Asda development chef Andrew Johnston tells us why vegetables and meat alternatives are moving centre-stage this Christmas
For thousands of stressed Christmas cooks catering for family members and guests with a variety of demands, our plant-based alternatives are an easy fix that complement the rest of your Christmas dinner.
The rise of the ‘vegievore’ and ‘flexitarian’ means that as a country we're experimenting more with new vegetables and people are less afraid to try something different. Vegetables are more at the centre of people’s plates and Christmas tables than ever before, with meat alternatives and even meat accompaniments coming in from the side to join them. It’s really switched around.
Inclusivity is at the heart of Christmas and at the heart of everything we do at Asda – it's a big trend. We're trying to make it as simple as possible to serve delicious food that everyone can enjoy together.
This year we've developed two centrepieces worthy of any special dinner table that would also make great accompaniments to a traditional Christmas dinner.
Andrew’s top picks for the festive season:
Extra Special Vegan Wellington with Red Wine Gravy: Made with roasted mushrooms, seasoned soya and caramelised onions, with hints of warming spices in a light puff pastry. This festive main is a Quality Food Awards 2019 winner.
Extra Special Festive Vegan Wellington: Another impressive Vegan Wellington, this time from the frozen aisle at Asda. Chickpeas, Leeks and Apricot encased in a golden crispy puff pastry with a tangy cranberry and apple layer.
Mushroom and Lentil “nut” roast. We're sure you'll love this delicious vegan nut roast recipe. Beautifully blended with wild mushrooms, kale, peanuts, chestnuts and vegan cheese finished with a cranberry and Prosecco drizzle.
Extra Special 12 Chestnut and Cranberry Vegan Stuffing Balls: One of my favourites of the whole range. They're absolutely delicious, regardless of whether you’re vegan or not. It’s a fantastic product – the texture’s brilliant, the sharp sweetness of the cranberry goes fantastically well with the creaminess of the chestnuts.
Extra Special 12 Vegan No Pork Cocktail Sausages: Mini soya-based cocktail “sausages” are ideal for the party season and make great Christmas canapes. And our Extra Special Mini Vegan Mushroom Burgers are also a great choice for party food.
Extra Special Golden Vegan Swirls: Shaped in a traditional bundt style, these swirls contain delicious vegan caramel sauce, dairy free chocolate mousse with a dark and decadent Belgian chocolate shell finished with gold lustre. Our Chocolate and Caramel Dessert Swirls were a huge hit last year and we wanted to do something a bit different. The bundt was a traditional cake at the turn of the last century.
Extra Special Vegan Raspberry Torte: Our Vegan Chocolate Torte was so popular last year we’ve brought it back again this Christmas and we’ve added a new Raspberry Torte to give people more choice. They look great on the table together! You can find both in our frozen aisle.
Extra Special Free From Marc de Champagne Truffles: Indulgent yet affordable luxury. With a splash of marc de champagne and a sweet dusting and blended with Belgian dark chocolate. These make a great gift or a treat on an evening or after Christmas dinner with a coffee.
Look out for our plant-based festive food launching in store from now and in the run-up to Christmas.