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A very eatable Christmas – Vegan edition

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Have a vegan coming for Christmas this year? We have you covered!

The festive season can be tricky for those with dietary restrictions – allergies, intolerances and personal choice can make parties and get-togethers challenging. These vegan selections are quick and easy to prepare and taste great.

Roast Pumpkin Hummus

(Large serve! Halve if needed.)

Dice 500g butternut pumpkin, toss in oil, sprinkle with ground cumin and roast at 180 for half an hour. Allow to cool. Whizz 3x400g tins chickpeas, 80mls water, 80mls oil, 1-2 cloves garlic, juice of one large lemon, salt and 3tbs tahini. Add pumpkin and whizz again. Serve with your favourite pita bread, veggies, rice crackers or Turkish bread.

Variation: Beetroot Hummus – use a small drained tin of beetroot instead of roast pumpkin.

Lentil Salad

Even committed lentil haters love this.

Roast 2 medium peeled, diced sweet potatoes at 180. Slice 2 leeks and fry in oil. Rinse 2 tins lentils and a tin of chickpeas. Toss together with 4 chopped shallots, the leek, sweet potato, the juice of a large lemon, a splash of olive oil and chopped herbs of your choice.

Moroccan Carrot Salad

Grate 3 large carrots (about 500g). Combine with ½ cup sultanas, ½ cup toasted slivered almonds, ¼ cup coriander leaves, ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice and 2 tsp ground cumin.

Variation: Replace sultanas with chopped dates.

Rice Paper Rolls

Prepare veggies. Some suggestions are carrot, zucchini, cucumber, capsicum (all cut into matchsticks), mushrooms, baby corn, avocado, mango (all sliced), cabbage, leek, onion, (all thinly sliced and fried). Soak 250g vermicelli rice noodles in boiling water, drain. Soak rice paper rounds in boiling water for about 10 seconds. This takes a bit of practice – you want them soft but not so soft that they fall apart. Once soaked, place a small amount of rice noodles in the centre, then your choice of veggies. Top with some coriander leaves and mint leaves, chilli sauce and/or hoisin sauce. Carefully fold up the bottom, fold in the sides and fold over the top as shown on the rice paper packet.

Chilli Popcorn

Place 3tbs oil and a few kernels of popcorn in a large pot over medium high heat. When one kernel pops, add 1 cup of popcorn kernels and place the lid on the pot. Cook, occasionally shaking the pot, until all kernels have popped. If you have a popcorn machine, use that! Add salt and chilli powder to taste. I won’t give you quantities as it really is up to individual taste.
Variation: For a sweet yule-tide treat replace the salt and chilli powder with ½ cup icing sugar, 2 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp nutmeg and ½ tsp ground cloves. Use a sieve to spread evenly.

Vegan isn’t just for the meat-free: in our house of egg and dairy allergies, vegan desserts are a must. The Chocolate Brownie recipe is a hit wherever I take it.

Vegan Chocolate Brownies

Preheat oven to 180. Mix together 2 cups (250g) plain flour, 2 cups (460g) white sugar, ¾ cup (90g) cocoa powder, 1 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp salt (or less). Add 1 cup water, 1 cup vegetable oil and 1 tsp vanilla essence. Mix well. Pour into a lined 20cm x30cm baking tray and bake for 25-30 mins or until the top is no longer shiny. Cool before removing from tray or cutting. Brownie should still be gooey in the middle.

Variations: Blondie (for those who can’t have cocoa) – replace cocoa powder with more flour and cook for a little longer. Choc-chip – add ½ cup Sweet William brand choc-chips. Cranberry – add ½ a cup dried, sweetened cranberries.

Fruit Tartlets

Preheat oven to 200. Cut sheets of thawed Pampas 25% reduced fat puff pastry in half, then each half in thirds. Place pastry bases on baking trays lined with non-stick paper. Place thinly sliced fruit of your choice on each base – either in a single layer, or overlapping pieces look pretty. Try firm stone fruits, apple or pear. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.

Vegan Chocolate Mousse/Dip

Melt 160g Vegan chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave on medium, stirring every 30 seconds. (I use Whittakers brand, other options are Sweet William and some Aldi brands – check labels.) Mix in one 300g packet of silken tofu. Return to microwave (or double boiler) for another 30 seconds. Whizz in one 250g tub of Kingland soy cream cheese and 2 tbs icing sugar. Place in individual serving bowls or use as a dip for fruit. Serve immediately or chill.

Variations: Use different flavoured chocolate for different flavoured mousse (I used mint choc recently and it was to die for). Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake – crush 25 Oreos (yes they are vegan!) in a food processor. Add 1/3 cup melted Nuttelex (margarine). Stir. Press into a 20cm pie dish and refrigerate for 30 mins. Fill with Vegan Chocolate Mousse.

Christmas Biscuits

Preheat oven to 180. Beat together 250g Nuttelex (margarine), 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar and 1/3 cup golden syrup. Mix in 3 cups self-raising flour and 2 tbs cornflour. Roll out to desired thickness (about 5mm) and use Christmas cookie cutters to make shapes. Place on trays lined with non-stick paper. Bake for 10-15 mins. Ice and decorate to make them pretty!

Easiest Fruit Cake Ever

Soak 2 cups sultanas in 2 cups of fruit juice in the fridge overnight. Mix in 2 cups self-raising flour. Pour into a greased and lined 20cm round cake tin. Bake in preheated 180 oven for 20-30 mins or until a skewer come out clean. When cool you can glaze with warmed apricot jam or marmalade and cover with blanched whole almonds if you like.

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