Vegan & Vegetarian Christmas Dinner Ideas – with Organic Wine Pairings
The number of people in the UK who have turned to plant-based and meat-free diets is impressive. It is estimated that by 2025, vegetarians and vegans will make up a quarter of the British population!
In other words, our Christmas festivities are going to include less turkey, and many long-standing flavours and ingredients will be joined by new, exciting ones.
Time then to get the creative culinary juices flowing and come up with a selection of organic wines for Christmas food pairings that reflect our dietary evolution.
What makes a wine either vegetarian or vegan?
Wine is a naturally cloudy drink, making it visually less attractive than a bright, clean wine. To solve the problem, winemakers fine the wines, a process that removes the proteins, yeasts and other molecules that make the wine cloudy. It is the products they use that determine a wine’s vegetarian or vegan status.
Fining ingredients include gelatine, albumin (found in egg whites), casein and isinglass. Importantly these agents don’t stay in the wine but their use in the winemaking process would preclude the wine from being vegetarian and/or vegan-suitable.
Happily, there are vegan-friendly fining ingredients, such as bentonite clay, pea protein and vegetable gelatine. It’s also important to say that not all wines are fined, with some being left for months at a time, allowing the molecules to sink, and creating a naturally clear wine.
At Vintage Roots, we have been listing our wines as vegetarian (V) and vegan (VG) for thirty years. We are able to do this by ensuring we have detailed information from our suppliers about their fining process. A lot of wines are both vegetarian and vegan, and you can filter for these on our website.
Food and organic wine suggestions for your vegetarian and vegan Christmas dinners
A trio of vegetarian starters with wines to match
Soup is so tasty, so comforting and, frankly, so practical when you’re feeding a gang of people! We love Nigella Lawson’s Butternut and Sweet Potato Soup, from her book Nigella Express. Viognier or Chardonnay both make great partners to this soup. Try Adobe Viognier Reserva, which is a part of our Festive Offers this year
Delicious Magazine has a great, very simple-to-make recipe for Caramelised Onion Tart.They suggest it as an option for a Boxing Day buffet. We like a thin slice as a starter! Serve it with the Australian Stefano Lubiana Riesling.
Another, not-too-taxing, recipe is Jamie Oliver’s Pear Crunch Salad that has blue cheese in it, with watercress and chicory. You’ll find it in his book, The Kitchen Garden Project. Now, chicory can be a bit painful to wine match, but we have had great success with the Italian red grape, Sangiovese. Look out Barone Pizzini’s Rosso dei Poderi.
Two stunning vegetarian Christmas main courses and organic wine ideas to help them shine
Describing Jamie Oliver’s ‘Best-Ever Cranberry & Pistachio Nut Roast’, Anna Jones writes, “Nut roast is the vegetarian’s turkey … This one is different: it has a mushroom risotto base and sticky cranberries on top, a bit like a savoury upside-down cake.”
(Photo by Jamie Oliver)
A wine to help it shine? The always delicious Château Rochecolombe Côtes du Rhône is a great red wine choice. If you want to embrace something a little different, an ‘orange wine’ will really make those nuts sing!! Try the Spanish, El Troyano.
Yotam Ottolenghi knows how to create a vegetarian dish for Christmas. He talks about the “ta-da” moment that comes when you cut into his Aubergine, Courgette and Yoghurt Upside Down Cake, and he’s not wrong. We would add that it’s also a very ta-da moment when you taste it!
We like to serve this cake with Christoph Bauer’s Grauer Burgunder (Pinot Gris), which is currently on offer.
A vegetarian pudding and a delicious, sweet wine
Nigellissima is one of many great cookbooks penned by Nigella Lawson. In it she has a recipe for Iced Berries with Limoncello White Chocolate Sauce. It’s a heavenly combination of just four ingredients: double cream, limoncello, white chocolate and frozen mixed berries. Although not written with Christmas in mind, we think it’s a cracking dessert to round off your Christmas dinner.
It makes sense, having used a mere 4 tablespoons of the limoncello for the recipe, to pour everyone a glass to serve alongside. We recommend Walcher’s Limoncello, which would be great for making this recipe or serving alongside it. However, you can also serve it with the gold-medal winning Château Dudon Sauternes.
Vegan Christmas starters and organic wines to get the party started
Thank you Yotam Ottolenghi for the brilliantly tasty and strikingly beautiful Roast Winter Vegetable Platter with Walnut and Barberry Salsa. He does call for 40g of unsalted butter, but it is easy to substitute with a vegan-friendly alternative. You can serve either white or red with this – the key is to choose a flavoursome wine to match the richness of the dish. A great red choice is the Cuvée Secrete No Added Sulphur, and if you’re after a white, look no further than Fasoli Gino’s Pieve Vecchia.
A duo of vegan main courses and a pair of stunning wines
Henry Firth and Ian Theasy are the men behind BOSH! And it is they who created the Vegan Mushroom Wellington. It does require patience and bit of cookery skill, but the effort is worth it! This is a dish that cries out for Pinot Noir, and we’ve got some delicious ones! One of our current favourites, Walnut Block Nutcracker Pinot Noir from New Zealand, is a stunner and on offer for the Festive Season.
Jamie Oliver’s Vegan M’hanncha is another dish that requires some kitchen commitment. However, we couldn’t not include it. Texturally very pleasing, it’s full of barley, veg and spice and a stonking vegan main course. We think Domaine de Rousset’s Syrah / Viognier Les Conquelicots is made for the dish and will complement the m’hanncha’s crunchy spiciness perfectly.
A vegan dessert for Christmas and a wine pairing that’s guaranteed to impress
Nigella Lawson is once again triumphant! Her Luscious Vegan Gingerbread is a sticky delight. It is irresistibly good. We think that the medium-sweet Liquid Geography Riesling from New Zealand winery, Terrace Edge makes for a good wine match, or if you want something sweeter still, there’s always Stellar’s Heaven on Earth Sweet Muscat.
We hope our vegan and vegetarian Christmas dinner ideas with organic wine pairings has helped you to plan a wonderful and delicious Christmas meal this year!