A Free-From Christmas Dinner

Tired of turkey and needing some delicious free-from alternatives for your Christmas dinner? We've put together a free-from Christmas menu with veggie, gluten free and vegan options that we guarantee everyone will enjoy!

Starter

 

Vegan Spiced carot and lentil soup with cashew cream

Full of winter spices, this vegan soup makes a perfect starter for your Christmas dinner. You can find the full recipe over on MindfulnessETC.com

 

The Main Event

Even if you love the traditional turkey, try these vegan side dishes alongside your roast spuds and veg so that everyone can enjoy something special this Christmas dinner.

 

Vegan Jerusalem Artichokes with garlic cream and hazelnut crust

1 kg/2 lb. 4 oz. Jerusalem artichokes

4 shallots

6 garlic cloves, left whole

½ cauliflower, cut into florets

1–2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon white pepper

425 ml/1¾ cups almond milk or other vegan milk, plus extra if needed

2 tablespoons lemon juice

½ teaspoon mustard powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 slice brown or rye bread, blitzed to rough breadcrumbs

3 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon freshly chopped marjoram or parsley (or ½ teaspoon dried)

2 tablespoons toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

SERVES 4–6

 

Peel the Jerusalem artichokes and slice into 5 mm/¼ inch thick discs. Set aside in salted water to prevent them discolouring. Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F) Gas 7.

Lay the shallots, garlic and cauliflower florets on a baking sheet and drizzle with half the olive oil. Season with half the pepper and toss slightly. Lay the Jerusalem artichokes on another baking sheet, drizzle with the rest of the olive oil and season with the remaining pepper. Place both baking sheets in the hot oven and roast for about 30 minutes until the cauliflower and artichokes are tender.

Transfer all the roasted vegetables to a food processor or blender, add the almond milk, lemon juice, mustard powder, onion powder and salt. Blitz until very smooth. Add more milk if necessary, to make a smooth, pourable sauce. Adjust the seasoning to taste if needed.

Layer the Jerusalem artichokes in a deep baking dish and then pour over the sauce. Sprinkle both type of breadcrumbs, the herbs and chopped hazelnuts over the top. Place in the hot oven for about 20–30 minutes until golden on top and bubbling. Serve immediately.

 

Vegan Winter Veg Bowl

Liven up your veg with this delicious vegan recipe. You can get the full recipe over on MindfulnessETC.com

 

Veggie Slow Cooked Onions with Nut Stuffing

A veggie Christmas dinner? No problem! We love this twist on a regular nut roast. Plus, if you make sure to choose vegan bread, it is a perfect vegan main too!

8 medium-sized onions, peeled

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 teaspoons dried thyme

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

70 g/11⁄3 cups day-old spelt breadcrumbs

70 g/21⁄2 oz. sun-dried tomatoes in oil, finely chopped, plus 2 teaspoons oil for brushing

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

sea salt and cracked black pepper

chopped parsley, to serve

Low 5–6 hours / High 4–5 hours

Serves 6

 

Trim the root end of each onion to make a flat base. Using a small sharp knife, slice the top off each onion then cut out a deep hollow, leaving a 1.5 cm/3 ⁄4  in. thick onion shell. Reserve half of the scooped-out onion (save the rest for another recipe) and finely chop.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan/skillet, add the chopped onion and fry for 8 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, thyme, pumpkin seeds and chopped walnuts and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the breadcrumbs, sun-dried tomatoes and lemon zest until combined. Season the stuffing mixture with salt and pepper.

Brush the outside of each onion with the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes. Generously fill each onion with the stuffing, pressing it down as you go and mounding the top.

Arrange the stuffed onions in the slow cooker pot – they should fit snugly. Cover and cook on low for 5–6 hours, or high for 4–5 hours. The onions should be beautifully tender but still keep their shape. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

 

Desserts

And to finish, something sweet!

 

Gluten Free Mince Pies

From start to serve: 1 hour l Prep: 30 minutes l Bake 15–20 minutes

1 batch Shortcrust Pastry at room temperature

350 g/12 oz. gluten-free mincemeat

2 tablespoons brandy (optional)

1 beaten egg, to glaze

icing/confectioners’ sugar, to dust

a 10-cm/4-inch round cookie cutter

a star or round 7.5-cm/ 3-inch cookie cutter

a 12-hole muffin pan, greased

MAKES 12

 

Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) Gas 5.

Lightly knead the room-temperature pastry on a clean, cool work surface and then divide into two pieces, one that is roughly double the size of the other. Lay a large piece of clingfilm/plastic wrap onto the work surface and lightly dust with plain/all-purpose gluten-free flour. Place the larger pastry ball in the middle and gently press it into a disc shape with your hands.

Lay a second piece of clingfilm/plastic wrap over the top and, with a rolling pin, roll out the pastry quite thinly.

Remove the top layer of clingfilm/plastic wrap. Stamp out discs using the cookie cutter, gently lifting and press each disc into a hole of the prepared pan, easing it into the corners. Re-roll the trimmings until all the pastry is used up and all of the pan is lined. If there are any cracks in the pastry, use the trimmings to patch them back together – as ever, don’t panic!

In a bowl mix together the mincemeat and brandy (if using), then spoon a heaped teaspoon of the mixture into each pastry case.

Repeat the rolling-out process for the remaining piece of pastry and then use a star or smaller cutter to cut out festive lids for the pies and place on top. Brush the tops with the beaten egg and bake in the preheated oven for 15–20 minutes until golden brown.

