The silly season is upon us and rather than getting annoyed and upset about the amount of money people are spending on useless items that will be collecting dust in a few months, credit card debt they still haven't paid off from last Xmas, consumerism etc, PLUS the enormous amount of lives that will be slaughtered for another excuse to be gluttonous... I have enlisted Janine who is a wonderful plant-based cooking coach in Brisbane to share some of her Christmas creations for a Cruelty-Free Christmas:
Vegan Christmas Menu ideas
Whether you are preparing an exclusively vegan Christmas meal or are contributing some vegan offerings to an omnivorous Christmas meal, following are some suggested menu items to consider.
Lentil /Bean or Nut Loaf or Roast
Use your favourite recipe which you may have to double or triple in quantity. These are usually great either hot, cold or at room temperature. Generally they seem to cut better if served cold the next day but some recipes will be fine even if piping hot.
Your loaf or roast can be served with a compatible sauce, eg a creamy mushroom sauce, a vegan gravy or a tomato sauce, which may be served separately or slavered over the top. If served as individual mini-loaves, the sauce can be placed on each plate to form a bed for the loaf.
To accompany the “roast” think in terms of colours, selecting some contrasting colours and textures to provide a visually attractive presentation.
Red – tomato / red capsicum
Green – Leafy greens / green beans / broccoli / peas / zucchini
Orange – pumpkin / carrot / sweet potato
Yellow – button squash / yellow beans / Swedes
White – potato / turnip / rice / cauliflower
Don’t forget, a dob of pesto, a spoonful of salsa, a sprinkling of paprika or a sprig of parsley can give the plate that bit of a lift!
You can also jazz the presentation up by:
1. Baking the loaf in an attractive mould pan or in individual serve moulds. (I once made white nut loaves in individual mini-loaf moulds, and placed a couple of basil leaves on either side of a morsel of red capsicum in the bottom of the moulds. I lined the base with baking paper first for ease of turning out. They turned out beautifully, with the decoration reminiscent of holly on each white loaf.)
2. Line the base of the mould with baking paper, then arrange thinly sliced zucchini or white mushrooms attractively over the base. Next, carefully spoon the loaf mixture in, press down without disturbing the arrangement, and bake. Turn out carefully.
3. Use a stuffing in the loaf.
4. Sprinkle the baked loaf with a mixture of roughly chopped semi-dried tomatoes and olives OR spread with a pesto OR lightly press toasted walnuts or almonds onto the top.
Use puff, shortcrust pastry or filo to encase any type of vegan filling. These usually present well and most of the fillings you are likely to use can be prepared in advance.
BBQ Menu items
- Any veg burger which holds together well, and will withstand the pushing, prodding and repeated flipping some earnest BBQ’ers inflict upon the hapless morsels sizzling on the BBQ plate.
- Tofu skewers, including firm tofu threaded with any choice of button mushrooms, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, capsicum, onion, etc. Keep the pieces at a fairly uniform width for even cooking. The finished skewers can be marinated in shallow trays before cooking, or accompanied by a tasty sauce once served. If using bamboo skewers, don’t forget to soak them for several hours before threading.
- Large field or portabello mushrooms can be marinated and grilled or wrapped in foil and grilled. You can top these off with grilled Tofu squares or strips, and your favourite pesto.
Steamed Christmas puddings can be prepared well ahead, and if you’re not into the heavy mixed fruit style, you could try a Sago Steamed Pudding (pictured) which still looks and tastes quite rich but is relatively light in the stomach.
You can also make lovely steamed puddings using a basic cake recipe and incorporating any of the following: well drained tinned / bottled cherries, ginger in syrup, dark chocolate chips or pieces, walnuts or pecans or macadamias, semi-dried cranberries, prunes, etc.
Any sweet recipes which feature ginger, macadamias, pineapple, mango or fresh cherries, will be highlighting our (Australian) seasonal produce, and adding a special touch to the Christmas dessert.
Regardless of what food you decide on, extending a spirit of good-will and keeping relaxed and cheerful will be the best offering you can serve up to others this season.
Some other cruelty-free recipe sites to check out:
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