Tips to adapt Christmas dinner to a plant-based feast

Assortment of dried fruits

Our population is becoming more and more environmentally conscious of the products we purchase and the lifestyle we are choosing to lead. From purchasing items made from sustainable materials, reclaimed wood furniture with faux leather dining chairs to embracing a vegan diet.

Close up of rustic table with whole roast turkey on plate and raw carrots and vegetables on table

So how do you adapt the traditional sumptuous “no holds barred” traditional turkey dinner to a plant-based feast?

If you and your family are all vegans then you will probably have plenty of ideas on how to switch to a plant-based Christmas dinner – but what if you have one member of your family who is vegan? Or if you have one or two guests coming who are vegan? It’s worth checking if they are flexible at all, some people who usually eat vegan will be more than happy to slot in a little and be OK with a small amount of dairy product. It’s definitely worth checking before stressing over how to adapt everything.

Reclaimed wood dining table with silver legs and taupe upholstered dining chairs in front of Christmas decorated fireplace

Photo featuring: Kensington Reclaimed Wood Dining Table

To make life easier on the day set your dining table the night before. If you think you have to squeeze extra guests around the table then consider a dining bench or for extra comfort a dining bench with back or fabric dining bench, it’s much easier to squeeze up on one of these than adding extra dining chairs.

Cucumber, carrot and tomato in small sack on rustic wooden table with fabric Christmas decorations

Starters and nibbles

I think it’s a given that most vegans, and vegetarians, enjoy hummus, it’s also popular with carnivores too. This is a great choice to start your Christmas feast with, you can dish this up individually or have a sharing platter ready for all to dig in to a rustic dining table – serve with carrot, cucumber and celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, peppers and some vegan breadsticks that you can get from most supermarkets. Traditional guacamole is also vegan. For nibbles, you can put out olives or a platter of nuts and dried fruits.

Plate of dried fruits and nuts on rustic wood background

The main event

A cashew nut roast, a mushroom and lentil loaf with cranberries, stuffed butternut squash and meals based on polenta are all great options – there are so many recipes waiting to be discovered online, you will easily be able to find something to suit. The great thing about many of these meals (having no meat to worry about going off) is that they can be prepared or even frozen well in advance. Now we have the main element decided on we can start on the side dishes. Yes, the veggies – all you have to do here is be mindful of adding butter, animal fat and other meat-based elements as you cook and prepare them. Then there’s just the gravy, again there are some great vegan recipes online or you can go for ready-made shop-bought.

A prepared nut roast with slices cut on brown wooden table

Christmas pud

The traditional Christmas pudding is quite easy to adapt to a vegan one – full of dried fruits, Christmas spices and booze there are only really a couple of ingredients you need to swap – the suet and any dairy product. The vegan society has a great recipe on their website that is definitely worth a look. This can be served with brandy butter which can be made using vegan margarine, icing sugar and alcohol.

Vegan Christmas pudding with white icing on white plate and close up of pale wooden table

Whatever you serve, Christmas, more than ever this year, will be about spending as much quality time as possible with your nearest and dearest.

At home with Lorraine Pascale

TV chef Lorraine Pascale with two dishes

Lorraine Pascale

During these dreary winter months, what better way to brighten up your day than with the lovely Lorraine Pascale. TV chef, speaker, author and emotional wellness advocate, Lorraine is devoted to helping us live the best life possible and her wellbeing advice and delicious recipes certainly feed our soul as well as our stomach.

One of our favourite go-to recipes at Modish Living HQ is Lorraine’s Blackened Honey and Paprika Salmon with Garlicky Kale and Peas – the perfect feel good dinner for these long dark nights. See her recipe below and after a cold winter’s day, gather around your reclaimed wood dining table and enjoy this quick, healthy, life-affirming and delectable supper….

“If it’s healthy and it feels good for your soul, do more of it this weekend”

Lorraine Pascale

Lorraine Pascale’s Blackened Honey & Paprika Salmon with Garlicky Kale & Peas

Serves 4
4 Salmon fillets
1 tbsp paprika
3 tbsp honey
Salt & pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
Juice 1 lemon or 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
5 sprigs thyme
150g frozen peas
150g kale – broken into bite sized pieces
1 clove garlic finely chopped
80g pomegranate


Preheat the oven to 200c. Put some oil in a frying pan. As this heats up, season the tops of the salmon with salt and pepper and sprinkle with half of the paprika.

Place the salmon fillets upside down in the pan and cook for about 2 minutes or until the salmon is blackening on top.

As this cooks, mix together the other half of the paprika with the honey, salt and pepper, olive oil and lemon juice or balsamic vinegar and set aside.

Once the salmon is blackened, place it on to a baking tray, right side up and brush well with all of the glaze.

