Traditional Christmas meals are not very inclusive towards modern diets and allergies where people avoid foods containing all meats, animal related products, or gluten. So what can you eat for Christmas if you’re vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free?
Not the turkey, bread sauce, and stuffings, of course. And then there are cakes, puddings, toad-in-the-holes, Yorkshire puddings, pigs in blankets, tarts, nut roasts… I could go on. I was amazed at how much meat and gluten is in our traditional Christmas meals.
Yes, you can make swaps, but where is the fun in that?
Swaps in the traditional Christmas dinner usually means flat toad-in-the-holes and tonnes of veggies. Healthy and can be made well, but that’s been done for years.
It’s time to modernise your Christmas food to something you’d much rather be eating! Want to know how?
Is the traditional turkey Christmas menu outdated?
Throughout history many things have changed including culture and technology. Things weren’t around in the last century, such as the iPad and the internet. Same for clothes, books, and music: things change just as quickly as people do. So, why are we still focused on outdated Christmas dinners?
This is a food blog after all, so let’s check out the amount of people who are consciously eating differently in their daily diets. Research shows approximately 1.3% of the British population is vegan, 6.9% is vegetarian, and 4.1% is pescetarian. That may seem small, but remember even just 1% of the UK population is estimated at 676,782 people of the total 67,678,229 (as of November 2019). That’s about 9 million people (thereabouts) not eating meat. Based on these figures we have to wonder if the traditional meaty Christmas meal is still a ‘must eat’ Christmas dinner?
It’s time for a change to match the tastes of the new population with healthier, heart-warming and meat-free dishes.
We want gorgeous vegetarian tarts overflowing with seasonal root-veg fillings, vegan hot-pots filled with seasoned beans and broth, gluten-free baked puddings oozing with naturally dairy-free chocolates and beautiful fruits, and side dishes and apéritifs from all over the world to accompany them.
Now is that too much to ask?
Through some digging and research for restaurant (online) menus, latest cookbooks and foodie bloggers, it turns out it’s not too much after all.
Top vegan and gluten-free Christmas recipes are trending now and it’s perfect timing for you to gather a list of the ones you find the most mouth-watering and add them to your Christmas shopping list!
I thought I’d start you off with twelve vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free Christmas dinner recipes! As a bonus, some are a gorgeous mix of them all to suit even the strictest dietary needs. Take a look and let me know whether they get your stomach rumbling.
Foods that are in season in the UK at Christmas: shop seasonal for better health, food, environmental footprints
Before you start planning your exotic veggie meals, it’s important to know what fruits and vegetables are in season for your local area, so you can plan your dishes around them throughout December.
With the climate crisis escalating and it’s becoming crucial for each one of us to take responsibility and having to tailor our life too the circumstances, it’s more important than ever to shop for seasonal and local foods. And, as it happens, seasonal foods are the most nutritious, abundant, and delicious to consume.
To tailor your delectable vegan and gluten-free Christmas recipes to the winter seasonal foods, check out this list of all the best foods that are in season in December in the UK. It’s the easiest way to make your Christmas menu the tastiest, most nutritious, and most environmentally friendly you can.
Decembers’ Seasonal Vegetables In The UK:
- Beetroot, brussels sprouts,
- cabbage, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, chicory,
- Jerusalem artichoke,
- kale, kohlrabi,
- parsnips, potatoes (maincrop), pumpkin,
- red cabbage,
- salsify, shallots, swede,
- truffles (black), truffles (white), turnips, and
- wild mushrooms.
Decembers’ Seasonal Fruits In The UK:
- clementines, cranberries,
- passion fruit, pears, pineapple, pomegranate,
- satsumas, and
Decembers’ Seasonal Nuts In The UK:
- brazil nuts,
- hazelnuts, and
If you buy these foods in December to make your modern, meat-free Christmas meals, I promise you they’ll taste better than ANYTHING that isn’t naturally seasonal for Christmas in the UK.
Make tasty, lively, colourful foods that suit you much better with these 10 inspiring recipes
While you’re browsing through these dietary, modern Christmas recipes, you’ll notice that many of them fit under multiple categories. As we’re looking for meat-free meals, all of them will be vegetarian, with some coming under the vegan category. As in the vegan fennel recipe, it’s also gluten-free. You don’t need gluten to make a divine roast, despite what many restaurants seem to think!
