For some Christmas purists, the idea of sitting down to a meat-free holiday meal may be a scandalous idea. But the environmental (and for some, the moral) imperative for reducing the world's meat intake is inspiring more and more carnivores to wean themselves off resource-intensive meat and animal products and adopt a plant-based lifestyle.
Thanks to the growing movement of vegan influencers and social media stars like Gaz Oakley of YouTube's Avant-Garde Vegan channel, veganism is no longer as daunting as it perhaps once was.
Every week, Oakley's 544,500+ YouTube subscribers tune in to new, innovative recipe ideas that reinvent meat and fish-based dishes. In his latest cookbook "Vegan Christmas," for instance, the chef from Cardiff, UK replaces poached eggs and bacon in the traditional recipe for eggs Benedict, with a flavorful slice of smoky tofu and a velvety faux Hollandaise sauce. For a vegan post-Christmas brunch, check out Oakley's recipe for Tofu Benedict.
Cooks in 35 minutes
"Wow your guests with this beautiful breakfast, it's a real showstopper. The "hollandaise" is velvety and smooth, the perfect match for smoky tofu."
225g (8oz) block firm smoked tofu, pressed to remove water
2 tbsp rapeseed oil, for frying
pinch of black salt (optional for an "eggy" flavor, or use sea salt)
pinch of ground pepper
FOR THE "HOLLANDAISE" SAUCE
120ml (1/2 cup) soy milk
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp English mustard
pinch of sea salt and pepper
120ml (1/2 cup) rapeseed oil
FOR THE SAUTÉED SPINACH
4 big handfuls of baby spinach
pinch of sea salt and pepper
2 breakfast muffins or bagels
small bunch of fresh chives, finely chopped
pinch of cress
handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
-First up, make the "hollandaise" sauce. Pour the soy milk, vinegar, mustard and seasoning into a measuring jug and blend using an electric stick blender, until mixed well. Keep the blender running and slowly trickle in the oil until the sauce starts to thicken up. Once you've added all the oil it should be thick and creamy but still pourable. If your sauce is too thick stir in a few additional tablespoons of soy milk. Taste to check the seasoning.
-Cover the sauce with cling film (plastic wrap) and refrigerate until you're ready to serve.
-Cut the tofu into rounds using an 8cm (3in) cutter. Pat dry with kitchen paper then preheat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the oil to the pan. Pan fry the tofu until golden on each side, around 3-4 minutes. Season with the black salt, if using, and pepper.
-Remove the tofu from the pan and set aside. Turn the heat up high and add a touch more oil. When it starts to smoke add all the spinach (don't worry, it will wilt down quickly). Cook the spinach for 1 minute, stirring quickly. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, then remove from the heat. Spinach contains lots of water, so I always press it with a clean kitchen towel to soak up any excess liquid.
-Toast the muffins or bagels, if you like, then add the tofu slices and sautéed spinach.
-Scatter around the cherry tomato halves. Top with a dollop of the "hollandaise" sauce, sprinkle over some chopped chives, top with a pinch of cress and serve immediately.