Skip to content
Open menu Close menu

Feed your appetite for cooking with Penguin’s expert authors

penguin logo

6 vegetarian Christmas starters to inspire you

by Malou Herkes

published on 18 October 2019

Zingy salads, delicious dips and oozy burrata, these vegetarian Christmas starter recipes show that there are many ways you can avoid the standard smoked salmon, terrines and meat patés. Our favourite cooks, from Nigella to Ottolenghi, share their best starters for a special festive spread…

vegetarian christmas starters christmas salad nigella

Christmas Salad from Nigella Christmas by Nigella Lawson

This bright festive salad combines crunchy winter radicchio and chicory, sweet red peppers, pops of pomegranate and a zingy clementine dressing. Elegant perfection!

From the book

Nigella Lawson

vegetarian christmas starters burrata with blood orange ottolenghi nopi cookbook

Burrata with Blood Orange from NOPI: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi & Ramael Scully

Creamy, oozy burrata is a fresh cheese made from mozzarella and cream, and pairs well with acidic fruit, such as tomatoes, pink grapefruit, clementine or blood oranges. Ottolenghi pairs burrata with striking blood oranges here, but if you can't get hold of them, swap in another fruit instead. 

Order a copy of NOPI: The Cookbook here

best vegetarian christmas starters beetroot carpaccio jamie oliver

Beetroot Carpaccio from Jamie Oliver's Christmas Cookbook

“It’s amazing how incredibly elegant, silky and delicate beetroots can be”, says Jamie Oliver. The trick here is to invest in a mandolin or make sure you have a super-sharp knife to cut the beets into extra-thin slices. Marinated in balsamic and olive oil, and served with rocket, this is a beautiful starter for Christmas Day.

Buy Jamie Oliver's Christmas Cookbook here.

vegetarian christmas starters walnut leek beet salad ottolenghi jerusalem

Spicy Beetroot, Leek and Walnut Salad from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi

The beets and leeks can be cooked the day before which will help you to get ahead of the Christmas rush. Paired with rocket, pomegranate seeds and a walnut dressing, this is a lovely, light salad to kick off dinner.

Get your copy of Jerusalem here

vegetarian christmas starters crispy camembert a salad for all seasons

Crispy Camembert with Morello Cherry Vinaigrette from A Salad for All Seasons by Harry Eastwood

Crunchy and golden on the outside, and molten, oozy cheese on the inside, these crisp Camembert slices are pure heaven. Paired here with the sweet sourness of a Morello cherry dressing, this is a delicious veggie starter. 

Order a copy of A Salad for All Seasons here.

vegetarian christmas starter caramelised garlic hummus nigella lawson

Caramelised Garlic Hummus from Simply Nigella by Nigella Lawson 

Making your own hummus is so simple, blitzed up here with jarred chickpeas and sweet, roasted garlic. Nigella recommends serving up this vegetarian nibble or starter with grissini, toasted pitta torn into bits, or crudités. 

Order a copy of Simply Nigella here


You might also like

View all


Mediterranean cooking isn’t just for summer: 8 recipes for cooler days from Claudia Roden’s Med

Thought Mediterranean cooking was just about al fresco dining and summer produce? Think again. Claudia Roden’s Med is brimming with inspiration for autumn and winter cooking. Discover 8 of our favourite recipes here.


An A-Z of Pasta with Rachel Roddy: Trofie with Pesto alla Genovese, Potatoes and Green Beans

In the third instalment of her monthly pasta column, Rachel Roddy teaches us how to make pesto alla genovese served with trofie, potatoes and green beans.


Cook from the Book: Med

A team of home cooks tested out a selection of recipes from Med, the brand new Mediterranean cookbook from Claudia Roden.


Subscribe to The Happy Foodie email newsletter

Get our latest recipes, features, book news and ebook deals straight to your inbox every week