Alternative Feast: Healthy menu

By
Eve O'Sullivan
Added
19 December, 2016

Eating lots of vegetables, especially green ones, is vital for a healthier life, and is surprisingly easy to do at Christmas, says author Zita Steyn, who has created this delicious, yet still indulgent, menu.

I was born in South Africa in the midst of a very hot summer and to this day, I would always choose the summer heat over a winter chill, except when it comes to Christmas. I love Christmas in the Northern hemisphere. The dark evenings and cold weather are made for spending time at home with friends and family.  I make dishes that pack a nutritional punch, while still being delicious so that we can all rest and recharge. My top tip for a feast is to make greens the hero and fill up on the good stuff.


The good-for-you nibbles

Pumpkin and Brussels sprout truffles


Rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, sprouts are members of the brassica family – known as the heavy-hitters of the vegetable world for the nutritional punch they deliver. They need light cooking to bring out the best of their flavour and when mixed with sweet pumpkin and crunchy dukkha as in these savoury truffles even kids and fussy eaters will find them hard to resist.
 

The classic starter – with a twist

Smoked mackerel & watercress mousse

Watercress is well known as a garnish but to avoid it being pushed to one side, why not incorporate it in the dish instead? Blitzed to tiny flecks, it adds a delicate colour and fresh flavour to the creamy mousse. Watercress contains significant amounts of iron, calcium, iodine and folic acid, as well as vitamins A and C so even a small amount will be beneficial. Serve it with my Watercress oat cakes for a double dose. The Sea vegetable salad counterbalances the rich mousse perfectly. Sea vegetables are extremely nutritious so if they are not yet a regular part of your diet, why not give them a try?


The better-for-you roast

Kale and lemon-stuffed roast chicken, with cauliflower couscous

Nothing quite beats a roast chicken, and the kale stuffing gives it a healthier edge over your usual recipe. Kale has long been hailed as a super food for its wide health benefits, so if you only make one dish from this menu, this should be it. The raw cauliflower ‘couscous’ will soak up all the lovely juices from the chicken too. Add a side order of Green beans with artichokes and olives for an extra boost of veg. 


The surprise finale



These brownies are delicious and will keep well for several days. The courgette and rosemary go so well with dark chocolate. Baking greens into cakes and puddings is a clever way of making exciting food as well as adding a wide variety of veg to your diet – that way you can be sure you’re not getting stuck on a few trusty friends and are gaining the maximum nutritional advantages of the nutrients they offer. 


Read more about incorporating more greens to your meals in Good Better Green.


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