This Christmas, whether you are newly vegan yourself, or you are hosting for vegan family and friends, get prepared well ahead of time with this guide full of inspiration and top tips. This Christmas and always, it is important to ensure everyone feels included in the festivities by providing plenty of food and drink choices for everyone’s dietary needs. Maybe this guide will inspire you to try Veganuary, or you might just want to try some new vegan treats.
What’s in store this Christmas?
While supermarkets do have plenty of vegetarian options, it can still be hard to find exclusively vegan pre-made treats. Ready made vegetables are often tossed in honey or butter, or you search for Christmas party food only to find a load of breaded and fried cheese nibbles (no good for a vegan!). I have however found that Tesco is the most inclusive supermarket in my opinion with their‘free-from’ range proudly displayed on shelves, and it actually tastes good too.
Rather than hunting through large mainstream supermarkets, it may be much easier (and more sustainable) to shop at exclusive vegan shops, which there are luckily plenty of in Brighton.
The Captain Pig in the North Laines was the 1st vegan grocery store in Brighton and remains popular with their ethos of minimal waste and organic fruit and veggies. While they can supply your cooking needs with cupboard essentials and meat alternatives, they also have chocolates, alcohol, cruelty-free makeup, and household products which would make great gift ideas! Amongst the bakery section is bourek, empanadas, and gorgeous looking focaccia which would make an impressive spread for your Christmas Eve drinks, or Boxing Day hangover cure! Claire and Rob’s shop can be found on Church Street, BN1 1US.
Other vegan shops in Brighton include Infinity Foods on North Road and Kindly of Brighton in Seven Dials.
If however you are doing your big shop at a branded supermarket, and are on the lookout for some vegan food to add to your dining table, make sure to grab some vegan mince pies, get creative with a turkey alternative, and remember that not all alcohol is vegan.
Some vegan foods you (maybe) did not know were vegan! – Twiglets – in fact, a lot of crisps are vegan but make sure you double check the back of the packets just in case
Ritz and Jacob’s Crackers – grab some marmite, hummus, or vegan cheese spread for these inclusive christmas essentials
Nuts and Salted pretzels are great savoury snacks
Rowntree’s jelly tots, fruit pastels and starburst. Make sure you are careful with sweets because most contain gelatin which is not suitable for vegans.
Soreen malt loaf, Lotus biscoff spread and Oreos are all surprising vegan!
Bisto Gravy! Ah, Bisto. Don’t forget that any vegan diners would not be able to eat gravy dowsed in turkey fat, but bisto gravy is a great alternative. It is however produced in the same factory as meat products, so it would be considerate to ask your friends/family/yourself what their preferences are.
Because christmas is for creative cooking
While pre-cooked dinners may make life easier for the host – especially if you are cooking for all different dietary requirements – and there are plenty of snacks you can provide to suit a vegan diet, Christmas is all about cooking and people coming together over food. If you are a vegan visiting someone else’s home, it may be fun (and ultimately easier for you) to provide your own Christmas centerpiece. Here are three, three or four step recipes that I found online, perfect for a Christmas buffet, roast dinner alternative, or side dish. If these dishes do not inspire you, why not try a vegan shepherds pie, or create a pastry Christmas wreath instead of a wellington for a show stopper.
Before it even gets to Christmas day, I am sure there will be plenty of celebrating to be done and catching-up with friends fun. The restaurant Food for Friends on Prince Albert Street prides itself in using the freshest vegan and vegetarian options. With a menu of small and large plates, it would make the ideal venue for a classy festive dinner. Or, Purezza Brighton brings sustainable Italian dining to Brighton with their vegan pizza menu. This December, they even have a set Christmas menu where you can order two courses for £20, or three courses for just £25. This bargain features a Christmas Dinner calzone, which seems too good to be true, and became available from the 24th of November.
Don’t let breakfast and brunch be overlooked as you could get yourself down to T @ either Seven Dials or Hove for their christmas specials. A vegan christmas turkey sandwich, vegan hoisin pork pitta, or vegan no pigs in blankets sandwich are the meat alternatives of dreams.
Did you know that The Roundhill is a plant-based pub and restaurant? With it being 100% vegan you can help yourself to any of their cocktails. Or, The Pipeline has a totally vegan kitchen to go alongside their bar, and you can hire out the upstairs floor for your private events, if you have not yet organized your christmas do or want to throw a last minute new years eve party!
Hopefully this mini guide has given you plenty of inspiration to shop for, cook for, and celebrate the best vegan christmas yet. This is just a small insight to how inclusive Brighton can be, even at this time of year, to make sure everyone has plenty of festive fun.
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