Put the pan onto a wire rack and allow the mince pies to cool before serving. If you try to take them from the pan too soon the risk of the mince pies breaking is much higher. Once they are cooled, be delicate when removing these from the pan, and loosen the edges with a table or small palette knife if required.

Dust with icing/confectioners’ sugar before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Note If you haven’t taken the pastry from the fridge in advance, give it a 15–20 second blast in the microwave before kneading.

 

Shortcrust pastry

Prep: 10 minutes l Chill: 2 hours

460 g/3 cups plain/

all-purpose gluten-free flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon salt

225 g/15 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

1 egg

 

Using either the basic or chocolate quantities of ingredients, put the dry ingredients and cubed butter into a food processor and pulse until they reach a fine crumb consistency.

Pour in the egg and 1–2 teaspoons of water and mix until completely combined. The mixture will start to come together.

Use your hands, being sure to avoid the blade, to bring together the dough, then lightly knead on a lightly floured worksurface.

Put the pastry ball onto a piece of clingfilm/plastic wrap, press into a disc shape and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours, until firm.

Notes: To make the pastry by hand, put the dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix. Add the butter and rub in using your fingertips to fine crumbs. Make a well in the centre and add the egg and water and then mix well with a table knife, until the mixture starts to clump together. Bring together and knead, wrap and chill as above.

When rolling out, don’t use too much flour, as this will dry it out – I advise instead rolling between two sheets of clingfilm/plastic wrap to prevent it sticking without the need for excess flouring.

 

Vegan Chocolate Ganche Tart

1⁄2 quantity Sweet Pie Dough

For the ganache

620 g/1 lb. 6 oz. plain, soft tofu

390 g/3 cups finely chopped vegan dark/bittersweet chocolate (70% cocoa)

grated zest of 21⁄2 lemons

brown rice syrup or other sweetener, to taste

non-dairy milk or cream, if needed

For the mousse

450 ml/2 cups chocolate soy or oat milk

160 g/11⁄4 cups finely chopped vegan dark/bittersweet chocolate (70% cocoa)

85 g/1⁄3 cup brown rice syrup

90 g/7 tablespoons cornflour/ cornstarch

28-cm/11-in. springform cake pan or loose-based tart pan

Serves 6–8

 

Make and refrigerate the Sweet Pie Dough.

For the ganache, blanch the tofu in boiling water for 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Do not let the base of the bowl touch the water. Put the blanched tofu, melted chocolate and lemon zest in food processor.

Blend until smooth. Taste and if it’s not sweet enough, blend in syrup to taste; if too thick, add a little milk or cream while blending.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.

Take the dough out of the fridge. Place it between 2 sheets of parchment paper and use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to a circle about 31 cm/ 13 inches in diameter. Loosely roll the dough circle around the rolling pin and unroll it over the tart pan. Neatly line the pan with the dough and trim off any excess from the edges with a pastry wheel or your fingers. Patch up any holes with dough off-cuts. Prick the base all over with a fork and bake in the preheated oven for 8–10 minutes. Leave the oven on.

Remove the pan from the oven and pour the ganache into the tart crust.

Spread level with a spatula. Put back in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the edges turn lightly golden. Allow to cool completely in the pan.

For the mousse, heat the chocolate milk in a saucepan, then add the chocolate and syrup and whisk until the chocolate has melted. Mix the cornflour/cornstarch into 5–6 tablespoons water. Slowly add this to the saucepan over low heat, whisking vigorously. Keep whisking and it will start to thicken once it reaches the right temperature. Allow to cool slightly.

Spread the mousse over the cold ganache in the tart case with the spatula. Refrigerate but allow to come to room temperature for 20 minutes before serving. Cut into slices with a sharp knife dipped in hot water.

 

Sweet pie dough

400 g/3 cups unbleached plain/all-purpose flour

150 g/1 cup fine cornmeal

3 teaspoons baking powder

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

240 g/2 cups nonhydrogenated margarine, chilled

130 g/1⁄2 cup brown rice or agave syrup

grated zest of 1 lemon

70–110 ml/1⁄3–1⁄2 cup ice-cold water

40 x 28-cm/16 x 11-in. baking pan (for a thinner crust) or 23 x 30 cm/9 x 12-in. baking pan (for a thicker crust)

 

Put the flour, cornmeal, salt and baking powder in a food processor and pulse to mix. Add the margarine and pulse 6–8 times until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.

Add the syrup and lemon zest and pulse again a couple of times.

Add ice-cold water one tablespoon at a time, pulsing until the mixture just begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready.

If it doesn't, add a little more water and pulse again. Do not add too much water otherwise it will make the dough tough.

Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Knead it just enough to form a ball but do not over-knead it. Shape it into a disc, wrap it in clingfilm/plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days. If you’re in a hurry you can chill the dough in the freezer for 15 minutes. If refrigerated, allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 5–10 minutes before rolling it out.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4 and continue with the relevant recipe.

 

These recipes have been taken from (in order listed):

Superfood Slow Cooker by Nicola Graimes

My Vegan Travels by Jackie Kearney

The New Nourishing by Leah Vanderveldt

Superfood Slow Cooker by Nicola Graimes

This is Gluten Free by Victoria Hall

The Vegan Baker by Dunja Gulin

All photography is © Ryland Peters & Small

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