Nochebuena: The Vegan Way

In the Philippines, the Christmas countdown begins as early as September 1—or as locals call it, the start of the “Ber” months. In October, Christmas songs are played on the radio and trees and holiday decor like the parol—the iconic symbol of Christmas in the country—are put up in malls and homes.

One favorite Filipino tradition is the celebration of Nochebuena (which translates as “good night” in English). After the midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, families gather together around the dinner table for this feast.

As you plan your Nochebuena celebration this year, remember to choose compassion and save animals by leaving them off your plate. It’s the perfect opportunity to showcase yummy vegan food for our loved ones.

Here are some vegan recipes for a number of classic Filipino Nochebuena dishes:

Filipino Spaghetti

Filipino spaghetti is sweet and savory, and the children’s favorite is prepared on almost any occasion. This vegan recipe uses a creative mixture of tofu and vegan hot dogs to recreate the texture and taste of this popular pasta dish, which was made famous at Jollibee restaurants.

Holiday “Ham”

Hams are popular as gifts during the holiday season and usually the centerpiece of a Nochebuena table. This vegan version by Artistic Vegan is a wonderful (and leaner) baked roast dish, glazed with pineapple, agave, and coconut sugar.


Here’s a Christmas fruitcake recipe that uses healthy ingredients such as applesauce, orange juice, agave, pecans, and lots of dried fruit.


Impress your friends and family with this one-pot paella dish, Filipino style!


Stick Barbecue

Inspired by the traditional Filipino stick barbecue, this tangy tofu variation is a tasty (and heart-healthy) version of the classic. The flavorful marinade pairs perfectly with rice or bread.


Fruit Salad

This popular dessert is quite easy to prepare. It’s sweet and creamy, using coconut milk instead of condensed milk. Try something new and add a bit of crunch with the addition of pili nuts.

Vegan Cheese

Used to having queso de bola on the table? Then try the vegan version. For a vegan cheese platter, you can either buy ready-made vegan cheese or make your own. In a Nutshell sells gourmet vegan cheese in Metro Manila.

This extra-firm chickpea cheese is tasty and easy to prepare.


Check out the vegan wine options at

Marks & Spencer carries several kinds of vegan wine. Look for the words “Suitable for Vegans” on the back label of the bottle.


For more ways to veganize your Christmas, click here.

Interested in learning more about a vegan lifestyle? If you’re in the Philippines, order a free vegan starter kit today!

Written by Marielle Lacambra