It’s true that in years gone by, it would have been tricky to find exciting things to enjoy and it would have required plenty of time being imaginative in the kitchen with whole foods and plants – but now things are changing.
With a surge in the number of people adopting a vegan lifestyle – it quadrupled from 150,000 in 2014 to 600,000 in 2018 – and greater awareness of gluten intolerance and coeliac disease, food producers are increasingly catering for people on special diets.
Shopping for those with more atypical eating habits no longer requires a visit to a specialist health food shop. Instead, supermarkets and mainstream brands are discovering the business opportunities for catering for this growing cohort of health-conscious, environmentally aware, and animal-loving consumers.
Tracking down gluten-free vegan products for this roundup was easy, just proving there is nothing you need miss out on at Christmas.
A table of classic party nibbles can be a bit of a horror show for vegans and anyone avoiding gluten. Confronted by a sea of pastry and breaded canapés, I’d usually just accept it was best to steer clear to avoid any mishaps. However, that no longer need be the case with an enormous range of gluten-free vegan finger foods available today.
Extra Special Vegan Pate, Asda, £1.20
A rich roasted parsnip, chestnut and sage pâté, blended with chickpeas.
Kalamata Olives with Fig and Mint Tapenade, Olive Branch, £3.49
Chunky with a powerful flavour, this is a strong addition to any party spread.
The main event
This is where you mean business: if you can still move comfortably after eating Christmas dinner something has gone horribly wrong. Thus, you want to gorge on the best dishes of the season, not forgetting the trimmings.
Vegan Gravy with Red Miso, Organic, Tideford Organics, £2
With an umami hit, this gravy will be the sauce of choice for everyone around the dinner table, regardless of diet.
Sage and Onion Stuffing Mix, Mrs Crimble’s, £1.99
Traditionally a no-go for those unable to eat gluten, this stuffing has all the flavours of the festive favourite but without the risks.
Cooked and Peeled Chestnuts, Roger Descours, £3.75
That vital winter ingredient. Pair with brussels sprouts for an extra special side.
Organic Gluten Free Nut Roast, Clive’s, £5.25
Anyone who’s ever eaten a Clive’s gluten-free vegan pie will know that this brand does not skimp on flavour or texture. This nut roast is rich, tasty and packed with crunchy nuggets of nuts, seeds and vegetables.
Sugar and spice
If you’ve managed, remarkably, to leave room for dessert there is an enormous range of delectable sweets for gluten-free vegans. And if, like me, mince pies and chocolates are a daily (if not few-hourly) feature over the festive season, you won’t be disappointed here either.
The Wonderbox Chocolate Truffles, Booja Booja, £17.95
Twenty organic truffles, with flavours including almond salted caramel, hazelnut crunch, around midnight espresso and fine de champagne.
Deliciously Free From Iced Mince Pies, Sainsbury’s, £2
The smooth, sugary crown on these pies makes them extra sweet and sumptuous.
Christmas Pudding, LillyPuds, £12.49
Made with vine fruits, gluten-free beer, ginger, ground almonds, apple and spices for an authentically traditional pud.
Rum and Raisin Ice Cream, Coconuts Naturally, £5.29
There’s no need to long for brandy butter or cognac cream because this indulgent ice cream is the perfect boozy accompaniment to pudding.
Eggnog! Spiced Mandarin White Chocolate Bar, Solkiki, £7.95
With Madagascan vanilla, warm, winter spices and tangy mandarin, this is an extremely decadent white chocolate treat.
Cacao Orange Bar, Squirrel Sisters £25.99 for a pack of 16
If Christmas once meant scoffing a whole chocolate orange in one sitting, these raw bars – which are surprisingly healthy – will fill that gap with ease.
Christmas Pudding Biscuits, Angelic, £2.95
Packed with raisins, cranberries, cinnamon and mixed spice, these are as festive as they come.
Cheesy does it
What is Christmas without a laden cheese board? These no-cow alternatives are the perfect way to end a meal or for anytime snacking with gluten-free crackers, chutney and grapes.
Aged Roasted Garlic Cashew Cheese Alternative, Nutcrafter Creamery, £7.95
This raw and cultured nut cheese has a creamy, smooth texture and a subtle lemony flavour.
Chive Spreadable Ch*ese, Nush, £3.50
Creamy, mild and tangy, this is great for dunking crudités in or for spreading on gluten-free bagels and topping with avocado for a hearty breakfast.
Spirits of Christmas
Finding gluten-free and vegan drinks is where I typically would have to really search. Most beers contain gluten and many drinks are not vegan, but it turns out there are plenty of options for getting merry.
Da Luca Prosecco, Diforti, £10.99
Extra dry and with dainty bubbles, this fizz is floral and fresh.
Cranberry and Blood Orange Liqueur, Cranes, £9
Sweet and fruity, this tastes exceptional poured over a flute of prosecco for a Christmas cocktail.
Saffron Beer, Jake’s, £24 for 12 cans
A real treat that is golden in colour and ever so aromatic.
Cranberries and Limes Cider, Cranes, £2.20
A crisp drink with hints of festive cranberry that come through delightfully.
The Rascal White Wine, Rogue Wines £30 for 3lt box
Dry with delicate white flower and tropical fruit notes.
Strawberry and Black Pepper Gin, Bullards, £40
Mix this warming gin with tonic, lemonade or prosecco for a sublime aperitif.
Premium Spiced Rum, Brittains, £27
A balance of spice and sweet, reminiscent of a Christmas pudding, that makes it ideal for cocktails.
Besos de Oro, Delifonseca, £24.95
A beautifully blended cream liqueur with brandy from Jerez de la Frontera and concentrated tigernut milk.