18 Tasty veggie Christmas dinners

Being vegetarian (or vegan) at Christmas can be tricky, particularly if you're celebrating with family and friends who are hardcore carnivores. There will always be those relatives who just tell you to try a slice of turkey, or push a few pigs in blankets your way - “Try them, you'll love them!” or those who tell you that eating meat is healthier than being veggie.

Whatever your reasons for being vegetarian, you don't have to miss out on all the delicious food that is around at Christmas, and we've found some tasty, healthy veggie Christmas dinners that ensure you'll enjoy the celebrations, whatever you get up to.

#1. Stuffed Christmas Burger

All the flavours of Christmas in a delicious bun – earthy mushrooms, protein-packed lentils, festive hazelnuts and cranberries, yum! The addition of kale or rocket for vitamin C, plus sage, thyme, garlic and onions makes these burgers super-flavoursome and really special. They're great served in buns with mayonnaise, or serve them as they are with a selection of roast veggies.

#2. Quinoa Stuffed Squash

Acorn squash works best here, but you could use butternut or other varieties, all packed with beta-carotene which is essential for healthy skin and vision. The stuffing is made with sweet apples, sharp cheese, sage, walnuts and of course the protein-packed quinoa. Serve this with a variety of colourful vegetables as a great way to get your five-a-day!

#3. Easy Autumn Tart

This healthy sautéed vegetable tart uses a gluten-free, vegan pastry made with chickpea flour, almond flour, corn starch and coconut oil, packed with healthy fats (it's one of our favourite ingredients). This is great way to get the kids to eat more vegetables. You can use whatever vegetables are in season wherever you are, but the recipe recommends mushrooms, broccoli, kale, sweet potato, carrots and leeks. This is perfect for serving at a family meal.

#4. Veggie Shepherd's Pie

Who doesn't love a warm, comforting shepherd's pie? It's ideal not only for veggie Christmas and New Year celebrations, but also for delicious meals after a workout or a long day at work. The garlic in the mash boosts your immune system and goats cheese and cream are added for a decadent touch. The pie filling uses lentils (which will keep you feeling fuller for longer), squash, carrots, celery, onions and mushrooms and is packed with flavour. Courgettes can be subbed for the mushrooms if you like.

#5. Winter Stuffed Portobellos

Stuffed mushrooms are a delicious side dish and this recipe from Guilty Kitchen has to be one of our favourites. Gluten-free, it uses a simple yet tasty filling of cheese, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and onions, but you can play around with whatever ingredients you have to hand. Leftovers keep well in the fridge, so why not reheat them the next day for a delicious portobello mushroom sandwich for breakfast?

#6. Kale and Cauliflower Cheddar Tart

We're excited about this cheesy tart, which contains two of our favourite veggies. Vitamin C packed kale, which is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat, and the much under-rated cauliflower, which boosts heart health and reduces inflammation in your body (1). The spicy, cheesy crust is the perfect compliment to the filling, and we guarantee your friends and family will be asking for the recipe!

#7. Chickpea Christmas Tart

This stunning savoury tart is the perfect centrepiece for any festive meal and it's easy to prepare in advance and take with you. Loaded with protein and fibre from the chickpeas, vitamin E and selenium from walnuts and iron from the spinach, it also includes a healthy dose of good fats from olive oil. The addition of festive flavours such as sage, cranberries, parsley and thyme are what makes this dish really special.

#8. Kale and Butternut Squash Shells

We love The Corner Kitchen's take on an Italian classic – it's special enough to serve at a festive dinner, loaded with carbs (perfect to refuel after a run) and still far healthier than traditional stuffed shells. The filling is made with roasted butternut squash, kale and ricotta and mozzarella cheeses. You can create a creamy bechamel sauce or add an extra dose of antioxidants with a home-made tomato sauce.

#9. Chermoula Eggplant with Bulgur

If you fancy some Middle Eastern spice this festive season, this New York Times recipe is perfect. Is uses Chermoula, a blend of North African spices, which is used to season aubergine (eggplant) before roasting to a smoky sweetness. The tabbouleh-style topping and healthy, creamy Greek yoghurt make this divine!

#10. Whole Roasted Cauliflower

Jamie Oliver has some inspiring Vegetarian recipes to share, and if you're looking for a vegan alternative to a meaty roast, a whole cauliflower roasted with a paprika and thyme rub is perfect. Heart-healthy olive oil, zesty lemon and the smoky, spicy rub plus antioxidant rich tomatoes ensure this dish is healthy and packed with flavour. We love it!

#11. Candied Beet Salad

As you'll see from our selection of autumn salad recipes, salads aren't just for the summer months, and this fresh, healthy Winter salad is the perfect addition to your celebrations. With beetroot, salad leaves and a buttermilk dressing, we love the subtle spice of smoked paprika and cinnamon. Did we mention it's so colourful it looks great on the table?

#12. Mum's Christmas Roast

This nut-free, veggie Christmas roast is one of our favourite things to make at this time of year, although we like to add some sage and thyme, plus a pinch of cayenne; you could use whatever herbs and spices you like best. The simple ingredients – carrots, leeks, onions, celery, mushrooms and peppers, are flavoured with dairy-free cheddar and bound together with an egg.

#13. Parsnip and Jerusalem Artichoke Bake

Easy, creamy, heavenly! Ok, so it's not the kind of dish you would want to indulge in everyday, but a little of what you fancy does you good. Treat yourself to this mustard and cream infused veggie bake with Jerusalem artichokes and parsnips, perfect as a side dish with one of the above tarts.

#14. Vegan Mushroom, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart

If there are two things that make us think of Christmas, it has to be cranberries and roast chestnuts! Make this tart the day before and then re-heat before serving. With a gluten-free case and a goodness-packed filling with chestnut mushrooms, carrots, garlic, onion, herbs and cranberries, we promise it tastes amazing served with Jamie's redcurrant gravy.

#15. Christmas pudding

We had to include a suet-free Christmas pudding recipe here; making your own is so much healthier than any desserts you'll find in the shops – it's an additive and preservative free zone! Serve with Calvados cream for the perfect finish to your festive meal.

#16. Thai-spiced Pumpkin Soup

This makes a great starter and the Thai curry paste adds just the right kick. It's easy to make, with just a few ingredients; squash or pumpkin, butter, coconut milk (don't use the reduced fat version, as it's just not as creamy for this recipe), salt and red Thai curry paste. Start slowly by adding just a small amount of curry paste and build up the spiciness gradually to suit your taste.

#17. Chickpea Roast with Sherry Sauce

A cross between a nut-free roast and a pie, this is packed with protein from the chickpeas, which will fill you up for the afternoon and stop you reaching for sweets and chocolate. The sherry sauce is the perfect accompaniment; you'll want seconds!

#18. Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Balsamic Butter Sauce

Great served at anytime over the holidays, but delicious enough to make it onto the table on Christmas day, gnocchi, or small potato dumplings, are traditionally made with white potatoes. Adding sweet potatoes to the mix gives you a healthy dose of vitamin A and helps prevent blood sugar spikes, as sweet potatoes are slowly digested. The simple balsamic butter dressing elevates this dish to a whole new level.

READ THIS NEXT: Drinking this festive season - how much is too much?

Works cited:

  1. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/02/22/cauliflower-health-benefits.aspx

Author By Paula Beaton
Date On 26th Nov 2014 at 10:30

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