There are a number of reasons why polytunnel gardeners may wish to consider a switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet. The benefits of vegetarian or vegan diets are multiple – both for individuals involved and for our planet. Could you have a vegetarian or vegan Christmas this year? To help you determine whether or not you could eschew meat and perhaps also other animal-derived products over the festive season, here are some vegetarian and vegan Christmas dinner ideas:
Vegetarian or Vegan Christmas Canapés
If you are planning a Christmas party this year, here are some party food or canapé ideas that are sure to keep everyone (even confirmed meat-eaters) happy over the festive season:
- Bruschetta with Christmas colours – tomato & basil salsa, or kale and red pepper with a balsamic reduction for example.
- Vegan sausage rolls (with vegan sausages and puff pastry – bought or made). You can make your own vegan sausages using polytunnel grown beans, pulses and vegetables).
- Mini vegan bean or nut burgers.
- Home-made falafel or quinoa balls.
- Vegan spring rolls
- Spinach, pesto tartlets
- Vegan rice & cabbage rolls
Vegetarian or Vegan Christmas Starters
When it comes to the big day itself, there are also plenty of ideas for each part of the meal. For example, for the starter you could consider:
- Vegetable soup (There are a wide range of soups that can be made with seasonal produce).
- Mixed vegetable salads. (There are also a wide range of delicious salads that can be prepared for a festive occasion.)
- Vegetable samosas with fruit chutneys or pickles.
- Sweet potato cakes or vegetable fritters.
Vegetarian or Vegan Christmas Dinners
If you are going to forgo the turkey for the first time, you may be wondering how to create the wow factor for your vegetarian or vegan main course. Those new to vegetarian or vegan cooking may be surprised to learn that there are plenty of options that can be just as impressive for a festive occasion as a full roast dinner. For example:
- A moist and herby nut roast, or nut roast pie.
- A vegetable pie, studded with cranberries.
- Whole roast cauliflower.
- Baked, stuffed squash.
- A vegetarian tart with fresh, seasonal roast vegetables, and herbs.
These and other impressive centrepieces can be served with sides such as roast potatoes and other roast vegetable medleys, kale crisps, herby oat stuffing, onion gravy, festive chutneys and other preserves etc…
Vegetarian or Vegan Christmas Deserts
Your vegetarian or vegan Christmas dinner need not end there. There are also plenty of delicious and enticing Christmas desserts to choose from, including:
- Vegan mince pies or tartlets.
- Poached pairs or other cooked fruits.
- Vegan chocolate pots.
- No-cook vegan fudge brownies.
- Vegan sorbets or ice ‘creams’ made with non-dairy creams.
Whether you want to give up meat and dairy, or simply want to try something different this Christmas, there are plenty of enticing seasonal recipes to choose from. Are you planning a vegetarian or vegan Christmas this year using produce from your polytunnel? Let us know what you are planning in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.