Vegan and Vegetarian Christmas
What to serve vegans and vegetarians at Christmas is a head scratcher for those used to the simplicities of a giant turkey as a centrepiece. Some people can only imagine meat as an impressive seasonal treat, and they are stumped when it comes to thinking of a similarly spectacular vegan or vegetarian dish.
This stunning stuffed pumpkin recipe is not difficult, but looks as if you have spent hours constructing something special. It’s inspired by Armenian cuisine.
I would recommend some of winetrust’s vegan or vegetarian wines to accompany this, most probably a red:
- 2013 Alianca Bairrada Reserva Tinto Portugal (£7.50)
- 2015 Adobe Carmenère, Emiliana Organic from Chile (£7.75)
- …and if you really want to go mad and treat the vegan/veggie in your life, fork out for 2010 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva San Polo (£95)
Find out more about the difference between organic, biodynamic, vegan and vegetarian wines at this post on Winetrust! We also have a special tab on the home page dedicated to the vegan and vegetarian wines that we list.
Armenian Wedding Rice Pilaf Recipe
One medium sized pumpkin
3tbsp coconut butter (vegan) or butter (vegetarian)
4tbsp date syrup (vegan) or honey (vegetarian)
150g good quality basmati rice (I use Amira, which you have to soak for 30 minutes before using)
2tbsp pistachio slivers
2tbsp almond slivers
2tbsp dried sour cherries, pitted
A handful of hazelnuts
1tsp cinnamon, ground
A pinch of clove, ground
Parsley to garnish
Tip: I tend to use whatever dried fruit and nuts I have in my cupboard, so you can use apricots, raisins, prunes, figs, walnuts, whole almonds, pine nuts, whole pistachios or macadamia nuts.
- Preheat oven to 200ºC.
- Soak the rice.
- Wash the pumpkin and cut off the top, keeping it as a lid.
- Clean out the central pulp and seeds. Discard.
- Melt the coconut butter and date syrup together, stirring.
- Coat the inside of the pumpkin with a thin layer of the melted mixture.
- Par-boil the rice until it is halfway cooked. (I use a rice steamer so I looked at the time on the packet, then cooked it for half of that time.) Put this par-boiled rice in a separate bowl.
- Add the dried fruit, nuts, salt and spices to the rice mixture.
- Add half of the remaining coconut/date syrup or butter/honey to the rice and mix.
- Fill your pumpkin with the mixture to the brim, packing in tightly.
- Drizzle the top and outsides with the rest of the coconut/date syrup or butter/honey mixture.
- Put on the lid of the pumpkin and place it in a baking tin or oven safe bowl.
- Cook for an hour at 200ºC, or until the pumpkin flesh is soft and yielding to the touch.
- Serve as a whole on a serving dish and cut it into slices, which are fanned out, at the table.
- Garnish with parsley.