Preparing a vegan Christmas meal has never been easier. With more and more people choosing to go vegan, there are a lot of choices and many alternatives for traditional foods.
Vegan Christmas Meal Alternatives – Switching to a vegan diet doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the holiday festivities, and to help you make the most delicious Christmas meal, Isaac Robertson, a nutritionist and the co-founder of TotalShape.com, talks about the best plant-based alternatives for some of the classic parts of the Christmas meal.
Falafel are a great source of protein, and luckily, they are very versatile. Falafel are made from chickpeas, and they are easy to make from scratch, but if you are in a rush, there are many pre-made alternatives you can find in supermarkets. The spicy deep-fried balls are a great way to start off your Christmas dinner, whether you choose to make canapés featuring falafel, make them a part of your poke bowl, or if you want to spice up a traditional salad.
Speaking of salads and sandwiches, mayo is an essential ingredient for many. Apart from not being suitable for vegans, the traditional, store-bought mayonnaise is high in calories, full of fat, and contains a very large amount of sodium; one cup contains 1397 mg of sodium, which is over 50% of the recommended daily intake for adults. There are many vegan alternatives, and making your own jar of vegan mayo is simple. All you need is oil and soymilk or aquafaba, which is the liquid from a can of chickpeas or the water in which you cook them. It is much healthier and tastes the same as the calorie-packed standard mayo.
Giving up cheese is probably the biggest obstacle when it comes to going full vegan. It is easy to find alternatives for other dairy products like milk and yogurt, but finding a tasty cheese alternative is a bit more challenging. However, the recent boom of vegan cheeses made of nuts is a promising development.
Nuts are stacked with omega-3 fatty acids, which makes them the perfect base for vegan cheese. Cashews are often used as a base, but it can be made from other nuts like macadamia, almonds, or pistachios. Nut cheese can be used just like the regular cheese, so depending on your recipe ideas, you can buy (or make) smoked, hard, sliceable, or meltable nut cheese.
Mince Pie Alternatives
If you are a vegetarian or vegan, but Christmas just doesn’t feel the same without some mince pie, don’t worry. All of the ingredients can be replaced with vegan-suitable alternatives, starting from mincemeat. You can buy vegan mincemeat, or you can make your own by mixing, for example, walnuts, vegetables, tofu, and spices. Once you have swapped the mincemeat, you are left with easier-to-replace ingredients; you can use any kind of vegetable fat, dairy-free spread, and dairy-free milk to make your pie.
The staple of every Christmas meal is a roast, which is quite problematic for vegetarians and vegans, but the plant-based market has become so well-stocked that there are plenty of alternatives. You can find anything from non-beef and non-turkey roasts to nut and tofu roasts. Honestly, there are so many ready-to-cook roasts that the hardest part will be to choose the best combination of the roast and gravy ingredients. If you choose to make your own, you will probably opt for ingredients such as seitan, soy, mushrooms, or beans.
When asked about the vegan food market, Robertson said: “The popularity of veganism is growing around the world, which is putting pressure on the suppliers to meet the rising demand. Nowadays, you can find alternatives for every food forbidden for those who are following a plant-based diet. Holidays can be hard for vegetarians and vegans, as they often feel left out during the family gatherings, but with the countless alternatives, this feeling is sure to be left in the past.”