Navigating religious holidays and family gatherings can be challenging when you have made the choice to forego meat and/or animal products. These expose the conflict of balancing personal beliefs – and religion, tradition and cultural heritage. Eating plant-based at these functions is a stark reminder of giving up the meals you were raised on and can even lead to feelings of exclusion and disconnection. Of course, it isn’t easy to reject the efforts that loved ones put into preparing traditional dishes. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The internet is a wonderful place filled with Good Samaritans who are doing the hard work of recreating the recipes from our childhoods and traditions with a vegan twist. Here’s how you can mimic the flavours of a South African Easter and share them with your loved ones.
What’s a South African easter without pickled fish? It’s a difficult one but you might be able to mimic that unique sweet and sour taste by adding traditionally-used spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, and allspice to aubergines. Aubergine works pretty well to recreate the squishy texture of fish, but you can use other vegetables as well.
If that doesn’t tickle your fancy you might want to stick to buying or making other pickles or atchar and having it on the side. Indian Delights has a spectacular recipe for mango atchar.
From Easter to Christmas, Eid or a regular Sunday lunch, family gatherings are virtually incomplete without a centrepiece of roasted meats like lamb or chicken. Thankfully there are tons of vegan alternatives to choose from.
The options are pretty much endless. You could use ready-made meat alternatives from companies like Fry’s, try your hand at roasting whole vegetables like a head of cauliflower or a stuffed butternut, or even construct your own roast using things like tofu, seitan or vital gluten, its main ingredient.
You can try making this delicious recipe for a vegan Greek-style roast lamb – marinated in garlic and lemon juice and slow cooked to perfection – or attempt this recipe for a roasted spiced cauliflower created by our favourite TV chef Jamie Oliver (bless him!).
A foolproof way to create a roast dinner centrepiece is vegan queen Lauren Toyota’s roast/pot pie with puff pastry and layers of savoury sweet potato mash, mushroom & lentil stew, and apple cranberry sauce. Yum!
Another firm Easter favourite is glazed ham. We scoured the recipes on the internet to bring to you the best method and flavour profile to get you reminiscing the brown-sugar and pineapple-crusted ham of your childhood. And the best part is that it’s vegan!
If you’re not into that idea, there many plant-based alternatives that are equally as dazzling and delicious like lentil loaves, butternut squash casserole, and grilled portobello mushrooms. Bring on that “umami” (moreish and savoury taste) deliciousness!
Hot cross buns
There is no way you could think of an Easter without hot cross buns, whether you eat them or not. Sometimes, you can be lucky enough that store-bought hot cross buns are vegan, other times they have egg in them.
But it’s all good, there are a ton of veganised recipes on the internet that will give you the same spiced yeasty sweetness.
Or if you think raisins are the devil’s work, you can make cinnamon rolls instead. Still sweet and spicy – but without those pesky little dried grapes.
Easter ring bread
Many Easter tables are adorned with Easter ring bread – braided ring of sweet bread often decorated with dyed eggs. These breads are often enriched with milk and eggs – and of course the eggs. You can make your own and use vegan candy eggs or dyed wooden eggs to weave between the twists of bread.
You can also be different and try a savoury twist and make Jamie Oliver’s veganised recipe of Moroccan m’hanncha (snake) which is a bread that wraps up smashed vegetables and grains to make a beautiful and delicious centrepiece for the table.
Easter eggs are our favourite Easter treat. While it’s pretty difficult to buy vegan Easter eggs at South African supermarkets, there is still lots of vegan dark chocolate to choose from.
There are also all kinds of chocolatey treats to create. From chocolate cake and chocolate tarts, to chocolate pots, truffles and mousse, there’s no way you can deny yourself the gift of chocolate decadence this Easter. Be fancy and make this gorgeous chocolate parfait studded with jewels of homemade honeycomb, cherries, and dried fruit. Happy Easter folks!
If you end up making plant-based alternatives to your favourite Easter dishes, be sure to tag us on our social media @thedailyvox.