Fuel your festive riding with these meat-free Christmas dinner ideas

Meals that will satisfy without wasting the winter training

You might be facing a meat-free Christmas for various reasons. Perhaps you’ve been inspired by Reuben’s improved power-to-weight ratio during the Hill Climbing Diaries series — following his adoption of a vegan diet. Maybe you’re hosting a vegetarian or vegan over the festive season and need some help. Or perhaps you’re a veggie veteran and just want some fresh ideas.

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Whatever the case may be, it can be daunting to come up with tasty meat-free alternatives while everyone else is tucking into turkey. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Olive Magazine (also published by Immediate Media) to bring you some great meat-free food swaps and recipes to help you along.

We’ll start with the recipes, but if you’re not a confident cook, skip straight to the food swaps for some hassle-free suggestions.

Vegetarian and vegan Christmas recipes

If you’re a maverick in the kitchen and plan to go all-out this Christmas, then here’s a roundup of delicious meat-free Christmas mains from our friends at Olive.

Roast cauliflower recipe with sage butter

Don’t relegate cauliflower to side dish territory when it can be a stunning main event
Olive Magazine / Immediate Media

Cauliflower isn’t just a side dish. In this recipe it’s the main event, and it’s basted with a delicious and aromatic blend of herbs that are sure to get you salivating. Serve it up with the usual trimmings and enjoy something light that won’t weigh you down on your post-dinner ride.

Vegan wellington

This giant vegan wellington is sure to satisfy some post-ride hunger
Olive Magazine / Immediate Media

This giant wellington is sure to impress (and fill everyone’s boots!). It’s packed with veggies — roasted red peppers, cooked beetroot and kale — and even includes a recipe for vegan stuffing. The icing on the cake comes in the form of a Marmite glaze for the pastry, sure to satisfy that savoury craving — unless you hate it, of course.

Vegetarian Christmas wreath

This is the best kind of Christmas wreath, because it’s full of carbs
Olive Magazine / Immediate Media

What’s more Christmassy than a wreath? And this is our kind of wreath, jam-packed with delicious food and perfect for sharing with all the relatives when they inevitably descend. It uses ready-made pastry as well, but if you’re a pastry pro, feel free to get creative.

Mushroom risotto cake with Taleggio cheese

Whether you’re carb-loading or re-fuelling, this risotto cake is sure to fill your boots
Olive Magazine / Immediate Media

Go for something a bit different this Christmas and make a risotto cake. It’s the perfect way to carb-load for a Boxing Day bike bonanza, or could be all the stodge you need to recover from a Christmas morning ride.

Vegan Christmas loaf recipe with chestnuts

Chestnuts are the ultimate Christmas food and they make this loaf look dee-lish
Olive Magazine / Immediate Media

Before you think ‘not another nut loaf’, feast your eyes on the ingredients list. This is no ordinary nut loaf, it’s a chestnut loaf, and we all know that chestnuts are small parcels of Christmassy deliciousness. Not only does this look great, but it’s pretty convenient as well, because you can make it the day before and heat up before serving.

For more meat-free Christmas ideas, check out Olive’s best vegetarian Christmas recipes.

Meat-free substitutes

If you’re not a confident cook, or simply don’t have the time to construct a wellington or Christmas loaf, fear not. There are plenty of vegan and vegetarian Christmas mains that you can buy straight from the shelf and pop into the oven with little or no prep.

Tofurky plant-based roast

The Tofurky roast is probably the closest you can get to an off-the-shelf meat-free turkey with stuffing

Probably one of the most popular ready-made roasts for vegetarians and vegans, the Tofurky plant-based roast is a mock-turkey roast complete with stuffing in the centre.

Artisan Grains country veg and cashew nut roast

Artisan Grains’ nut roasts are really easy — just add water and bake
Artisan Grains

It doesn’t get much easier than this. Artisan Grains’ nut roasts come as a powdered mix in an oven-friendly tray. Simply add 200ml cold water, mix and bake. There are other flavour-variations available, but we reckon this is the winner.

Linda McCartney vegetarian roast

This beef-style Linda McCartney roast looks really delicious
Linda McCartney Foods

Linda McCartney products are readily available in most UK supermarkets and this vegan-friendly ‘beef’-style roast looks lip-smackingly good. It can be cooked from frozen as well, so you can just put it in the oven at the same time as the spuds.

Quorn family roast

The Quorn family roast is another hassle-free mock-turkey you can bake from frozen

Quorn is another well-known brand for meat alternatives in the UK, and the family roast is another option for mock-turkey, sans stuffing, which you can quickly bake from frozen.

It’s not vegan-friendly though because it contains milk and eggs.

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