Well, this is it people – the big one! It’s our main Christmas meal this year – and we’ve held nothing back. With drum rolls a plenty, we’re very proud to present: the vegetable wellington!
With turkeys everywhere, certainly a joint of beef or two and even the odd goose, meat isn’t exactly in short supply at Christmas.
It’s the time of year that can be tough on vegetarians (I still get the odd craving for pigs-in-blankets, but then I read this article on industrial pig farming and remind myself why I don’t eat meat).
When I say a tough time of year, obviously I mean in a food sense. And I think the main reason for that is the lack of alternatives.
When we don’t have decent alternatives for something we like, we do one of the following:
- skip the ‘missed’ item altogether – for example we eat a Christmas roast, but without the main.
- eat a poor, packaged replacement we grab off the shelf at the last minute.
- give in and eat meat.
While none of these are the end of the world, wouldn’t it be great to have something to look forward to for that special occasion that is the equal of, or even better than meat?
The vegetarian wellington is the answer.
What is a Vegetable Wellington?
A vegetable wellington is the vegetarian-friendly version of beef wellington, a popular English dish dating back to the 1800’s (don’t worry we aren’t about to give you a history lesson!).
The wellington is actually very much like a pie. The filling, in our case a flavourful vegetable and chestnut medley, is wrapped in pastry and baked until golden. They are usually shaped like a log which is then sliced up, but you can also make them round or even create multiple mini-wellingtons.
This dish makes the perfect meatless centrepiece for a big meal around the festive season, or just enjoyed as part of a roast style dinner. It also presents the opportunity for showcasing your pastry skills and wowing guests as you cut into that flaky golden masterpiece at the table 😉
This alternative is here to show that vegetarians no longer get the short straw – indeed, we’re in this for the win.
PS. If you’re looking to go vegetarian, or are already vegetarian and struggling, make sure you check out the 30 Day Veggie Transformation – it’s everything you need to keep you on the right track, and is especially good to help with losing weight!
Vegetable Wellington – Vegan or Vegetarian?
Vegans, don’t look away yet! This recipe uses only one animal product – a small amount of soft cheese. If that isn’t your thing, simply don’t add it. The wellington still tastes GREAT. We’ve tried it. Several times.
And of course, the veggie wellington isn’t just for Christmas – it’s perfect for any occasion where you want to replace a cut of meat with a hearty vegetarian or vegan alternative.
The Health Benefits of Chestnuts
A firm festive favourite, chestnuts appear in a number of forms around Christmas – including the filling of our veggie wellington. The great news is not only do they taste fantastic, chestnuts actually pack some health benefits too!
For their size:
- Chestnuts are high in vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, copper and some important amino acids.
- They have a relatively high fiber content, which helps to control your blood sugar level and aids digestive health.
- They contain high levels of healthy fats like linoleic acid, but as a whole are actually one of the lower-fat types of nut.
- They contain a higher amount of complex rather than simple carbohydrates – this provides a more sustained release of energy, helping to avoid those highs and lows you get with simple carbs.
If you want to know more check out this article on the health benefits of eating chestnuts.
It’s not just the chestnuts adding a health kick to our vegetarian wellington recipe. You can learn about the health benefits of sweet potatoes here or visit this article for the health benefits and nutritional value of spinach.
Vegetable Wellington FAQ’s
If you’re new to the world of the wellington hopefully these FAQ’s answer any questions you might have. If not, just let us know in the comments section.
Can you freeze vegetable wellingtons?
Yes, this recipe freezes well. The best way to freeze it is to cook all the ingredients and then place them in the pastry as usual. Then freeze. Then when you get it back out of the freezer the pastry will cook ‘fresh’ and the insides will be hot again too. Just let it defrost for an hour or two first.
Can this be made vegan?
You can definitely use this recipe to make a delicious vegan wellington! Simply omit the soft cheese in the recipe and make sure you choose a vegan puff pastry – you may be surprised how many brands of puff pastry contain no eggs or dairy.
Can I swap out the chestnuts?
As festive as chestnuts are, they aren’t everybody’s favourite nut and can sometimes be tricky to find. Whilst we’ve not tried it ourselves, mushrooms are likely the best substitution. Or if you’re not a fan of mushrooms, you could experiment with tofu or chopped nuts instead.
What should I serve with a veggie wellington?
If you’re making this dish in place of meat for a Christmas or roast dinner then you’ll be pleased to know that this recipe works beautifully with traditional sides like potatoes, vegetables and (veggie) stuffing. Why not check out our recipes for Honey Glazed Carrots and Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Balsamic which make perfect festive side dishes?
What sauces would you serve this with?
We would suggest serving with a vegetarian gravy, or you could also serve it up with something traditionally festive like cranberry sauce.
What our Readers are Saying
Tried this recipe last Christmas and it was gorgeous. Actually made it as well as a normal beef Wellington and they complement each other brilliantly.Vicky ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I made this last Christmas and my adult vegetarian daughter has been begging me to make it all year. I held out, making this a greatly anticipated classic.Cathleen
This vegetable wellington recipe has been lovingly developed and practised many times over the last few weeks, and we’re very pleased to put it out there.
As it’s Christmas, I’m off to work on my veggie pigs-in-blankets. Dates wrapped in aubergine haven’t quite cut it – yet. But I’ll get there.
Have a great Christmas!
- 1 leek
- 1 onion
- 1 sweet potato
- 1 ½ cups chestnuts (cooked and peeled)
- 2 cups spinach
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp thyme, fresh (1 tbsp dried)
- 2 clove garlic (diced)
- 150 g salad cheese (a soft cow’s milk cheese, a little like feta. If you can’t find it, use feta instead)
- 600 g puff pastry (1 large sheet per 3 people)
- Chop the leek and onion finely and fry softly in butter. While they’re cooking, dice the sweet potato into small pieces and then add to the pan after five minutes, along with the garlic and thyme. Cook gently for another five minutes to ten minutes. Crush the chestnuts with a fork or masher and also add to the pan. Cook for another two minutes. Finally, add the spinach and turn off the heat, stirring often.
- After it’s cooled a little, crumble the soft cheese into the mixture.
- Pour the cooled mixture into cling-wrap into a ‘log’ shape (one for each sheet of pastry).
- Wrap tightly and let cool in the fridge for an hour.
- Lay out your puff pastry and roll the filling into the middle.
- Use a brush a little water onto the edges of the pasty as you fold it together, then use a fork to squish the edges together.
- Cut off any leftover pastry into festive shapes and add to the wellingtons.
- Bake for 35 mins on 180°C/360°F 🙂