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Vegan substitutions: Homemade and readymade treats for your Christmas dinner table

Whether you're a new vegan or an old hand, you'll be delighted to know there's nothing that you used to enjoy as an omnivore that you can't enjoy as a vegan too. Whether it's something for a luxurious breakfast or some tasty treats for Christmas dinner itself, there's something delicious and plant-based to enjoy. If you're feeling like you want to go homemade, there are lots of recipes to help you. But if it's all a bit much, there's some great readymade options out there.

Here's a round up of some great vegan substitutions to enjoy over Christmas. 

Instead a glass of Baileys...
Readymade: If you're looking for a traditional Christmas tipple but one that's dairy-free, you'll probably know there's now a vegan version of Baileys, called Baileys Amande made with (you guessed it) almond milk. If you're looking for something a little cheaper, Marks and Spencers sells a vegan chocolate and coconut drink that gets rave reviews at a considerably lower price.

Homemade: Making a homemade vegan equivalent of Baileys is actually surprisingly easy: there are lots of vegan recipes to show you how. I like this one from Vegan Recipe Club, because it uses value whisky and instant coffee, for bonus budget points.

Instead of smoked salmon...
Readymade: There are a couple of brands that make vegan equivalents of smoked salmon, but VBites (pictured left) is the one you're most likely to stumble upon. I've not tried the slices, so don't know how good they are. One salmon alternative I have tried is Kinda Co's faux lox spread: a cream cheese with a delicious flavour and carrot standing in for the fish.

Homemade: If you're after making your own vegan smoked salmon equivalent, there are lots of recipes to help you out - most involve marinating carrot strips in flavourings to get that characteristic maritime tang. Olives for Dinner shows you how.

Instead of a dairy cheeseboard...
Readymade: Last year, Sainsbury's made headlines in the veganosphere for bringing out a Violife cheeseboard, this year, Asda has announced it'll be following suit with its own plant-based platter - so there are now vegan cheeseboard options in supermarkets across the country. If you want to spend your money with vegan companies, then Tyne Chease has a selection box, The Naturally Vegan Food Company has something similar, and Kinda Co did have one til they sold out!

Homemade: Making your own cheeseboard isn't totally impossible - there's even a new kit to help you do it! If you'd rather not spend the £27.50, then there are a lot of online resources to help you make your own cheeseboard: Plant Based Kindness has four recipes to get you started.

Instead of non-vegan mulled wine: 
Readymade: If you'd rather your warming glass of Christmas mulled wine didn't have fish guts in (isinglass is used to clarify wine), then you're not alone. Most big supermarkets, including Tesco, Sainsburys, and Asda, will sell you bottles ready mulled, or bags of spices so you can mull your own at home.

Homemade: Making mulled wine is so simple, you should definitely consider giving it a go. It tastes so much better than the readymade stuff, and it's only a few minutes of effort. Check out this fancy glogg recipe for a Scandi feel, or see how Delia does it here. (Just make sure your wine is vegan - lots of supermarkets and winemakers now say on the bottle to make things easy.)

Instead of after dinner chocolates with milk: 
Readymade: If you're looking for something to nibble on after the big meal, then there are dairy-free options out there. Divine, for example, do a box of mint thins for £3.50 to £4 and Beech's have something similar for slightly more. The Co-op also do their own-brand version at a more affordable price.

Homemade: If it feels like making your own vegan after dinner mints is a stretch too far, don't worry - it can be done! These vegan peppermint patties from Lovin It Vegan are surprisingly manageable.

Instead of panettone with eggs:
Readymade: Happily, in the last couple of years, there have been a few vegan panettones hitting the shelves, which is good news for those fans of the Italian bread that just screams Christmas. Sadly, you can't pick one up on your local high street (unless you're very lucky), you can order one online including here, here, and here.

Homemade: If you're feeling like you want to get all Great British Bake Off and make your own, I think that sounds like a delicious idea. Imagine how gorgeous your kitchen will smell with a golden vegan panettone in the oven. One Green Planet's recipe is here, while Tavola Mediterranea has one with a simpler list of ingredients here.

Instead of gravy with meat juices:
Readymade: In my humble opinion, there's no dinner without a slick of gravy. I like gravy. When I have Christmas dinner, I want to be able to wade through it. If you're a gravy fan like me, then there are many vegan brands that you can use to drench your Christmas dinner: Marigold does gravy powder and granules, which are often available in supermarkets and health food shops. Free and Easy do similarly. If the idea of mixing granules with water is a bit too much effort, Tideford sells ready to go vegan gravy in a pot.

Homemade: There are loads of delicious looking gravy recipes out there, but Jenny Marie's mushroom gravy looks particularly appealing.

What substitutions do you like to make for a delicious vegan Christmas? Let me know in the comments below!

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