How to make a vegan-friendly Christmas lunch
Guinness pot pies, delish vegan gravy and chocolate mousse with Lotus biscuits: introducing the best vegan Christmas recipes, tried and tasted
Catering for the Christmas crowd this year? Whether you’re a long-time vegan, your party is vegan-curious, or you just fancy beating the clichéd veganuary rush, author, cook and columnist Elly Curshen is here to show that it’s never been easier to host a genuinely delicious just-so-happens-to-not-contain-animal-products festive feast.
From hearty Guinness pot pies drenched with vegan gravy to a mouth-wateringly scrumptious chocolate mousse loaded with Lotus biscuits, bookmark these as the very best vegan Christmas recipes to win over your Xmas crowd, all tried and tasted by bona fide vegans like me, who also happen to love great food.
Individual lentil, chestnut & Guinness pot pies
Elly Curshen says: ‘These little pies are a great fit on the Christmas table. You can divide the finished filling into portions and make individual pies when required or even serve the filling as a stew, with mashed potato or colcannon.’
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours 25 minutes
Total time: 2 hours 50 minutes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots, cut into 2cm pieces
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
- 30g plain flour
- 440ml can Guinness
- ½ swede, peeled and cut into 1cm pieces
- 2 x 400g cans lentils in water, drained
- 180g Merchant Gourmet Whole Chestnuts, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 bay leaves
- 10 fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 tsp dark brown soft sugar
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1L vegetable stock (made with 1 tbsp Marigold Vegan Bouillon and 1l boiling water)
- 2 x 320g Jus-Rol Puff Pastry Sheets (depending on the pie dishes used)
- 2 tbsp plant-based milk alternative
- Wild cranberry sauce, to serve (optional)
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan or flameproof casserole dish over a medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms and ½ tsp sea-salt flakes. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, or until soft, stirring regularly. Add the flour, stir to coat, then cook, uncovered, for a few minutes without stirring. Pour in the Guinness and scrape up any delicious browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add the remaining ingredients (except the pastry, milk alternative and cranberry sauce) and 2 tsp of sea-salt flakes. Stir well, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium. Simmer uncovered until the vegetables are tender and the liquid has reduced to a rich, thick sauce (this will take about 1 hour 30 minutes). You can now chill the filling (for up to 2 days) or freeze it (for up to 1 month) until you’re ready to make the pies (defrost in the fridge then remove 20 minutes before using).
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC, gas mark 6. Divide the filling between 6 individual pie dishes (or just fill a number of pie dishes as required and freeze the remaining portions). Unroll the pastry and, using a small, sharp knife, cut out pastry lids that are slightly larger than your pie dishes. Decorate the lids, if desired, with pastry shapes or use the tip of a sharp knife to gently score a pattern into the surface.
- Brush the edge of the pie dishes with a little milk alternative. Put the pastry lids on top and press the edges onto the rim of the pie dish with a fork. Glaze the pastry with a little milk alternative and cut a slit in the centre of each pie to allow steam to escape. Put the dishes on a baking tray and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the pastry is well risen and golden. Serve with greens and gravy (or all the Christmas trimmings) plus cranberry sauce, if desired.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
- 3 leeks, trimmed and finely shredded
- 200g pack cavolo nero, stalks removed, leaves finely shredded
- 30g vegan butter alternative
- 50g raisins
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 25g pine nuts, toasted
- Wash the shredded leeks and cavolo nero in hot water and drain (do not worry about making them bone dry). Melt the vegan butter in a large frying pan or wok. Add the drained greens, sprinkle with a large pinch of sea-salt flakes, add the raisins, then sauté until the water has evaporated and the vegetables are wilted and softened (about 4-5 minutes).
- Squeeze over the lemon juice, transfer to a warm serving dish and sprinkle over the toasted pine nuts before serving immediately.
Sage & onion gravy
Curshen says: ‘If you’ve just boiled vegetables, use the leftover water in the gravy for added flavour. This also keeps for up to 2 days in the fridge, in a sealed container – just reheat on the hob until piping hot, adding a little more stock or water if it’s too thick.’
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes
- 1 Kallo Organic Vegetable Stock Cube (low salt variety), crumbled
- 1 tsp Bart Onion Granules
- ½ tsp dried sage
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
- ½ tbsp Cooks’ Ingredients Tamari Soy Sauce
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp gluten-free plain flour
- 1 tsp Marmite
- Put all the ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan with 500ml just-boiled water (or vegetable cooking water). Place over a medium-high heat and bring to the boil.
- Whisk continuously for a couple of minutes until the gravy thickens. Use a hand blender to get rid of any lumps, if necessary. Serve immediately.
Chocolate & brandy mousse with Lotus biscuit crumbs
Curshen says: ‘You can serve these chocolate mousses in little espresso cups, but they look best in glasses so you can see the layers.’
Preparation time: 15 minutes + chilling
Total time: 15 minutes + chilling
- 2 x 160ml cans coconut cream
- 2 tsp Waitrose 3 Year Old French Brandy (or vanilla extract)
- 2 tbsp icing sugar, sifted, plus extra to taste (optional)
- 4 tbsp Waitrose Duchy Organic Cocoa Powder, sifted
- 1 Lotus Biscoff Cream biscuit, plus extra to serve (optional)
- Pomegranate seeds, to serve
- Put the cans of coconut cream in the fridge until well chilled. Carefully open them – do not shake – and use a spoon to gently lift out the coconut cream, making sure you leave any coconut water behind (there will only be a tiny amount, but the cream won’t whip properly unless you separate it.)
- Put the coconut cream in a large bowl. Beat with electric beaters until it starts to whip, then increase in volume. Beat in the brandy (or vanilla), then the icing sugar. Remove 4 tbsp and set aside.
- Fold in the cocoa powder with a silicone spatula until well incorporated. Taste and, if you’d like it sweeter, stir in a little more icing sugar. Beat again until it’s fluffy and whipped. It should be starting to firm up. Divide between 4 small glasses or espresso cups (use a piping bag if it helps). Smooth the surface and top with the reserved coconut cream. Chill until ready to serve (it will thicken as it chills), for up to 2 days.
- When ready to serve, crush the Lotus biscuit into crumbs, mix with a pinch of sea-salt flakes and sprinkle over the coconut cream. Scatter over the pomegranate seeds, then serve with an extra biscuit on the side, if desired.
Photography: Tom Regester – Food Styling: Jennifer Joyce – Props Styling: Jo Harris