The easiest thing to do when you are the chief cook and host for a mixed gathering is to serve a starter and pudding that everyone can eat, thus saving time and eliminating extra worries about keeping foods separate. Good Christmas starters include wild mushroom soup or a continental style antipasto of roast peppers, with crumbed goats cheese on top – the colours are very festive and look great on the Christmas table. See our recipes page for details.
Most shop bought Christmas puddings are actually suitable for vegetarians these days, as vegetable fat is more common than suet, but it pays to check the ingredients label, especially for products labelled as ‘traditional’.
Watch out for the roasts
The most disconcerting thing for a vegetarian is to discover that the roast vegetables have been cooked with the meat. To get around this, start off any the roast potatoes and parsnips in their own roasting tin, using a good quality olive oil, season well and add a sprinkling of fresh thyme and rosemary to the potatoes for extra flavour. Then, about 20 to 30 minutes before they are fully cooked, take out the non-veggie potatoes and parsnips and put them around the turkey and baste them, to take on some of the meat flavour. Of course, if your meat eaters don’t insist on turkey-flavoured potatoes, simply leave them all cooking separately from the meat, they will still be delicious and everyone can enjoy them.
Vegetarians needn’t miss out on an exciting main course, but it also doesn’t mean that you have to get into a flap in the kitchen. Try one of our vegetarian recipes to ensure that they get a meal as special as everyone else’s.
If you have a vegetarian guest for the first time and are not quite sure what food items are acceptable, here is a quick guide.
Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat no meat or fish products, but will eat dairy products and eggs.
Lacto-vegetarians eat no meat, no fish and no eggs. They will however, eat other dairy products, such as butter and milk.
Vegans eat no animal product at all, which rules out all meat and fish products and all dairy products too.