Christmas is the one time of the year that everyone forgets dieting and picky eating and just gets stuck into all the food.
But for vegans – and our omnivorous families and friends – it can be stressful.
Your mum wants you to try her roast duck while everyone acts like youre the Grinch if you suggest a vegan pud.
But its actually dead easy to host a vegan without disrupting your own dinner.
And who better to explain how to do it successfully than vegan YouTubers BOSH! and Derek Sarno, the chef behind Tescos Wicked Kitchen range? They recently teamed up with Tesco for #Vegmas – an animal-free culinary celebration of Christmas in all its richness.
With one in five hosts (18%) planning to cater for a vegan or vegetarian guest this Christmas, BOSH! teamed up with Tesco to create a series of plant-based Christmas recipes for Tesco Vegmas – a vegan Christmas feast. And weve popped some of the recipes below.
What tips do you have for people hosting a vegan guest this Chrimbo?
Derek: Colour and taste are key to how I work on impressing for any occasion!
Most traditional holiday foods are brown so I like to kick things up a notch highlighting the amazing deliciousness and centre stage qualities of veg.
Not over cooking the sprouts – heck I love changing up or even adding additional ways they can be prepared like shaving sprouts and quickly stir-frying with a bit of lime and garlic. Adding more greens like spinach and herbs to the roast potatoes. I always prep things the day before for easy cooking the day of.
Bosh: The first thing is dont see it as a chore and embrace the opportunity to try something new.
Be prepared as well, make sure you write a list of what you need and do some prep beforehand. Theres loads of delicious vegan recipes out there.
Weve put lots of Christmas recipes on our website bosh.tv, such as a the mushroom wellington and even a butternut squash with spiced red wine jus and roast spiced nuts. We have teamed up with Tesco and created some real showstoppers thatll have all your guests impressed, not just the vegan ones.
How can people introduce more plant-based foods into peoples Christmases?
Derek: It has been a long tradition at my house to make all the sides vegan-friendly (and the main if Im honest) so more people can enjoy it and naturally rise to the centre of the meal. Mushroom gravy, stuffing without the dairy and added fresh herbs and greens at the last minute.
Bosh: Having a vegan Christmas couldnt be easier right now.
All you have to do is make a few replacements. Switch your goose fat roast potatoes for olive oil or coconut oil. Mince pies can be made with pre-rolled pastry, which is usually vegan.
Replace your pigs in blankets with plant-based sausages and marinated aubergine (recipe on bosh.tv). You can replace your bacon lardons on Brussel sprouts for mushroom ones! Get creative, theres loads of ways you can make your Christmas dinner a little more vegan-friendly.
What was your first vegan Christmas like? What did you make?
Derek: Everyone loves a holiday and were no different. My first holiday consisted of crispy panko-herb crusted mushroom Schnitzel with gravy, escalloped sweet potato casserole topped with crispy red onion, roasted Cauliflower and broccoli with garlic, herb and white wine toss along with our new signature dish Ive been working on, a herb crusted butternut squash tenderloin roast with whipped potato.
Bosh: Our first vegan Christmas was really interesting but delicious. We had nut roast with parsnips, leeks, roast potatoes, brussel sprouts, carrots, onion gravy and peas. We made this ourselves when our families still had turkey.
Since then we have been experimenting with our vegan Christmas food as Christmas Day is arguably the most important meal of the year!
We love a mushroom wellington, a red wine gravy poured over it. This year we might even make jackfruit as a main.
So, now that youre all fired up, what vegan Christmas bits should you cook? Here are a couple of BOSH! recipes to get the party started. And yes, weve eaten them and they are truly delicious.
Of course, if you cant cook for love nor money, Waitrose is doing beet wellingtons and a glittery nut roast, as well as vegan chocolate tortes. while Tesco has a tonne of really, really delicious bites.
Vegmas King Oyster scallops starter
King Oyster Mushroom Scallops with Creamed Maple Parsnips, Toasted Hazelnuts and Watercress
Ingredients for scallops:
4 Tesco Finest King Oyster mushrooms
1 tsp of salt
Juice of 2 lemons
½ litre warm water
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
A splash of white wine
Ingredients for creamed maple parsnips:
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients for garnish:
50g hazelnuts, toasted
Preheat oven to 180°C.
1. Cut the caps off the mushrooms and cut the stems into 2cm thick slices. Cut the lemons in half and squeeze the juice into a mixing bowl, catching any pips in your other hand. Add the salt to the mixing bowl. Put the slices of mushroom in the mixing bowl, cover the mushrooms with warm water and leave the mushroom slices to soak for 2 hours.
2. Peel the parsnips and chop them into 2cm chunks. Put the chunks of parsnips into a pan, cover with water, season well and put the pan on the stove over a high heat, bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Drain the vegetables and let them steam dry in a colander.
3. Put the parsnips in the food processor, add the olive oil and seasoning and blitz to a smooth purée. Taste the purée, adjust the seasoning if needed and transfer to small saucepan.
4. Spread the hazelnuts out over a baking sheet, put the sheet in the oven for 8-9 minutes to toast the nuts. Take the nuts out of the oven, roughly chop them and set to one side.
