Back in the day, when families and friends got together for Christmas, the hosts put out these amazing feasts on the table. The showstopper was always some form of roast meat, turkey or duck, chicken or ham, crown roast or roast lamb, and this dish would have sauces, relishes and vegetables to compliment it.
Times have changed. With more people from other communities joining in the celebrations, with people becoming more health conscious or making lifestyle food choices, there are many more vegetarians and vegans at our Christmas tables today. And, as good hosts, we need to make sure our menus do not disappoint. The important thing is to check food choices with all those invited to your festivities.
Today we have put together a simple but elegant vegan menu, that will be loved and appreciated by all.
Vegan Gluten Free Eggplant Parmesan
This crunchy eggplant dish is simple to make and loaded with flavour. And no cheese!
1 large eggplant sliced into ¼” rounds
1 tbsp salt
½ cup gluten free flour (almond flour is a good option)
½ cup plain almond milk
1 ½ cup seasoned gluten-free bread crumbs or crushed corn-flakes
1 tsp dried yeast
1 tsp dried oregano
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
Fresh basil leaves for garnish
Store bought Marinara sauce; I take the easy way out!
Sprinkle both sides of eggplant with salt, place between paper towels, with a weight, for at least
30 min to draw out the excess moisture. Pat dry. Preheat the oven to 220°C, then line a baking
sheet with parchment paper. Whisk almond flour and almond milk in one bowl, and
breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, garlic and dried oregano in another. Dip eggplant slices one at a time first into the flour mixture, followed by the breadcrumb mixture. Line them on the baking
sheet, and bake for 20-25 minutes flipping halfway through, or until golden and crispy.
Place on a serving dish, drizzle with Marinara and garnish with basil leaves.
I’m really partial to cauliflower steaks. The first time I tried to make them was during the Covid
lockdown, when I was doing a lot of experimental cooking. Ever since, I make them regularly, in a host of different ways. Here’s one of my favourite recipes.
1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed of the stems and leaves.
1 tsp. ground cumin
5 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh coriander, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 small clove garlic, crushed
¼ tsp + a pinch of sea salt
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
Stand cauliflower on stem end. Cut 1 slices, reserve rounded wedges for another time. Preheat oven, to 220°C.Mix 1 tbsp olive oil with cumin, brush all over cauliflower slices. Sprinkle with salt. In 12-inch oven-safe frying pan heat remaining 2 tbsp. of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add cauliflower steaks and cook for 3 minutes. Flip and do the same again. Place skillet in oven; roast 15 to 20 minutes or until stem is tender, While the steaks are in the oven, whisk together cilantro, parsley, vinegar, garlic, jalapeño, remaining 2 tbsp. oil, and the pinch of salt. Spoon the herb sauce onto finished steaks after plating.
French Beans with Garlic and Sesame
A quick and simple side that works well with any main.
500g French beans, top and tailed and stringed if they need it.
1 tsp avocado oil or olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp white sesame seeds
salt and pepper, to taste
Put a pan or wok over medium heat. Add oil, when hot, add green beans, cover with lid, and let
it cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. The beans should be al dente. Add in sesame oil,
garlic powder, ginger, lemon juice, salt and pepper and stir well. Cook for 2-3 more minutes
uncovered, stirring occasionally, until cooked Add the sesame seeds and toss before serving.
Roasted Kale and Mushrooms
Another absolute favourite of mine – the simplicity of this dish makes the flavours of the kale
and mushroom just sing!
4 small shallots peeled and halved
6 tbsp olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
200g oyster mushrooms, trimmed, torn into bite-size pieces
1 large bunch kale, ribs removed, leaves torn into large pieces
Heat oven to 220°C. On rimmed baking sheet, toss shallots with 1 tbsp oil and a pinch each of
salt and pepper. Roast for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in large bowl, toss mushrooms and kale with
remaining 5 tablespoons oil and salt and pepper until evenly coated. Add the mushrooms and
kale to the shallots in pan and continue roasting, stirring just once, until kale is crisp and lightly
browned on edges and mushrooms and shallots are just tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Crispy Smashed Potatoes
Who can resist crispy smashed potatoes! This uncomplicated dish never fails to be a crowd pleaser. It can be served as a starter or a side, with many different delicious toppings or seasonings.
