Alternative Festive Food

Here’s a great recipe for Turkey Wellington for those who fancy something a little different from the traditional roast turkey this Christmas. However, what if you’re vegetarian, vegan, or gluten free? Well these alternative festive foods should be a cracker!

Turkey Wellington Recipe

Serves: 10

Time: 2 hours 35 mins plus overnight refrigeration

Website: www.jamieoliver.comn/recipes/


  • 1.6 kg turkey breast, skin off, preferably higher welfare
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • 1 x 340 g jar cranberry jam
  • 25 g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 6 rashers quality smoked streaky bacon, thinly sliced
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 600 g mixed mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 turkey leg
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 leek, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 heaped tablespoons plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 knob unsalted butter
  • 2 x 500 g packets all butter puff pastry, chilled
  • 1 large free-range egg, beaten

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Place the turkey breast upside-down on a board. Gently slice into the natural join of the breast muscle to open it out and make a sort of pocket. Season well and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle over half the thyme leaves, then spread over an even layer of cranberry jam, pushing it into all the nooks and crannies. Fold it back into shape to seal the mixture inside – swiss roll-stylie – and push a few cocktail sticks into the seam to keep it together. Transfer the turkey to a roasting tray, season the outside with the remaining thyme leaves, a good pinch of salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Rub it all over, cover in tin foil and roast in the hot oven for 60 to 70 minutes, or until just cooked through – using a thermometer, you want it to be 72°C at the thickest point.
2. Meanwhile, soak the porcini in a dish of just-boiled water. After 5 minutes, stir with a fork so any bits of grit sink to the bottom. Add the bacon to a large frying pan with a splash of oil on a medium heat and fry for 5 to 10 minutes, or until beautifully golden and super crispy. Strip in the leaves from 2 rosemary sprigs for the last 30 seconds or so. Remove everything from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving the bacon fat behind. Add the fresh mushrooms to the pan with a pinch of salt and pepper. Drain and chop the porcini, saving the water, then stir into the pan. Add a splash of the water, avoiding the grit, then cook for around 10 to 15 minutes, or until the pan starts to sizzle again and the mushrooms are golden, soft and sticky with caramelly edges.
3. To make the gravy, cut the thigh off the turkey leg and slash into it slightly. Throw the leg and thigh into a pot along with the carrot, leek and onion. Stir in the flour, add a good pinch of salt and pepper and 2 litres of boiling water. Add a heaped tablespoon of cranberry jam, the balsamic vinegar and remaining rosemary sprig. Bring back to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for around 2 hours, or until thick. Strain it through a sieve and reheat before serving.
4. When the mushroom pan is dry, add a knob of butter and toss to coat. Tip the mushrooms into the food processor and whiz until you get a good mixture of smooth and chunky. Leave to cool. Once the turkey breast and stuffing have cooled, you can get on with assembling the wellington.
5. Dust a clean surface with flour, then roll out each packet of puff pastry to the size of a shoe box (one will be the base, one the lid – roll the lid ever so slightly bigger). Line a large roasting tray with greaseproof paper, dust with flour, then add the smaller piece of pastry. Spread half of the mushroom stuffing onto the middle of the base to cover an area the same size as your turkey breast. Remove the cocktail sticks, then place the turkey breast on top and spread the remaining stuffing over the top packing it all in and smoothing it out so that the whole breast is covered. Sprinkle with the crispy bacon and rosemary, then brush the edges of the pastry with beaten egg. Lay the second sheet of pastry over the top, gently mold it round the shape of the breast, pushing all the air out and seal together. Trim the edges to around 4cm, then pull, twist, tuck and pinch in the pastry (like in the picture).
6. Brush the whole thing with beaten egg then all the hard work’s done. Leave it uncovered in the fridge overnight until you’re ready to cook. On Christmas day, cook at 180°/350°F/gas 4 for 50 to 60 minutes, or until risen, puffy and beautifully golden and the turkey is piping hot throughout. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for around 10 minutes before carving. Serve carved into 2.5cm with the gravy and all the usual. Christmas in a mouthful.

Vegetarian Nut Roast Pie With Cranberries

Serves: 8-10

Time: Less than 30 mins to prep, and between 30 mins and 1 hour to cook

Website: www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes


For the filling:

  • Drizzle olive oil
  • 4 leeks, finely sliced
  • 4 rosemary sprigs, picked
  • 6 thyme sprigs, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 250g/9oz chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 5 sage leaves, roughly chopped
  • 600g/1lb 5oz mixed nuts (e.g. pecans, cashews and hazelnuts)
  • 150g/5½oz Gruyere, grated
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 150g/5½oz dried cranberries
  • 125g/4½oz frozen cranberries

For the pastry:

  • 100ml/3½fl oz water
  • 80g/2¾oz butter
  • 125g/4½oz plain flour, plus extra for rolling out the pastry
  • 150g/5½oz wholemeal flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 free-range egg, plus 1 free-range egg, beaten, to glaze

