How to cook for vegtarians this Christmas.

With meat being the base of the traditional English Christmas dinner, vegetarians can often be overlooked at this time of year. If you have a veggie or vegan coming to Xmas lunch, it’s important to make sure you cater for them. Vegan of 17 years Heather Mills explains why the festive season doesn’t have to be a difficult time.

Is Xmas a hard time for veggies?
It’s actually one of the easier times. If you think about it, it’s usually all the trimmings that everyone wants.

What will you be cooking?
I’ve 30 people to cook for. All the families and friends come round. I do it every year. Everyone crashes round – if there aren’t enough rooms, bring a sleeping bag. I’ll have traditional roast – Redwood does a great vegan turkey – with homemade stuffing, roast potatoes and shallots, vegan cauliflower cheese, tonnes of parsnips and brussels sprouts. We’ll also have home-made mince pies and vegan brandy cream.

Any advice for a family who has a non-meat-eater coming to lunch?

Find out whether or not your guest likes meatless meat. If they do, Redwood has a lovely roast beef with stuffing. If they don’t, they could have all the vegetable trimmings of Christmas dinner or have a nut-roast as well.
What about tips for the veggie or vegan guest?
The best thing you can do is bring an amazing dish to the party – such as a vegan dessert or yummy things that people will try. It’s best not to get into
a heavy conversation around the dinner table about your choice. Just say “you live your life, and I live mine, but if you want to have a serious discussion about it, let’s have it another day”. The best way to convert people is by bringing great-tasting food and by looking fit and healthy.

For you, what was the most difficult thing to give up?

Initially, chocolate. When I got off the sugar addiction I went to diabetic chocolate, then dark chocolate. My biggest weakness now is vegan cupcakes.

Tell us about Love Bites.
My new book came about because so many people would come into my cafe, VBites in Brighton, asking for recipes. So I’ve put in a variety of soups, salads and starters. And the profits all go to help impoverished kids who don’t have access to good food.

» Love Bites is £9.99. See for more details. See for more celebrity advice and tips for having a veggie Christmas.