Alternative turkey tips - Cheapest non-meat vegan and veggie options this Christmas

If, like me, you believe the joy of the holiday season should be for everyone - animals included - you might be leaving them off your plate this year. Or maybe you're cooking for someone else, and you have no idea what to get? Fear not, I've rounded up some of my favourites along with tips to get discounts that'll leave you feeling jolly.

What's the difference between vegan, veggie & gluten-free?

Before I get to the tips and what's available to buy this year, as most people understand vegetarian options, let's talk about the difference, and what vegan is.

  • Vegetarian food can't contain meat or fish (including other seafood).
  • Vegan food can't contain meat, fish, eggs, dairy, honey or other animal derivatives.
  • Gluten-free food can be non-vegetarian or non-vegan.

Vegan options do not have to be gluten-free, they're not the same thing, and a gluten-free option containing egg and or dairy is not vegan. If one of your guests is both vegan and gluten-free then most of the items below might not be suitable - if you don't know, ask your guest. 

Tofurky - norm £12.99

This American company was one of the first to product an alternative to turkey, and you can get them in the UK from Ocado, online (depending on your location) or in store at Planet Organic or in some Holland & Barrett stores (find your nearest). They're usually about £12.99 which is more expensive than some options, but the pack says it serves four (so £3.25 a serving) and it comes with gravy. You'll most often find it in the chilled section, but sometimes it's sold frozen. It's not gluten-free.

If you've been storing up points on your Holland & Barrett card, you'll have recently been sent a voucher to use - last year I had £5 off - which you can use to get your Tofurky cheaper.

If you like to live dangerously, you could scope out your local Holland & Barrett and check the best before dates on their Tofurky - previously I've been able to get one for less than half price because it was best before Christmas Day. I simply put it in the freezer and defrosted it when I needed it and you can, too, if you find one reduced.

Linda McCartney vegetarian roast (it's vegan-friendly, too) - norm £3.50 but on offer in Waitrose* for £2.50

If you've been vegan or veggie a while, you'll no doubt have eaten Linda McCartney products, and this beef-style roast with a red wine and shallot glaze is a new offering. It's soy-based, but not gluten-free as it contains barley. You'll find it in the freezer section, and the package says it should serve four, which is about 63p per serving.

It's available at Morrisons*, Tesco* and Sainsbury's for £3.50, but you can save £1 by picking it up from Waitrose*, where it's on offer for £2.50 until 1 Jan 2019.

Iceland No Turkey Christmas dinner - norm £3

This year, Iceland has released quite a few vegan options after the own-brand vegan No Moo burger outsold wagyu burgers in the summer. This 'No Turkey' option from Iceland* is a little different than the roasts, as it comes frozen with vegetables and gravy as well as strips of 'no turkey'. You can either cook it from frozen in a saucepan, a bit like a stir-fry, or microwave it.

The whole bag is a meal for one, so it's a good option if you're only cooking for one vegan this Christmas. Personally, I'd eat it with roast potatoes - just make sure you don't make them with animal fat or try to serve roast potatoes that have been cooked with a turkey to a non-meat eater!

Are there any other options?

Of course, you're free to make a nut-roast or tofu loaf at home instead of buying a turkey alternative - but if you've never cooked vegan before it can be daunting. Nobody says you have to eat turkey or a roast at all, I've enjoyed Christmas spaghetti in Nagoya, Japan whilst studying there and I've eaten vegan sausages on other occasions. 

The cheapest vegan sausages we could find are the Linda McCartney brand six sausages for £1.25 at Iceland*, next cheapest at other supermarkets is £2. Iceland also sell own-brand 'No Porkies' vegan sausages*, which are £2 for a pack of eight. You can also find Quorn brand frozen vegan sausages at most supermarkets for £2 a pack.

If you're vegan and gluten-free, look out for Gosh chilled sausages - currently on offer for £2 at Morrisons* until 6 Jan 2019.

You can pair these sausages with vegan gravy - did you know Bisto original gravy granules and Bisto onion gravy granules are safe for vegans? Now you do!

Are you cooking meat-free for the first time this year? Have you tried any other turkey alternatives? Let us know in the comments below, on Twitter at @MSE_Deals or on Facebook.