Our cookery classes are entirely vegetarian, but the students aren't! In fact, most of the people who take our courses aren't vegetarian at all but omnivores who want to learn how make glorious dishes with vegetables. Many are motivated by their own desire to learn, while others gain added incentive by knowing vegetarians and vegans who they'd like to cook for. This challenge can be especially mind-bending at Christmas time. But don't feel overwhelmed, because we have some tips and recipes for a dinner that will have everyone feeling quite jolly, whatever their dietary requirement. Hint: it's really all about the gravy.
1. Being on the same page.
Communication is key. Are any of your guests vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, lactose intolerant, etc.? All it takes is a quick chat to figure out exactly what they'll need, and they should be used to letting people know. But some general info:
2. Making a match.
If you want to try a vegetarian main dish, you'll want one that pairs well with gravy and trimmings. These are some of my all-time favourite Christmas mains:
3. Serving a nut roast?
Why not? Some people think that nut roasts have gone out of fashion, but they are delicious! There’s almost nothing better than a really, really good nut roast. You need to make sure it’s moist though, that’s the important thing. They can also be used as stuffing too, so you can make them multi-task. Sometimes we serve the nut roast as stuffing balls so they can be the vegetarian option or the stuffing for people having turkey. You want to think about how you can do this as easily as possible, so everybody can eat the vegetarian option as well.
4. Getting your guests involved.
One of the biggest holiday mistakes is trying to do everything yourself. We are committed to stress-free holiday feasting! Which means delegating. Don't feel guilty about asking a guest to bring a side dish or help set the table. Chances are they truly want to help, and it's a lovely way to spend time together. If you're the one traveling to a meat-based feast, perhaps you'd like to bring a dish of your own. Pies are a great option for traveling - just make ahead of time and pop in the oven to heat up. You can decorate them prettily too!
5. Pouring the gravy!
Of course, one of the things we like most about Christmas dinner are all of the things that go with it, especially gravy!
Cranberries also make for an interesting extra. We always make Cranberry Relish and Cranberry Chilli Jam for a zing of flavour. And one final tip: make some cranberry gin or vodka now for next year. You'll be glad you did!
Do you have any top tips for feeding a crowd with mixed dietary requirements?