Your first vegan Christmas? Some tips from vegans who’ve been there, done that

Vegan soup. Picture: Pexels/Cotton Bro

Vegan soup. Picture: Pexels/Cotton Bro

Published Dec 17, 2021


It’s that time of year again – pumpkin spice lattes in every cafe, Christmas decor filling store shelves, and mass amounts of turkey and ham packaged for holiday dinners.

Christmas can be a seriously stressful time for vegans and their non-vegan families as they might have no idea what to cook or prepare for a vegan person, especially if you are newly vegan. If you are one of those people, worry not! To help you navigate your way through the gastronomic festivities and offer inspiration, Catherine Phillips, of the South African Vegan Society Durban Chapter, and Leozette Roode, author of the “South African Vegan Cookbook”, share below how you can go about preparing a vegan Christmas lunch.

Catherine Phillips’s ideas


Why not start with a soup? Easy to make and all can enjoy. A butternut soup or tomato will be great. Instead of adding cream add some coconut cream. Or you could make stuffed mushrooms – chopped onions, tomatoes, garlic, and rosemary.

The roast

Were you planning the traditional roast with potatoes, gravy, and veg? Well, the vegan version is easy to create. Either make a nut roast or you could buy an easy-to-cook Fry’s roast from any supermarket. Make the gravy using tomatoes, onions and Ina Paarman brown onion powder – it will be delicious and everyone can eat it.

Roast your potatoes in olive oil rather than the fat from the meat. Make vegetables such as roasted butternut, peas or carrots that don’t require a white or cheese sauce.

The braai

South Africans will use any excuse to braai. For a vegan-friendly braai, include a variety of salads such as potato salad, coleslaw, rice salad, pasta salad (use egg-free mayonnaise (Tastee, Crosswell Trim, and Bwell), and don’t add cheese, feta, or any meat to salads.

Make garlic bread with coconut oil and garlic. For the braai, you can find sausages, patties or schnitzels at the supermarket. They do not take long to cook but you will need to place them in an ovenproof dish or pan on the fire as vegans do not like their food touching a meaty grill.


Chocolate mousse or brownies served with coconut cream. (You can get tinned coconut cream at all supermarkets).

Leozette Roode’s ideas


If you are visiting a friend’s house 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.

Play around with different ingredients

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.

Meaty-style roast

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. A mushroom Wellington or a chicken-style pie is easy to create and you can use Today pastry, you don’t have to make your own.