Vegan, Gluten Free, Soy-Free, Nut-Free Christmas Menu Planning (and a recipe for James)

This year Christmas will be had at my Mum’s house. My Mum, my sister and I went out for a coffee yesterday to have chat about what will be on the table when December 25th rolls around.

In a house full of sweet-tooths with dietary restrictions, this means serious planning. I was gonna post a pic of our serious faces to show you but I didn’t actually take a photo – that’s how serious it is!

Just to give you an idea of the lay of the land here at Operation: AwesomeChristmas, check out this list of restrictions:

  • One step sister can’t have MSG (even naturally occurring), soy or gluten.
  • Mum prefers not to do gluten but makes exception for pastry, and requires trifle.
  • Sister likes everything except fruit, and requires rum balls (which she has re-named Amazeballs).
  • Step-Dad likes prawns but is allergic to their shells (and that is the last you’ll hear about prawns on this blog).
  • Brother is allergic to peanuts and gets creeped out by other nuts but will eat other nuts without incident if you don’t mention them.
  • Everybody is gluten free except the kids and the vegans.
  • Kids are coming, and kids are picky.
  • There are two vegans and everyone else likes to chew on dead creatures (tee hee, crude!)
  • I want all the sweets but am vegan and want to stay the weight I am because I am at the upper range for all my clothes and don’t want to go shopping.

Honestly, it’s less like planning lunch and more like answering one of those Lovatt’s puzzles with the grid where you match people with their train and shirt colour.

In the end we came  up with a menu that should suit everyone, we think

Menu for Operation:AwesmeChristmas

Key:     V – vegan    GF – gluten free    SF – soy free     NF – nut free


  • Dips in Christmas colours (hommus, roast capsicum and pesto with out nuts) – V, GF, SF, NF
  • Chopped veggies for dipping – V, GF, SF, NF
  • Rice crackers – V, GF, SF, NF
  • Christmas lollies – GF, SF, NF


  • Rice noodle salad – V, GF, SF, NF
  • Rice paper rolls with tofu – V, GF, NF
  • Rice paper rolls without tofu – V, GF, SF, NF
  • ***Roast strawberry and tomato tart – V, SF, NF*
  • Caramel onion and Mushroom tart – V, SF, NF*
  • Sanakopita minis – V
  • Boiled baby potatoes with vegan sour cream and chives  – V, GF, NF, SF option
  • Others are bringing a rocket and fig salad, a roast veg salad, and ham and prawns for the meat eaters.

*these will be gluten free if I can find gluten free puff pastry and short crust in Newcastle

*** I have been planning to make this tart for a week, but in my trial-run it was too sour. I have been using roasted strawberries and tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, pepper and basil in the filling. Any suggestions for fixing it, please comment – in can be a collaboratart!

Roast strawberry and tomato tart - Trial run
Roast strawberry and tomato tart – Trial run


  • Custard tart with fruit (from Vegan Pie in the Sky)  – V, GF*, SF
  • Strawberry Cheesecake  V, GF
  • Amazeballs (non-vegan rum balls without rum)
  • Vegan rum ball Christmas tree – V, GF, SF, NF (I’ll adapt last year’s recipe to replace the biccies with GF, and the soy milk and soy chocolate with rice milk and rice milk chocolate)
  • Trifle – V, GF, SF, NF

I’m so excited I could burst!

The custard tart is from Vegan Pie In The Sky, and I have made it twice before to resounding applause. It’s also very, very pretty:

Custard Tart
Custard Tart

The cheesecake is my old go-to recipe, but I’m adding strawberries for good measure. I promised a friend the recipe (Hi James!), so without further ado…

Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake

  • 1 x 200g packet of plain biscuits (GF if needed) like Arnotts Nice or Orgran Outback Animals, or Choc Ripple for a chocolate cheesecake
  • 2 Tbs vegan margarine
  • 2 Tbs non-dairy milk
  • 1 cup good quality coconut cream (the whole fat stuff, try Ayam brand in the dark green tin)
  • 1/2 tsp agar agar powder
  • 1x200g packet Cheezly, Mozarella flavour, chopped
  • 100g silken tofu
  • 3/4 cup icing mixture
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries
  1. Crush the biscuits using a food processor (or whack them with a rolling pin) until they are very fine.
  2. Melt the margarine and mix with the biscuits and milk to form a sticky, crumbly mess.
  3. Press the mess into a tart dish or pie pan or a round spring-form tin.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, but up to 2 hours.
  5. Blend the strawberries until they are pureed. Set aside for later.
  6. In a large saucepan mix the agar with the coconut cream and bring to the boil
  7. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  8. Pour the agar and coconut into a blender with the cheezly, tofu, icing mixture and strawberry puree. Blend until smooth.
  9. Pour the filling onto the base and refrigerate overnight.
  10. Decorate with more strawberries and serve.



8 Comments Add yours

  1. Johanna GGG says:

    wow that looks impressive – the custard tart looks beautiful and festive – and the family sounds like fun to cater for 🙂

    my thoughts on the strawberry and tomato tart are maple syrup and/or mint – keep us updated on how you go with it

  2. Johanna GGG says:

    ps – I have experimented with making my own vegan cheese this year – I wonder if it would go well in this cheesecake as I have been looking at ideas for using it

    1. Keira says:

      That sounds so good. Did you use that Artisan Vegan Cheese book everyone is talkng about?

      The cheesecake recipe works best with cheezly – with other vegan cheeses it requires a little more agar agar (the cheezly re-sets itself after blendng, other cheeses do not, especially tofutti).

      1. Johanna GGG says:

        No, but I would like to look at the book – my recipe was cobbled from a couple I saw on pinterest – – this cheese used quite a bit of agar agar so not sure how it would go – it had smoked paprika but would leave this out if making for cheesecake I think

  3. I love the idea of a collaboratart and this may sounds strange but would red (Spanish) onion help eliminate the sour? or if you made a balsamic glaze to drizzle over along with chocolate (vegan, naturally)

  4. K says:

    wow so impressive and relevant for me. Bookmarking this to look closer again tomorrow.

  5. J-in-Paradise says:

    We’ve tried to be sugar-free for almost 18 months now, so we’ve had to cut out balsamic. And I can’t eat verjus (allergic), which might be an alternative. So I go back and try to see what the purpose of the ignredient is, that I have problems with. It’s an acid, probably to coutneract the ultra-sweetness of European strawberries. But Aussie strawbs aren’t very sweet these days, unless you grow your own or manage to get some wild ones. You can cut down on the balsamic, or simply use a squeeze of lime or orange, or a grating of citrus zest to get a similar effect. If the effect is also to glaze the fruit, simply caramelize the strawbs a little after letting them sit in their juice with a teeny bit of sugar – use all the juices etc from the bowl.

    Your feast sounds yummy – hope it was as much fun to consume as it ws to design and make!

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