Happy holiday season, everyone! It can be quite stressful, can’t it, getting everything ready in time for Christmas? And food is often part of that stress, since expectations of yumminess are extra high this time of the year. And it gets even worse for us plant-based eaters, since traditions so often point in the meat and dairy direction.
I’ve been a vegetarian for as long as I can remember, and I also happen to really like Christmas (traditions in general, actually) and find cooking to be a major part of building up the right spirit. So I thought I would share with you all a few recommendations of plant-based (vegan) meals that I find suitable for Christmas. I like my the menu to offer a bit of selection – most often I even do it buffet style – and the flavours are naturally influenced by the Swedish Christmas traditions. I still think it works across many cultures anyway.
I normally plan around these five headlines, and pick one or a couple in each category to create a delicious experience….
1. To start, I choose a beautiful centre piece…
Like this whole roasted celeriac for example – it works with so many different things and is to many a little bit different!
Another great piece is this cumin and honey glazed broccoli and (or) cauliflower roast – especially the cauliflower is lovely to dig into – filled with beautiful hearty flavours. The sauce it comes with is amazing!
This is another great root veggie to roast whole - the rutabaga – and I do it with the same coating as used traditionally for the Swedish Christmas ham – such a great alternative for vegan eaters!
2. When you’ve chosen your centre piece, go ahead and pick a few yummy and seasonally flavoured sides
I have been making this sweet potato salad for years at Christmas and its is a total crowd pleaser! It merges the potatoes with cranberries, cinnamon, buckwheat and a few other seasonal flavours too.
You can’t go wrong with rosemary roasted carrots……
This dish is another one with a strong Swedish theme – the capers, the dill, the potatoes and the onions, all in a creamy mayo style sauce. It is a veganised version of the classic Swedish dish Gubbröra, a little salty and creamy at the same time. Delicious.
3. Now go ahead and match it all with a few dips and sauces
Both these are winners, if you don’t feel like going for normal hummus of course, which also always works!
It is always a great idea to offer guests a plain white sauce, flavoured perhaps a little depending on what you’re serving. This is a good base recipe.
(I will in addition be making a gravy similar to this one from Jamie Oliver)
4. You’ve got to have meatballs (well, at least if you’re a Swede)!
Eating and making meatballs kind of comes with being a Scandie, and for me they are of course always vegan (and gluten-free). Both these are great – the red beet and tofu ones or the black rice and lentils version – you’ll like them both. Heavily inspired by my grandmother’s recipe both include rose pepper, but if you can’t find this where you live, just replace it with your favourite herb. I’ve made both with rosemary instead for example, and that’s been great.
5. Lastly of course, pick an absolutely delicious and seasonal dessert! And it should include at least a little saffron (I think!).
I hope this post offers some support for last minute planners (i’m one in the gang!). Either or, I wish you all anincredibly happy (and delicious) Christmas.