What comes to your mind when you hear Christmas Dinner? Turkey? Beef Wellington? Roasted Duck? Me too! But does it always have to be meat? About almost a year ago I decided to cut down my consumption of meat, mostly for environmental reasons. Of course, I sometimes miss Schnitzel or my moms Sunday roast, but most of the time there is a vegetarian option just as good!
Through cutting meat out of my diet, I dare say I learned to cook better. For example, I learned that I prefer a good vegetable broth (and always add Shiitake mushrooms to your broth!) or rediscovered my love for cauliflower and I tried so many new recipes that I love and that are now my go-to comfort foods.
One of my close friends Lena is running the blog “okwow.eu” where she writes mostly about sustainability but also about her thoughts on the world and important issues. She is the person I now bother with all my questions about the environment because from her I always get an honest answer taking more than the obvious issues into account. And I really learned a lot about common misconceptions, she writes about those too. 😉 I can only recommend to check out her blog!
I am certain you can whip up an amazing vegetarian Christmas Dinner without meat and nobody will miss it! Here are some ideas:
Anyway, the past week Lena and I have been working on the perfect dishes for a savoury vegetarian Christmas dinner and I think we found some good ones! Let’s start with one of our favourite side dishes: mashed potatoes with a twist 😉
This is one of my favourite (side) dishes in autumn and winter. The pumpkin takes the mashed potatoes to the next level, once you tried it this way, you'll never want to go back 😉
Course: Side Dish
800gpotatoesfor mashing, e.g. rooster
200gpumpkine.g. butternut squash
salt & pepper
Peel the potatoes and pumpkin and cut them into about 3cm or 1-inch wide pieces. Cover them in water and boil until the pieces are tender. About 20 minutes should be enough.
Drain the potatoes and pumpkin. Then mash them together.
Add the butter and milk, depending on your desired consistency.
Season to taste with salt, pepper, garlic, nutmeg, sage and piri piri.
Instead of beef wellington, you should try these hearty puff pastry tartlets! Eat them as they are, add some sauce, make them open-faced like we did or fill and bake them closed. Go crazy! I am sure you will like them.
You can try different variations on these tartlets, find your favourite combo!
Course: Main Course
1sheetpuff pastrythawed if you bought the frozen one
soy sauce, thyme, garlic granules
brown sugar, balsamic vinegar
butternut squash topping
Cut the puff pastry sheet into 6 even-sized rectangles.
Cut the puff pastry about 1cm (1/2 inch) from the edge cut but don't cut it all the way through.
Spoon and evenly distribute about 1 tbsp of cream cheese on the inner rectangle of the puff pastry.
Add some of the topping on the puff pastries.
Bake at 180°C (400°F) for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
Slice the mushrooms and onions.
In one pan sauté the onions with a little bit of soy sauce, salt, pepper, thyme and garlic granules.
In another pan gently sauté the onions on medium heat to allow them to soften. Add about 1 tsp brown sugar and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Let simmer until the liquid had reduced and the onions are caramelised. Season with pepper.
Toss the onions with the mushrooms before putting them on the puff pastry.
butternut squash topping
Thinly slice a small part of the butternut squash and leek. Toss the squash in a little olive oil so it is lightly covered but not too oily.
Top the puff pastry with the squash and leek and season with salt pepper and other spices if desired. I like to use sage, garlic granules, piri piri and obviously salt and pepper.
Crumble a little feta cheese over the squash and leeks before baking.
Use fresh spinach or thaw frozen spinach.
Toss the spinach with a little bit of olive oil, one clove crushed garlic, piri piri, salt and pepper.
Top the puff pastry with the spinach and crumble some feta cheese on top.
The great thing about this recipe: it can be custumised! There are endless possibilities. You can mix and match the toppings above, add new ingredients or try something completely different! You could sauté some cherry tomatoes in soy sauce for example to make another great topping. Let me know when you come up with new ones I’ll have to try!
It’s Christmas; you need something saucy! (At least I do!) And because it’s Christmas it should be hearty with red wine, right? You don’t need beef to make a hearty sauce! Try Lena and my take on a vegetarian beef bourguignon. Our secret ingredient? Shiitake mushrooms and miso!
It's a vegetarian Christmas, of course, you need a fancy looking salad that you don't have to think about until the last minute"
Cut the pre-cooked beets into thin slices. And spread them over a big plate.
Sprinkle the beets with honey and thyme, remove the leaves from the stalks first.
Crumble the feta cheese over the beets and top with a handful of walnuts.
So this is what Lena and I served out friends for our small vegetarian Christmas dinner! We served it with Glögg made by friends from Scandinavia and a surprise dessert by our Italian friends. I suggest to make some Christmas cookies for dessert as well! Oh, and how does mulled wine or some “Glüh-Gin” sound? Let me know what you think about a vegetarian Christmas!
I think these recipes would also be a great option for a vegetarian Christmas: Pumpkin Soup – What about a warm soup to warm you up after coming in from a cold walk on Christmas Eve? Schupfnudeln with Sauerkraut – This traditional German dish is often to be found on Christmas market. Why not make them yourself and serve them on Christmas day?!
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