This recipe is made in collaboration with the Vegetarian Society.
If you read my blog often, you'll know that we're by no means vegetarian, and in all honesty meat or fish tends to be the default starting point when we're planning meals.
I recognised this a year or two ago, and have since been making efforts to get more meat-free meals into our diet.
Chris is the hardest one to persuade in this area, and a veggie meal has to be something really special like to get past him without complaint! I've had a fair few failures, but also some big successes (those cheesy veggie chickpea burgers and the spicy Kway Teow have become regulars on the menu!).
When the Vegetarian Society approached me about working on some Christmas dinner ideas, I was totally up for the challenge! I love that their message isn't about turning everybody into a vegetarian, but rather educating people that it is possible to eat a meat-free or reduced-meat diet, without feeling like you're missing out. Not only for the obvious animal welfare side of things, but also for our own health.
So if you're new to being a vegetarian, or a trying to reduce your meat consumption I'd love to give you some ideas of recipes that have passed the Chris test (i.e there was no request for a bit of bacon on the side :-)).
Although I've never cooked a full vegetarian Christmas dinner, I have made veggie roast dinners, or celebration meals with vegetarian guests. I always like to look on this as a bit of a fun challenge, and to make sure I create something that replaces the meat element - in terms of protein - instead of a combination of side dishes! I would be gutted to have to make do with the side dishes with no 'main event' for my Christmas dinner.
These mushroom and Wenslydale rostis do just that. Serve them up for your veggie guests, and I guarantee everyone else will be eyeing them up too!
A crispy base, stuffed with creamy, cheesy mushrooms, chestnuts and cranberries!
Personally I think these work as a 'main event' part of the meal, that will still go well with all the lovely side dishes on the table.
If you are making Christmas dinner for both meat-eaters and vegetarians, here are a couple of extra pointers to bear in mind:
- Roasties: Everyone loves the roasties!! But you can't serve them up to vegetarians if they've been roasted in dripping/lard/goose fat. I put a small tin in the oven for the vegetarian roasties and roast them in vegetable oil (any high-smoke point, neutral-flavour oil will be fine).
- Stuffing: Quite often, if you're making your own, it can contain sausage meat. If you're happy to make an extra stuffing recipe while you're at it, make a veggie version (Becca from Amuse You Bouche does a lovely mushroom and chestnut version that could be served to everyone).
- Gravy - of course this is traditionally made with the meat juices from your turkey. It's so simple to make a luxurious veggie gravy - this is one you can do in advance and reheat right before serving. Go for a nice onion gravy with slow-cooked, caramelised onions, or try this version with cranberry sauce and red wine!!
Are you a cooking a vegetarian Christmas dinner this year? If you have any other pointers or 'main event' ideas, I'd love to know!
Check out more Christmas recipe ideas from the Vegetarian Society here.
The Parsnip and Carrot Rostis with Mushrooms and Wensleydale Sauce Recipe:
Parsnip and Carrot Rostis with Mushrooms and Wensleydale Sauce
- 2 large or 3 medium parsnips - peeled
- 2 large or 3 medium carrots - peeled
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 egg
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 3 shallots - peeled and finely chopped
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 clove garlic - peeled and minced
- 150 g chestnut mushrooms - chopped into small chunks
- 100 g cooked chestnuts - roughly chopped
- 4 tbsp white wine
- 4 tbsp double cream
- 100 g vegetarian Wenslydale cheese - with cranberries, crumbled
- 2 tbsp dried cranberries
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- Small bunch of fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp dried cranberries
- Preheat the oven to 190c. Lightly grease 4 small tart tins.
- Grate the parsnips and carrots. Squeeze out any excess water, and place the parsnips and carrots in a bowl. Stir in the oil, egg, salt and pepper until combined.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared tart tins, pushing it to the edges to form a cup shape. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and crisp (cover with foil for the last 10 minutes if it looks like it’s going too brown.
- Meanwhile, make the filling. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Add in the shallots, salt, pepper and garlic. Cook on a low heat for 5-6 minutes until the shallots are very soft.
- Add in the mushrooms and chestnuts and cook for a further 2-3 minutes, then pour in the wine. Increase the heat and allow to bubble until reduced by half.
- Stir in the cream, wensleydale, cranberries and thyme leaves. Heat on a medium heat, stirring regularly until the cheese has melted.
- Remove the rostis from the oven and carefully remove from the tart tins. Spoon the mushroom mixture into the rostis and sprinkle on fresh thyme leaves and cranberries before serving.
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