Homemade or shop bought: Which is the winner for a vegan Christmas?

This feels like the first year that vegan food has become part of the mainstream at Christmas. There are vegan mince pies, Christmas puddings and Christmas cakes in supermarkets and in shops. For Christmases past, if you wanted any special vegan festive food, you had to go and make it yourself. I've always been happy to do a bit of Christmas baking in the past, partly because it was the only option, partly because there was no other option. This Christmas though, I had the option of getting someone else to do the cooking for me. Should I take it?

Case in point: readymade cake. I can't remember what it felt like to walk into a supermarket and pick up a readymade dessert like I used to when I was an omnivore. Now Tesco has a couple of vegan desserts available as part of its Wicked Kitchen range, and Asda has three vegan cakes on its shelves. When I saw a box of vegan Red Velvet Brownie for sale in Tesco recently, I thought I'd try it out, to see if it might make a good addition to the Christmas table.

It's not like I haven't got enough possible options for that already, though. I've made a Christmas cake, and I've been diligently feeding it with rum. I don't think I've been so good at looking after something since I had a Tamagotchi as a kid. That cake has drunk more than me over the last few weeks.

I've made this Christmas cake before a few times, and it's never let me down. It's filled with all sorts of good things, and lasts for ages.

I even tried my hand at making some an iced mince tart, inspired by those are-they-actually-vegan-or-not icing topped mince pies that Sainsbury's does. I'm a fairly lousy baker, but it wasn't that hard to make a mincemeat tart: a bit of pastry, a jar of mincemeat, and some icing sugar mixed with water on top. I've sliced it up and put it in the freezer. I meant to have it as a backup for Christmas, but I've been mainly eating crafty slices myself.... Well, I need something to keep my mulled wine company.

And I've even made a Christmas pudding for the first time. I've made a couple of steamed puddings before, including a Sussex pond pudding, but never a Christmas pudding. The mix wasn't that hard to make either (I used this recipe from the Veg Space) - it look a few minutes to make. Yeah, you have to boil it for 3 hours or so, but it's not like you need to watch it for the whole time. I was pretty impressed at how it turned out for a first try.

I haven't had a chance to try it out yet, but if it tastes as good as it smells, it's going to be pretty good. I'll be serving it up at Christmas dinner - I've even got some vegan creme fraiche to go with it too (another new vegan addition to the supermarkets this Christmas, for me at least!)

I'm a big fan of being able to make Christmas desserts exactly how I like them (like cinnamon? add a truckload. Think it's powdered evil? Leave it out altogether) and being able to make vegan versions of traditional Christmas favourites. There's something great about continuing food traditions - dishes that have been eaten for centuries - and reworking them as vegan, taking those old dishes and making them new again.

So what about that red velvet brownie I bought at Tesco? It was fine. I love that it exists, that vegans can get store-bought brownies if they want. But I love making my own vegan treats more though. For now, there are just a handful of vegan desserts you can buy readymade, but the amount you can make at home is almost limitless. Happy Christmas!


  1. Happy christmas joey - enjoy all your home baked treats - sound v impressive!

  2. It's so nice to have so many vegan options available for Christmas nowadays. It's actually getting kinda hard to decide what to get for Christmas dinner. Still, nothing beats homemade, the pudding looks great! :-)


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