. Even non-veggies might find it hard to resist a second helping (if there’s any left).
- 2 red onions
- 1kg pumpkin, cut into small chunks
- 3-4 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 200g frozen peas
- 1 x 200g pack feta, crumbled
- Handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 x 375g pack ready-rolled puff pastry
- 1 egg, beaten
- salt and pepper
1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Put the onions, pumpkin and thyme in a large roasting tin and pour over the olive oil, and season to taste. Roast for 35-40 minutes until golden and then set aside.
2. Add the peas, feta and parsley to the pumpkin mixture and season. Put the mixture into a pie dish, adding two tbsp of water. Roll the pastry to thickness of a £1 and cut to fit the pie dish. Put aside and beat the egg.
3. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg. Make a small steam hole in the centre and cook the pie for 25-30 minutes until golden. Serve piping hot.
Make it vegan: Replace feta with vegan cheese (or make your own) and brush the pie with soy milk to glaze.
Curly kale is great for green eaters at this time of year. This dark green, silky veg will add colour to your plate, while giving you loads of antioxidants too – bonus.
- 206g kale, washed and rinsed
- 2tbsp of olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
- salt and pepper
1. Gently heat the olive oil in a large pan.
2. Add the garlic and chilli flakes and cook until garlic is soft.
3. Wash the kale thoroughly and discard the ends of the stalks as you go. Turn up the heat and add the kale, stirring occasionally until the kale has shrunk into dark strands. Season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.
Chocolate Avocado Mousse
Avocados have swiftly risen in popularity and are appearing on Instagram more than ever before. This creamy, silky mousse is the perfect sweet treat for vegans.
- 1 avocado
- 1 banana, peeled
- 6 dates
- 4 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
1. Remove the avocado skin then put the avocado, banana, dates, cocoa powder and vanilla essence into a food processor.
2. Blend in the food processor until smooth.
3. Divide the mixture into bowls and sprinkle with sprinkles and serve.
Make it with less sugar: Replace the cocoa powder with raw cacao powder.
Harmless hot chocolate
When I first discovered coconut milk, I literally put it in everything. I was in love with the creamy, slightly sweet and indulgent taste and texture of the stuff. I’ve since calmed down, but this in absolute go-to for the winter months: it’s rich, dark and completely indulgent. Make it for your friends and see how much they love you for it…
- 1 x tin of coconut milk
- 1 x dark, vegan friendly bar of chocolate
- A little cocoa powder
- Agarve syrup (optional)
1. Empty the can of coconut milk into a pan and gently warm.
2. While that’s heating up break the bar of chocolate into it and stir as the milk heats up and the chocolate melts.
3. When all the chocolate has melted, stir in some cocoa powder and add the agarve syrup to taste.
4. Enjoy snuggled up on the sofa in front of a good roaring fire.
Vegan Yorkshire puds
From what I’ve heard, read and tasted, I think the key to a light a fluffy vegan Yorkshire lies in using oil rather than vegan marg. Try this recipe to really impress this Christmas, especially if you’ve previously avoided these because of their difficulty. These are pretty fail-safe (as long as you make sure the oil gets really hot) and as your huge, fluffy Yorkshire puddings come out of the oven, prepare for gasps of amazement.
- Roughly about 4 fluid oz of oil
- 4oz self-raising flour
- Half a pint of soya milk
- 2oz of egg replacer
- 2 fluid oz water
- 1tsp baking powder
1. Preheat your oven to 200oC and pour one tsp of oil into the each bun hole of your cake tin. Pop the tray in the oven straight away to let the oil get really hot.
2. Mix the flour and salt. The mix the egg replacer into a paste and mix with the wet ingredients. Slowly whisk in half of the wet mixture into the dry being careful to whisk out any lumps, before adding the rest to make a smooth batter.
3. Get the tin out of the oven and spoon a lump of batter into each tray quickly. The oil should be sizzling at this point, so be careful. Return to the oven and bake for another 15 or so mins until they look risen and golden.
4. Remove from the tray and enjoy with lashings of gravy (Bisto is vegan).
Make a meal of it: You can easily make this into a full meal or even a side dish (it depends how all-out you go for Christmas) by using this recipe for a Toad-in-the-Hole. All you need is a larger tray and some vegan sausages. I always cook the sausages a little bit before hand to make sure they go brown and crispy; this is the same thing as putting the tray in to heat up above. Then pour the batter mixture into the tin and again leave for about 15 to 20 mins and voila.
Vegan mince pies
Mincemeat used to be made with real beef mince (hence the name) and even though it’s since lost this element in favour of the fruitier version we know and love today, many mince pies are not vegan or veggie friendly due to the beef-suet still found in many recipes. You can find vegan and veggie shop-ready pies now, but where’s the fun in that. Making your own mince pies at Christmas is something everyone should try at least once.
I, for one, like to make the mince myself and shop buy JusRol Shortcrust pastry (it’s vegan friendly). That’s’ because I’m not so hot at making pastry, and I do love the whole process of making mincemeat: the whole house is filled with the smell of Christmas. It’s pretty easy, too.
- One pack of JusRol shortcrust pastry
- 100g/4oz currants
- 100g/4oz sultanas
- 100g/4oz raisins
- 50g/2oz dates
- 50g/2oz candied peel
- 50g/2oz cherries
- 50g/2oz sliced almonds
- 1 banana chopped
- 4 tbsp of brandy (can substitute for orange juice)
- Mixed spice, nutmeg, cinnamon (or I use a slosh of Henny & Joes)
- Caster sugar or icing sugar for dusting (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 180o. Line or grease your cake or muffin tin and roll out your pastry onto a floured surface. Cut the pastry into circles and pop each one into the cake or muffin holes, pressing the edges against the sides. Then cut out slightly smaller circles for the lids and put to one side.
2. Get all the dry mincemeat ingredients and pour them in a bowl and give them a good mixed around. Then add the wet ingredients, and mix again. This is the part where it smells like Christmas.
3. Scoop a spoonful of mincemeat into each pie and top with the smaller pastry round. Put into the oven for around 20 mins.
4. Sprinkle with sugar and enjoy warm with soy cream or vegan ice cream, or let them cool and eat with a lovely warm cup of chai tea.
Make them easier: Buy your vegan mince pre-prepared. Morrison’s and Sainsbury’s sell vegan friendly mince that’s ready to use, so with the JusRol pastry, all you have to do is put the two together.
Make them sugar-free: This mincemeat is free from refined sugars as it makes use of the natural sugars found in the fruits. Simply leave out the last step of sprinkling with sugar and perhaps sprinkle with cinnamon.