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If you’re catering for someone avoiding meat, or looking to cut down on your consumption this Christmas, there are plenty of vegan-friendly festive foods at the supermarkets this year.
We’ve pulled together a selection of striking supermarket meat alternatives, both of the meat-like and traditional veg-based variety, to help you plan your shop.
You’ll also find tips on how to ensure the whole meal is meat-free, and where to find vegan trimmings so nobody misses out on favourite sides.
Don’t know your pea protein isolate from your tofu? Check out our guide to plant-based meat alternatives and find out how meat substitutes compare.
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Meat-like Christmas mains
This year, the supermarkets have gone big with their meat substitute centrepieces, with a variety of shapes, sizes and garnishes.
This type of product suits people who are looking to cut down on meat consumption, but enjoy the taste and texture of meat.
Wellingtons are a popular option this year, with offerings from Asda and M&S sitting at either end of the price scale:
- Asda’s Vegan Wellington (£5 for 500g, serves four) – a wheat-based beef substitute topped with a roasted mushroom duxelle (a flavoursome combo of mushrooms, onion and herbs) encased in puff pastry. Available from Asda.
- M&S Plant Kitchen Vegan Beef Wellington (£15 for 748g, serves four) – along the same lines, with a beef-like base made from pea and wheat protein, topped with a mushroom duxelle and wrapped in pastry. Available from M&S.
In a similar vein to the Wellingtons, Lidl’s Deluxe Wreath (£3.99 for 550g, serves four) is a circular vegan sausage laced with cranberry, sage and onion, encased in puff pastry. Available from Lidl.
Fake turkeys are also pretty widespread this year, with both Tesco and Co-op selling versions:
- Tesco Wicked Kitchen No-Turkey Roast Crown (£5 for 560g, serves four) – part of its Food to Order range, this wheat-based fake bird has a sage and onion topping for a traditional flavour. Available from Tesco.
- Co-op’s Gro Ho Ho Turk’y Joint (£4.95 for 400g, serves three) – soy-based joint with a garlic and herb top. Available in-store from 15 December.
Sainsbury’s has gone with gammon this year, rolling out its Plant Pioneers No Gammon with Maple Glaze (£5.50 for 450g, serves four), which is made from pea and wheat protein and comes with a sticky sweet glaze. It’s available to buy from 8 December.
Top tip when shopping for meat-like mains:
Meat substitutes are typically made from a variety of vegetable proteins including soya, wheat and pea. This is worth remembering because allergies to soya and wheat in particular are pretty common.
It would be a pity to cater for one dietary restriction while failing to meet another, so make sure you check the packaging or info on the retailer website if you are unsure.
Veg-based Christmas mains
While fake meat might steal the headlines, there are some equally attractive traditional vegan and veggie mains that are a good option for those who don’t want a meat-like experience, but do want some festive flair.
Nut roasts may be a stalwart of vegan Sunday dinners, but the supermarkets have jazzed them up for Christmas:
- Waitrose’s Vegan Jewelled Roast (£9 for 530g roast plus six vegan pigs in blankets, serves four) – mushroom-based roast topped with apricots and cranberries and a hidden centre of clove-spiced apricots. Available from Waitrose.
- Iceland’s Luxury Festive Roast (£2.50 for 300g, serves one) – if you’ve just got one veggie at the table, this classic fruit and nut combination is a good single-serve option. Available from Iceland.
- Sainsbury’s Food to Order Nut Roast (£5.50 for 500g, serves three) – includes a tangy orange and cranberry glaze to dial up the festive sweetness. Available from Sainsbury’s.
If nut roasts aren’t your thing, Morrisons’ The Best Vegetable Wellington (£5 for 460g, serves three) is available via Morrisons Food to Order and includes a mix of veg including butternut squash, cranberry, chestnut and apricot with a mustard melt inner core and a puff pastry case.
Aldi’s Specially Selected Vegan Wreath (£3.99 for 550g, serves 4) combines butternut squash with mushrooms, onions, chestnuts cranberries and lentils and is topped with candied orange slices and rosemary. It’s available from 19 December.
Check out our complete guide to supermarket festive food offerings, including vegan starters, party food and dessert options
Vegan Christmas tips and how to tackle trimmings
You’ve got your main sorted, but what about the rest?
Veg, obviously, is the big one but don’t forget that if you’re cooking for vegans, you should keep some to the side that you don’t slather in butter. To get that richness, try a vegetable-based spread instead. And don’t forget to use a veg-based gravy, such as mushroom or onion.
Similarly, keep in mind that some shop-bought roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings are made using beef dripping and it isn’t always obvious. Worth double checking, particularly if they’re labelled ‘as gastropub’ or ‘triple cooked’, to ensure your guests don’t get a surprise come the big day.
There’s no need for vegans to miss out on tasty trimmings either. Vegan pigs in blankets are well served at all the supermarkets. Some are encased in pastry, while others are wrapped in a vegan bacon. When we tried vegan pigs out in 2020, our experts found most of the bacon went pretty dry in the oven, so these vegan alternatives will need gravy to wake them up a bit.
See our complete guide to Christmas dinner for tips on how to cook cabbage, sprouts, potatoes and parsnips.