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Tis’ the Season to be Vegan – Veganizing Festive Favourites

Traditional Christmas food brings to mind different kinds of meats stuffed inside of each other, creamy and rich desserts, and fancy cheese and canapés. Whilst there are a lot of shop-bought vegan alternatives on the market these days, there are ways we can easily veganize festive foods ourselves at home.  

Here are some small treats, perfect for Christmas Eve, Day or New Year to treat your family and friends to some vegan bites! 

‘Smoked Salmon’ Blinis 

The classic, crowd-pleaser of a canapé. Smoked salmon and cream cheese with zingy dill, lemon, and capers. When I think of vegan alternatives – there is not a lot out there for fish, and it is a hard taste and texture to replicate. While these swaps are never unmistakeable from the real thing, the result is great and this one definitely looks exactly like salmon! The miso gives the carrot a distinctive and unusual flavour, but the capers and lemon gave the tangy and fresh lift that it needed. 

Ingredients (10-12 blinis)

2 Large Carrots 

2 cups veggie stock 

1tbsp miso paste 

Juice of 1 lemon 

1tbp soy sauce 

2 tbsp paprika 

2 tbsp maple syrup 

Pinch of salt 

1 sheet of nori (optional) 

Vegan cream cheese 

Small handful of capers 

Sprinkle of lemon zest 

A few sprigs of dill (Optional) 

Method 

  1. Make the stock. Add the veggie stock to a pan with, miso, lemon juice, soy sauce, paprika, maple syrup, salt and nori. 
  1. Bring to boil and simmer for 10 minutes 
  1. Peel the skin off the carrots and discard. Continue to peel wide ribbons of carrot and add them to a heat proof bowl. 
  1. Sieve the stock over the carrots and leave to cool. 
  1. Once cooled, cover and leave in the fridge for 7 hours or overnight. 
  1. When you are ready to make the blinis, take the carrots out of the fridge and remove them from the bowl onto kitchen towel to get rid of the excess liquid. 
  1. Spread the cream cheese onto the blinis, top with rolled up ribbons of carrot, chopped capers and lemon zest. 
  1. You can add another squeeze of lemon juice, sprig of dill and salt and pepper. 

Vegan Pigs in Parsnip Blankets

There are definitely lots of options in supermarkets for vegan pigs in blankets, and they are easy to replicate with vegan meat substitutes at home. However, this recipe uses ribbons of parsnip rather than a fake bacon substitute for the ‘blankets’. Not everyone enjoys the taste of soy or wheat protein products, and two of them in one bite can be a bit much if you are not a fan of meaty flavours and textures. In this way, the parsnip is a great replacement, and the maple syrup and butter glaze gives it a sweet and treacly taste which is the perfect addition to a Christmas Dinner.

Method

  1. Cook the sausages according to instructions.

2. Peel the skin off the parsnips and discard. Continue peeling wide ribbons of parsnip. 

3. Heat the oil and butter in a pan, when melted add the parsnip ribbons and cook til soft. 

4. Remove the ribbons and leave them on kitchen towel until cooled. 

5. Take a sausage and wrap a ribbon of parsnip around it – you can do more than one depending on the size of the sausage. 

6. Use a cocktail stick to secure the parsnip. 

7. Repeat until you run out of parsnip. 

8. Put the pan back on the heat and add the maple syrup, add more butter if needed. 

9. When it starts to bubble add the sausages and cook until the parsnip is slightly browned and they are well coated in the glaze. 

10. Serve with cranberry or red currant sauce – or with your Christmas Dinner. 

Ingredients (10-12 cocktail sausages)

Vegan Sausages 

2 Parsnips 

1tbsp Oil 

2tbsp Butter 

4 tbsp Maple Syrup 

Cranberry or Red Currant Sauce 

Vegan Tiffin

This was no doubt my favourite recipe of the bunch! It was the easiest to make and the easiest to veganize. These are great to have with a tea or coffee and can be customised based on what fruits and nuts you prefer, or have in the cupboard. I topped them with finely chopped pistachio and edible gold dust for some festive flair.

Ingredients

200g dark chocolate 

75g coconut oil 

200g vegan ginger biscuits (or your biscuit of choice) 

50g dried fruit (I used apricots and sultanas) 

50g nuts and seeds (I used almonds, pistachios and pumpkin seeds) 

Method

  1. Line a square baking tin with greaseproof paper.

2. Heat the chocolate with the coconut oil in 30 second bursts in the microwave until melted.

3. Crush the biscuits – a good mixture of crumbs and smaller bits with some bigger chunks. You can do this by putting them in a food processor or into a zip-lock bag and bashing it with a rolling pin. Add them to the melted chocolate mix. 

4. Weigh out the fruit and nuts and add those in too. 

5. Mix it all together and tip into the baking tin, spread it out evenly with the back of a spoon or a spatula – getting it into the corners of the tin. 

6. Leave it in the fridge until the chocolate has set – about 2 hours. 

7. Cut into pieces and enjoy! 

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