5 Vegan Christmas Recipes

For either ethical or health reasons, many people are making the switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet. This holiday, tens of thousands of people around the world are choosing to eat compassionate vegan foods instead of meat. Whether you want to show loved ones how tasty vegan food can be or simply indulge in some sweet treats, these delicious recipes will please every palate giving everyone—including animals—something to be thankful for this holiday season.

Iced Gingerbread Biscuits

Full of aromatic Christmas spices, these traditional Polish gingerbread cookies (toruń) can be decorated with melted chocolate or simply iced. Easy to make, they can be used as Christmas tree decorations, given as a gift, or just enjoyed with a mug of hot chocolate.

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. baking powder mixed with 3 Tbsp. cold water
7 oz. agave syrup or brown rice syrup
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. water
Sprinkles, for decorating

  • In a large bowl, beat the applesauce with the sugar.
    Add the spices, baking powder–water mixture, and syrup and mix well.
  • Add the flour gradually and mix into a stiff dough. Shape into a ball and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • On a flat, floured surface, roll the dough out to 1-inch thickness and cut with holiday-themed cookie cutters. Place the cut-out shapes on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. (Allow some space in between, as they will spread a little while baking.)
  • Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Allow to cool.
  • Mix the powdered sugar and water until smooth. Spread on the cookies and decorate with sprinkles. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 4 servings

Root-Vegetable Fritters with Green Lentils and Fig Chutney (Gluten-Free)

These hearty, caramelized root-vegetable fritters—which are healthy and nutritious, thanks to the green lentils—are topped with a tangy chutney. This meal is easy to prepare in advance, meaning that you only have to heat it up on Christmas Day.

For the Fritters:
3 cups peeled and cut into 1-inch square chunks
1/2 cup vegan cream
2 Tbsp. vegan margarine
Olive oil for frying
2 cups parsnips, peeled and coarsely grated
1 cup celery root, peeled and coarsely grated
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Green Lentils:
3 cups water
1 cup green lentils
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 small red onion, finely chopped
3 sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped

For the Fig Chutney:
1 1/4 cups chopped ripe figs
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp. vinegar (red wine or cider)
2 Tbsp. water
1 1/2 Tbsp. raisins
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground ginger

  • In a large pot, boil the potato chunks in water until tender. Drain and return to the pot. Add the vegan cream and margarine and mash. Set aside to cool.
  • Pour a generous splash of olive oil into a frying pan and gently fry the grated parsnips and celery root until lightly browned. Add to the potatoes, along with salt and pepper to taste, and mix well.
  • With your hands, form eight round, flat fritters.
  • Heat some more olive oil in a large frying pan. Fry the fritters until one side is golden and crispy. Using a spatula, gently lift and turn each fritter over. Fry the other side and gently place on a paper towel.
  • Add the water and lentils to a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and return to the saucepan.
  • Add the remaining green lentil ingredients. Cook together for 10 minutes over medium heat. Set aside.
  • Put all of the fig chutney ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves, stirring frequently.
  • Simmer over low heat until the mixture thickens and becomes darker, about 40 minutes.
  • Spoon into a bowl and leave to cool.

To Serve: Place a hot fritter on a plate and top with the warm lentil mixture and chutney.

Makes 4 servings

Candied Orange Peel (Gluten-Free)

Candied orange peel, which can be expensive to buy and hard to find, is actually easy to make—and the wonderful citrus aroma will fill the whole house. These make a good accompaniment for coffee or an indulgent snack.

2 large oranges
3 cups water + more for boiling
3 1/4 cups sugar
7 oz. high-quality vegan chocolate, broken into pieces

  • Cut a 1-inch slice off the top and bottom of each orange, then cut into four vertical segments.
  • Remove the insides, including the pith. Slice each segment of peel into 1/4-inch-wide strips.
  • Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the orange-peel strips and boil for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • In another saucepan, add 3 cups water and the sugar and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Add the orange-peel strips. Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Drain and allow to cool completely.
  • Melt the chocolate over a very low heat, stirring constantly.
  • Dip half of each orange-peel strip in the chocolate and place on a sheet of parchment paper to allow the chocolate to set.

Makes 4 servings  

Crispy Asparagus Bundles

Soft canned or jarred asparagus makes a perfect filling for these pockets, which have a crispy coating. These provide you with not only all the vitamins and minerals you’d expect from asparagus but also a midwinter mineral boost from the seaweed flakes in the sauce.

2 tsp. dried seaweed flakes
3 Tbsp. hoisin sauce (usually vegan, but be sure to check the label!)
17.5 oz. canned or jarred asparagus, cut into 1 1/2–inch pieces
1 pkg. filo pastry, cut into 12 squares
2 Tbsp. olive oil

  • Preheat the oven to 430°F.
  • In a small bowl, mix the dried seaweed flakes and hoisin sauce.
  • Place a few asparagus pieces in the middle of each filo square and top with 1 teaspoonful of the hoisin mixture.
  • Fold the top and bottom of the pastry over the asparagus, then fold in the sides.
  • Turn upside down (to prevent from opening) and place on baking tray lined with parchment paper. Brush with the olive oil.
  • Bake until lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings  

Fondants au Chocolat with Vanilla ‘Cream’ (Gluten-Free)

In French, “fondant” means “melt.” These are literally melt-in-your-mouth chocolates with rich, dairy-free vanilla cream. The fondants au chocolat in the photo were made using a silicon shell-shaped mold, but another option is to pour the liquid chocolate mixture into shot glasses and top with the vanilla “cream” once it has set.

1 1/2 cups coconut cream
1/4 tsp. agar-agar powder
1 Tbsp. agave or brown rice syrup
2 Tbsp. vegan margarine
Pinch salt
1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
3.5 oz high-quality vegan chocolate, broken into pieces
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • Put 3/4 cup coconut cream, the agar-agar powder, agave, vegan margarine, salt, and cocoa powder in a small pan and gently bring to a boil.
  • Remove from the heat and add the pieces of chocolate, stirring until melted.
  • Pour into small greased molds and leave to set in the fridge.
  • Gently heat the rest of the coconut cream in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the brown sugar and stir until dissolved. (A light-brown sugar will result in a light sauce, and a dark-brown sugar will result in a more traditional dark-colored sauce.) Remove from the heat.
  • Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise with a sharp knife and scrape out the sticky black seeds. Add the seeds to the sauce, then let sit to infuse.
  • To serve, place a spoonful of warm vanilla “cream” in the center of a plate followed by two fondants au chocolat.

Makes 4 servings

Read: Top 10 Tips to 'Veg Up' Your Christmas!