A Vegan Christmas dinner? With These Recipes, Why Not?!

The Holidays have always been associated with Turkey and Gravy.

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We look forward to our holiday favourites and no doubt some staples are here to stay; but as we move into the new Millenia, amazing and delicious alternatives are starting to make their way into the holiday repertoire; people are more open than ever to embrace additions to traditional family staples and are starting to embrace plant-based diets more regularly; while others have been vegetarian or vegan for decades. In either case, meat alternatives are starting to populate grocery store shelves more than ever. 

Vegan alternatives such as seitan textured soy protein, pean protein and soy can be used to recreate or substitute classic Christmas favourites for a holiday meal that is both tasty and cruelty-free.

Vegan chef and author Chloe Coscarelli (Book: Chloe Flavour) shared her Christmas-dinner inspiration and favourite vegan holiday dishes. Chloe has been cooking vegan dishes for years and is confident that a delicious plant-based holiday meal can go down without a glitch this holiday season. She admits that cooking vegan is an adjustment and take a little bit of practice,  “follow your taste buds and be bold with experimenting”. She suggests. 

“I create all my recipes using trial-and-error,” she told us. “The key is to replace the animal-based ingredients you would traditionally use with vegan alternatives.”   Such alternatives can come in the form of plant-based milk, nuts, textures soy or plant-based protein and replacing dairy mayo with plant-based mayo or cheese with dairy-free alternatives.

“Stock your pantry with the basic vegan essentials, like almond milk, tempeh, a fermented soy protein, and nutritional yeast flakes, which are great for making cheesy sauces,” she advises.

For her own table, Coscarelli creates vegan meatloaf “with tons of fresh herbs, mushrooms, and whole grains,” which she referred to as a “perfect vegan addition to your holiday table.”

To get the right flavour, Coscarelli recommends using seitan, an “amazing” meat-free alternative made from cooked wheat gluten. “It can be sliced or crumbled and used in recipes in place of any type of meat,” she continues, which means it can also replace a typical turkey dish. And the chewy texture but mild flavour makes it a perfect alternative because “it can soak up all the flavours of your sauce.”

Aside from plant-based meat alternative main dishes, Coscarelli has a large variety of vegan side dish recipes fit for the holidays – including apple cider Brussels sprouts, spiced applesauce cake, and holiday-spiced crème brulèe, which calls for coconut milk and corn starch instead of the typical cream; and when she’s asked to bring something over the holidays she opts to make sweet loaves of bread.

“Bringing a loaf to people’s homes is one of my favourite hostess gifts because it can be sliced up for dessert or saved for breakfast the next morning,” Says Coscarelli.

Coscarelli’s own personal favourite? Pumpkin chocolate chip bread and she shares the recipe in her next cookbook.

The rise in vegan holiday dinner alternatives comes as more and more people switch to a vegan lifestyle.

Tesco’s annual Christmas report (UK) revealed that last year, one-fifth of hosts catered for vegan or vegetarian diets during the holidays.

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