A guide to the merriest meat-free Christmas

The perfect guide to meat-free alternatives this Christmas

Jasmine Mallory-Shaw
15th December 2021
Image: Pixnio
I started to cut meat out of my diet when I was 14 and I have mostly stayed on the wagon ever since, only hopping off occasionally for a drunken bite of a friend’s kebab. Last Christmas, however, I took the plunge and filled my plate with turkey and pigs in blankets for the first time in 5 years…and was thoroughly disappointed.

Christmas is a holiday for meat-lovers, but I am inclined to believe that vegetarians really can have more fun. I hope to take you on a journey through some of my favourite plant-based alternatives to a traditional meat-filled Christmas.

The most low-maintenance option, and my favourite, is to replace turkey with an extra helping of everything else. This is an especially good alternative on Christmas Day when the oven is already full to the brim. Of course, no Christmas roast is complete without stuffing and gravy, and in this department plant-based options aren’t hard to find. In fact, most instant variations are vegetarian, an easy option for Christmas celebrations prepared in tiny student kitchens, or if you need to whip up alternatives for a family Christmas that’s less than veggie friendly.

We are spoiled for choice these days when it comes to turkey alternatives

My favourite part of a roast is the carbs, but if you’re after adding some protein to your Christmas Day feast there are options aplenty for you too. We are spoiled for choice these days when it comes to turkey alternatives, but Tesco’s Wicked Kitchen mock turkey crown comes recommended as one of the best meat replacements. Alternatively, most supermarkets stock up-market nut roasts (think serving suggestions pictured on slates with sprigs of sage). And to top it off, I recommend replacing pigs in blankets with plant-based sausages – my favourites are Richmond’s, which have frankly revolutionised the veggie sausage market. If you want a classic, picture-perfect roast, this is the option for you!

Yotam Ottolenghi's roast parsnips and Jerusalem artichokes with cavalo nero and stilton/ Image: Facebook (@Ottolenghi)

However, if the above options don’t take your fancy, I encourage you to bring something a little more unconventional to the table this year (and ignore Grandma’s judgemental stares). Some of my favourite examples include a friend’s contribution of vegan dauphinoise potatoes to our house Christmas dinner, Justine Snacks’ crispy sage tofu and Yotam Ottolenghi’s roast parsnips and Jerusalem artichokes. Cutting out meat doesn’t mean your Christmas has to be boring, and these dishes certainly prove it.

This year, I encourage you to find a twist on the traditional Christmas dinner that works for you, because one nut roast certainly doesn't fit all, and have a very merry veggie Christmas!

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