Tuck into any or all of these delicious feasts for when you're feeling festive, but want something a little bit different...
Menu planning for Christmas is normally straightforward: "How many people are coming and how large a turkey do I need?" The traditional trimmings such as potatoes, Brussel sprouts, gravy and bread sauce etc, are equally simple decisions: yes or no? Similarly with pudding: buy or make?
But how about something different this year, rather than yet another turkey... Here are some ideas for Christmas feasts that don’t involve tradition: a different idea for pudding, or some ideas for a vegan or vegetarian feast, and a lobster delight to serve instead of turkey.
1. Christmas Pudding (No Churn) Ice Cream Bombe
Starting at the end with a Christmas pudding ice cream bombe, with a secret centre of mincemeat-flavoured ice cream. All the ice cream is of the easy to make no-churn variety, so anybody can make this recipe: there’s no ice-cream machine needed.
2. Mushroom & Spinach Roulade
A lighter vegetarian centrepiece that’s not a nut roast: a tasty mushroom roulade filled with spinach and walnuts for added crunch. Yes, a Christmas feast should be a special meal, but it doesn’t have to be heavy.
3. The Great Stuffed Pumpkin
This stuffed pumpkin recipe is a dramatic side dish or vegetarian main course. As well as looking great, it incorporates a mix of hearty grains and rice, including barley, farro, wheat berries, quinoa, and wild rice. It’s essentially a multi-grain pilaf, enriched with veggies, nuts, and dried fruits; it looks great all served stuffed into a pumpkin.
4. Cornbread, Apple & Cranberry Stuffed Pork Loin
Pork loin is sliced and opened flat, then stuffed with apple, dried cranberries, cornbread and sage, then rolled and roasted.
5. Grilled lobster tails with coriander and chilli butter sauce
Grilled lobster tails make a super-quick and impressive Christmas starter, or increase the quantities and serve them as a main course. You can get frozen lobster tails from many supermarkets; they take just a few minutes to cook. This recipe adds coriander, chilli and butter for a rich and luxurious dish. Perfect for a feast, in fact!
6. Chestnut and Cashew Nut Roast—Vegan Christmas Roast
A substantial and richly flavoured centrepiece for Christmas day that can be served with all the trimmings. This nut roast uses butternut squash, carrots, cashews and chestnuts with our favourite ingredient, tahini.
7. Vegan Haggis & Red Lentil Nut Loaf
Although this recipe is aimed at Burns night, I think that it would serve equally well as a vegan Christmas feast. Richly flavoured vegan haggis is served with a whisky cream sauce for a luxurious edge.
8. Mushroom, Lentil & Nut Wellington
This vegan mushroom wellington is a crisp, golden puff pastry pie stacked full of layers of hummus, wilted spinach, mushroom pate and a mixture of thyme scented mushrooms, lentils and nuts. A perfect family dish to serve when everyone is gathered around the table to enjoy good food and good company.
9. Vegan Holiday Pie with Hot Water Pastry
A raised pie with hot water pastry is a treat that looks magnificent and dramatic oozes tradition and delicious aromas. Here, rather than a meat-based the filling is a variety of vegetables and lentils so you’re not packing in potatoes and nothing else. It’s cosy, comforting food.
Helen Best-Shaw, is a freelance food & travel writer, recipe developer & photographer. She has been blogging at Fuss Free Flavours for over ten years.