Place the baking tray into the oven with half of the thyme scattered over the top. Cook for about 10-12 minutes.

As this cooks, prepare the vegetables. Carefully wipe out the salmon pan, so there are no burnt bits in there. Drizzle some more oil in the pan, add the peas and let them sit over a medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until they blister and go brown. Then throw in the kale, garlic and rest of the thyme.

Keep the pan moving so the garlic doesn’t burn. Season with salt and pepper and when the kale has softened slightly (about 2 minutes), set the pan aside.

Once the fish is cooked, serve with the vegetables and spoon over any of the glaze remaining in the baking tray and sprinkle over the pomegranates.

Recreate Lorraine’s interior dining style

A fan of reclaimed wood furniture, Lorraine serves her delicious home cooked meals on our gorgeous Stanford Extending Reclaimed Wood Dining Table with matching Stanford Industrial Reclaimed Wood Bench. Style with natural table linens, bamboo pendant ceiling lights and plenty of houseplants.

Stanford Extending Reclaimed Wood Dining table & Bench

Photo credit: @lorrainepascale, Table: @modishliving, Skillet pan: Utopia

How to impress your dinner guests with no effort

Christmas Dining Table

Christmas Dining Table

It’s great having family and friends over for Christmas dinner but it can be so much work and effort that you are too tired to enjoy it. From chasing perfection from the dinner table settings to the food itself, inviting dinner guests over can be a situation that balloons to nightmarish proportions.

But not with this guide as to how to impress your dinner guests, without too much effort.

The Table

There is a saying, we eat with our eyes first and our bellies second. As well as presenting the food nicely on plates and in bowls, the table also needs to look the part.

Christmas Dining Table Decorations

And frankly, when it comes to table setting trends and fashions, we say leave them behind! The festive season is all about twinkling lights, anything that sparkles, as well as colour combinations such as red and green with a dash of gold or silver.

For something ‘different’, nip outside with your secateurs and bring in some cutting of ever-green fronds from your fir trees, holly bush (even better if there are red berries too!) or any other evergreen leaf. Along with pine cones, cluster the foliage along the length of the rustic dining table. To finish, sprinkle with glitter or colourful beads, adding tea lights in pretty holders too, to add pretty twinkling lights.

Top tip – we love the battery-operated lights that are available online and in high street stores. Simply intertwine these around the foliage, hiding the battery compartment under it. Switch on and let them work their magic.

Table Settings

No one has unlimited matching plates, cups, and cutlery lurking in their cupboards and, so it comes as no surprise that when you have many dinner guests for Christmas dinner that there is a range of plates and glasses. We think it makes the occasion.

Remember, perfect table settings are not your goal: making memories and having a great time is. So, bring a range of chairs to nestle against your statement fabric dining chairs and enjoy the fact that your dining room is full of fun and laughter.

Luxe Kensington Reclaimed Wood Dining Table Christmas

Top tip – table full throughout the year with guests? Why not consider investing in a dining bench, a great alternative to different chairs and great for accommodating more people.

However, using matching key plates can lift the table and so it is worth investing in some key items. We think that…

  • Matching or complimenting oven to tableware – as well as having plenty of cutlery to go around, why not invest in a cluster of oven to tableware dishes? These present a sense of cohesion and providing that all your ‘mismatch’ plates and bowls share the same colour palette, it won’t look too chaotic.
  • Handmade, designed and created plates – clustering bowls and plates is a way of showing off your ‘best’ tableware too. We love the idea of opting for something different but one that is timeless and elegant. Tableware, from serving plates to dinner plates, are items that over the years, you will come to amass in your cupboards. And so, you need timeless, elegant pieces that look as fresh today as they will in years to come.

Planning Ahead

Impressing your guests can place you on a collision course with festive season stress, a condition that can see you become fixated on smaller details that really don’t have bearing on the wonderful meal you are about to cook.

Christmas Table Setting plan

What do we suggest? Planning ahead is the solution, along with getting as much done as you possibly can before the main event. And we have some useful tips too:

  • Don’t battle through Christmas shoppers for your groceries and other essential – shop online! Get as much as you can beforehand, making the best use of pre-prepared foods and put in the freezer.
  • Shop local – local suppliers, such as butchers and grocers, will often have affordable hampers in the run-up to the festive season. As well as supporting local businesses, you will also be getting quality produce that tastes delicious.
  • Set the table the night before – for many of us, creating a fantastic looking table is the fun part but it can take longer than you think to create the ultimate dining table setting! Make it your ‘night before’ task or even a day or two beforehand. Enjoy a few dinners off your lap as a treat!
  • Nothing wrong with ready meals – we are not suggesting you serve a ready meal for Christmas dinner but with so much going on, be kind to yourself and invest in high-quality ready meals for you and your family. Again, local grocery stores and food suppliers have some great pre-packed products.

