For too long, us vegetarians have been left nibbling on the sides at Christmas feasts. I used to just settle for the sides because, well, there weren’t many choices. But in recent years, I’ve taken charge and created some main dishes that steal the show.
Here are two stunners that I love making—they’re easy to prep ahead and finish off just before diving in. The only problem? Now everyone wants a taste! Who can blame them when there’s a creamy, breadcrumb-speckled sprout gratin or a veg-packed filo pie oozing with stilton? They’ve got all those classic Christmas flavors that even meat-lovers can’t resist.
Squash, Red Onion, and Stilton Pie
Prep Time: 20 mins | Cook Time: 1 hr 10 mins | Serves: 6
- Grab a squash (around 700-800g) like crown prince, red kuri, or butternut. Cut it into chunks, ditch the seeds, then toss it on a tray with some red onions, salt, and olive oil. Roast for about 20-30 minutes until they’re perfectly cooked—no need to go full-on caramelized.
- In a saucepan, toss in some shredded greens—cabbage, sprouts, whatever you fancy—with a pinch of salt and a splash of oil. Cook ’em up for about five to seven minutes until they’re wilted.
- Lower the oven heat and butter up a baking tin. Layer some filo pastry sheets in there, letting them hang over the sides. Brush ’em with butter, repeat the layering process, and scoop your squash and greens mix into the pastry-lined tin. Crumble that stilton on top, season with pepper, and fold the overhanging pastry inwards to cover the filling. More pastry on top means more crunch, so go for it.
- Pop it in the oven for 20-30 minutes until it’s beautifully golden brown all over.
Sprout Gratin with Lemon Rice
Prep Time: 20 mins | Cook Time: 1 hr | Serves: 4-6
- Heat your oven up while you sort out the rice. Simmer brown basmati rice with a bay leaf until it’s tender. Then, toss in butter, lemon zest, and juice, cover it up, and let it sit for a bit.
- In a pan, sizzle some onions until they’re soft and slightly golden. Toss in those halved sprouts and let them cook for a few minutes. Splash in some wine, pour in creme fraiche and water, and add parsley. Top it all off with breadcrumbs.
- Into the oven it goes for 15-20 minutes. I like my sprouts with a bit of bite, but if you prefer ’em softer, give ’em a bit more time.
- Serve these sprouts with the lemon rice and a generous dollop of yoghurt on top.
These recipe aren’t set in stone—feel free to mix things up with what you have in your kitchen. They’re easy to make ahead and reheat like champs. Plus, they’re so good, even non-veggie folks will be coming back for seconds!