If you have multiple dietary requirements, you’ll love this list. And, as always, many of the allergens can be swapped. Take care, as some recipes contain nuts and one contains fish for the pescatarians among us.
If you’re allergic to nuts, no problem, you can swap this with a type of seed for example. If you want to know a little more about food swaps, check out another one of my posts to help you with some of the more common allergen swaps.
*Disclaimer – please note that following any of these recipes fully is entirely the users’ own responsibility and user should seek professional medical advice for any uncertainty to specific ingredients that may cause you or anyone else harm.
Moroccan spiced squash pie
Full Recipe here> www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/moroccan-spiced-pie
This is everything you’d want from a winter meal and a perfect centrepiece for a Christmas celebration. The squash, seasonal and so at its best, is combined with nuts, cranberries, spinach, and chickpeas and dressed with coriander, cumin, cinnamon, paprika, ginger, and cloves. Wrap all of that with filo pastry and top with honey-toasted nuts, harissa yoghurt sauce, and lemon, and is there really anything else you’d want out of a celebrational winter wonder?
If you can’t eat nuts, swap the almonds and pistachios with pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
Mushroom, onion and Gruyère bread pudding
Full Recipe here> www.realsimple.com/recipes/mushroom-bread-pudding
This is actually very easy to turn into a gluten-free and vegan dish but substituting for gluten-free bread and vegan cheese. In fact, that’s how I make it! And, honestly, while I started off with this recipe the first couple of times I made it, I ended up just making it with layers of buttered bread, mushrooms and onions, and a simple cheesy white sauce with whatever herbs I prefer. It’s amazing either way, with the simple version or this gorgeous Gruyère version. I can promise you that whichever one suits you best, the smells with fill your house in the most hunger-creating of ways and you will want to eat and eat and eat…
Sweet onion tarts with vegan cream cheese
I don’t know about you, but I love to look at the different starters and apéritifs that start entering the shops at this time of year, ready for people to take home and share with their guests. As a home cook, I use them to inspire me on what to make at home. I think it’s the cheesy, oniony warming ‘traditional’ sorts that catch my eye the most, though. If you’re like me, this vegan cheese and sweet onion tart will wow both your eyes and your tastebuds!
Slow-cooked caramelised sweet onions and Toffuti cream cheese (or any vegan cream cheese of your preference/availability) with a tangy balsamic glaze and fresh thyme, all loaded onto a crunchy and flaky vegan puff pastry base. I’m imagining it now…
Zingy roast fennel
Full Recipe here> http://dine-dash.com/en/roasted-fennel
A stereotypical Christmas meal is a roast. And, though this article is showing you how to modernise your Christmas meal and change it from the original and traditional, this roast will definitely modernise the concepts of roast. Just meat, potatoes, carrots and parsnips? No thank you! I’ll go for the fennel option, roasted with onion, garlic, tomatoes, and chilli to make one yummy, rich power-plate! The hit of spice and the zest of the tomatoes will match that herby aniseed taste of the fennel so well, you won’t believe that top taste is so easy to make, and nor will your guests!
Smoked salmon and avocado terrine
Full Recipe here> www.bbcgoodfood.com/smoked-salmon-and-avocado
This is for those of you who eat fish but still want to keep the meat out, and for those of you who can’t or don’t eat gluten. This is a favourite of mine, so I can’t wait to tell you all about how great a meat-free, modern Christmas meal it is.
Mix together goat’s cheese, chives, avocados, lemon juice, and seasoning, put into smoked salmon-lined dishes, chill overnight, and then enjoy the next day drizzled in sweet chilli sauce. It’s so rich and creamy and perfect to serve with a salad. It’s definitely a crowd-pleasing meal, as it looks fancy (though it’s so easy to make), and takes the pressure out of cooking on Christmas because you make it the day before and leave it to cool. It’s just so elegant.
Butter bean and butternut squash ragout with hot mint oil
Full Recipe here> www.olivemagazine.com/butter-bean-and-butternut-squash-ragout
I just love a ragout in winter. They’re one of the most mind, body, and soul-warming foods and a perfect treat for a freezing day. You may think a ragout isn’t the dish you’d give someone on a celebration day because it’s not the eye-pleasing dish people think of when they think of Christmas, but trust me. This one will please!
Modernise your ragout and your Christmas at the same time with beautiful chunks of butternut squash and pair with beautiful butter beans! Then, cook in a tomato sauce seasoned with all the best dressings and spices: garlic, onion, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, chilli, and parsley. And, it doesn’t end there. A mint oil sauce tops it off and will provide that kick that people won’t expect from a ragout.
