You might not believe it, but it’s estimated that more than two million Aussies now identify as vegan or vegetarian. Mind. Blown.
In fact, Australia is considered the third fastest growing vegan market in the world, which is a ripper fun fact to bring up the next time your father in law starts banging on about why he thinks humans need meat to survive.
If you’re vegan or vegetarian (or flexitarian), the holiday season can often throw a few curve balls. No one quite knows what to serve and you’re always left shovelling a few sad looking spuds around your plate. So, we’ve pulled together some festive and plant-based treats to power you through to 2022.
You can make friends with salad
Salad often gets a bad rap, especially at Christmas. But it’s usually because Aunt Jill has thrown a couple of wilted iceberg lettuce leaves in a bowl, added some poorly chopped cucumber, a cherry tomato or two, and and topped it off with a few shakes of 99% fat-free French dressing. No wonder everybody screams, “I’m not eating that, it’s vegan!”
Salads don’t need to be complicated, but they do need to be scrumptious. So, tell Jill to ditch the soggy iceberg and let’s get a little more creative. If you like avocado (side note: who doesn’t), you’ll love this Avocado Strawberry Caprese salad from Oh She Glows. It’s a little sweet, a little tangy, and perfectly refreshing. The combination of tomatoes, avocado, strawberries, and balsamic will look GREAT on your Insta grid, too.
Potato salads are always a crowd pleaser, but the classic recipe calls for eggs and layers of mayonnaise – a no-go for plant-based eaters. This vegan twist on the creamy favourite from Minimalist Baker uses red potatoes and a garlic-herb cashew sauce, making it undetectably dairy free and delicious. Plus, it’s made using just ten ingredients. Bonus!
And if you want to dial up the festivity, this Vegan Christmas Salad from Stacey Homemaker packs a mighty punch. It’s hearty enough to enjoy on its own or as a satisfying side. Bursting with nuts, cherries, pomegranate, and wild rice, it’s a kaleidoscope of colour and sure to win over even your fussiest pals.
If in doubt, add hummus
Is there a person on the planet (vegan or otherwise) who doesn’t jump for joy at the sight of a creamy tub of hummus on the table?
There’s something about the Middle Eastern dip that puts most of us under a wicked spell. No one really knows why we love it so much – it’s beige and made with the humble chickpea – but hummus is an Aussie staple. So, don’t forget about it when the holidays roll around!
Serve it as a starter with crispy bread, or make it a main attraction and use it to dress one of those awesome salads we mentioned earlier. You’ll have no complaints, especially from your plant-based mates.
The best news? Hummus is super easy to make. All you need is a tin of chickpeas, tahini paste, lemon, garlic, olive oil, and a food processor or high-powered blender. You can also add your own twist by mixing in sriracha for a spicy kick or a little cumin for a more earthy flavour.
Don’t forget about the booze
This might come as a shock, but most alcoholic drinks aren’t vegan friendly. Who’d’ve thought, right? Fish bladders, skim milk, egg whites, and gelatine are commonly used in the ‘fining’ process for beer and wine. Sounds a bit funky to us, which is why vegan alternatives are popping up all over the place nowadays.
The Vegan Wine Project is the brainchild of renowned winemaker Yalumba and the collection includes Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Rosé, and Shiraz – so there’s something to suit everybody’s taste buds.
For beer fans, the Aussie classic Carlton Draught is, unexpectedly, 100% vegan. Prefer a craft brew? The Moon Dog range is almost entirely vegan – just watch out for Splice of Heaven, which is brewed using lactose sugar.
Tread Softly is another modern vegan wine with a heart of gold to boot. The collection is crafted with minimal impact on the environment, and for every six bottles sold, Tread Softly plants a native tree in the Yarra Yarra biodiversity corridor in WA.
Now that’s the spirit!
Into all things plant-based? Check out our guide on animal welfare in fashion!
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