1 kg of small new potatoes
2 tbsp sea salt
Seasonings and/or toppings like sour cream and chives, taco seasoning, cheese, bacon, hot sauce, salsa, fresh herbs etc.
Boil potatoes in lots of water to which 1 tbsp of salt has been added. Remember that you have to start in cold water. The potatoes should be tender but not mashy. Drain and dry. Oil a large, rimmed baking sheet. Gentle press each potato with the bottom of a glass till crushed but still intact. Place on the sheet, brush with 1 tbsp of oil and broil about 6” away from the top heat of a 230°C oven for about 5-7 minutes or until they are golden brown and crisp. Sprinkle with salt and seasonings if using them. Else plate immediately and serve with your favourite toppings.
This pear salad looks complicated at first glance, but its not. The ingredient list is long as there are three steps involved. When you get to it, it’s really easy and amazingly delicious. So here goes –
2 ripe pears, sliced
½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
½ cup pomegranate seeds
100g baby arugula
1/3 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese, or feta
¼ cup dried currants
1 cup mixed nuts and seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, almonds, walnuts and pecans and such like)
2–3 tbsp maple syrup
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Vanilla Fig Dressing
3 tbsp olive oil
2 ½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp fig jam
½ tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 180°C. Make the spiced nuts. Toss the nuts and seeds with maple syrup, mix in salt and spices. Make sure the nuts and seeds are well coated. Spread out on a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake 10-15 minutes, stirring halfway through, till toasted and golden. Remove from heat, and immediately “fluff” with a fork. Cool completely. This can be made ahead of time. Next, make the dressing by whisking all ingredients together in a small bowl. Now toss the arugula, red onion, spiced nuts, pomegranate seeds, currants and cheese lightly, with the dressing. Check for salt and pepper. Add the sliced pears and toss very carefully so that they don’t break. Put into your serving bowl and garnish with spiced nuts.
Vegan Gingerbread Cake with Vanilla Sauce (Gluten Free and No Refined Sugar)
2 cups almond flour or 1 cup almond flour and 1 cup rice flour. If you do not want a gluten free option then use 2 cups of all-purpose flour.
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp fine sea salt
1 ½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon powder
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp all spice
¼ tsp clove powder
6 tbsp applesauce
½ cup oat milk
7 tbsp any neutral flavoured oil
2/3rd cup packed coconut/date sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3rd cup+1 tbsp molasses
1/3rd cup strong black hot coffee
Vanilla Cream Sauce
½ cup coconut sugar
4 tbsp vegan butter
½ cup coconut cream
½ tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt.
For the Cake
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Arrange your rack in the bottom third or middle of the oven. Line a
9×5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, letting the excess hang over the long sides to form a
sling. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients – the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon,
nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. Whisk well to ensure the baking soda is evenly mixed in. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Add the applesauce, oat milk, oil, coconut sugar, and vanilla. Put the molasses and hot coffee into a bowl, and whisk until well combined, then pour into the well with the other ingredients. Using your electric mixer on low speed, combine the dry and wet ingredients just until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Stop mixing as soon as the batter comes together – do not overmix. It’s okay if there are some lumps. Pour the cake batter into the lined loaf pan and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula. Bake in the preheated oven for 50-55 minutes, until the cake is relatively firm and springs back when touched and a toothpick inserted into the top sides of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 10-15 minutes. Then, using the parchment paper handles, remove the bread from the pan and cool on the rack for at least 20 minutes before slicing. When ready to serve, drizzle the Vanilla Cream Sauce.
For the Vanilla Cream Sauce
Add the coconut sugar, vegan butter and coconut cream to a small or medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter has melted. Bring to boil and keep at a boil for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Allow to cool for a few minutes before spooning over the cake.
Merry Christmas folks, have loads of fun!!!
Disclaimer : Healthy Goodies is a digital publisher and does not offer personal health or medical advice. You should consult your healthcare provider before starting any nutrition, diet, exercise, fitness, medical, or wellness program.