These tips will help to make sure Christmas is just as delicious — and stress-free — for the vegans and vegetarians at the table.
If you’re hosting/cooking:
- Where possible, plan to prepare foods that work naturally with these requirements, rather than making a whole separate dish for each course. It’s easier than you think to make sure your side dishes are suitable for everyone.
- Serving everyone a vegetarian- or vegan-friendly starter means you don’t need to make separate dishes for two courses. There’s enough meat happening with the main course as it is!
- You don’t have to make everything from scratch — these days, there are vegan substitutes for pretty much every food imaginable, including vegan gravies, ice creams and custards.
- If you usually use duck or goose fat to roast your potatoes, switch to olive oil or make a separate batch.
- Don’t roast your vegetables anywhere near the meat.
- Remember to make a separate vegetarian– or vegan-friendly gravy.
- Most cheese is made from rennet, which is not vegetarian. If using cheese, make sure you look for some made with vegetarian rennet. If you have vegans attending, ensure that a vegan-friendly cheese in included on a separate board or plate.
- Some mince pies or Christmas puddings may contain suet, which is non-vegetarian. Check packaging carefully if you’re buying your pudding, or make your own mincemeatwith vegetarian suet.
- Some alcoholic beverages contain non-vegan products such as isinglass, which is made from fish bladders. Check the label, or visit a knowledgeable off-licence to find suitable options.
- Make sure that jelly or marshmallows used in desserts don’t contain gelatine.
“If you realise at the last moment that you added a knob of butter to your vegetables, or used some cheese in your potatoes, be sure you own up to it”
- It’s less obvious than meat, dairy and eggs, but honey comes from an animal, so vegans don’t eat it. Maple syrup, brown sugar or agave make perfect substitutes.
- If you realise at the last moment that you added a knob of butter to your vegetables, or used some cheese in your potatoes, be sure you own up to it — it’s unquestionably wrong to serve animal products to a vegan without their knowledge.
- Make your guests feel comfortable and welcome at the table by sampling some of the vegan dishes on offer.
If you’re a vegan or vegetarian…
- Communicate your needs well ahead of time. It shouldn’t be an issue for your hosts to accommodate your meat-free diet, but it is both polite and necessary to make sure they have plenty of time to plan suitable options for their menu.
- Offer to bring something. Your hosts may be happy to prepare your meal, but perhaps you could take one or two items off their hands? Offering to contribute vegan bread or a vegetarian gravy is a thoughtful and practical way of saying “thank you.”