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Christmas Lunch 12/14/10

Ideas for a slightly less traditional Christmas lunch. By Roline Bosch

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With just shy of 10 days to go, depending on your Christmas traditions, you’re either feeling extremely excited at the thought of being a vegetarian during Christmas lunch, or your tummy is doing nervous flips at this realisation. If you fall into the latter group, let me grab your clammy hands and tell you, I am here to help!

December 25 in my home starts off with tea and Christmas cake in the morning with all visitors and family around the tree, multi-coloured lights still flickering, Boney M’s Feliz Nevidad blaring in the background.  A bit of chit chat and then, my dear Christmas foes and friends, the preparations begin.  In all the glory you can imagine.  Complete with electric carving knife.  Excess of all things Christmas food and pudding.  Baked potatoes, gammon, turkey, thick gravy, cauliflower, brocolli (yes the kind with the cheese sauce), pampoen koekies (pumpkin fritters) and and and and and!

It’s all convention in my home over Christmas, which can often leave the vegetarian in a pickle.  My mom, bless her, always manages to whip up an amazing vegetarian meal like baked butternut with roasted veggies, or a special salad, beautifully displayed, all made with love especially for me. I’m lucky, and so value the extra effort that goes into my surprise Christmas meal to make me feel part of the festivities, but realise that not every ‘new’ vegetarian family member receives a special Christmas veggie meal.

If you’re looking to spice things up this year and present your guests a hearty yet fully veggie meal, or if you are the guest and would like to suggest a hearty veggie Christmas dish, I can make a few suggestions.

Read some of the easy, traditional, wonderful Christmas meals on the Longevity Blog to get some inspiration.  As the pictures suggest, these meals are surely scrumptious! I love how this writer has taken her Greek heritage into account, offering up something conventional while keeping different tastes in mind, to be enjoyed around a table or by the pool.

If you’re preparing the meal, Jade Scully rightly recommends that you have a few options available: “Focus on making two main courses, some appetizers, two or three side dishes and two dessert options. This way your meat-eating guests won’t feel like they’re missing anything – they’ll be too busy tasting all the new, exciting recipes they’ve never had before.”

Often I find that vegetarians get stuck in meat-eater’s mentality, such as, “I’ll make a veggie roast for Christmas, so I’ll still feel part of the Christmas lunch.”  A roast, for example,  is still very much part of the meat-mentality, just simply replaced by something vegetarian.  Of course there’s nothing wrong with this, but if you’re creative, perhaps you’d like to try something totally different this year?

Try a veggie picnic.  The folks at have come up with a Christmas vegetarian picnic basket, which is novel, fun and celebratory.  You can spend all your time with your loved ones, rather than slaving in the kitchen, and have a picnic set up in your own backyard, complete with a table dressing, just on the ground.

The hearty  Christmas ideas on the BBC Good Food site will also make your mouth water, as the they have tons of recipes to give you ideas.  My favourite is the “polenta & goat’s cheese stacks”, as it is a warm, hearty meal ideal for Christmas, rather than offering the veggie simple salads.  It will go fantastically with divine wine!

Perhaps you’re not creating one specific meal, but like most South African families, you’re going the distance in creating a Christmas showstopper complete with starters, main course, side dishes, desserts, and cheeses.   For a fantastic selection all under one roof, visit the Guardian’s Christmas suggestion list.  Here you can use the interactive tools to scroll over your desired dish and see a variety of fabulous suggestions by reknowned chefs.  It’s not all vegetarian on this site, so you can use some creativity to minus the meat.

Whatever you decide to eat this Christmas, whichever your tradition, however your ways, be merry, enjoy and love to eat.

Christmas Lunch, 9.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
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2 Responses to this article

editor December 16, 2010 Reply

Thanks for these great ideas! I will also post some Christmas recipes soon, some of which are quite complicated, but look very delicious.

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Roline December 17, 2010 Reply

As an addendum to this post: If you’d like to extend your creativity to the Christmas table by making it pretty but you’re a bit cash-strapped, I have a suggestion. Normally the odd bits of leftover wrapping paper make their way into the bin, or get stored at the bottom of a drawer until next year. Why not make simple, easy and quick Origami stars out of them for the table? Here are some easy step-by-step instructions:


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