Christmas memories of years past – for me – involve travelling from house to house to visit family and friends. As I got older, it was expected that I would bring a plate of food or make a meal to help with the Christmas preparations. This expectation ramped up even more when I became vegan, then later gluten-free.
Now, it’s one thing to bring a plate of food or help with preparations. However, Christmas in Australia means we’re travelling from house to house in the searing summer heat. So, planning is vital and your vegan Christmas food ideas also need to be travel-friendly. As long as you have a decent-sized car fridge (known in Australia as an ‘esky’) and ice blocks, you can bring amazing vegan Christmas food to the party. Here are some of my favourites that please the crowd, too.
Vegan Cheese and Fruit Platter for Starters
You can wow your relatives at Christmas with a vegan cheese and fruit platter. Simply buy some of your favourite cheeses from your favourite vegan cheese maker, plus some fresh fruits, a bag of baby spinach and some vegan-friendly crackers from your supermarket and you can put together a platter in a matter of minutes. Pack the ingredients in your car fridge and assemble the platter when you arrive.
I love AVS Organic Foods’ selection of cheeses like their Muenster, Chive & Dill and a jar of their vegan Mediterranean feta. Fruits I like to add to the platter are berries like strawberries, blueberries and small bunches of red grapes, and dried fruits like figs, apricots and dates. I also like to accentuate the platter with handfuls of raw cashews, pistachios and walnuts. For the crackers, I love Eat Rite Chia & Quinoa rice crackers and Orgran Quinoa Wafer Crackers.
Vegan Christmas Roast for Lunch or Dinner
Christmas means that my non-vegan family will cook all different types of roast meats for lunch or dinner. For me, I order a Festive Chick’n Roast or a Meatless Stuffed Roast, again both from AVS Organic Foods. You can order them in advance from AVS directly or you can pre-order them through The Cruelty Free Shop. The best thing about these roasts is that you can freeze them and deliver them to your family’s house days before Christmas Day. That way, your family can roast them, ready for when you arrive, and you don’t have to take it on the day.
Hopefully, your family will prepare the steamed and roasted veggies for you, but just make sure they don’t use animal-based oils to cook them in. If they do, kindly ask them to cook your veggies separately.
I also love gravy! My main go-to vegan gravy is Celebrate Health Vegan Gravy. It’s pre-made so you don’t have the make it from scratch if you’re strapped for time. Plus, you can buy a couple of packs if you’re going to multiple houses on Christmas Day.
Vegan Christmas Dessert and Sweet Treats
This is my favourite course on Christmas Day, though I don’t like cooking these things using an oven during summer. So, I buy my desserts and sweet treats pre-made plus I make vegan Christmas rocky road which is a hit with my family.
I make the rocky road a day or so in advance as it sets in the fridge. I use this recipe from taste.com.au and I veganise it. I use Vego white chocolate from The Cruelty Free Shop or Sweet William white chocolate in blocks or buttons from the local supermarket. For the marshmallows, I use Dandies vegan marshmallows from Flora & Fauna. The finished product travels well in a well-iced esky. Keep it in a slab during travel, then cut and serve when it’s time for dessert.
As a kid, I adored my Nanna’s fruit mince pies and plum pudding. Now that I’m vegan and gluten-free, I buy these pre-made from the supermarket as it’s easier and less stressful. This year, I’ll be trying The Foods of Athenry starry mince pies. For my pudding, I always buy a Coles gluten-free Christmas pudding. I usually serve it with a side of Cocobella Coconut Yoghurt in vanilla flavour. The pudding is quite sweet and rich so the yoghurt balances the flavour out well.
I also love putting out a big bowl of fresh cherries when dessert is served. Cherries are a must-have for any summer vegan Christmas meal in Australia.
Disclaimer: all views expressed in this blog post are that of Justine de Jonge of Fire & Tea. All product mentions form part of those opinions, and Fire & Tea has not been paid or compensated in any form by these companies.