- Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Accidentally Vegan Christmas Food

Christmas is a time of family reunions, festivities, copious amounts of food and that age-old favourite - heightened emotions. What better time to remind everyone around you that you are VEGAN #vegan  vegan (vegan) ~vegan~ vegan and vegan? This festive and joyful time is the perfect opportunity to offer constant reinforcement of the fact that you are ethical and woke and enjoy pushing your titanium-strong morals on your loved ones, from the comfortable position of your high horse on the moral highground.

Then again, if you value your relationships with the people around you and wish to have a conflict-free Christmas, it may be wise to stock up on some of these molto tasty goods for all your festive munching needs - they are all vegan-friendly and will no doubt be enormously enjoyed by vegans and  cynics alike (looking at you, family members who are unfailingly surprised when vegan things taste good).

As a quick aside, vegan Christmas is approximately ten times less overwhelming than you may think - pretty much everything except the turkey and the pigs in blankets is vegan already, or if you do your veggies in butter then just switch that out for an oil and it will be. There are also numerous excellent accidentally vegan products in Lidl and Aldi (point proven: vegan need not be expensive) such as stollen, lebkuchen, Christmas puds, chutneys etc. - go have a browse!

And so, in no particular order (except for being grouped into roughly sweet and savoury/also grouped by type, so I guess yeah they are kind of in an order), and with this list being by no means exhaustive, feast your eyes on the below!

1. Mackie's of Scotland Turkey and Haggis Stuffing Crisps
Potentially the least vegan product name ever, but these are actually entirely animal-free and very tasty. As a fully-stereotype-conforming Scot, I love haggis. Meaty haggis was my favourite food all the way up until I went veggie aged 19 (which I now realise is SO GROSS AND DISGUSTING) but veggie haggis is absolutely divine and I love it and basically these crisps are nice. I'm not even a crisp person but if you like crisps then these are a solid shout.

2. Macsween's Vegetarian Haggis
As mentioned above! An excellent substitute for stuffing, if you don't feel like making your own. This is made up of oats, grains, pulses, veggies etc. and is so unbelievably easy to cook so I recommend you invest in some. Alternatively, also on the stuffing front, I hear the Paxo Sage & Onion Stuffing Mix is good (although I haven't tried it so maybe try it before Christmas Day just to make sure...).

3. Aunt Bessie's Crispy Roast Potatoes
No need for goose fat (wow how appetising does that sound) with these super convenient roasties safely tucked away in the freezer. We hosted Christmas last year and I was mighty sad that I wasn't going to be allowed to make my own roast potatoes from scratch, but when oven space becomes prime real estate and there are such convenient shortcuts as this, there is really no reason to say no. If you also want to take the lazy route with pre-glazed veggies, Aunt Bessie's Chunky Roasting Vegetables are a good bet too (although probably unnecessary because chopping some veggies, drizzling them with oil, and seasoning requires approximately zilcho effort).

4. Tesco Festive Nut Roast with Mulled Wine & Cranberry Sauce
I made a BBC Good Food nut roast last year, having tried three different recipes and choosing that one as my favourite. (Note: it's veggie, and contains an egg as a binder, as I wasn't vegan yet; you could so easily do this but sub the egg for a flax or chia egg instead.) After being literally the only person out of my whole entire family to have any of it at all, I decided not to go to such lengths this year. Instead, I shall be enjoying this Tesco nut roast and am already excited to try it. Anything with 'festive' in its name will have that effect on me.

5. Bisto Best Roast Vegetable Gravy Granules
Thanks to my wholesome gravy-from-scratch life on the farm, I actually didn't know you could buy pre-made gravy mixes until I went to university. To this day, I have yet to actually make gravy from a packet, and last year I made my own which was either this Jamie Oliver recipe or this BBC Good Food recipe (use oil instead of butter); we are having the JO one this year and I am buzzing already because gravy is amazy.

6. Sainsbury's Six Month Matured Christmas Pudding
Easy peasy, (Christmas) pudding and pie. Ingredients include cider, sherry, rum and brandy; eat responsibly. (Read: eat loads of everything else on this list under the guise of soaking up the alcohol content as a purely precautionary measure.)

7. Tesco Chocolate and Hazelnut Churros
Yes, you read that correctly. These are seasonal and extremely popular, so you may wish to stock up so that you can get your fix of deep-fried, crispy, cinnamon-sweet, Nutella-reminiscent goodness whenever your heart desires. Just chuck them in the oven, sprinkle the sugar over the top and admire the edible glitter for as long as you can restrain yourself before you dive in.

8. Essential Waitrose Mince Pies
Six for £1, so popular that they were actually sold out when I went to try and buy them. Luckily, the Waitrose LoveLife Mince Pies (gluten free) are also accidentally vegan so I bought them instead. Do this at your peril, for they are about five hundred times the price for the luxury of excluding gluten. They are, however, incredibly tasty and I would wholeheartedly recommend. Perfect for that little somethin somethin.

9. Oatly Stuff
Creamy Oat Single Cream Alternative for pouring on everything in sight, Vanilla Custard if you prefer your toppings gloopy and yellow (I don't, can you tell?), and Creamy Oat Fraiche for dolloping. Oatly is forever and always my favourite non-dairy milk brand and their products fully deserve to be drizzled generously over all things. The single cream and oat fraiche can also be used to thicken or creamify dishes both sweet and savoury, so get thee to the kitchen and start experimenting.

10. Bendicks Bittermints
Bye bye After Eights, the new kid on the blog is vegan and therefore cooler than you (sorry if that sounds harsh). These are dark chocolates with a minty fondant middle, much the same as that classic time-sensitive 'after-dinner mint' but with thicker chocolate and stronger mint. What's not to love? Think of these as a post-Christmas dinner palate cleanser. Until about an hour later when you go in for a leftovers sandwich.

And there you have it - just a taster (ha ha) of all the gloriousness that you can bestow upon those around you without them even realising it's all vegan. Christmas dinner tastes better without a side of preachiness (which is not to say I won't talk about veganism if you ask and are genuinely interested). Load up your plates, and your tummies, and enjoy!

Merry Christmas one and all. Big love!


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