While Christmas is traditionally a time for roast turkey, glazed ham, seafood banquets, buttery sauces and cream filled pavlovas; new research indicates that 37% of Australians are now actively reducing their meat consumption, while 10% are actually vegan or vegetarian, meaning more plant-based feasts will be on table this Christmas than ever before.
Recipe by Phoebe Conway
"We all know we should be incorporating more plants into our diets, or perhaps you have a family member who is vegan, but the idea of a completely plant-based Christmas can be quite daunting for some – especially those who are new to plant-based cooking," says Phoebe Conway, practicing nutritionist and recipe developer at Pheeb's Foods.
"It doesn't have to be hard though, there are plenty of easy vegan dishes you can make that taste and look incredible so even your meat-eating guests will enjoy your Christmas lunch. Delicious and satisfying but with no animal products or dairy in sight!"
2 brown onions diced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves
350g diced mushrooms
1 tbsp tamari
1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hot mustard
½ cup cooked lentils
½ cup chopped kale or spinach roughly chopped
2 tbsp Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond milk
1 tbsp maple syrup
Sesame seeds for sprinkling
2 sheets vegan puff pastry *most store-bought puff pastries are vegan, just look for ones made with oil rather than butter
55g vegan butter
1 onion finely diced
1 garlic clove crushed
¼ cup white flour
½ cup Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond milk
1 tsp chopped rosemary or thyme
½ cup vegetable stock
2 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp kecap manis *sweet soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Pre heat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius and line a baking tray with paper.
2. In a frying pan add the onion, olive oil and garlic and cook over a low to medium heat stirring often until the onions soften, around 5-10 minutes.
3. Add in the mushrooms, tamari, Worcestershire sauce and mustard and allow to cook for 10 minutes stirring occasionally until the mushrooms soften.
4. Add in the lentils and kale towards the end and stir to wilt the greens, remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly.
5. To make your egg wash simply combine the almond milk and maple syrup in a small bowl, set aside.
6. Place one sheet of pastry out on the tray lined with paper, spoon the mushroom mixture into the centre of the pastry. Place the second sheet on top and then fold the sides in together to seal, gently pressing down each side with a fork.
7. Gently prick the top a few times with a knife to allow any steam to escape, brush the top with your 'egg wash' and sprinkle with a few sesame seeds.
8. Bake the wellington for 25-30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and cooked through.
9. To make the gravy, melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, then add the onion and garlic and cook for 5-10 minutes until softened.
10. Place the flour and ¼ cup of the almond milk into a small bowl and whisk until combined and few lumps remain.
11. Add the flour mixture along with the remaining ingredients into the saucepan and cook until thickened. At this stage you can blend the gravy with a stick blender if you want it smooth, or leave it as is.
12. Serve immediately alongside the mushroom wellington.
"Every Christmas meal needs a standout main course, and this mushroom wellington is just that! With the earthy mushrooms and delicious pastry even the meat eaters won't feel like they are missing out. I have created a vegan gravy to go alongside it using Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond milk which helps to add a richness that pairs perfectly with the wellington."
"I like to keep my gravy chunky, but you can absolutely blend it using a stick blender if you prefer it smooth! Note that if you aren't serving the gravy immediately it may thicken slightly as it cools, simply add some extra veg stock to thin when reheating if needed."
Phoebe Ann Conway is a 27 year-old practicing nutritionist, food photographer and recipe developer from Adelaide, Australia. For more follow her Instagram here: @pheebsfoods