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That annual dilemma is coming around once again….. what vegan or vegetarian ‘centrepiece’ are you going to cook for Christmas dinner? Ideally, I think it should be something that a) goes well with roast potatoes, gravy and all the trimmings, b) looks fairly impressive, and might get a few ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ as you bring it to the table, and c) isn’t going to involve you spending ALL morning (and the night before) slaving over a hot stove.
So here’s an idea for you that is quite a bit simpler than it looks, tastes great and has a fairly short and simple list of ingredients.
The star of the show is most definitely leeks, one of my favourite vegetables. They are so versatile, I often use them in place of onions in a recipe, finely chopped, for a more rounded flavour, and on the other hand they can be cut very thickly and used as a key ingredient in their own right, like this recipe.
They are so good sautéed until slightly crispy, steamed or wilted, roasted or even stir-fried. I can’t think of any other vegetable that is quite so multi-purpose!
Here I’ve teamed them with some lovely festive flavours – white wine, garlic, rosemary and thyme, and that super-duper food, curly kale. The filling is cooked fairly quickly as you don’t want the leeks to turn mushy, then spooned into the filo pastry case, and turned out so it is crunchy and golden all over. Easy peasy!
For more inspiration on cooking with leeks, and other tasty veg, check out @DiscoverGreatVeg on Instagram and Facebook.
Of course this isn’t a ‘proper’ strudel, the pastry for one of those would take a bit too long to faff around with on Christmas morning, but filo pastry makes a great and quick alternative, and creates a lovely crisp crust for the creamy filling.
If you don’t have a ring tin (sometimes called a savarin mould), here’s a link to the one I bought from Amazon – its a really good size for this wreath, (and since my 4-year-old pointed out it looked like a giant doughnut, I just can’t wait to make a giant doughnut cake in it sometime soon!).
What will your Christmas dinner centrepiece be this year?
Creamy Leek Strudel Wreath
- 4 leeks
- 2 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
- 1 tsp garlic purée / ready-chopped garlic
- 50 g curly kale
- 100 ml dry white wine (check it is vegan)
- 80 ml dairy-free cream (oat or soya)
- 1 sprig each of fresh rosemary and thyme
- 8 sheets filo pastry
- cooking spray (or melted dairy-free margarine)
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds
- Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Trim the leeks and slice into 1cm chunks. Heat the oil and garlic in a frying pan and add the leek slices, and cook over a medium heat until they are starting to soften and just browning at the edges.
- Chop the kale, removing any woody stalks, add to the pan and cook for a further 2 minutes. Finely chop the rosemary, and pick the leaves from the thyme (discarding the stalks). Add the white wine to the pan, bring to the boil and cook for 2-3 minutes until the liquid has reduced, then add the cream, rosemary and thyme, and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Season well with salt and black pepper, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
- Unroll the filo pastry sheets, and slice them into long triangles as pictured.
- Take a ring tin (or savarin mould) roughly 24cm in diameter, and spray with cooking spray or grease with dairy-free margarine. Layer the filo triangles in the tin, with the pointy ends overlapping the centre, making sure that each triangle overlaps the last by at least 1cm (see picture). Keep spraying the pastry with cooking spray (or brush with melted margarine) as you go to make sure it doesn't dry out. When your pastry is 3 layers thick, spoon in the filling, then fold over the edges to cover it completely, and spray/brush again with oil/margarine.
- Bake the strudel for 20 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Then remove from the oven, place a large baking tray on top and flip over, the remove the tin to expose the underside. Spray or brush the top with oil/margarine and scatter with poppy seeds, then return the strudel to the oven for a further 5 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
Don’t forget to pin the recipe for later, or to share with friends → → → → →
For more festive recipes from The Veg Space, click here to browse my Christmas recipes archives, (and make sure you’re following The Veg Space on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or via my monthly newsletter to keep up to date with all my latest recipes!)
There are lots of quick and easy recipes in my new book, ‘Vegan in 15‘*. Hop over to Amazon for a look. Thanks for your support!
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Discover Leeks. This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep The Veg Space going!