Animals Australia's Claudia and her Nanna holding up plates of delicious animal-friendly food in the kitchen.

Easy plant-based recipes for this festive season.

Making animal-friendly food for social occasions is simple and delicious!

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated November 17, 2022

Sharing plant-based food is an easy way we can show our love for animals, and every animal-friendly meal makes a difference. Eating kindly helps animals, the environment, and can even benefit your health – it’s also delicious and filling!

With the festive season fast approaching, invitations to summer barbecues and ‘bring-a-plate’ shared events start to roll in, and preparing a plant-based option is easy. We’ve even got the big family Christmas day meal covered – check out Animals Australia’s Claudia and her Nanna preparing Italian ‘meatballs’ below, then try it for yourself!

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A plate of truffles with a spoon covered in soft chocolate, on a baby blue tablecloth.

Coconut Cherry Truffles

  • Serves 16
  • 20 mins to prep
  • 5 mins to cook

You will need:

  • 2 cups shredded coconut
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tablespoons agave syrup
  • 2 tablespoons full-cream coconut milk
  • 75 g glacé cherries, roughly chopped
  • A drop of red food colouring (optional)


  1. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

  2. Put the coconut, vanilla and salt in a blender. Pour in the coconut oil, agave syrup and coconut milk, then pulse in 1-second bursts until the mixture is very roughly combined. You’re not aiming for a smooth paste here; it’s important to keep some coconut texture. Don’t worry if there are a few dry patches.

  3. Using a spatula, scoop the mixture out of the blender, into a mixing bowl. Get your hands in there and give it all a good squish to make sure the vanilla, coconut milk and oil are evenly distributed. Divide the mixture into two even portions. To one portion, add the cherries and red food colouring, if using.

  4. Now, the fun bit! Roll the mixtures into teaspoon-sized balls and place on the baking tray; a pretty touch with the cherry mixture is to shape it into love hearts by firmly pressing a spoonful into a small heart-shaped biscuit cutter and gently easing them onto the baking tray. Pop the tray in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to allow the coconut filling to set.

  5. Once the coconut centres are cold, melt the chocolate, either in the microwave or in a double-boiler on your stovetop, then remove from the heat.

  6. Working fairly quickly before the chocolate sets, drop one coconut ball into the chocolate and roll to cover. Scoop it out with a fork and allow any excess chocolate to drip off before placing it back on the baking tray.

  7. Once you’ve choc-dipped all your truffles, place the tray back in the fridge to set the chocolate. You won’t have to wait long – they’ll be ready to devour in T-minus 5 minutes!

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A tray of plant-based sausage rolls with tomato sauce beside them.

Herbed Mushroom & Lentil Sausage Rolls

  • Makes 8
  • 20 mins to prep
  • 20 mins to cook

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cup mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup walnuts*
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 x 400g cans lentils, drained
  • 2 tablespoons tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons barbeque sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground flax or chia seeds
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 10 sheets of filo pastry, thawed but chilled**
  • 1/4 cup olive oil + more for cooking

Thank you for eating kindly!

This Christmas, a key way to help animals is by choosing to eat kindly. You can also help animals in need by supporting our campaigns to create a kinder world for everyone.


Christmas Day with Claudia and Nanna

“Christmas day at Nanna’s is one of my favourite days of the year. I have a huge family and getting together with everyone and sharing a meal is such a special time. A few of us grandchildren are eating plant-based or trying to eat less meat, and Nanna loves to cook, so we adapted her famous Christmas meatball recipe to be meat-free and dairy-free.

Nanna is from Venezuela and my grandfather was Italian so I’ve grown up with this amazing, flavourful food, and I’m so excited that Nanna and I can cook these animal-friendly meals for Christmas day together!

Nanna’s ‘meatballs’ recipe

  • Serves 6 – makes 24-26 balls

You will need:

  • 600 grams of plant-based mince (we used 2 x Beyond Meat plant-based mince packets)
  • 50 grams of vegan parmesan (we used half a pack of Green Vie)
  • 1 cup of breadcrumbs
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 1 large clove of garlic (optional)
  • 2 tbsp of cornflour (optional)
  • Parsley, chopped (to taste)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil (or any neutral tasting oil)
  • Napoli sauce (two bottles, 700g each)


  • Grate carrot, zucchini, onion and garlic (if using) into a large bowl.
  • Mix in your plant-based mince meat. (If you can’t find any, you can also use plant-based burger patties!)
  • Add parsley, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Optional: Whisk cornflour with an equal amount of water, to act as a binding agent if need be.
  • Mix in breadcrumbs and vegan parmesan. Adjust the amount of breadcrumbs to achieve the perfect consistency.
  • Form into balls. Tip: For size consistency, you can use an ice cream scoop to measure.
  • Heat your Napoli sauce on low, in a pot that can fit all of your meatballs.
  • Fry lightly in olive oil on a medium heat for roughly 15 minutes or until golden/brown. Make sure to turn to ensure they’re golden all around.
  • Cook for a further 15-20 minutes in your Napoli sauce.
  • Serve with your pasta of choice!

More ways you can help beyond eating animal-friendly food