For the gravy:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp yeast extract
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • Few rosemary sprigs
  • 500ml/18fl oz vegetable stock
  • Pinch brown sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and grease a 18cm/7in springform cake tin.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the leeks, rosemary and thyme for 4-5 minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  3. Add the mushrooms and sage and cook for 2-3 minutes, then remove from the heat, transfer to a large bowl and set aside to cool. (Reserve two tablespoon of this mixture for the gravy.)
  4. Toast the nuts in the oven for 8-10 minutes (keep an eye on them as they burn really easily). Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  5. Blend the nuts in a food processor to a coarse powder and add to the leek mixture with the cheese. Mix until well combined and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  6. Stir in the eggs until well combined.
  7. For the pastry, heat the water and butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat until the butter melts and the mixture just boils.
  8. Mix the flours, salt and egg together in a bowl, then add the butter mixture and mix together really quickly until combined. Shape the dough into a ball (it should be quite moist) and chill in the fridge for five minutes.
  9. Tear off one-fifth of the pastry and set aside, then knead the remaining pastry briefly and roll out on a well-floured work surface into a 5mm/¼in thick circle.
  10. Flour the top of the dough, fold into four, and use it to line the 18cm/7in springform cake tin. Put the folded dough into the tin with the pointed end towards the middle, then unfold the dough so that the excess falls over the side (the dough will be quite fragile). Now ease the dough into the corners of the tin. If the dough tears, squeeze it back together again, this pastry is very forgiving.
  11. Trim the pastry, leaving a 1cm/½in border.
  12. Spoon half of the filling into the tin, pressing it down tightly with a wooden spoon. Tip over the dried cranberries, press down a little and finish with the rest of the pie filling, pressing down well.
  13. Brush any exposed pastry with the beaten egg.
  14. Roll the reserved pastry into a circle, and using the cake tin as a guide, cut out a circle with a 1cm/½in border.
  15. Place the pastry over the top of the tin and squeeze or crimp the lid onto the pie to seal it, trimming any excess. Cut a slit in the middle of the pie to let any steam escape and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
  16. Remove the pie from the oven and carefully remove the tin. Slide the pie onto a baking tray and glaze the top and sides of the pie with the beaten egg, then return to the oven for a further 15 minutes, or until golden-brown.
  17. Remove the pie from the oven, glaze the top again and top with the frozen cranberries. Return to the oven for a further 5-10 minutes.
  18. Meanwhile, for the gravy, melt the butter in a saucepan and add the reserved mushroom and leek mixture followed by the tomato purée. Stir on a low heat for 2 minutes, or until it changes colour to a deeper shade of brown.
  19. Add the yeast extract, flour and rosemary then gradually add the stock. Bring to the boil, then season with salt pepper and brown sugar.
  20. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, until thickened. (You can strain the mixture for a smooth gravy if you like.)

Vegan Sausage and Cranberry Pastry Wrap

Serves:  5

Time:  20 mins to prep & 40 mins to cook

Website:  www.realfamilyjourney.com 


To make the almond feta cheese:

  • 2/3 cup almonds, whole
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 10 tsp water

To make the sausage mix:

  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 large brown onion
  • 2 tbsp dried sage
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 200g almond feta cheese (from above)
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce)
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 tbs marmite or nutritional yeast

To build the sausage rolls:

  • Jar of cranberry sauce (check its vegan-friendly, most are.)
  • 2 packs of ready roll puff pastry (check its vegan-friendly, most are.)
  • 2 tbsp soya milk



  1. To make the almond feta cheese soak the almonds overnight ( or a few hours in hot water) and then rinse off. Blend all the feta ingredients until smooth.

Sausage mix:

  1. Mix the flax meal and water in a small bowl and allow to thicken then set aside.
  2. Blend the onion, sage and walnuts.
  3. Blend the oats and breadcrumbs (only a short while, you don't want dust, leave a bit of bite.)
  4. Take a large mixing bowl and add the almond feta cheese previously made, soy sauce, flax meal mix, breadcrumbs, oats, onion, sage, walnuts and yeast and stir. (Season to taste if you wish.)

To construct the pastry parcels:

  1. Lay your ready roll puff pastry onto a board lined with baking paper. (You will cook it on this paper.) 
  2. Using the photo guide score lines into your pastry. (The two vertical lines.)
  3. Using the photo guide cut your diagonal lines down the side. 
  4. Remove the triangle pieces from the top and bottom. (As seen in the photo.)
  5. Place half of your mixture in the centre channel.
  6. Spread a generous layer of cranberry sauce on top.
  7. Plait alternate sides of pastry all the way down. (You may need to remove the last couple of slats if you have already covered all of the filling.)
  8. Use the excess pastry to make holly leaves and berries
  9. Brush with milk and bake in the oven for approximately 40 minutes. 
  10. Check regularly to make sure it doesn't burn. Turn or cover with foil and remove when its golden brown.

You can cook straight away or freeze and cook from frozen at a later date.


Gluten-Free Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast

Serves:  6

Time:  25 mins to prep & 2 hours to cook

Website:  www.foodnetwork.co.uk


  • 1 whole bone-in turkey breast, 6 1/2 to 7 pounds
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup dry white wine


  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Place the turkey breast, skin side up, on a rack in a roasting pan.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, mustard, herbs, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice to make a paste. Loosen the skin from the meat gently with your fingers and smear half of the paste directly on the meat. Spread the remaining paste evenly on the skin. Pour the wine into the bottom of the roasting pan.
  3. Roast the turkey for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, until the skin is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer registers 73°C when inserted into the thickest and meatiest areas of the breast.  If the skin is over-browning, cover the breast loosely with aluminum foil. When the turkey is done, cover with foil and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Slice and serve with the pan juices spooned over the turkey.