As I sit in my (ridiculously cold) university house writing this – with only an endless stream of tea and my Christmas jumper to curb the chill – I can’t help but fantasize about being at home with family and friends, enjoying Christmas TV, films, music and parties! Oh, and FOOD.
The latter, however, can become massively difficult to organise for us veggies and vegans (as well as those who simply want to cut down on their meat consumption), during the holidays when the dinner table can become the size of a small village, and saying no to the obligatory turkey will be sure to leave you with the label of ‘Scrooge’ for years to come.
Kudos to those of you who can both embark on a veggie/vegan journey and receive zero criticism from your loved ones during the holiday season! However, for those of you struggling to convince those around you that your holiday spirit won’t vanish into thin air without some roasted bird in your belly, here’s how to make your Christmas experience the object of some serious envy.
Get your roast game on
Depending on the willingness of your family, you may be required to take control and cook some or all of your own Christmas dinner.
The nut roast is probably the biggest veggie Christmas dinner cliché, but to be honest, with the right recipe it can taste really freaking good. The Vegan Society has a recipe that takes no more than 30 minutes, start to finish. I bet your meat-eating friends and family will be wishing they could cook their Christmas main that quickly!
If a nut roast isn’t your thing, don’t give up hope. You can find plenty of ready-made meat alternatives (not all are vegan, so be careful) that taste just as good – if not better – than the real thing. FYI, Linda McCartney is my spirit guide and the reason I sleep at night.
Linda McCartney Vegan Beef Roast with Red Wine & Shallot Glaze, Waitrose, £3
Split the cooking tasks
Some may feel uncomfortable lazing around after throwing their tasty meat alternative into the oven, leaving everyone else to do the hard work – so there’s always the opportunity to take responsibility for preparing some of the veg, roasties or even the gravy. There’s a high chance of more than one of these elements being non-veggie which can develop into some pretty awkward refusals and a dry, gravy-less plate.
Jamie Oliver’s vegan gravy recipe is miles better than Bisto granules and will be sure to please every set of tastebuds at the table. With special ingredients such as port and blackcurrant jam, it’ll undoubtedly pack a festive punch.
Give (and receive) vegan gifts
As this year will be my first vegan Christmas, I’ve been feeling particularly anxious about receiving non-vegan presents that I will have to reject or re-gift, such as chocolate, alcohol, clothes, and animal-tested bath products. Make it clear to those close to you of the foods/drinks you cannot consume and the clothes/products that go against your morals.
Equally make an effort to give vegan gifts. If a loved one really wants a leather jacket or a woolly jumper, I’m sure someone else can buy it for them! Or simply buy them a gift card so they can make their own fashion choices.
Put all differences aside and enjoy the break!
Christmas is a time to spend with family, and take a (small) step back from studying and a well-deserved break from the stresses that too often accompany university life.
The last thing anybody wants during the holidays is to feel anxious about no longer being able to eat and drink the same things as everyone else. Remember, you’re the one that’s made the amazing choice to become veggie or vegan! Chances are you’ll find cooking even easier, the food tastier, and your conscience clearer! It’s your time to show others you can have just as much fun during this special time of year without giving up on your beliefs.
Happy Christmas! xoxo
Edited By Isabelle Walker