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Opinion ‘Meaty’ festive mains: Best vegan Christmas dinner recipes

Kitchen Tips
Liv's author bio image

Author: Liv Published: November 28, 2023

Looking for a hearty plant-based centrepiece to serve for Christmas? Try these recipes for vegan roast chicken, smoked ham, mushroom wellingtons, and festive logs!

I remember feeling a whole fluster of festive jitters the first time I decided to cook plant-based for the holiday season … 

But, in what felt like a Christmas miracle at the time, I quickly realised that it was as simple as making a few swaps in the menu – because there’s an easy-to-make vegan version of just about every traditional dish you could think of (as well as lots of store-bought options)!

If you’re going home-cooked this year and want your plant-based main to absolutely knock people’s stockings off, you can’t go wrong with one of these cosy, comforting centrepieces. 

I’ve split them up into two categories, vegetable-based roasts and ‘meaty’ vegan roasts, so you can take your pick:

Veggie-Style Roasts & Festive Logs

Stuffed Roast Pumpkin Wellington

Image of a roast pumpkin wellington cut to reveal the centre, on a wooden chopping board.

A cross-section of this pumpkin wellington showcases every delicious layer, all the way from the garlicky breadcrumb stuffing in the middle, through to the buttery mushrooms and golden puff pastry on the outside.

Classic Mushroom Wellington

Image from above of a plate with a serve of mushroom wellington and a side of roast potato, parnsip and carrot. with gravy

This has been my go-to festive recipe for years, and it’s never once failed to impress – even the meat-eaters. My extended family straight-up demands that I bring a mushroom wellington every holiday season now, so be warned … Make it “just once” and you might find yourself locked into a lifetime contract!

The Best Whole Roasted Cauliflower

Image of a delicious looking roast cauliflower on a plate with some greens and a side of dipping sauce.

Would you believe this gorgeous cauliflower dish only calls for five ingredients? It’s such an easy one to make! Roasted cauliflower practically melts in your mouth – and a warming blend of spices makes it even more at home among a festive spread. 

Mushroom & Lentil Stuffed Festive Log

Image of a beautifully decorated festive log taken from above and sliced tor reveal the centre.

Infused with aromatic herbs, the toastiness of roasted hazelnuts, and plenty of hearty spices, this mushroom and curried lentil roast makes for a super satisfying Christmas centrepiece. If you’re feeling creative, try experimenting with different pastry decorations on top!

‘Meaty’ Vegan Roasts

Vegan Roast Turkey

An overhead image of a whole vegan turkey on a platter surrounded by roast veg.

You wouldn’t know to look at it, but every inch of this roast ‘turkey’ – from the orange and sage stuffing, to the crispy rice paper skin and decadent, honey-mustard style glaze on top – is completely made from plants!

Vegan Roast Chicken with Balsamic Cranberry Glaze

Image of thick slices of vegan roast chicken served in a black skillet with roast potato and carrot.

Isn’t it wild how accurately seitan can replicate the taste and texture of meat? This show-stopping vegan roast chicken is perfectly succulent and makes putting together a classic-looking Christmas plate so easy. Just add seasonal veg!

Beyond Meat Meatloaf With Stuffing

Image of a meatloaf on a tray, sliced to reveal stuffing.

This juicy, shiitake-stuffed meatloaf recipe calls specifically for Beyond Meat, but you could just as easily swap in whatever brand of plant-based beef you like. We’re big fans of Birds Eye and V2 (which you can find at Coles) and Impossible mince (from Woolworths).

Vegan Pork Tenderloin

Image taken from above of a vegan pork tenderloin roast in an oven tray with slices of apple and onion.


Another deceptively plant-based roast that 100% looks and tastes the part! This vegan pork tenderloin is made with a clever blend of mushrooms, tempeh, oats, and spices – with grated beetroot adding a tinge of pink, and liquid smoke bringing that signature ‘roast’ flavour.

Vegan Ham

Overhead close up image of vegan ham which has been sliced to reveal the cente.

If you’re after a salty, smoky mock meat that hits the same spot as a traditional Christmas ham, this seitan recipe is the holiday hero you’re looking for! It’s surprisingly easy to make, and guaranteed to impress even the most meat-loving of dinner guests.

Don’t forget the gravy!

A gravy boat full of rich gravy on a timber table, atop a fabric napkin and some xmas holly.

You can find lots of vegan-friendly gravy mixes in major supermarkets and online these days – or you can make your own from scratch if you’re feeling fancy. Try our recipe for red-wine infused mushroom gravy or this highly rated classic vegan gravy by Nora Cooks. They’re both deliciously rich and would be the perfect drizzly accompaniment to any of the plant-based roasts on this list!

Need more inspiration for your Christmas menu?

Whether you’re still looking for festive sides, salads, vegan cheeses, platter ideas, pastas, ‘seafood’ alternatives, Christmas puddings, mince pies, or other sweet treats, or drinks, we’ve got you covered with all the recipe ideas you could ever need.

There’s also a sleigh-full of store-bought vegan roast options in major supermarkets and online that are perfect for simplifying your festive feast – so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time indulging with your loved ones. (Which, in the end, is what Christmas is really all about!)

Check out our festive plant-based product guide here to add some time-saving treats to your shopping list.

Header image: © Zacchary Bird


Liv's author bio image

Meet Liv!

Having grown up in a “meat and 3 veg” kind of household, Liv’s embarrassed to admit that she was a bit of a one-note chef until she began exploring the world of plant-based food. Vegan cooking has given her a whole new appreciation for the symphonies of flavours that simple, nourishing wholefood ingredients can create. (Even eggplant, once her greatest nemesis, is now — in a delicious, miso-glazed redemption arc — her all-time favourite veg.)

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