Choose Dishes Carefully

Chose dishes that can be prepared beforehand and then simply finished off before you serve them. The best course to do this with is dessert and this Festive Pavlova is ideal.

You will need:

  • 6 large free-range egg whites
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 1tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1tsp cornflour

For the filling;

  • 600 ml double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 50g sifted icing sugar
  • 900g of fresh fruit – any combination, such as raspberries and blueberries
  • 50g pomegranate seed
  • A few mint leaves


  • Preheat the oven to 160°, Gas 3 and line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper. Draw around a large dinner plate as use this as your guide.
  • Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until soft peaks then gradually add the sugar slowly until stiff and glossy.
  • Mix the vinegar and cornflour and stir into the egg whites
  • Heap the mixture onto the greaseproof paper, shaping it into a ring, leaving a gap in the middle
  • Place in the oven reducing the temperature to 140° to gas 2 for an hour or until the meringue is hard on the outside but soft on the inside.
  • Allow the meringue to cool – it will keep well in the fridge!
  • Just before serving, whip the cream with the vanilla paste and icing sugar and spread generously on top of the ring of meringue. Pile the fruit on top, finish with the jewel-like pomegranate seeds and decorate with mint leaves. Serve with a sprinkling of icing sugar or edible glitter dust.

Impressing Christmas dinner guests is just as much about the company, the laughter and the stories as it is about the ‘right’ decorations on your dining room furniture or the ‘correct’ festive inspired sculptures in your small display cabinet. And don’t forget – enjoy it too!

Spend quality time with your children in the garden

garden furniture sets

Little reading in the gardenWith the summer months comes warmer temperatures and hours of glorious sunshine – or so we hope! – and that means getting out in the garden, enjoying the space it has to offer. This becomes all the more enjoyable with the comfort of one of our garden furniture sets.

Spending quality time with the kids in the garden is ideal for the summer months stretching out before you. There are many outdoor activities, from messy play to trampolining, that are suitable. And one great idea is cooking and eating outdoors with your kids.

Eating Outdoors

Round St Mawes Garden Table in Reclaimed Teak Outdoor

Eating together as a family brings many benefits. But preparing and cooking together is also a great bonding activity.

It is also a great way to teach kids where their food comes from and encourage them to try new things. Here’s some ideas.

Deconstructed Cheese Burger

Kids love burgers but the same old thing over and over again gets boring. Encourage your children to look at food differently with this deconstructed cheeseburger salad;

  • Enough burgers per person – grill or oven bake. Or, BBQ them. Whilst they cook, make the salad…

You will need:

  • Salad leaves – you choose! Watercress adds a peppery note, as do rocket leaves to a salad. Iceberg lettuce is great for any salad base and is light and refreshing. Chop and tear the leaves to create a luscious green bed of leaves.
  • Salad ingredients – add anything you like from chopped tomatoes to ribbons or carrot and kernels of sweetcorn.
  • Cheese slices or cubes – add these to your salad

Once the burgers are cooked, chop them into cubes and add to the salad. You can eat cooked burgers cold so you can bake the burgers earlier on in the day and make the salad for lunch or tea.

Pitta sandwiches

    Another quick and easy lunch is to make your own sandwiches and enjoy a picnic in the garden.

    You will need:

    • Fresh bread or ring the changes with pitta bread pockets.
    • Instead of butter, use a light cheese spread and have a range of options for your kids to try.
    • Grated cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, olives… you name it, entice your kids to try it. Include meats and fish, like tuna or smoked mackerel for a zap of flavour.

    Alfresco Dining

    Eating outdoors is such a wonderful way to enjoy the sunshine, especially with one of our beautiful garden furniture sets. Of course, if you don’t have garden furniture, you can also enjoy a picnic on the grass.

    Get your kids to choose their favourite spot in the garden and set up your picnic or garden furniture there.

    Bring out a blanket, cutlery and your favourite board games and enjoy an outdoor afternoon.

    outdoor picninc with kids

    To encourage more alfresco dining, why not invest in high-quality outdoor seating and garden furniture sets.

    Garden Bistro Set Table and four Chairs in Sky Blue

    It’s important to buy garden furniture that fits the needs of your family but bear in mind the dimensions of the garden too.

    A small garden table works well for smaller gardens but also for creating a zoned dining area too.

    Bistro garden furniture – available in different colours and seating formats – are ideal for any garden space, perfect for impromptu brunch.

    Don’t forget to accessorise the outdoor dining area too. Solar lights are ideal for adding notes of interest (and much safer on an outdoor bistro set than candles!) and some can be incredibly bright too. Or enjoy plants in pots and other garden accessories on the garden ladder shelving.

    Explore our full outdoor furniture range and get inspired!