Thirty-something Natalie Tamara started The Tofu Diaries blog back in 2014, sharing vegan recipes, travel stories and ideas for living a kinder lifestyle. She is all for leaving preconceived ideas about veganism at the door, and likes to make vegan versions of classic recipes as well as dishes inspired by the different countries she's visited. She's sharing her tips on how to do a Christmas dinner if you're vegan, or cooking for someone who is.
Celebrating Inclusivity at Christmas
Likes, dislikes, allergies, preferences, ethical choices; there are a lot of reasons why a traditional Christmas dinner isn’t for everyone.
Food is emotional for a lot of people and Christmas is a time of year heavily steeped in tradition. But for many of us who can’t or choose not to eat turkey and all the trimmings (for even the veg may be cooked in butter!), that emotion might be disappointment. A couple of years ago, at a work Christmas dinner, I was served a jacket potato and baked beans as a vegan alternative to my colleagues’ full roast.
As satisfying as it is finding accidentally vegan food while travelling, finding clearly-labelled vegan food is the best �� - - - Buddha bowl-style food with added tofu at @tanlechuga from last week in Xela, Guatemala �� - - - - - - - - - #vegantraveller #vegantravel #veganguatemala #xela #buddhabowl #veganbowls #givemethatplant #vegansofinstagram #veganblogger #eeeeeats #veganinspo #whatveganseat #vegansofleeds #vegano #eatmoreplants #veganfoodpics #bestofvegan #healthyvegan #plantbasedprotein #tofu #veganrecipes #letseatvegan #fueledbyplants #feelgoodfood #plantlife #travellingfoodie
That said, Christmas day and the run up to it is still very much about the food for me and I’m fortunate to have a family who are very accommodating; but when Asda got in touch with me to ask me to contribute to their guide on inclusivity at Christmas, it really got me thinking about what that means.
I’ve realised that I love the concept of inclusivity at Christmas that Asda is championing. I truly feel that time spent together is all the more special if it is inclusive of everyone’s needs. If you’re spending Christmas together as a family and cooking together, then it’s an ideal opportunity to create something that involves everyone – where no one feels that their needs have gone unheard. With a little communication and cooperation, an inclusive Christmas doesn’t have to be difficult.
Here are my tips and ideas for making your Christmas inclusive…
Treat everyone’s preferences and needs as equal
Consider how you can cater for everyone equally – this is far easier and less stressful than trying to come up with separate meals and separate options for everyone. Begin by looking for the common ground – what does everyone eat?
Come up with an inclusive menu
Inclusivity means that no one is an afterthought; a great way to celebrate this is to come up with a menu that is designed for everyone from the very start. Begin by thinking about the foods you usually eat at Christmas that everyone can enjoy, then move on to thinking about what can be easily adapted. For example, could you steam the vegetables this year or glaze them with a dairy-free alternative to butter?
This is also a good point to get everyone involved. Tracking down “accidentally vegan” items won’t bump up your shopping bill in the same way that speciality foods can – and this means that everyone can enjoy the same Christmassy foods. You’ll find that most vegans are aware of which festive foods they can have!
By the time I started doing my own shopping I’d already given up meat, so reading labels is something I’ve done my whole adult life. It’s second nature. I am, however, fully aware that this is not how the vast majority of people shop!
My point here is, if it’s possible for everyone to shop together then you’ll ensure you find exactly what you’re looking for and will know any ingredients or ready-made items meet everyone’s requirements.
Consider those with special requirements and assemble dishes in an order that avoids cross contamination, keeping utensils separate or using them for vegan food first. Enjoy!
Tell me, will this be your first vegan Christmas? What are your biggest concerns? �������� If it's not, how do you go about navigating it with non-vegan relatives? I'd love to hear your experiences! - - - It may only be November but since my mum is already asking me what food I want, it seemed like a good opportunity to update my guide to hosting a vegan for Christmas dinner - whether you're the host or the vegan guest. ��The link is in my bio @thetofudiariesblog or head to natalietamara.co.uk - - - #veganchristmas #crueltyfreechristmas #noturkeyhere
Need some Vegan recipe inspiration? Here are a few to get you started…
vegan potato dauphinoise
You don't need oodles of cream and butter to create a totally delicious potato gratin. This vegan potato dauphinoise uses oat milk (with cornflour as a thickener), with vegetable stock, garlic and thyme. The perfect Christmas side dish.
Spiced parnsip bisque
This creamy parsnip bisque is totally vegan, and totally delicious. Coconut cream adds a little richness, while baked beetroot crisps are a healthy alternative to oil croutons. Try serving this as an appetizer at Christmas dinner – no one would ever guess it was vegan.
Butternut squash and lentil wellington
Hows this butternut squash and lentil wellington for a Christmas showstopper? We think it stands up to turkey pretty well! With a glossy pastry crust and tasty, veggie filling, you can serve this alongside your usual Christmas veggies, or a big green salad.
millionaire's shortbread pudding shots
Who would have thought that these decadent-looking pudding shots could possiby be dairy-free? But they are! With a crumbly ginger biscuit base, spiced-butterscotch caramel middle and a dark chocolate topping, we challenge anyone to resist one of these on Christmas day.
Take a look at Asda’s inclusivity campaign here.
For more information on catering for all dietary requirements this Christmas, check out our handy online guide