Festive seasons can be quite trying for vegetarians because well, everything pretty much revolves around turkey, ham, rendang, “yuk korn” (dried meat), oh well you get the idea. There will be tons of tempting delicious treats all around you, but if you’ve got a visiting relative or friend coming over for Christmas dinner who’s vegan, don’t make them feel left out and have them nibbling on candy canes all night.
There are tons of vegetarian recipes which you can still sprinkle with classic holiday flavours without compromising on the good ol’ Christmas spirit. Here’s a simple vegetarian starter, main course and dessert which you can try your hand at cooking up come this weekend!
Starter: Truffled Parsnip & Parmesan Bruschetta
You will need:
1 mini ciabatta or panini roll, cut into 12 x ½cm slices
1 garlic clove , halved
3 large parsnips , halved and quartered, cored and cut into 1cm cubes
1 tsp truffle oil , plus more to serve if you like
2 tbsp olive oil , plus more to serve
handful rocket leaves
50g Parmesan (or vegetarian alternative) shavings
1. Heat a griddle pan and toast the bread for about 2 mins on each side until golden and marked. Rub the cut side of the garlic clove over each piece.
2. Heat the butter in a large frying pan. Add the parsnips, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then cook over a medium heat, shaking regularly until golden and softened, about 20 mins.
3. Add a splash of water if you need to.
4. Remove from the heat and whizz to a purée in a food processor with both of the oils. Season to taste. Set aside at room temperature if serving on the day. Can be chilled up to 2 days ahead.
5. To serve, top the toasts with the truffled parsnip mix (it should be room temperature), scatter with rocket leaves and Parmesan shavings, then drizzle with a little more olive oil or truffle oil.
Main Course: Wild Mushroom & Port Brioche
You will need:
2 tbsp olive oil
225g chestnut mushrooms , quartered
115g shiitake mushrooms , halved
2 large field mushrooms , sliced
3 sticks celery , finely chopped
1 onion , cut into thin wedges
2 garlic cloves , crushed
300ml red wine
1.2l hot vegetable stock
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
6 brioche rolls
flatleaf parsley , to garnish
1. Heat oven to 190C. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pan, then fry mushrooms for 4-5 mins, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon, then set aside. Add remaining oil to the pan, then fry the celery, onion and garlic over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 mins. Add wine, stock and thyme and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 mins.
2. Add the port and redcurrant jelly. Bring back to the boil, then boil for 10 mins until reduced by half and thick and syrupy. Season to taste, discard the thyme and stir in the mushrooms. Simmer for 5 mins.
3. Meanwhile, pull the tops off the brioche and reserve, then pick out dough from the centre to leave a thick shell. (Process remaining dough to make breadcrumbs, then freeze for future use.) Place rolls on a baking sheet, then bake for 5-7 mins until hot and crisp.
4. Spoon the mushroom mixture into the brioche rolls, then garnish with the flat-leaf parsley. Serve immediately with any remaining gravy, potato wedges and green beans.
Dessert: Goat’s Cheese & Cranberry Tartlets
You will need:
375-425g pack ready-rolled puff pastry or 500g pack ready-made pastry rolled 5mm thick
1 egg , beaten
3 tbsp cranberry sauce or a good-quality chutney
3 x 120g goat’s cheese logs (such as Soignon Petit Sainte-Maure), at room temperature
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil , for drizzling
Rocket leaves, to serve
1. Preheat oven to fan 200C. Lay pastry on a floured work surface. Using a round 7.5cm round pastry cutter, cut out as many circles as possible.
2. Sit them on oiled baking sheets and score a circle about 2.5cm in from the edge of each disc by pressing gently with a 5cm cutter.
3. Pierce the middle of each with a fork, brush with egg and top with a little cranberry sauce or chutney.
4. Slice the cheese 5mm thick so you have a slice per disc (discard end rinds). Lay a slice on each tartlet, then top with thyme leaves, a drizzle of oil and a twist of black pepper.
5. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is golden and the pastry crispy. Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm, garnished with rocket leaves.
For more Christmas vegetarian recipes, click here.