As Christmas approaches, many are looking forward to festive feasts and merry gatherings. This year, why not consider a change in tradition by embracing a vegan or vegetarian Christmas?
Not only does this choice align with environmental sustainability, but it also opens the door to a world of culinary delights.
Vegan and vegetarian lifestyles have been gaining momentum worldwide, with more people choosing plant-based diets for health, ethical and environmental reasons. According to a report by The Vegan Society, the number of vegans in the UK quadrupled between 2014 and 2019, and a significant number of individuals are adopting flexitarian diets, reducing their meat consumption.
- In the UK alone, the number of people identifying as vegans has exceeded 1.5 million, making up around 2.3% of the population.
- The global plant-based meat market is projected to reach $13.3 billion by 2027, indicating a growing demand for cruelty-free alternatives.
- Meatless Monday, a global movement encouraging people to skip meat one day a week, has gained popularity in over 40 countries.
Benefits of a Plant-Powered Christmas
There are many benefits of opting for a plant-base Christmas, including:
Opting for a vegan or vegetarian Christmas reduces the carbon footprint, conserves water and minimises deforestation associated with livestock farming.
Plant-based diets are linked to lower risks of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers, making for a healthier holiday season.
Choosing plant-based options promotes ethical treatment of animals, aligning the festive spirit with compassion for all living beings.
- Ancient Roots: Vegetarian feasts during celebrations are not a modern trend. Ancient Roman, Greek and Indian cultures had vegetarian traditions during festive occasions.
- Vegan Celebrities: Many celebrities, including Natalie Portman, Joaquin Phoenix and Ariana Grande have embraced veganism, advocating for cruelty-free living.
- Vegan Innovation: The world of plant-based cuisine has evolved, offering creative alternatives such as jackfruit pulled “pork,” cauliflower steaks and dairy-free ice creams that rival their traditional counterparts.
Vegan Mince Pies Recipe
If you fancy cooking up a plant-based festive storm in the kitchen this Christmas, why not try out our vegan mince pie recipe!
For the mincemeat filling:
- 225g mixed dried fruits (raisins, currants, sultanas)
- 1 medium apple, peeled and grated
- 110g brown sugar
- 55g candied peel
- 55g chopped almonds or walnuts
- Zest and juice of 1 orange
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice)
- 55ml brandy or orange juice (optional)
For the pastry:
- 225g plain flour
- 110g vegan butter, cold and cubed
- 2-3 tablespoons cold water
Prepare the Mincemeat Filling
- In a mixing bowl, combine all the mincemeat ingredients: mixed dried fruits, grated apple, brown sugar, candied peel, chopped nuts, orange zest, lemon zest, orange juice, lemon juice and mixed spice.
- If you like, add brandy or orange juice for extra flavour. Mix well and let it sit for at least an hour or overnight for the flavours to meld.
Make the Pastry
- Preheat your oven to 190°C (375°F).
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and cold, cubed vegan butter. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Gradually add cold water, one tablespoon at a time and mix until the dough comes together. Be careful not to overmix.
- Shape the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Assemble the Mince Pies
- Roll out the chilled pastry on a floured surface to about 3mm (1/8 inch) thickness.
- Using a round cookie cutter, cut out circles to fit your muffin tin or mince pie pan. Press the circles into the tin, ensuring they cover the base and sides.
- Spoon a generous amount of the mincemeat filling into each pastry case.
- Roll out more pastry and cut out smaller circles or festive shapes to create lids for the pies. Place these on top of the mincemeat filling.
- Press the edges to seal the pies and make a small slit in the centre to allow steam to escape
- Place the mince pies in the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
- Once baked, let the mince pies cool in the tin for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Serve and Enjoy
- Dust the cooled mince pies with icing sugar, if you wish.
- Serve these delicious vegan mince pies as a festive treat and enjoy the plant-based goodness!
Plant Power at The Pantiles
Whether it’s vegan or vegetarian delights you’re looking for this Christmas, there are a plethora of plant-based options to enjoy at The Pantiles’ restaurants, cafes and bars.
If you’re in rush while Christmas shopping, you can also grab something plant-based on the go! We recommend a visit to The Pantiles Cafe or Hattons.
For fresh produce, ingredients, seasonings and baking paraphernalia to concoct meat-free recipes at home, head to Oliver Greens and Trevor Mottram.
Click here for a full list of our eateries and stores.
This Christmas, let The Pantiles be a haven for not only festive cheer but also a celebration of mindful and compassionate choices. Embracing a vegan or vegetarian holiday season is not just a trend; it’s a conscious decision to make a positive impact on our health, the environment and the lives of animals.