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Christmas Lunch But Make It Plant-Based With Daniel Pisani’s Veganised Traditional Recipes

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Calling all vegans and vegetarians who are gearing up for tomorrow’s Christmas lunch and want to still get the Maltese food experience – just without the excessive meat.

If I’m speaking for myself, my Nanna’s Christmas lunch has never really been vegan or vegetarian friendly, except for the pumpkin soup starter.

But this year, Daniel Pisani’s new book has got the plant-based community covered for Christmas day lunch – or any lunch for that matter.

 

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A post shared by Daniel John Pisani (@lifeofmarrow)

A few weeks back, Daniel’s book revolving around a selection of veganised traditional Maltese dishes was published – and the response from the community has been immense, to say the least.

Just a couple of days after it started being distributed around the island, the book has been an absolute hit among the plant-based community, and that includes anyone looking to start making some changes in their lives.

Pisani’s book of recipes is organised according to seasons, and according to the local produce that one finds available in that particular season.

Lovin Malta spoke to Daniel to break down some of his veganised Christmas recipes and hopefully inspire those looking for a plant-based Christmas lunch. 

A Christmas lunch in Malta typically involves pumpkin soup as a starter, following some Maltese platters with Galletti and cheese. The second course is typically a slice of lasagna, or a piece of timpani or baked rice, followed by meat with a side of potatoes and vegetables. The meat typically used in Maltese households for Christmas lunch is turkey.

The dessert is then probably a variety of Christmas logs, ‘pudina’, trifle, or ‘imbuljuta’ – which is a typical festive pudding using chestnut.

Anyone committed to a plant-based diet can pretty much only have the starting dish from an entire four course-lunch.

 

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A post shared by Daniel John Pisani (@lifeofmarrow)

In Daniel’s book, he veganised the recipes for all parts of the Christmas lunch, so that those opting not to eat meat can still revel in festive traditions, while still staying committed to their choices. 

So let’s say you’ll be having some of the pumpkin soup for starters, but you’re still trying to figure out what you’re eating for the second and third plate.

1. Mqarrun il-Forn – Baked Macaroni

In Daniel’s recipe for Mqarrun il-Forn, he uses flax eggs instead of eggs, and lentils to replace the meat aspect of the dish. The lentils normally need a bit of a soak, before proceeding to cook them as if you are making mincemeat, with your own selection of favourite spices.

“The recipe consists of a plant-based meat sauce and tube-shaped pasta, with the addition of flax eggs to bind everything together,” he wrote in his book.

2. Ross il-Forn – Baked Rice

Once again, Daniel makes use of lentils as the replacement of meat in this recipe. His recipe also includes the use of pumpkin and marrow, which helps to make the mixture thicker. He also similarly makes use of flax eggs instead of chickens’ eggs.

“The recipe was adapted from my Aunt Polly’s recipe, and she specifically stressed the importance of not cooking the rice beforehand so that it would absorb the flavours of the sauce. The pumpkin is used to help bind the mixture as well as to add more vegetables to the dish,” he wrote.

 

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A post shared by Daniel John Pisani (@lifeofmarrow)

3. Patata il-Forn – Roasted Potatoes

Nothing much changes for such a recipe, but Daniel’s take on it is directly inspired by his own father’s recipe, with a very particular secret ingredient.

“This is my dad’s very own recipe. The secret lies in choosing good quality local potatoes, seasoning and Dad’s secret ingredient – soya sauce,” he wrote.

4. Imbuljuta – Festive Chestnut Pudding

For his rendition of the festive pudding known as imbuljuta in Maltese, he makes use of plant-based milk and chia seeds.

“Thickened using nutritious seeds and with less than half the sweetener used in the traditional version, nothing can stop you from having a warm cup of imbuljuta for breakfast,” he wrote.

5. Citrusy Christmas Cake

For this recipe, Daniel makes use of xanthan gum, chia eggs and plant-based milk once again, and the citrusy cake has got its Maltese twist with the addition of local citrus produce.

“This version has a local twist as it has a strong orange flavour due to the addition of dried oranges, fresh orange, orange blossom water and orange flavoured liqueur,” he wrote.

With Daniel’s tasty tips, any plant-based individual can now definitely find it much easier at veganising tomorrow’s Christmas day lunch. 

And if you want all of the details of the recipes, with the full ingredient list and the method of how it’s done, then head around to one of the booksellers that’s got the book stocked up, and get yourself your own Christmas present!

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When Sasha (formerly known as Sasha Tas-Sigar) is not busy writing about environmental injustice, she's probably fighting for women's rights. Follow her at @saaxhaa on Instagram, and send her anything related to the environment, art, and women's rights at [email protected]

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