Christmas dinner is all about great times and delicious food, and just because a resident is vegetarian or vegan doesn’t mean that they should miss out. Catering for a vegan resident doesn’t have to be hard work. If you’ve never catered for a vegan at Christmas, follow our top tips below to make sure everyone has a wonderful time this festive period.
Tip 1 – Consider what vegans actually eat
Vegan diets are 100% plant based; they don’t contain any animal products, such as dairy, eggs or honey. Always check the labels on food and drinks and be careful of hidden animal products. Don’t forget to check whether the alcohol that you’re serving is vegan-friendly too.
Tip 2 – Sweet treats
Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without plenty of tasty sweet treats! With a few simple swaps it’s easy to make cakes and puddings without eggs or dairy. Check out our festive recipe section for ideas, including our tasty vegan mince pies.
Tip 3 – Don’t forget the nibbles
Hummus served with vegetable sticks and tortilla chips work well as a tasty snack. Try this delicious hummus recipe for starters.
If serving crisps or nuts, don’t forget to check the packet for any hidden ingredients, such as milk powder.
Tip 4 – Keep it classic
Try a vegan nut roast or a wellington – they’re always a favourite. Add traditional flavours such as cranberry or orange. You can also get turkey alternatives such as Tofurky and vegan pigs in blankets.
Tip 5 – Don’t forget the gravy
Many gravies aren’t suitable for vegans. Try making a vegan option with vegetables and Henderson’s Relish for extra flavour, or if short on time ensure that the instant gravy you buy is vegan.
Tip 6 – Offer a variety of side dishes
Why not make it a buffet style meal, serving lots of colourful side dishes? Peppers, sweet potato or butternut squash bring a splash of festive colour. These dishes could be made vegan so all residents can enjoy them. If adding butter to your vegetables, ensure it’s vegan or keep some separate for your vegan resident.
Tip 7 – Check the Christmas pudding
Many Christmas puddings aren’t vegan friendly. Be sure to check the label.
Tip 8 – Dairy alternatives
Many chefs use cream at Christmas in soups, sauces and desserts. Switching to a non-dairy alternative is simple, with many ready-made products available. You could also make your own cream by soaking cashew nuts overnight and blending. Vegan whipped cream alternatives and ice creams are also available. Don’t forget the cheese board, too. Plenty of vegan cheeses are now available from most catering suppliers, including Violife, Tyne cheese and V bites brands.
Tip 9 – Talk to your resident and their family
If you have a vegan resident, talk to them and ask them what they would like. What would they have traditionally eaten on Christmas day? Do they have a recipe they’d like to share? Also chat to their family members or friends – this is especially important if the resident is experiencing issues with capacity or cognition.
Tip 10 – Not just for Christmas
Christmas is all about sharing and enjoying food. Why not serve more vegan options all year round? Other residents may enjoy these new dishes, and it adds to menu variety and inclusivity.
We hope that our festive tips have given you some inspiration for planning an plant-based Christmas. For more tips, please download a copy of our free guide, Festive delights.