Christmas doesn’t always have to be about turkey. As proven by these delicious dishes, there are many meat-free options that can be just as satisfying – if not more.
Whether you’re looking for a faux-meat alternative, a nut roast or a tasty pastry parcel, there are many ways to go meat-free. And the best thing is most of them are available from your local supermarket.
We chose these dishes based on texture, flavour and heartiness. We sampled about 12 different dishes, but these six made the cut – based on what we would most enjoy with our potatoes, carrots and Yorkshire pudding on Christmas day.
For those who are vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, or just looking for a tasty turkey alternative this year, we’ve got you covered. Just add vegetables and gravy!
Fry's Soy & Quinoa Country Roast, 500g: £4.99, Ocado
This beef roast alternative is soft and succulent, with extremely well-balanced flavours. It combines parsley, coriander, rosemary and an array of other herbs to give it a taste that stays on your lips long after you’ve finished eating. Don’t be fooled by the fact it contains quinoa – it doesn’t taste like a health food at all, or anything like quinoa for that matter. It aims to replicate a beef roast, and while it doesn’t taste exactly like beef, it’s definitely one for those craving a meat alternative. Serves five.
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Three Nut and Mushroom Roast with Onion Gravy, 550g: £5, Sainsbury’s
This is a nut roast to be reckoned with. It has a satisfying, crunchy texture, which is complemented wonderfully by soft, juicy dried cranberries scattered on top. With exactly the kind of rich, nutty taste you would hope for, it’s crammed with cashew nuts, almonds and pistachios, along with onion, mushroom, oils and redcurrant jelly. It’s got a sticky sweetness to it that is balanced really well with the savoury taste of the vegetables and nuts. It also comes with tasty onion gravy. Serves three to four.
M&S Butternut and Beetroot Filo Parcels: £6 for 2, M&S
If you’re looking for something a little bit different this Christmas, these delightful parcels are hearty and warming, and great smothered in gravy or topped with cranberry sauce. Definitely one for those with a sweet tooth, they ooze pureed beetroot and butternut squash. They are delicate and crispy on the outside, but explode onto your plate when sliced open. Taking the shortest amount of time to cook – only 35 minutes – they are an ideal quick dish. They’re only available in store, so be sure to grab yours before they run out. One parcel serves one person.
V Bites 48 Piece Party Pack: £13.99, V Bites
If you’re catering for a big group or undecided over just which meat substitute to go for, try V Bites’ 48 Piece Party Pack. It contains 10 sausages, 10 mini quiche lorraines, eight duck-style spring rolls, 10 spinach and chickpea bhajis and 10 puff pastry sausage rolls. All are pretty tasty, and also very realistic when compared to their animal product-derived counterparts. We ate them mixed and matched alongside Christmas vegetables and Yorkshire puddings, and everyone who tried them had a different favourite. Serves five to eight.
Co-op Irresistible Butternut Squash & Quinoa Roast with Apple & Plum Glaze, 500g: £3, Co-op
The butternut squash really comes out in this sweet, soft roast. It has a subtle, creamy taste, and melts in the mouth. Perhaps even better than the roast itself is the sachet of apple and plum glaze that accompanies it. It’s gravy-like in consistency, but sticky, fruity and absolutely delicious. The two go together very well. We would argue that the only improvement would be providing even more glaze – we can’t get enough. Serves three to four.
Linda McCartney Vegetarian Beef Roast with Red Wine and Shallot Glaze, 500g: £3.50, Tesco
Any vegetarian or vegan will already be familiar with Linda McCartney’s revolutionary meat alternatives. Even meat enthusiasts can’t resist the brand’s sausages, so we were very excited to try its meat-free roast. It has a chewy, realistic meaty texture – imagine a processed beef roast. Cooked in a red wine and shallot glaze for over an hour, it comes out the oven moist and juicy. Although we felt it could have done with some more seasoning, it’s a firm favourite, and great to feed to that uncle who always complains that faux-meat is just not the same. Serves four.
The Verdict: Vegan Christmas dinner alternatives
There’s definitely something for everyone when it comes to vegan Christmas options. If you’re looking for something sweet, go for M&S’ Butternut and Beetroot Filo Parcels. If you want to provide guests with a delicious nut roast, it has to be Sainsbury’s Three Nut and Mushroom Roast with Onion Gravy. And if you just want a good old meat substitute, Fry's Soy & Quinoa Country Roast is an excellent option to carve up beside your veg and Yorkshire puddings.