In Portugal, Christmas dinner’s traditions are much related to turkey in the oven, cod, and meatloaf. A whole set of dishes that delight any person. In my house usually we have a mix of it. But, can we be different and still enjoy vegetarian dishes that are still full of tradition? The answer is yes.

According to Bruno Rafael, vegetarian and owner of Balance Café, vegan and vegetarian restaurant, in Portimão: “Vegetarian is not a different way of cooking, it is just a choice of ingredients”. That is, almost everything is cooked equally, but with a different kind of food - instead of meat or fish, vegetables can be used.

As such, here are some meal tips that you can make for Christmas. If you don't have time and still want to, ordering can also be a possibility.

Vegetarian Wellington, Vegetarian Meatloaf and vegetables with bread (replacing cod) are some of the options for you share with your family.

The recipes are almost the same, said the couple. We just have to change the meat for vegetables. For example, in case of Wellington it is the same recipe, but instead of meat we put can use beans and vegetables.

Meatloaf with chickpeas and lentils with vegetables is also an option. “It goes in the oven and can be cut into slices and it can be given to the whole family”, said Inês Nunes, also an owner of the restaurant. “It can be accompanied with baked potatoes in the oven and carrots”, she added.

If you are a Portuguese food lover, you also can replace the famous cod for vegetables with bread. Put the spinach, cabbage and all the vegetables you want, then the bread on top and put it in the oven. Inês Nunes said that sometimes we almost forget that there is no cod there.

As for desserts they recommended: Chocolate cake, Yule log, wafer cake with peanut butter, and Ferrero rocher without sugar. Inês Nunes said: “We can make sweets without adding eggs, with almond or flaxseed flour, with milk of vegetable origin. We can make a completely vegan Christmas very easily”, or at least a healthier one.


Paula Martins is a fully qualified journalist, who finds writing a means of self-expression. She studied Journalism and Communication at University of Coimbra and recently Law in the Algarve. Press card: 8252

Paula Martins