There are now over 542,000 people in the UK following a vegan diet and each winter there are over 27,000 Google searches for ‘vegan Christmas dinner’.
But when it comes to the foods that vegans miss in the festive spread, a study by Waitrose has found that meat comes out on top with turkey (24%), beef (22%) and goose (18%) being the most craved.
When it comes to trimmings, Yorkshire puddings (17%), pigs in blankets (12%) and gravy (10%) are the most desired additions to a vegan Christmas dinner plate. The sweet treat that vegans miss the most at Christmas is chocolate (10%).
This December over 200,000 vegans in the UK will be hosting a Christmas meal and the majority (37%) will be serving a completely vegan Christmas spread. 28% of vegan hosts will be serving all vegetarian but some non-vegan dishes, and 8% said that that the meal they cook will be mostly non-vegan.
Over half (55%) of vegans who are going to another person’s home for Christmas say that they will take their own vegan food with them, but 24% said they would expect their host to cater for their diet.
A further 30% of vegans who aren’t hosting Christmas said they were nervous about the vegan options that they’ll be served at their Christmas meal.
When asked what the best vegan dish they’ve ever been served at Christmas was, it was clear some hosts go all out to cater for their vegan guest’s dietary requirements, including:
- “a homemade vegan-friendly Christmas chocolate log cake”
- “a vegan wellington, that included vegan pastry and a savoury filling”
- “a cashew nut and mushroom pie with puff pastry, thick mushroom gravy, herbed roast potatoes, sprouts, peas and glazed parsnips”
However, at the other end of the scale, the most disappointing meal vegans have been served at Christmas include:
- “beans on toast”
- “bread and vegan chocolate spread”
- “just plain sprouts, carrots and butter beans”
Waitrose spoke to David and Stephen Flynn from The Happy Pear about how they approach Christmas as vegans: “Last year we had 17 of our family to dinner, including aunts, uncles and cousins. It was our full families’ first vegan Christmas! In previous we cooked our own vegan dishes but last year the full family decided to try something different - they loved it so this year our full family will have their second vegan Christmas!
“We’re generally really grateful for anyone trying to cook a vegan meal for us! In our experience often the mistakes people make when cooking a vegan dinner is they over complicate it - simple dishes using vegetables that are in season are often the best.
If you’re hosting a vegan, our top tips would be to stick with dishes that can be shared, such as mezze boards with olives, dips and good bread. For the main meal, have a variety of different side dishes, rather than trying to make a showstopper vegan main; that way the sides can be served to all the guests and you don’t have to cook extra dishes. Simple sides such as roasted veg (just use oil instead of butter) baked potatoes, Brussels sprouts with tasty twists are simple starting points.”
Waitrose has created delicious new vegan Christmas recipes, including a Yorkshire pudding and chocolate cherry tarts, to ensure vegans have their favourite trimming and sweet treat this Christmas.