Politics

6 suggestions and tips to focus on your vegan Christmas occasion

Christmas is just around the corner and I’m sure most of us are looking forward to our Christmas dinner right now.

With the plant-based diet on the rise in the UK, this could even be your first vegan Christmas. In 2019, 600,000 people reported following a vegan lifestyle, while Tesco saw sales of vegan meats increase by 300% in 2020.

The thought of throwing a vegan Christmas party may be a little daunting, since festive celebrations are usually centered around meat. But there are plenty of meatless dishes and ways to enjoy this Christmas.

Future Farm, a plant-based meat company, showed HuffPost UK six ways we can enjoy Christmas without meat. There’s no reason for vegans to feel left out this Christmas, so read on for these handy meat-free meat tips.

1. Get into the flesh

Gone are the days when vegans were faced with bean burgers and falafel as the only option. Now all of the major supermarkets stock incredibly realistic (and delicious!) Chicken, turkey, tuna, and pork alternatives – ready for the Christmas dinner. Swap has never been so easy!

Plant-based Chick’n from Future Farm is an alternative to currant jelly, bread sauce and filling. The HuffPost UK Life team also reviewed a number of vegan Christmas options from supermarkets – read on to find out what’s top of the list.

2. It’s all about the sauce

If you’re a vegan, you might be surprised how many sauces are actually made from vegetables. If you have a little too much on your plate at this year’s feast, you can just use some vegetable sauce granules (we recommend Bistro’s). Or, if you feel like it, there are some great vegan recipe books like Gaz Oakley’s Vegan Christmas with great sauce recipes, or try the following:

  • Heat a pan with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil over medium heat with 1 teaspoon of flour. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, until a sandy paste remains.

  • Gradually stir in 200 ml of boiled water, 1 teaspoon of Henderson’s Relish and 15 ml of soy sauce. Cook until the sauce has thickened (about 4 minutes).

  • Season with a very generous pinch of black pepper and add 1/4 teaspoon of sugar to taste!

You can still add meat fat to the meat eaters sauce – just make sure you put them in different sauce bowls so everyone knows which one is which!

3. Going out – the real vegan way

This point may come as a surprise since a vegan diet is plant-based after all. But while most of your vegetables should be fine, be careful to keep animal products sneaking out where they don’t belong – as there is usually an easy swap out.

To roast carrots and parsnips, for example, you can use agave nectar or maple syrup instead of honey. And while some butter contains milk, many plant butters swear by Flora’s plant butter, which is 100% vegan and tastes just like Lurpack.

4. Sweet treats for inclusive enjoyment

Vegans have survived for years from accidentally vegan cookies like oreos, lotus cookies, and ginger nuts, but a homemade sweet treat is a surefire way to get their hearts out.

From mince pies to Christmas cakes to gingerbread, there are many delicious vegan recipes online that will also make your home smell wonderful.

5. Crack open some vegetable brandy

Some wines and beers (including Fosters, Carling, and Kronenbourg) are not vegan due to filtration processes using isinglass, casein, egg white, and gelatin.

Fortunately, these are: Budweiser & Bud Light, Coors and Coors Light, Goose Island (ironic), Guinness Original and Blonde American Lager, Heineken and Stella Artois (without cider) and, yes, Corona.

For wines, there are high quality vegan fizz options like Piper-Heidsieck, Moet & Chandon, and Champagne Thienot, but if you’re looking for something less expensive, try The Rhona Rose, Graham Beck, Skinny Prosecco, and Belletti Prosecco.

6. Show your guests how good vegan food can be

Christmas can be a time of joy, camaraderie, and laughter. Or it can be a time of uncomfortable questions and not being able to leave a room quickly enough.

To keep politics off the Christmas table, the best way to advocate veganism is to have food that will make everyone say “oooh” and sample their luck.

Our recommendation for a show stopper would be a nut or cauliflower roast (tried and tasted beforehand), vegan haggis (which is probably much nicer than meat haggis) or anything that has to do with (vegan) puff pastry.

If all else fails, stick with the band Feet’s Vegetarian Christmas and you’ll be all in in no time.

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