Our best healthy Christmas recipes
Does the prospect of Christmas dinner have you running from the scale? Maybe it’s time you expanded your repertoire of Christmas recipes. These healthy picks will please your taste buds and your waistline, too
Source: Web exclusive: December 2008
Healthy Christmas recipes: Mains
Brined, Roasted Holiday Turkey
Heirloom turkeys are becoming more popular these days. Last year, Chef Bruce served his family a Bourbon Red. It has a richer meat than do the traditional varieties.
Red Cabbage Stuffed Pork Loin with Bavarian Mustard Sauce
Serve this German stuffed pork loin recipe with vegetables on the side.
Braised Lamb Shanks with Wine and Herbs
Although this recipe for braised lamb shanks contains tons of garlic, the long cooking time makes it unexpectedly mild and sweet.
Sunday Special Roast Beef
This healthy version of roast beef will please everyone, even the traditionalists.
In this recipe small chickens are glazed with a delicious orange-tea marmalade. In addition, a wealth of heart-healthy vitamins and minerals come in each chicken. Serve orange-glazed chickens on a bed of wild rice.
Golden-Roasted Chicken with Old-Fashioned Stuffing
Always an impressive dish, a whole chicken provides plenty of protein, little saturated fat, and good amounts of B vitamins and zinc.
This recipe packs a heart-healthy punch as both salmon and walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids. The addition of brown rice and spinach rounds out the nutritional balance and boasts delectable flavour.
Mushroom Ravioli in Herb Jus
Store-bought stuffed pasta just does not taste anything like silken-textured homemade pasta with a freshly prepared savoury filling. This mushroom ravioli in herb jus is not a convenience meal’making pasta does take time’but it is well worth it!
Healthy Christmas recipes: Soups and side dishes
Squash and Apple Soup
You can garnish this autumnal squash and apple pureed soup with very thin, unpeeled apple slices or with sliced green onion.
Wild Blueberry Cornbread Stuffing
Adding fruit to stuffing is a traditional part of the holidays. Wild blueberries offer rich colour and taste’perfect beside favorite herbs like sage and thyme. Whether you stuff the turkey or serve the stuffing alongside, it is an accompaniment that cannot be forgotten.
Traditionally, potato latkes are shallow fried and tend to be a tad greasy. With this recipe the latkes are finished in the oven and require far less oil in the cooking process.
Creamy Sweet Potato Soup
This healthy, creamy, mildly spicy sweet potato soup can be served as a main course with toasted baguette slices or in smaller portions as a first course before an elegant dinner.
Roasted Cherry Butternut Squash
Rehydrated dried cherries turn simple roasted butternut squash into a special side dish.
For a beautiful presentation, cut the roasted carrots in long pieces and arrange on bed of parsley.
Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts and Arugula
Try serving these colourful, flavour-rich Brussels sprouts with walnuts and arugula alongside your next turkey dinner.
Orange-Maple Sweet Potatoes
Try this method of cooking sweet potatoes and you’ll discover how subtly delicious they are. Here, they are glossed with an orange-maple glaze. Beta carotene and fibre are the sweet potato’s secret weapons against heart disease.
Roast Root Vegetables with Herbs
Use this recipe as a basic guide for roasting single vegetables, such as potatoes or parsnips, as well as for a superb dish of mixed root vegetables. Serve these roast root vegetables with herbs in generous quantities with roast poultry or meat.
Here’s a chef-worthy accompaniment you can do yourself. This vivid three-vegetable mash is based on mashed potatoes tinted and flavoured three different ways’with health-giving sweet potatoes, spinach and beets.
Butternut Squash Gratin
Hiding inside a butternut squash’s skin is dense, mildly sweet orange flesh that’s an excellent source of disease-battling beta carotene. Butternut squash gratin is a tasty way to enjoy this healthy vegetable. A big butternut can be a bit tricky to cut up; you’ll do best with a large, sturdy chef’s knife.
Healthy Christmas recipes: Drinks and dessert
Mulled Cider and Cranberry
This recipe brings together the two festive flavours of apples and cranberries into a delicious warm drink.
Red Rustic Cherry and Apple Tart
This freeform apple and cherry tart makes a nice change from classic pie. Use your favourite pie crust recipe if you have the extra time.
Sparkling Red Cherry Punch
Sweeten your parties with this festive punch made of cherry juice, orange juice and your favourite sparkling wine or champagne. Use sparkling water to make it alcohol free.
Cranberry Semifreddo with Toasted Almond Meringue
This almond-based dessert consists of 3 layers’a cranberry semifreddo, cranberry sorbet and crunchy toasted almond meringue.
These nutty cookies are packed with heart-healthy almonds and delicately flavoured with orange and cardamom.
Cherry, Quark and Pumpernickel Trifle (pictured)
These German-style trifles are made of hearty pumpernickel and fresh Quark cheese and flavoured with cherries.
Cinnamon Star Cookies
These crisp, spicy cinnamon star cookies make a perfect snack after a day outdoors. Serve them with big pitchers of mulled wine and hot chocolate.
Apple Cranberry Sangria
To make this apple cranberry sangria recipe truly local, make sure to adapt the ingredients depending on what is available in your area.
Flambéed Apple and Walnut Salad
This delicious cold-weather dessert of flambéed apple and walnuts is still light on calories.
Baked Apples with Currants
This simple dessert will fill your home with the aroma of baking apples. Serve the baked apples and currants with plain yogurt, or with whipped cream for a more decadent touch.
Whole Grain Crusted Apple Pie
Even when you’re baking a treat you can make healthy choices. This apple pie is full of whole grain goodness, and as an added bonus you’ll find that the oat and whole wheat crust is easier to make than a normal pie crust.
Cherry Red Eye Mojito
This drink is an eye-catching twist on the Brazilian classic mojito, perfect for cocktail hour or special occasion entertaining.
This delicious, lightly spiced gingerbread is hard to resist. Enjoy a slice with a cup of tea or try it for dessert, with custard or a little reduced-fat cream or plain yogurt plus, perhaps, a spoonful of fresh apple compote.
Very Fruity Christmas Pudding
Lighter than the traditional pudding, this very fruity Christmas pudding is packed with flavour and soaked in sherry or brandy and orange juice so it’s extra juicy. Served with brandy sauce, it won’t leave you feeling uncomfortably full.
Apricot and Rum Brioche Pudding
This glamorous version of bread and butter pudding is based on brioche and custard spiked with rum or brandy for a seductive flavour. Sultanas, dried apricots and apricot preserve provide lots of sweetness, so no sugar is needed.
Sticky Date and Walnut Pudding
On a cold winter day, nothing could be more welcoming than a pudding full of dates and toasted walnuts. It is easy to make and has a lovely moist texture. A tangy pineapple and marmalade sauce makes a perfect accompaniment for this sticky date and walnut pudding.
Dried-Fruit and Apple Strudel
Phyllo pastry may seem decadent, but this is a great way to get healthy dried fruits, nuts and spices into your day’think of it as a healthy treat. This simple but elegant dessert will wow any guest. (And swapping the butter for low-fat vegetable oil spray will help to reduce the guilt factor!)
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