vegan Christmas mince pies

Try our vegan Christmas feast this festive season. Image: Salvelio Meyer

No meat and marvellous: Have yourself a vegan little Christmas

Serve up a plant-based feast with our moreish vegan starter, main course and dessert.

vegan Christmas mince pies

Try our vegan Christmas feast this festive season. Image: Salvelio Meyer

There’s no reason why vegans should miss out on a vibrant Christmas lunch or dinner with all the trimmings.

We roped in vegan-savvy chef Georgina Hounsfield, who has cooked for well-heeled clients around the world, to sharing a delicious, three-course, plant-based Christmas menu that will have even carnivorous guests coming back for more.

Georgina, aka Georgie of Oh So Georgie renown, is not yet fully vegan, but her wholesome vegan dishes have become popular in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, the two cities she considers home.

More about chef Georgie

chef Georgina Hounsfield
Georgina Hounsfield is passionate about creating opportunities for others in the food industry. Image: Salvelio Meyer

Georgina is a self-taught chef whose food journey began as a little girl making copious batches of fudge, followed by domestic science training at school. An unexpected gig cooking for clients on a game farm set her on her path to becoming a chef.

She has cooked and developed recipes for health shops, cafes and restaurants; worked as an au pair and house manager all over Europe; and been a private chef to the likes of BBC television producer Nick Ross, and outrageously wealthy clients in Scotland and New Zealand. You name it, she’s catered for it — from elaborate island weddings and fancy Ferrari launches to dishing up feasts for billionaire families visiting the Cape.

How did you land up making vegan food?

I started cooking vegan a few years back as more clients wanted it. I also realised there was not a lot of healthy, home-made food available in Port Elizabeth at the time and so I started Oh So Georgie. I included gluten-free options and so my little business grew.

I was consulting for a large organic retail shop in Cape Town for a few years, so this worked nicely together. I now consult for a large restaurant group in Port Elizabeth.

The coronavirus lockdown has been a prompt to explore healthier eating habits. Juicing, salads, eating lighter — these will help keep us healthy. Ready-made food from retail outlets, even the best ones, are loaded with additives and preservatives.

What do you love about your work?

I love training and working with the youth. I enjoy recognising talent and growing that talent so they can shine and sparkle, and find a purpose in life. I’ve trained cleaners up to be cooks and have loved seeing them grow.

chef Georgina Hounsfield
Georgina puts the finishing touches on one of her festive dishes. Image: Salvelio Meyer

How has the lockdown affected your business and industry?

The lockdown suited my home delivery of food and has given me a chance to revisit the private chef side of my business. But it trashed all other forms of hospitality, creating mayhem and depression among so many in the industry. It’s terribly sad.

What have you done to adapt in these trying times?

I myself felt it badly, and took a knock financially, emotionally and physically. The stress was immense,
but I flung myself into charity work and raised money to feed those less fortunate. This brought me to my knees in prayer for those who are really suffering.

The lockdown grounded me and opened up my vision to be more consistent, considerate, kind and thoughtful towards others, and help carry them a little bit towards feeling more positive in these desperate times.

What can South Africans do to support the food and hospitality industry?

Support local entrepreneurs and work together where there is competition, rather than against each other. We all need each other now.

Any special plans for Christmas?

I plan to spend Christmas in Port Elizabeth with my mum as we have no family in South Africa. I’ll work a bit as well, walk my dogs and keep it really simple!

Follow Georgie on Facebook at Oh So Georgie and Georgie Private Chef, or visit

RECIPES: Georgie’s vegan Christmas

Here is Georgina’s menu for faultless festive season vegan entertaining. The mince pies can be made a day or two in advance, the beetroot phyllo tartlets a few hours before the big event and the nut loaf also a few hours in advance, though you’ll just have to reheat it before serving.

STARTER: Baby beetroot phyllo tart

vegan beetroot tartlet
Vegan beetroot and phyllo tartlets are surprisingly easy to make. Image: Salvelio Meyer

This is a simple vegan recipe that works well before a rich main course, and the flavours all come together beautifully.  Quantities are not provided as you can completely adapt it depending on the number of guests being catering for. 


Baby beetroots, boiled or steamed

Woolworths vegan cream cheese

Chives to taste, chopped

Fresh garlic to taste, crushed

Shop-bought phyllo pastry sheets

Olive oil

Woolworths balsamic fig reduction

Fresh lemon juice


Salt and pepper 


Preheat oven to 180°C. To make the phyllo tart casings, take one phyllo pastry sheet and cover the remainder with a damp cloth until needed.

