These last-minute vegan recipes will wow even your carnivorous guests this Christmas.
The countdown to Christmas is officially on. There’s still time to try something a little different with your meal this year. These deliciously easy recipes are the perfect last-minute dishes to try before the big day.
Mushroom, Lentil & Red Wine Wellington
An ideal veggie centrepiece to your Christmas feast. The cooking is simple and speedy, but you need to give the filling time to cool – it makes working with the pastry much easier. If practical, it’s worth getting all the elements ready the day before. It gives them time to cool, leaving you to just wrap and bake on Christmas morning. It’s easily made vegan by using vegan pastry and brushing the top with a little oil in place of the egg.
4 large Portobello mushrooms
1 onion, finely dice
1 carrot, finely diced
1 celery stick, finely dice
1 tin cooked dark/puy lentils
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
1 tbsp soy sauce
100ml red wine
300g puff pastry
150g baby spinach
1 egg, beaten
- Preheat your oven to 200˚C/Gas six. Toss the mushrooms in a roasting tray with two tbsp of oil and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. Bake for 20 mins. Remove from the tray and place in the fridge to cool quickly. Clean the tray.
- While the mushrooms roast, warm one tbsp of oil in a saucepan and cook the onion, carrot and celery over a medium heat for 10 mins, until starting to soften.
- Meanwhile, drain and rinse the lentils in a sieve.
- Add the garlic, rosemary, lentils, soy sauce and red wine to the veg, along with 100ml of water. Cook over a medium heat for 10 mins, until most of the liquid has disappeared and the lentils have become mushy.
- Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pop into the fridge to cool.
- Roll out the pastry into a rectangle about three millimetres thin, roughly the size of an A4 sheet. Lay it on the clean baking tray and return it to the fridge to stay cold.
- Wash the spinach.
- Place it in saucepan over a high heat until just wilted, about 30 seconds. Cool immediately under cold water. Drain, squeeze out any excess water, and roughly chop it.
- To build the Wellington, spread the cooled lentil mix evenly over the pastry, leaving a two centimetres gap along one long edge. Place the mushrooms, stems up, in a line down the centre and pack them with chopped spinach.
- Brush the exposed pastry edge with a little water. Gently lift it up and over to completely encase the mushrooms, pressing the damp edge down to seal. Crimp the open ends closed.
- Brush with a little beaten egg and lightly score the top with a sharp knife. Cut two or three vent holes in the top to let the steam escape. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20-25 mins, until golden and cooked through.
Braised Sprouts, Raw Kale & Almonds
The sprouts take on a little sweetness from the wine as it reduces in the pan. Keeping the kale raw adds a slight minerally bitterness and a bit of texture. The almonds are easily replaced by hazelnuts, pine nut or chestnuts.
1 head of black kale
500g sprouts, trimmed and halved
glass of white wine
40g flaked and toasted almonds
salt and pepper
- Strip the kale leaves away from the stalks and tear them into bite-sized pieces. Place them in a mixing bowl with 1 tbsp of olive oil and a generous pinch of salt.
- Use your hands to massage and scrunch the oil and salt into the leaves for a couple of minutes.
- The leaves will soften and tenderise. Set to one side.
- Warm two tbsp of oil in a large frying pan. Add the sprouts and fry them over a medium heat for two to three minutes. Add a pinch of salt and tip in the glass of wine. Braise the sprouts in the wine, turning occasionally, until the wine has evaporated. This should take two to three minutes, by which time the sprouts should be just tender. If they seem a little undercooked, add a dash of water and cook it away as you did with the wine.
- Keep the sprouts on the heat and let them cook for a few more mins, until starting catch and colour on the edges. Remove from the heat and stir in the kale. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve topped with the toasted almonds.
Hasselback Potatoes with Roast Garlic & Rosemary
An alternative to a standard roastie. Hasselback potatoes are a pain to prep, but the crispy, comb-like edges are worth the effort. Two bulbs of garlic look like a heroic amount, but roasting them takes away the pungency and renders them sweet, sticky and savoury.
2 bulbs of garlic
salt & pepper
1kg small/medium potatoes
50/50 mix of olive oil and sunflower oil
2 tbsp finely chopped rosemary leaves
- Preheat your oven to 180˚C/Gas Mark four. Cut the top centimetre from each bulb of garlic, and sit them on a square of foil. Cover with a slug of oil and a pinch of salt.
- Add a dash of water. Bring the sides of the foil up into a tight parcel. Place in the oven and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until the flesh is soft and turning golden brown. When they are ready, remove the bulbs from the foil and leave to cool. They should be done before the potatoes are ready.
- Meanwhile, thinly slice each potato without cutting all the way through. You could try to do it by eye, but a better trick is to lay the handle of a wooden spoon next to the potato to stop the knife cutting down to the board.
- Place the potatoes in a roasting tray. Toss in plenty of oil, salt and pepper. Roast them, sliced side up, for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and use a pastry brush to baste them with the hot oil from the bottom of the tray. Return to the oven for 20 minutes, until completely tender in the middle.
- While the potatoes are finishing, squeeze the soft flesh from the garlic skins, like squeezing toothpaste, a strangely enjoyable task. You’ll end up with a sweet, sticky garlic purée. Mix it with the rosemary.
- When the potatoes are ready, use the pastry brush to brush the potatoes with the garlic and rosemary. Try to work as much as you can into the slices. Return them to the oven for a final five minutes. Serve immediately.
Carrots & Clementine in a Bag
A theatrical technique that seals in the flavour and lets the veg cook in its own moisture. You’ll need baking parchment and 3 bulldog clips. You could use a dash of mulled cider instead of water.
8 carrots, peeled and chopped into 3cm angled pieces
1 clementine, peeled and sliced into thin discs
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
3 whole cloves
2 tbsp olive oil
1 bay leaf
salt & pepper
- Heat the oven to 180°C/Gas four. To make the bag, spread out a rectangle of baking parchment, approximately 60 x 30 centimetres, with the longer side towards you. Fold it in half from left to right. Double-fold the top and bottom edges and secure the folds closed with bulldog clips, creating a bag.
- Put the carrots and clementine in a mixing bowl with the spices and oil, season well with salt and pepper and mix well. Tip them into the bag with the bay leaf and a dash of water.
- Double-fold the open edge of the bag and clip it closed.
- Sit the bag in a roasting tray and bake for about 30 mins; the bag should puff up. Turn out into a bowl, or open at the table like a big bag of crisps.