Following a plant-based vegetarian “wholefood” diet is tasty, exciting, great for your body, and great for the planet too. However at this time of year, even the most dedicated and practised among us can find Christmas a little stressful when we’re thrust back into the fold of family, out to Christmas lunches and Christmas “do’s”, and faced with countless offerings that we’d never normally look at or even consider.
For those individuals eating a completely vegan diet (no dairy or eggs), this time of year can be viewed with dread rather than excitement and celebration. But fear not… the Christmas veggie fairy is here to help navigate you through the festive period, and give you some vegan Christmas cooking tips and tantalising foodie alternatives to wow your friends and family with…
Cooking tips and tricks
- Double up on your veg box order and embrace the seasonal produce that is around at this time of year. Stock up with a wide variety of vegetables such as beetroot, cabbage, onion, courgettes, squashes, pumpkin, carrots, brocolli, cauliflower, swede, parsnips, and of course… Brussels sprouts!
- Savour the nutrients in food during cooking - avoid boiling vegetables and instead lightly steam, lightly roast, or lightly stir-fry.
- Cook with a variety of herbs and spices such as thyme, rosemary, ginger, fennel, cumin, cardamom, or coriander. This adds flavour, aids digestion, and even adds healing and therapeutic properties to the food!
- Consider a large mixed salad for starters, or as a “help yourself” dish on the table. You’ll be amazed at how many people enjoy tucking into a colourful and delicious salad. I love grating raw winter vegetables such as squash, beetroot, pumpkin, celeriac or turnip. I always “ground” these raw salads with a tasty oil and vinegar-based dressing, or Tamari. Hemp oil is a great oil to use cold, and adds some essential omega-3 fats to the dish. Adding cider vinegar or lemon juice to salads also helps to stimulate digestion!
- Make a hearty homemade vegetable soup on a regular basis. Homemade soups using root vegetables, beans and leafy greens, are cleansing, filling, and perfect for times when we want to eat “lightly”, but want something warm and nourishing too.
- Keep a good supply a fresh fruits available to snack on, and to begin the day with. Fresh fruit is the ideal start to any day. Choose clementines, oranges, grapefruits, apples, kiwis, pears, grapes, or plums. You can also leave freshly cracked nuts in bowls for people to enjoy, such as pecans, almonds, or walnuts.
And there you have it! Follow the above tips to help make your vegan Christmas a roaring success. For brilliant desserts, try out this orange chocolate vegan cheesecake or have a go at making a delicious dairy free yoghurt !