5. Drain the Mushroom Scallops. Warm the olive oil in a frying pan, add a splash of white wine and fry the Scallops for 4 minutes on each side until golden in colour with a slight crisp around the sides. Turn the heat right down and leave the scallops to keep warm. Put the parsnip purée on the stove over a medium heat and warm it through, stirring constantly.
6. Artfully flick a dessert spoon of parsnip purée over a plate. Place 4 scallops across the purée. Sprinkle over some toasted hazelnuts. Drizzle over a little hazelnut oil. Sprinkle over a few sprigs of watercress and serve immediately.
Vegmas Mushroom Wellington
Olive oil, for drizzling
3 tbsp oil from sun-dried tomato jar
4 long shallots
8 cloves garlic
4 sun-dried tomatoes
1 stick celery
8 sprigs thyme
4 sprigs rosemary
2 sprigs sage
500g chestnut mushrooms
200ml red wine
2 ½ tbsp cranberry sauce
1 bay leaf
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon
100g dried breadcrumbs
2 320g pre-rolled sheets plant-based puff pastry
2 tbsp plant-based milk
1 tbsp maple syrup
Preheat oven to 180°C.
1. Roast your mushrooms: Lay 10 nice-looking chestnut mushrooms in a row down the middle of a sheet of tin foil. Drizzle over a little olive oil, sprinkle over a little salt and pepper, lay 4 sprigs of thyme, 2 sprigs of rosemary, 3 cloves of garlic and a sprig of sage on top of the mushrooms. Wrap the mushrooms up tightly in the tin foil, put the parcel in the roasting tin, put the roasting tin in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
2. Prepare your filling: Whilst the mushrooms are roasting, peel and finely slice the long shallots. Peel and finely grate the carrot. Finely dice the celery. Finely slice the sun-dried tomatoes. Peel and finely grate the garlic. Pick the leaves off 4 sprigs of thyme, 2 sprigs rosemary, 1 small sprig of sage and finely chop. Blitz 300g of the mushrooms in the food processor to form a mince. Blitz 100g chestnuts and 200g pecans in the food processor to form a meal. Roughly chop the remaining chestnuts.
3. Warm the sun-dried tomato oil over a medium heat in the deep-frying pan. Add the shallots to the pan and fry for 5 minutes until soft. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add the carrots, celery, rosemary, thyme and sage to the pan and stir for 4-5 minutes. Add the minced mushrooms to the pan, increase the heat to high, and cook for 10 minutes until well sweated. Pour the red wine and cranberry sauce into the pan, add the bay leaf, simmer for 6-7 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Turn the heat down, add the nutmeg and cinnamon and stir for 1 minute.
4. Take the roasting mushrooms out of the oven and open the foil. Put the mushrooms on a plate and pour the liquid from the tin foil into the mixing bowl. Pour the breadcrumbs and nut meal into a mixing bowl and mix them together with a spoon. Pour the mushroom mince into the mixing bowl, remove the bay leaf, fold everything together to form a thick, textured dough and leave to cool to room temperature.
5. Prepare your wellington: Lay one sheet of puff pastry out on a baking sheet. Spread half the mushroom mixture lengthways down the middle of the pastry. Use your hands to mould it into a rectangle shape with a flat top, leaving at least a 5cm gap on both sides. Place 2 neat lines of mushrooms down the middle of the mixture, you will have 5 lines in total. Layer the rest of the mixture over the top, encasing the mushrooms. Smooth and shape into a neat, long, rectangular mound.
6. Using a pastry brush or your finger, brush a little of the plant-based milk around the exposed pastry edge. Lay the second pastry sheet over the filling and press it all down well, ensuring there are no air bubbles. Seal the edges by pushing down all the way round the filling with your fingers. Trim any excess pastry from the edges, making sure you leave a 1½ cm crust around the base of the wellington. Put the excess pastry to one side for later. Use a fork to crimp all around the edges of the pastry to firmly seal the wellington in a decorative fashion.
7. Take a sharp knife and score a criss-cross pattern across the top of the whole wellington. Pierce a few air vents in the top of the pastry. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes. Put the baking sheet in the oven and bake the Wellington for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, mix the maple syrup and plant-based milk in a small bowl to make a glazing liquid and brush the whole wellington, place back in the oven until golden brown and crispy, for around 25 minutes. Cut the wellington into equal slices and serve immediately with all the trimmings.
Vegmas Christmas spiced truffles
150ml full fat coconut milk
3 cinnamon sticks
Zest of a clementine
250g dark chocolate
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1. Place the coconut milk in a saucepan, add the spices and the clementine zest. Place over a medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and allow the flavours to infuse for 30 minutes. Return to a boil and then strain the coconut milk through a sieve and discard the spices.
2. Break up the chocolate into small chunks. Put the chocolate and coconut milk in a bain marie and melt them together over a very low heat.
3. Take the bowl off the heat, add the salt, vanilla extract, maple syrup and olive oil to the bowl and fold everything together to combine. Pour into a container and place in the fridge to set.
4. Scoop equal portions of the mixture out of the bowl and roll all the portions into ping pong ball sized balls with cold hands.
5. Put the truffles on a plate and lightly dust with cocoa powder. Put the plate in the refrigerator and leave them to chill until firm.
MORE: What is the pegan diet?