Last-minute Christmas recipes

Abbey Stanford profile photo
Former Specialist Health Editor at Bupa UK
21 December 2021
Next review due December 2024

Christmas day is right around the corner, which means it’s time to start thinking about Christmas dinner. Whether you’re planning a huge feast, or a more low-key lunch, these recipes will help you add some vegetarian festive flair to the table.

A Christmas tree with decorations

Hazelnut carrots

An orange or honey glaze is often a popular choice for carrots. But why not try these hazelnut and mustard carrots for a different take on the humble Christmas carrot? You can make the glaze and toast the hazelnuts ahead of time, so all there is to do on the day is mix everything together.

Serves 6-8


  • 500g carrots
  • 50g hazelnuts (blanched)
  • 2 tsp mustard of your choice
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp dry sherry
  • 50ml of vegetable oil


  • Toast your hazelnuts until they are golden. Then, when they have cooled down, roughly chop them.
  • Make the dressing by whisking the vinegar, sherry, mustard and oil together. Add some salt and pepper.
  • Thinly chop your carrots and boil or steam them for three to four minutes. When they are tender, drain and tip them back into the pan.
  • Pour over the dressing and give it a stir to make sure the carrots are coated. Cook over a low heat before tipping into a serving dish.
  • Scatter over the crushed hazelnuts and serve.

Brussels sprouts – chargrilled with a hint of chilli

These chargrilled sprouts with a bit of citrus and heat will give your Christmas dinner a lift. They also take less than 20 minutes to make.

Serves 6


  • 600g Brussels sprouts (trim the bases)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 lemon
  • 1–2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 60ml olive oil


  • Cook the Brussels sprouts in a pan of boiling salted water for about five minutes until they are tender.
  • Drain them and let them cool down a bit, and then slice them into halves.
  • Put a large frying pan over a medium heat and add 3 tbsp oil.
  • Then add the bashed garlic for a few minutes until golden, then remove it from the pan.
  • Add the chilli flakes and your halved sprouts to the frying pan. Put them cut side down and leave them for 10 minutes. This bit is important so that your sprouts get some nice colour on them.
  • Juice the lemon and then add this along with the rest of the oil. Cook for a few more minutes, making sure your sprouts are coated.
  • When you serve, sprinkle some lemon zest over the top.

Fruity red cabbage

Stir-fried red cabbage adds beautiful jewel colours to your plate. This recipe is quick and easy too.

Serves 4


  • Three quarters of a red cabbage
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp butter or plant-based spread
  • 2 tsp cranberry sauce
  • 50ml red wine
  • Half an orange


  • First, finely chop the red cabbage and then juice and zest the orange.
  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan and then add the shredded cabbage. Stir it over a high heat for about four minutes.
  • The cabbage should start to wilt. When it does, add the spread, cranberry sauce, wine, orange juice and zest.
  • Stir it well, cooking for another four minutes.
  • Add salt and pepper and then serve.

Porcini gravy

Christmas dinner wouldn’t be complete without a delicious gravy, and this one will please meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. It uses porcini mushrooms for a great depth of flavour.

Serves 8


  • 1 onion
  • 3 carrots
  • A handful of dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 tsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 litre of low-salt vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp cornflour


  • Chop up the onion and carrots. Add them to a pan on a medium heat with the oil. Cook them for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Add the ketchup and the mushrooms and cook until the mixture goes a bit sticky. Then add the vinegar.
  • Add the stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Then remove from the heat and, using a hand blender, blitz until it goes to a soup-like consistency. Pour it through a sieve into a pan and add the cornflour with a little bit of water.
  • Stir and cook until it has thickened, then serve.

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Abbey Stanford profile photo
Abbey Stanford (she/her)
Former Specialist Health Editor at Bupa UK

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