Read time: 4 Minutes
Our Irish culture has always embraced the consumption of meat, but vegetarianism seems to be growing quite popular. According to Harvard Medical School, abstaining from eating meat can eliminate a risk factor for colon cancer, and a risk for type 2 diabetes. So, there doesn’t seem to be much harm in treating to yourself to a meat free meal.
Your son has plucked up the courage to bring his lovely new girlfriend to Christmas dinner this year, but (shock, horror) she doesn’t eat meat! What do you cook for your anti-meat-consuming Christmas dinner party invitee? Look no further, we’ve came up with our top ten vegetarian meals for Christmas day.
1. Baked Camembert with Cranberry Jam
Christmas is the season of cheese boards, and we all love a good camembert. It can be produced at any part of the day and guests can pick at it freely. Simply preheat the oven 180ºC, carve 2 or 3 large slits in the top and scatter garlic and cranberry jam on top. Wrap in tin foil and bake for around 15-20 mins until the cheese is soft and gooey all the way through. Serve immediately with bread, pitta or crackers.
Top Tip: Scoop out a crust bread bap and place your camembert in the center. Guests can rip the bread from the outsides and dip in.
2. Mustard Mash
Start off by creating the potato mash. Place around 6 scrubbed, skinned and halved potatoes into a saucepan of salted water, bring to boil and simmer until they are tender. Drain and allow to steam before you mix in a large bowl with butter, milk and some salt and pepper.
Next, whip the potatoes until smooth, and add more milk if the potatoes are too dry. Then add around 4-5 tablespoons of whole grain mustard and serve. Add chives or spring onions on top to flavour.
3. Brussel sprouts with Marmite butter (pine nuts, hazel nuts)
Brussel sprouts only seem to make an appearance around Christmas time so why not spice things up this year with a bit of marmite. Start off by beating butter and marmite together before smoothing it into a log on some baking parchment, then roll up and twist the ends. Keep this chilled in the fridge until later (it can stay up to a week in the fridge). Boil your sprouts for 3-4 mins as you usually would, drain and leave to steam-dry. Dry fry your sprouts for 5 mins until they start to blacken on the edges. Take your pan off the head and whack in a chunk of the marmite butter. Sizzle until the butter has melted and shake up to cover the sprouts. Season and taste before serving. Top off with some roast pine and hazelnuts to serve.
4. Honey Roast Parsnips
We can’t resist some well-done, honey roasted parsnips on Christmas day! All you need is some fresh thyme, a little bit of honey, olive oil and some parsnips. Scrub and slice your parsnips to start, then parboil in salted water for 10 minutes. Drain well. Pick the thyme leaves and toss your parsnips together in a bowl with thyme, a pinch of sea salt, black pepper and honey. Add a couple of spoonful’s of olive oil (or butter) here too. Arrange these in a roasting tray in one layer and roast for 40 minutes or until nice and golden.
5. Sweet potato and Red pepper soup
A good idea for a warm winter dish, other than a potential starter option for our vegetarian Christmas guest.
Start off by melting butter in a lidded saucepan, add onion and garlic whilst shaking the pan from time to time until softened (but not brown). Next stir in some coriander and cook for 5 minutes. Next pour some vegetable stock over, bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes. While this is left, cut your sweet potato into thin slices, and heat about 1 cm of vegetable oil in a frying pan to fry the slices until they are brown and crisp. Leave these to dry on a tea towel. Remove the soup from the heat and leave to cool briefly. Blend all together with coconut milk and 1½ cups of jarred roasted red bell peppers. Reheat on the hob until ready to serve. Add some crispy sweet potato pieces on top to serve.
6. Vol-au-vents – Mushroom and herb
Preheat the oven to 190 ºC. Line up your baking tray with some parchments. Then roll out your pastry on a floured surface until it is about half a cm thick. Using a small cutter (or wine glass) around 6cm across, cut out around 12 rounds. Place your circles on the baking tray and prick the centre with a fork several times. Beat an egg and egg wash your pastry circles. Bake on the top shelf of the oven for 12 minutes until puffed and golden. Next cut up some parsley, chop up some mushrooms and garlic and, cook with oil together in a pan. Turn the heat off and squeeze in some lemon juice and crème fraiche. Season this well and fold through the parsley. Add some water if it is too dry.
Use a knife to carefully hollow out your pastries, fill with creamy mushrooms and serve.
7. Roast squash with blue cheese and pickled walnuts
Heat your oven to 200 ºC. Oil and heat a baking tray/casserole dish and place in oven to heat up.
Deseed your butternut squash and chop into 1.5cm pieces. When the oil is hot, place the squash in to season and roast for around an hour (remember to turn) until it is slightly charred. Next, crumble over some stilton, then leave to the oven for 5 minutes to melt your cheese. Sprinkle some parsley and chopped walnuts and salt. Squeeze lemon juice over to serve.
8. Broccoli and Cauliflower gratin
Preheat your oven 180ºC and grease your baking dish with butter, add broccoli and cauliflower and roast for around 15 minutes. Melt butter in a saucepan and whisk with flower, and cook on a medium heat for 2 mins. Turn it off and whisk. Turn the heat on and continue to heat to avoid clumping. Add cheddar, salt and pepper and whisk until cheese is melted. Take the broccoli and cauliflower from the oven and pour the cheddar mix over the top. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake until golden brown.
9. Roast Potatoes!
It’s an obvious one, but it wouldn’t be Christmas dinner without them. Remember, always cook more than you think when it comes to roasties, there is always a fight over the last at the end. You can opt to use goose fat or sunflower oil. It’s always a good idea to boil your potatoes first to the point that they are almost falling apart before you leave to cool. We suggest a garnish for the top of garlic, parsley and thyme! If you have any tips for making the perfect roastie, leave a comment!
10. Mac and cheese
It’s a quick fix, but it goes down a treat. Simply, cook your macaroni and leave to drain. Melt your butter in a saucepan, with a bit of flour to form a roux. Gradually bring in the milk until thickened, then bring in your generous portion of macaroni cheese. Transfer this to a deep ovenproof dish. Sprinkle parmesan over the top to finish.
Any tips for a veg-gy merry Christmas? Dish out your ideas! Leave a comment or use the hashtag #MyIrishLife.
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