What´s all about?
- Christmas menus but vegan
- Potato salad with sausage
- Christmas goose and roast duck
- Braised or roast beef
- Game dishes
- Vegan Christmas menus
- Inspiration from Restaurant Ronja
A pot of red cabbage simmers with the scent of cloves, cinnamon and star anise. Steam from dumplings rises into the air as the Christmas goose sizzles in the oven. Christmas is coming in the German hospitality industry. According to Statista, roast goose ranks fourth among the most popular Christmas foods in Germany . Only potato salad with sausage, roast duck and raclette pip it to the post. Christmas could be considered a challenge for people who don’t eat meat. But not to worry; thanks to substitute products, many classic dishes can be converted into a vegan Christmas menu. An overview of five classic Christmas menus and their vegan alternatives.
How meat-free is Germany at Christmas?
- According to Statista, 8.12 million people in Germany described themselves as vegetarian in 2023.
- According to an Insa survey from 2023, 15% of Germans consciously avoid eating a meat dish on Christmas Eve
- According to a study by non-profit organisation MSC, a vegan dish will be served on Christmas Eve in 8% of households in Germany
Traditional Christmas food: potato salad with sausage
The Christmas Eve tradition of eating potato salad with sausage dates back to the now less-familiar Christmas fasting period when Orthodox Christians would generally do without meat. During the fast, potatoes were an ideal food, as they are not only filling but also cheap. Money could be saved for the first Christmas celebration day at the end of the fasting period, often a sumptuous feast with goose, game or carp.
There’s no reason why vegetarians and vegans should go without the traditional potato salad with sausage. After all, there’s a range of plant-based sausage alternatives, usually made from tofu, seitan, vegetables or pulses. Even the potato salad can be made without using animal products – vegan mayonnaise and cream are now widely available. A marinade made from mustard, vinegar, oil and herbs is also vegan.
Christmas goose and roast duck reimagined for vegans
Crispy roast duck or a classic Christmas goose – according to Statista, 47% of Germans like to celebrate on 24 December and choose roast fowl . But those who want to pass on meat, but not the festive roast, can turn to seitan. Seitan is made from wheat protein. Thanks to its meaty consistency, it can be prepared in a variety of ways, including as a roast. With the right herbs and spices, a seitan roast tastes really Christmassy. Stuffed butternut squash can be another alternative. Fill it with a mix of quinoa, vegetables, nuts and herbs then oven-bake it for an intense aroma.
Plant-based alternatives for braised or roast beef
A true all-rounder, roast beef is either the perfect centrepiece for a festive cold buffet or is enjoyed fresh from the oven, accompanied by various sauces and potatoes boiled in their skins. But the possibilities for vegetarian roasts are endless, and these can be made from various vegetables, nuts and grains. For example, beetroot and kidney beans can imitate the consistency, flavour and colour of roast beef. When all the ingredients are mixed and roasted, it’s juicy on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside. Served with a mushroom sauce and a variety of vegetables like Brussels sprouts or glazed carrots, it really holds its own as a Christmas roast.
Meat-free Christmas menu: carp
Traditionally, carp is often served on Christmas Eve, as it is customary in some regions of Eastern Germany to go without meat on this day. Salmon, baked sea bream, roast loach fillet or sea bass in a salt crust are also popular menu choices. Those who want to avoid fish entirely can also consider roast or smoked tofu, or marinated tempeh, as well as other substitute products. One more tip: roast or baked cauliflower also has a similar texture to fish.
Game dishes at Christmas – vegan ones, too
According to Statista, meat consumption is declining overall but the demand for game meats has increased significantly in recent times. Roast venison and wild boar are particularly popular. A combination with cranberries and red cabbage is a particular Christmas favourite. A vegan game alternative is marinated or roast portobello mushrooms because of their rich flavour and meaty texture. King oyster mushrooms and parasol mushrooms also remain firm to the bite after gentle cooking. And cranberries and red cabbage go just as well with mushrooms as they do with game.
Vegan Christmas menus open up new possibilities
Whatever the individual motivation to avoid meat, there are culinary possibilities to suit everyone. Chestnuts, mushrooms and red or green cabbage ensure a real Christmas flavour. Nut roasts made from quinoa, hazelnuts, chestnuts and apricots can win over even the die-hard carnivores. Restaurant Ronja am Ringlockschuppen offers a vegan Christmas menu with five courses. Alongside oyster mushrooms, chestnuts and quinces, the Mulheim restaurant relies on meat substitute products from METRO for its main course. ‘Not only does it taste Christmassy, it’s also healthier than a meat dish,’ says owner Sinan Bozkurt.