Food & drink
Save the turkeys with this totally vegan Maltese Christmas lunch menu
A feast celebrating new hope, life and light deserves a vegan menu!

Melanie Drury

It’s here! The time has (almost) come for the grandest lunch of the year! Christmas Lunch in Malta is a big deal. It’s perhaps the one Christmas tradition that absolutely everyone on the Maltese Islands observes. It usually involves copious amounts of meat, which will continue to feed the family in the form of turkey or pork sandwiches for the entire week following. But a feast celebrating new hope, life and light might deserve a vegan menu, with Maltese dishes that keep is somewhat traditional. Here’s what we’d suggest.

Appetiser

Tickle your appetite with Maltese bread bruschetta and a Maltese platter.

For the bruschetta, just spread chopped fresh tomatoes and onions on Maltese bread with a dash of olive oil, salt and pepper, and pop in the oven until toasted. Add olives, capers and mint or basil to taste.

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A vegan Maltese platter may include bigilla, sundried tomatoes, capers, olives, broad beans, fresh tomatoes, pickled vegetables, water biscuits, and perhaps add a hummus dip for good measure. Vegetarians can include the traditional Gozo cheeselet (gbejna).

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Soup

When it comes to soup, Maltese cuisine offers a lovely variety.

Minestra is essentially a vegan vegetable soup with an abundance of vegetables (potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, marrows, peas, etc) and often featuring pasta and beans or lentils.

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You could also opt for soppa tal-armla or kusksu, which are great for vegetarians, MINUS the egg and cheeselet for vegans. 

Soppa tal-armla has a base of cauliflower, potatoes, carrots and onions. 

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Kusksu's signature ingredients are broad beans and small pasta pellets with a selection of root vegetables.

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Starter

A pasta starter is commonplace in a Maltese Christmas lunch. Swap the typical Italian lasagne or cannelloni for a vegan version using spinach and other veggies instead of meat. If you want to stick to traditional Maltese dishes, turn the delicous mqarrun recipe vegan by using a soy Bolognese sauce - just swap the minced meat for dried soy protein in your favourite recipe. When making any pasta bake, use linseed instead of eggs to bind the pasta, use cashew cream instead of bechamel sauce, and vegan cheese.

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Main Course

Sure, you can opt for meat substitutes such as those made by Quorn; these range from minced meat and sausages to chicken-style fillets which may replace that turkey breast and pork sausages pretty well. We decided to stick to home-made with local ingredients by creating a main course of Maltese-style mixed stuffed vegetables. 

Try making stuffed marrows and stuffed aubergines with quorn or soy mince, or replace with mushrooms.

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Make stuffed peppers and simply leave out the anchovies from the recipe; the olives and capers give enough flavour.

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Accompaniment

Can’t have a Maltese feast without the much loved patata 'l-forn , a dish of sliced backed potatoes flavoured with fennel seeds.

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Dessert

Forget the fruity Christmas pudding. In Malta, a more apt dessert is the Maltese bread pudding and the Maltese Christmas Log. Replace eggs with linseed and milk with coconut milk in the bread pudding recipe.

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For the Christmas log, buy or make your own condensed coconut milk to replace condensed milk.

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In both cases, it is good to know that Lindt Excellence 70%, 85%, 90% and 99% cocoa blocks are dairy free, but please note that these are processed in a factory that uses milk products and are therefore not suitable for people with severe lactose intolerance.

Digestive

Finish off your Maltese Christmas feast with a shot of locally-made Anisette Liqueur or Bajtra Liqueur, according to your personal preference.

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Is that a feast or what?

15th December 2019


Melanie Drury
Written by
Melanie Drury
Melanie was born and raised in Malta and has spent a large chunk of her life travelling solo around the world. Back on the island with a new outlook, she realised just how much wealth her little island home possesses.

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