Vegetarian Christmas recipes
With Christmas just around the corner, signposting the end to the somewhat surreal year of 2021, what better way to celebrate this magical time of year than to bring friends and family together with a delicious festive feast?
Like all good feasts, this is one that you can prep ahead, offering you a fuss-free holiday, dedicated to spending time with people you love.
I’m going gluten-free and vegetarian here (although vegan would be possible with a few easy substitutions). I’m also offering a canape idea (we’re partying, yes?), so there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Celeriac and apple rounds with cauliflower and clove puree
You can prepare all but the apple for the canapes up to four days in advance! The apple should be done in the morning.
Cruciferous veggies, such as cauliflower, are wonderful for supporting the liver. Apples, celeriac, and cauliflower are also rich in fibre, which feeds the good bacteria in the gut, keeps us satiated, and is also pivotal in the detoxification process. I love this little canape, not only because it’s packed full of goodness, but also because each bite is like a toasty Christmas hug from Father Christmas himself!
- 1 cauliflower, roughly chopped
- 100g dairy-free butter
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1 pod worth of ground cardamom
- Squeeze of lemon
- 1 celeriac, peeled and sliced into 1cm slices
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 medium apple, cut into small cubes
- Small pinch of saffron
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Zest of ½ orange and sumac to serve
Steam the cauliflower for 10 minutes until tender. Put into a blender, add butter, spices, and seasoning and puree. You want this smooth but thick. Transfer to a piping bag/bowl and set aside until serving.
Steam celeriac slices for 10 minutes or until tender. Place on a board and cut out small, bite-sized circles or squares. Set aside until serving. (Any off-cuts can be saved and roasted along with your other veg for the main).
Cut the apple into very small cubes, and add to a bowl with saffron and lemon juice.
Arrange the celeriac on a roasting tray, top with a dollop of the puree, and roast at 180°C for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and finish with the apple.
Garnish with zest of orange and sumac. Can be served hot or cold.
Festive Butternut Squash, Kale and Chestnut Pithivier
Served with all the trimmings of a Christmas meal, this is a real crowd pleaser and, in my opinion, is a juicier alternative to ye old nut roast. With regards to its nutritional benefits, this is a good one for so many reasons: kale is another cruciferous vegetable, offering fibre, antioxidants, and liver-loving goodness to the Christmas meal. Butternut squash packs in more fibre and antioxidants, and being a good source of potassium also keeps blood sugar balance in check. Finally, the tofu is a great source of protein, containing all nine essential amino acids and brings a gorgeous and indulgent creaminess to the dish.
- 640g ready-rolled puff pastry, vegan or vegetarian
- 1 small butternut squash, cut into 1cm cubes
- 12 cooked chestnuts, chopped
- 150g chopped almonds
- 100g dried or fresh cranberries
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- A small handful of sage, chopped
- 200g kale
- 2 tbsp of Madeira, or sherry
- 300g of silken tofu, crumbled
- Eggwash: 1 egg yolk and 2 tsp water, mixed
- Salt and pepper
Set the oven to 180°C. Chop all ingredients and place onto a lined roasting tray. Mix, cover, and roast for 25 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Line a large baking tray and cut two large squares of the pastry to fit. Put one on the tray and plop the filling into a pile in the middle.
Brush the pastry border with the eggwash and drape the other pastry square over the top of the filling. Pinch the two pastry sheets together to seal the filling into the pithivier. At this point, this can be stored in the fridge.
Heat the oven to 210°C. Remove the pithivier from the fridge, if prepped ahead. Brush with the rest of the egg wash, score the top and make a small hole in the centre for the air to escape. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and puffed up.
Slice into wedges and serve with roasted veggies!
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