Christmas dinner

Test Kitchen 7 Side Dishes to Spice Up Your Christmas Dinner

Don’t serve your family bland, boiled vegetables this Christmas! Here are seven quick, easy and delicious vegetable side dishes to wow your guests.

Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar and Bacon

I know it’s cliche, but everything really is better with bacon. Especially Brussels sprouts!

Add a little balsamic vinegar to the mix and you may have found your new favourite vegetable.

  1. Add 500g of chopped bacon to a large frying pan.
  2. Chop 1kg of sprouts in half and place in the pan
  3. Add as much chopped garlic as you like
  4. Cook until the sprouts start to brown in the bacon fat
  5. Add enough balsamic vinegar to cover the bottom of the pan

As the vinegar loosens everything, you can deglaze the pan and coat your Brussels sprouts, ready to serve.

Waldorf Salad

It can be difficult to time every Christmas dinner dish right. This can often result in mushy, overcooked food. Adding a fresh, crunchy Waldorf Salad to the mix will be sure to please even the pickiest guest and it’s so simple to make.

It’s traditionally made with mayonnaise, but I like to use creamy yoghurt instead for a slightly healthier version.

  1. Mix cubed green apples, chopped celery, grapes and toasted walnuts with plain Greek yoghurt
  2. Add salt and pepper to taste

Serving several courses? No problem! This dish is also a great way to cleanse the palate between courses.

Roasted Chestnuts

Although it may be fun, it’s not always necessary to roast chestnuts on an open fire. No matter which way you cook them, they’ll be a big hit!

My favourite way to prepare them is to

  1. Slice the bottom of each chestnut with a sharp paring knife (this lets the steam out)
  2. Place each one slice side up in a roasting tin
  3. Roast at 180°C for approximately 35 minutes.

While they’re still hot (be careful!) peel the skin off and serve as they are or lightly salted.

Cranberry Pear Sauce

Cranberries are so good for you, but they’re quite bitter and need a lot of sugar to make them palatable. Thankfully, if you cook them with a super sweet fruit, like pears, than you’ll need less refined sugar.

  1. Mix one bag of fresh cranberries with six cored, chopped ripe pears and a cup of water.
  2. Cook until soft and either mash or puree

If you want to spice it up a bit, add a cinnamon stick and replace the water with freshly squeezed orange juice.

Massaged Kale Salad

Kale is super healthy, delicious and a beautiful rich green colour; the perfect complement to the season’s evergreen decor.

  1. Make your dressing. Combine the juice from one lemon, ¼ of a cup of extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon of honey, and add salt and pepper.
  2. Pour the dressing over a large bowl of fresh kale and massage it into the leaves with your hands for a few minutes, to break down the fibres.
  3. Finally, add a little bit of colour with dried cranberries and toasted pumpkin seeds.

Garlic Smashed Potatoes

This is the cheat recipe of the season. Loaded with sour cream, cream cheese and garlic this is a taste sensation.

Leaving the skins on red potatoes will add a splash of colour to your Christmas dinner. Plus potato skins are also packed with vitamins and fibre.

  1. Boil two kilos of red potatoes
  2. Smash them in a bowl with a large knob of butter, a generous scoop of cream cheese, a cup of milk and a cup of sour cream
  3. Add a pinch of garlic and onion powders, plus salt and pepper to taste.

Baked Acorn Squash

Squash is the perfect side dish. It’s colourful, inexpensive and really good for you.

  1. Slice into rings and place on an oiled baking tray
  2. Roast at 200°C for approximately 20 minutes
  3. Dress with a variety of toppings. Choose a savoury salt and pepper or a sweet butter and brown sugar

My kids like to pick it up and eat it like a piece of pizza!

A Christmas Dinner Like Never Before

And there you have it, no more tepid, mushy vegetables of Christmas past. These side dishes will add brightness, colour and texture to your table – and have your guests asking for seconds!

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