Arts & Culture

Vegan holidays: What to cook up for this year’s feasts5 min read

Lockdown doesn’t have to be boring. With November marking the world’s 26th vegan month, here’s a line-up of ways you can enjoy traditional feasts, but plant-based, to make your vegan holidays.

Thanksgiving roast

After this month’s absolutely turbulent election — it’s only fair we give the Americans a little more respect. I’m not American by nationality, but am always looking for excuses to experiment and create OTT meals to wow my housemates and family. This month we’re going all out with a Thanksgiving roast for our vegan holidays and this is what we plan to go for:

ASDA’s vegan turkey

Yep, ASDA’s launched a vegan turkey with caramelised onion stuffing. Can you believe that?

Roast parsnips and carrots

  • 2 carrots
  • 2 parsnips
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Fresh sprig of rosemary
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  1. Heat your oven up at 200°C.
  2. Chop all the vegetables up, lay them out on an oven tray, and sprinkle with rosemary, salt, pepper and pour over olive oil.
  3. Leave them to roast for 40 minutes.

BOSH’s red cabbage and cranberry dressing

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp cranberry sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ red cabbage
  1. Put all the ingredients aside from the cabbage into a bowl, and whisk.
  2. Then toss in the cabbage and ensure everything is coated in the sauce. Serve cold.

Jamie Oliver’s vegan gravy

  • 2 onions
  • 2 carrots
  • olive oil
  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock cubes
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp marmite
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  1. Pan fry the vegetables in olive oil until they are soft and lightly browned.
  2. Mix in the flour, marmite and tomato purée and put on a low heat.
  3. After 10 minutes, pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a boil.
  4. Sprinkle in any fresh herbs, salt and pepper, and serve hot.

Christmas dinner

Christmas 2019 was my first Christmas as a vegan. Luckily enough, I had a lot of help in the kitchen so my experiment didn’t fail. This is what we made:

Aubergine and chickpea bites

  • 3 large aubergines
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 400g cooked chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp chickpea flour
  • 1 lemon, squeezed
  1. Heat the oven to 200°C. Roast the aubergines, garlic and spices for 40 minutes.
  2. Take the aubergines out of the oven when cooked, but don’t turn the oven off just yet. Scoop out the aubergine flesh, and the spices and garlic into a bowl. 
  3. Add the chickpeas, half the flour and lemon juice. Mash together so all the ingredients are combined well.
  4. Shape the mixture into small balls.
  5. Take the remaining flour and coat the balls in it.
  6. Place in the oven for a further 20 minutes at 180°C.

Mushroom and chestnut wellington

  • 200g pack of vacuum packed cooked chestnuts
  • 200g button mushrooms
  • Ready made dairy free puff pastry
  • olive oil
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard 
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. 
  2. Finely slice the mushrooms and pan fry with onions in olive oil until softened.
  3. Add in the chestnuts and leave for 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer mix to a bowl and coat in more olive oil and wholegrain mustard.
  5. Roll out puff pastry on a tray. 
  6. Place mix in the middle, horizontally. Fold the corners over until you make a large sausage type shape
  7. Make slices in the top of the wellington to help the cooking process.
  8. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Vegan Mince Pies

(For the pastry)

  • 85g vegan butter
  • 175g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Pinch of salt

(For the filling/mincemeat)

  • 1 apple
  • Mixed dried fruit
  • 1 orange juiced and zested
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 150g dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  1. Put the butter in pieces in a large bowl.
  2. Add the flour and mix together with a processor until a breadcrumb texture is formed.
  3. Add salt and water and press to form a dough – don’t over handle!
  4. Form into a flat ball, cover with film and put in fridge for 30 minutes
  5. Preheat the oven at 200°C – In the meantime, make the mincemeat.
  6. Peel and dice the apple finely, add all the ingredients apart from the brandy to a saucepan and let them simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in brandy.
  8. After the half hour is up, roll out the pastry.
  9. Cut out 12 large circles for bases and 12 stars for the tops.
  10. Spoon 1 teaspoon of mincemeat into each pie, cover with their lids, and press the edges together with water.
  11. Brush with milk, and cook in the oven for a further 20 minutes.
  12. Dust with icing sugar and serve hot with vegan ice cream!

Jamie Oliver’s Poached pears

  • 4 medium-sized pears
  • 1 strip of lemon zest
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 litre of red wine (I recommend a good pinot nero)
  1. Peel the pears 
  2. Bring a deep pot to boil with the red wine, lemon zest, cinnamon and cloves inside
  3. Bring it down to a medium heat and put the pears in
  4. Cook until the pears are tender and have changed colour
  5. Add lemon juice to taste
  6. Serve hot with vegan vanilla ice cream!

New Year’s spread

Born and raised in Italy, I know that food plays a fundamental role to any NYE night. However, after moving to the UK — where alcohol plays an even bigger role — and getting to understand the student life, it’s become increasingly difficult to go all out for NYE dinners. But this is the perfect spread for any vegan student this 2021!

  • 2 packs of nachos – most brands are vegan but the best ones are definitely Sainsbury’s brand! If you want to make them cheesy, I highly recommend Willicroft’s This is Not Cheese Fondue — found in all Waitrose shops.
  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 3 large sticks of celery, chopped
  • Homemade guacamole – 2 avocados, ½ red onion, 2tbsp lime juice, 2 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper
  • Homemade hummus – 200g cooked chickpeas, 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 30g tahini, 2 garlic cloves diced, sprinkles of paprika and cumin
  • Bruschetta – toasted sliced bread, 3 diced tomatoes
  • Sweet potato wedges – 2 large sweet potatoes, chopped, coated in olive oil and rosemary, roasted in oven for 40 minutes

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