Planning a meat-free Christmas doesn't have to be a tasteless affair.
Planning a vegan Christmas doesn't have to be a dull, tasteless affair.

Leozette Roode, author of the South African Vegan Cookbook, assures you don't have to feel like you're missing out with all the vegan alternatives tht are available.

Roode has a been vegan for five years and says planning a vegan Christmas is not as intimidating as it may seem. 

"There are so many alternatives out there that it has become so much easier to replace your favourite food with what's available," says Roode. 

"If you are visiting a friend's house (this holiday) and you are invited to bring a salad or a dish, it's easier for you to bring the plant-based dish because you know that everyone else will be bringing a non-plant based meal.  Or if you're bringing something traditional like a potato salad, then just swap the mayonnaise (with veganaise) no one will even know," she adds.  

Roode says we shouldn't be afraid to play around with different ingredients and see what works. 

"We are often too scared to play with what we have in the pantry. You can find out what you have and build the most amazing dishes with it.  Like stuffed peppers, for instance, you can build the most amazing things with it.  You can even use Orley Whip, which is vegan as well and make a cream to pour into the stuffed peppers.  These are all ingredients we usually have in our pantry and they are easy to put together," she says. 

Roode says she's had a '100% vegan Christmas' with her boyfriend's family for the past two years.  

"His family was very worried about they would eat, but it is actually so easy to take your traditional dishes like roast veggies, we also had stuffed peppers and added lentils to savoury rice just to add extra protein and something a bit more interesting to the rice.  We made a quinoa salad and added some of the roast veggies like roast beetroot and added roasted butternut to the quinoa to make that more interesting," she says. 

Just because your menu is all vegan, it does not mean you can't have a meaty-style roast on the table. 

Roode says your meat-free alternatives can either be something that replicates meat or something completely different that can also be served as a featured dish. 

"As a main dish there are a lot of alternatives that you can use like the Fry's country roast, but also a mushroom wellington or a chicken-style pie is so easy to create and you can use Today pastry, you don't even have to make your own," she says. 

For something sweet, Roode suggests pumpkin fritters, which is a local favourite. 

"You can make it vegan as well by adding soy milk and your favourite spices.  There's a lot of different options that you can put on the table for easy Christmas, dishes that that whole family will love," she says.