Christmas can be an expensive time of year, especially for the food on the day itself. Trying to keep everyone happy is just another added stress. It’s also a time when families with all their dietary requirements get together.
Last year I made a luxury 3 course turkey dinner for eight people for just £20. This year I have devised a similar Christmas meal but for under £25 for 8 vegans. Between the two meal plans you could mix and match to keep everyone happy. You could also easily swap in Gluten Free ingredients for not much more if necessary. As I had to make the Christmas pudding from scratch. There is some dried fruit leftover as well as a lot of other ingredients so the total budget would have been cheaper.
When I was looking for a shop bought vegan Christmas pudding I couldn’t find one as they all contained egg, but I found an excellent recipe on the Vegan Society website. It’s so easy to make and my family couldn’t even tell the difference. The Mushroom and Chestnut Tart is a great substitute for Turkey with it’s Christmassy flavours so no one should feel like they are missing out.
Again check which other stock cupboard ingredients you might need to get, as trying to find a supermarket open on Christmas day could be tricky.
I started this vegan Christmas dinner with a warming butternut soup and sage chestnut dumplings, Then a full roast dinner with chestnut brussels sprouts and hassleback potatoes with the mushroom tart. Then the homemade Christmas pudding with soya cream. The pudding is microwaved from raw so you don’t have to boil it for hours first. You can make the mixture up a few days before and store it in the fridge to let the flavour mature. We even flamed ours with some brandy like we usually do.
Orginally costed for 2017, so prices would have gone up, but it’s still a good guide to producing a delicious christmas dinner on a budget.
Butternut Soup & Chestnut Dumplings
Adapted from Jamie Oliver 15 minute meals
Ingredients for the Butternut Soup
1/2 onion finely diced
Pinch of red chilli flakes (optional)
1 vegetable stock cube
1 butternut squash
1 can of chickpeas
Ingredients for the Chestnut Dumplings
100g from to pack of chestnuts
100g self raising flour
1 vegetable stock cube
About 10 fresh sage leaves plus 10 more for the brussels sprouts
Finely chop the carrots and onion and with a little oil soften in a large pan. While this in cooking grate the flesh of the butternut squash.
Crumble in the stock cube to the onions and add the squash, 1 litre of boiling water, the chickpeas and chilli if using, let this simmer for about 15 minutes
Blitz the soup and season to taste.
While the Soup is cooking you can make the chestnut dumpling.
In a food processor blitz 100g of the chestnuts, and 100g of the flour, with the crumbled stock cube and some pepper.
Add 100ml of water a little at a time until you have a firm dough.
Split the dough in half and roll into a long sausage shape on a floured surface. Cut into 2mm chunks.
Boil some water in a pan and drop the dumplings in carefully with a slotted spoon, and cook for about 6 minutes until fluffy. Then drain them on some kitchen paper.
Heat some oil in a frying pan and crisp up the sage leaves then carefully take them out and save for sprinkling on the dumplings.
In the heated oil fry the cooked dumpling for a few minutes to crisp up the outsides.
Then grate over some nutmeg before serving with half the sage leaves and soup.
Vegan Mushroom, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart
Adapted from Jamie Oliver
Ingredients for the pastry
150g Olive spread
300g plain Flour
Few tablespoons of water
Pinch of salt
Ingredients for the filling
2 cloves of garlic
2 carrots, grated (300g)
200g peeled chestnuts
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
200g soya cream cheese
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
A small bunch of fresh parsley
Make the shortcrust pastry by putting the flour and salt in a large bowl and add the olive spread.
Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until you have a mixture that resembles coarse breadcrumbs with no large lumps of fat remaining.
Using a knife, stir in just enough of the cold water to bind the dough together.
Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for a least 10-15 minutes before using.
After the pastry has chilled, heat the oven to 190°C or Gas Mark 5.
Roll out the pastry and lay it in a 12 inch loose bottom tin ready for the filling.
While the pastry is chilling finely chop the onion, crush the garlic, then finely grate the carrots.
Slice the chestnut mushrooms into rounds.
Roughly chop 150g of the chestnuts (the rest will be used for the topping).
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan until hot, add the onions and cook gently over a low heat until softened.
Add the carrots, garlic, thyme and 3/4 of the mushrooms and fry gently until softened and all of the liquid from the mushrooms has been absorbed – around 10 minutes.
Stir in the cream cheese and halved chestnuts and mix together gently until the cheese has softened and formed a creamy mixture. Season to taste, spoon the filling into the pastry case then level the top.
Place the tart on the baking tray on the top shelf of the oven and bake for 30–40 minutes or until the pastry is crisp.
Remove the tart from the oven, cover loosely in foil to retain its heat and set aside while you finish off the other vegetables.
Finally, chop the remaining mushrooms into pieces, roughly chop the leftover chestnuts and finely chop the parsley. Heat the garlic oil in a heavy-based frying pan until hot, add the mushrooms and fry gently until softened. Stir in the chestnuts, cranberries and parsley and spoon over the tart to form a decorative layer.
Serve with the tart and hasselback potatoes, carrots, red cabbage, maple parsnips and the sprouts.
Boil these as normal, slightly Al Dente, then just before you serve them warm with the last of the chestnuts in a little oil. Sprinkle over some of the fried sage leaves
These are a fun interesting way to cook roast potatoes. Take each potato and place it between 2 wooden spoons. With a sharp knife cut slices 5mm apart into the potato as the photo shows stopping at the spoon. Place them in a roasting dish with some oil and a little sprinkle of salt. Roast for about an hour or until golden and tender. Sprinkle with a few dried herbs if you want when they are nearly ready.
Maple Syrup Parsnips
Cook your parsnips as you would normally for a roast dinner, but 10 minutes before they are ready drizzle them in a little maple syrup and scatter over some sesame seeds.
1 red cabbage, sliced
1 red onions, sliced
1 apple, diced
Good splash red wine (optional, can use water instead)
Good splash apple juice (optional)
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
Using a large sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat then add the sliced onions and apple then cook for 10 minutes until softened.
Next add the cabbage and all the other ingredients.
Simmer for 30 minutes and season to taste
True Vegan Christmas pudding
Recipe adapted from the Vegan Society
200g vegan margarine
2 tablespoon black treacle
100g vegan breadcrumbs (I save my crusts in the freezer for breadcrumbs)
100g self raising flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
100g dried apricots, chopped
100g prunes, chopped
300g mixture of currants, sultanas & raisins
100g soft brown sugar
1 cooking apple, grated finely
1 medium carrot, grated finely
3 teaspoons mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
Juice and grated rind of 1 lemon (optional)
3 tablespoons brandy (optional)
Cream the margarine and treacle together.
Add all the other ingredients and mix well to a soft dropping consistency.
Grease a microwavable basin well and fill with the mixture leaving about 2 – 3cm free from the top to allow for rising.
Cover with a circle of grease proof paper then a saucer on top.
Microwave for about 15 minutes but check after ten. It could end up longer depending on the size of the bowl.
Serve hot with soya cream.