Mushroom chestnut rotolo
Full Recipe here> www.bbcgoodfood.com/mushroom-chestnut-rotolo
This dish of stuffed, rolled lasagne sheets, serves in a honey-comb effect, will be a wow-ing centrepiece of your meat-free, modern Christmas dinner. The combination of mushrooms, chestnuts, shallots, cloves, rosemary and wild mushrooms (perfectly in season), all in a rich white wine sauce and stuffed into rolled lasagne sheets, really will make your mouth water. Add sage when you serve, and the festivities will really heat up.
Also suitable for vegans. For those with nut allergies, beware that this recipe uses chestnuts. Can be made gluten-free with GF lasagne sheets.
Paleo gobi masala soup
Full Recipe here> www.worthypause.com/blog/paleo-gobi-masala-soup
Who doesn’t enjoy a bowl of soup in the Christmas period to add the heat back to their bones and provide the ultimate comfort food? This spicy Indian cauliflower soup will do that perfectly, adding aromas to your household that the smell alone will comfort you and make you think of winter joy. What’s best, this meal is super simple and easy to make and perfect for large groups. It’s easy to adapt, and already suitable for dairy allergies, vegans (if you use the vegetable stock option), paleo diets, and easily gluten-free if you check the stock you use.
And seriously, why wouldn’t you make this ANY time of the year. While it’s a perfect Christmas meal item, it’s also good for anything. Cauliflower, spiced with mustard seeds, cumin, coriander, turmeric, garlic, and a chilli, in a yummy veggie broth with carrots and onion. Add toasted sunflower seeds when you serve, and this humble hearty dish becomes a crowd-stopper!
All 4 dietary requirements in one meal
Lentil roast loaf
Full Recipe here> http://wallflowerkitchen.com/lentil-roast-with-gravy/
Nut roasts are another traditional Christmas item that we’re going to modernise. With many people adopting nut, gluten, and meat-free lifestyles, whatever their reasons, this is an ultimate modern Christmas meal item. Here, we combine mushrooms, carrots, kidney beans, and lentils with gorgeous mixed herbs and rolled oats (gluten-free or quinoa options suitable), mash to combine, and then bake. It’s so easy and, served with a thick caramelised onion, balsamic, tamari gravy, gorgeous too.
Chai coconut mango creams
Full Recipe here> www.bbcgoodfood.com/chai-coconut-mango-creams
All of the options so far have been savoury, so I wanted to add a ‘suitable for all’ dessert that everyone could enjoy in their modern, meat-free Christmas meal that is a little different to the usual desserts we go for.
Spiced sweet things are gorgeous in winter, so end your modern no-Turkey Christmas meal on a high with a chai coconut and mango cream. Vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, but SO spicy-fruity-delicious, people will be begging you for more! To make, simply simmer coconut milk with spices, let chill overnight. Process mango, lime juice, and sugar until it’s a puree, add agar-agar for this to set too, and then arrange into lovely little ramekin beauties. Chill for a couple of hours, then add the coconut mix (which you’ll also add agar-agar to once it’s cooled overnight). Chill again, and voila! The perfect, light, chai-spiced coconut glory anyone will call to eat more of (and tell you how delightful it looks)!
● Traditional Christmas dinners aren’t inclusive to modern diets. If you are vegan or vegetarian, or have to live gluten-free or dairy-free, the typical roast, cake, tarts, and creamy and meaty apéritifs aren’t good for you.
● Modernise your diet and create a vegan and gluten-free Christmas meal plan to suit your dietary lifestyle.
● By following the seasonal foods, you’ll be able to create cheap, nutritious Christmas recipes from local foods. It’ll help the environment while you’re at it!
● A vegan and gluten-free Christmas dinner is easy. Just look at some of the top ten recipes above for examples of the food you can enjoy this year. Foods like the lentil roast loaf, gobi masala soup, and chai coconut mango creams are going to give your family a beautiful and memorable meal that you’ll always look back on.
Do you like the idea of a vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and/or dairy-free Christmas dinner this year? Please comment with your thoughts below.
I can’t wait for Christmas. Good food never fails to motivate me! Please feel free to share your amazing Christmas meal pictures so we can all enjoy your hard work and, perhaps, feel inspired to try your meal ideas …