I’m just gearing up for my first Christmas as a vegan. This will be interesting! I’ve had about 20 years of family get-togethers as a vegetarian, but that meant that all of the cheesy and eggy alternatives were available. This time I’m going to have to be a bit more inventive when I choose my contribution – after all, I’m representing vegan food…and the animals are depending on me to show everyone else that it’s REALLY good!
Both of our families (mine and my B’s) do the whole bring-a-plate/potluck kind of Christmas. We usually take a savoury dish and a sweet dish, and everyone shares. It works out well because nobody gets lumbered with feeding 20+ people, many with particular dietary requirements. It also means that we can be sure there is something we can eat.
What makes a good Christmas dish?
The dishes will need to:
- Be easy to transport
- Appeal to people who aren’t used to ‘vegan’ food
- Be easily divided up to share
- Not need to be frozen or kept extremely cold (a few cold bricks or an esky are probably all I’ll have) – there’s never enough room in the fridge
- Preferably not need to be cooked or heated (for too long) when we get there, because there’s never enough room in the oven on the day
- Be suitable for hot weather (since Christmas is in summer here)…although we have had a few freezing Christmas days too!
I’ve been keeping my eyes open for ideas, and over the next few weeks I’m going to be trialling a few different dishes that might work. Then I’ll pick the winners to take on the big day(s).
Last week I tried out Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s beet burgers. I liked the idea that they would be substantial, include ‘familiar’ foods and the pink colour would look great for Christmas.
They were easy to make using my lovely new food processor (replacing my old, broken one) – which happens to be the same as the one Isa uses in her videos. 🙂 I shaped them using my old egg ring (which serves no other purpose these days), and they held together really well. Most importantly, they were really delicious and scored 2 thumbs-up from the family.
They look a little bit charred when they’re cooked properly, but they keep their Christmassy pink colour. Of course, I didn’t take a picture of the finished meal – doh!
I also tried out broccoli polenta from Veganomicon. It’s easy, fun to make and would transport well to…wherever we’re going to be for our Christmas get-togethers.
I love the idea that they can be cut or shaped into something Christmassy – maybe stars? I’d probably need to make some kind of tasty, saucy food to have with it too. It’s still on the list.
The sausage rolls from Where’s the Beef are always a good option. I took the vegetarian version to Christmas last year, and I’ve taken the vegan version to a couple of events this year. They’re always nice and don’t necessarily have to be heated. (They MUST be really popular, because when I search for ‘Where’s the Beef’, Google autocompletes with ‘sausage rolls’!)
I’ll also be checking out nut roasts. I have an old favourite that was given to me by my son’s friend’s mum about 14 years ago, and I’ve been meaning to veganise it. I also know that Johanna at Green Gourmet Giraffe is a big nut roast fan, so I’m going to check out her list.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s Vegan table also has some good ‘holiday’ menus. Of course, as she’s based in the US, the seasons are back to front for Australia, but I’m interested to try her lentil loaf, mushroom gravy and stuffing if it’s not going to be a really hot day.
I’m looking for ideas, so if anyone has suggestions, let me know! I’ll be posting my trial runs over the next few weeks.
In the meantime, here’s the Beet Burger video.