Lightly brush pastry sheet with a little olive oil, then cut into squares that will fit into the hollows of a muffin pan. 

Take another sheet of phyllo, oil it slightly, cut into squares and place a square on top of each of the squares already in the muffin pan, this time angled slightly differently. Each muffin hollow will need three to four phyllo squares, depending on how thick you want the casing to be. 

Fill as many hollows as you would like tartlets for, shaping a little phyllo “cup” in each hollow. 

Mix the cream cheese with the garlic and chives, and place a decent amount in the bottom of each pastry cup.

Toss the baby beets in a bit of olive oil and balsamic fig lemon reduction; season to taste. Cut the beets into slices or segments and place on top of the vegan cream cheese layer in the phyllo cup. 

Bake just long enough for the phyllo to go brown on the edges, about 20 minutes, but worth keeping a close eye just in case. 

These can be served hot or cold. Dot a little extra vegan cream cheese mixture on top and serve with rocket which has been tossed in olive oil and a bit of lemon juice or balsamic glaze. 

MAINS: Festive vegan nut loaf

vegan nut loaf
The earthy vegan nut loaf is excellent with still-crunchy steamed vegetables and crispy roast potatoes. Image: Salvelio Meyer

This is a rustic, “meaty” looking loaf that is ideal served with fresh asparagus, baby courgettes and/or patty pans, baby carrots, cauliflower with vegan white sauce, and potatoes roasted in olive oil. 


150g, celery, chopped

200g chestnuts, chopped (obtainable from vegetarian or Asian shops) 

50g garlic, chopped

160g butternut, grated

400g carrots, grated 

150g onions, chopped

100g walnuts, chopped

100g pecan nuts, chopped

2 tsp mixed herbs, dried

2 tsp thyme, dried 

3 tsp paprika (not hot)

3 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (available from health sections) 

3 tbsp soya sauce

3 tbsp tomato paste

Fresh parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

4 tbsp flaxseed flour (available from health sections)


Fry together the onion, garlic, celery, carrot, butternut, dried herbs and paprika until cooked. Add the tomato paste and the remaining ingredients. Make sure everything is thoroughly mixed through. 

Grease a loaf pan using coconut oil or olive oil; you can also use a silicone pan. Cover with tinfoil and bake for about 30 minutes at pre-heated 180°C. 

Remove tinfoil and bake for a further 15 minutes until a bit crispy on the top.

DESSERT: Christmas Mince Pies 

vegan Christmas mince pies
Serve your vegan mince pies on a platter with mint and raspberries to reflect the colours of Christmas. Image: Salvelio Meyer

These delectable treats are both vegan and gluten-free. Do note the pastry is very crumbly, so a delicate, cool touch is needed when handling both the pastry and finished mince pies.

Makes 6


For the filling: 

150g (1 cup) raisins 

2 tsp lemon zest

Juice from a medium-sized lemon

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp water

½ tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp ground ginger

For the pastry:

100g rice flour

100g tapioca flour (available from health sections)

2 tbsp ground flaxseed or flax flour (available from health sections)

4 tbsp coconut oil

4 tbsp maple syrup


For the filling:

Mix together all the ingredients and leave to soak together in a bowl overnight or for at least three hours. Stir through from time to time. Once soaked, the raisins should be plump from absorbing the liquid. 

Pulse the mixture a few times using a hand blender or food processor to create a rustic-looking filling. 

To make the pies:

Make sure the coconut oil is warm and melted. 

You will need a silicone muffin pan with 12 hollows. 

Mix all the pastry ingredients together using a food processor. 

Make six equal-sized balls of pastry, keeping some of the pastry aside for the stars that will go on top. Hand-press each pastry ball into the muffin pan hollows to form a basic cup shape. This can be slow going as the pastry can be extremely crumbly, but will come together with a little patience.

Divide the sweet raisin mixture equally to fill the pastry cups. 

Roll out the remaining pastry to about 4mm thick on a flat surface dusted with rice flour. Cut out six star shapes. You can use a very thin spatula to lift the stars for positioning on top of each pie. 

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C for about 20 minutes, remove and cool. The pies should keep for a few days in a cool, dry spot.