Christmas will soon be upon us and it’s not a good time of year for farm animals or the planet. Huge quantities of meat, fish and dairy are consumed and huge quantities also end up in the bin, along with all the plastic wrapping paper and unwanted, throwaway gifts. Christmas is an environmental and welfare disaster. But it doesn’t have to be. We can all make a conscious effort to shop more wisely, only buy what we need and opt for more plant-based dishes and treats. Don’t be tempted by the offers that encourage consumers to buy what they really don’t need. It’s much healthier on the pocket as well. A few years ago Iceland was actually giving away turkeys. That is how much value was placed on those animals lives – zero.
I have made some suggestions below of plant-based dishes and included links to some really good websites for the recipes and methods. Plant-based cooking doesn’t have to be complicated, but can be creative and of course tasty. Jamie Oliver has a wide range of great, easy to follow recipes for really exciting dishes, snacks and treats – see link below. There are many vegan options in supermarkets now but too much processed food isn’t healthy and it can be more fun to make your own. The good news is frozen puff pastry is normally vegan so you can make anything from vol-au-vents to wellingtons and strudels for dessert. If you use non-dairy milk please note that oat milk is naturally sweet and creamy so whilst that is great for some dishes it may not work with others and soya milk would be a better alternative. You can follow non vegan recipes but substitute any egg or dairy ingredients for plant-based alternatives.
Mushroom vol-au-vents (Wellside foods)
Butternut squash, red pepper and chilli soup (National Trust)
Confit garlic with roasted tomatoes on toast (Olive magazine)
Cauliflower fritters with herby dipping sauce (BBC Good Food)
Vegetable wellington (there are many different recipes, see websites below)
Christmas nut roast (Olive magazine)
Savoury spiced baklava (Olive magazine)
Vegan Christmas loaf (Olive magazine)
You can have all your usual roasties, caramelized brussel sprouts with balsamic vinegar, carrot and swede smash, whole roasted cauliflower, roasted parsnips etc, just make sure you use vegetable based oil and butter and non-dairy milk. Jazz it up with herbs and spices! Jamie Oliver has a wide range of recipes if you need some inspiration.
Cheesecake (Jamie Oliver or follow our recipe on the Features page for vegan cream cheese and make up your own!)
Chocolate pots (Jamie Oliver)
There are many other options in the Jamie Oliver collection including epic chocolate cake, mince pies and Christmas pudding.
If you want to really impress your guests how about a vegan chocolate yule log. This Bosch recipe is easy to follow and scrumptious https://www.bosh.tv/recipes/big-bosh-yule-log
Christmas on a budget
We have our very own The Happy Pear twins who have some great vegan recipes and they made a video in 2018 showing how you can made a delicious vegan Christmas dinner for just €2 per person! You can view it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5Ff1mYT980
For a more luxurious vegan wellington try this https://www.happypearcourses.com/mushroom-and-chestnut-wellington
Visit their website for more tasty and healthy recipes https://thehappypear.ie/
A vegan Christmas is a lot cheaper than a traditional one so if you are on a budget you can have a delicious, healthy Christmas for a fraction of the cost.
Links to recipes
Free range pig & poultry farms
If you do purchase any animal produce please ensure it comes from free range or better still organic farms. Some links are below, many deliver. Look online to see what’s available near you. Try to source eggs from backyard hens or a free range farm you can actually visit and opt for raw milk as it comes from small dairy farms that tend to have better welfare than the large commercial ones. But of course the highest welfare is leaving it off the plate altogether.