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3 Healthy Easy Christmas Menu Ideas: Classic, Mediterranean & Vegan

3 Healthy Easy Christmas Menu Ideas: Classic, Mediterranean & Vegan

Christmas meetings and dinners are just around the corner and you find yourself in a triple dilemma. You want to keep taking care of your health in these holidays, but not restrict. You want to surprise your guests with something spectacular, but not spend hours and hours in the kitchen. And, if you’re like me, maybe you’re concerned about the origins of animal products, but you don’t want to give them up.

I’ve created 3 menu options that meet all those requirements you’re looking for. The first one is the most similar to the most classic versions, but reinvented so it’s healthier and eco-friendly. The second one is the Mediterranean. And the third one is a very original vegan option. They all have starters, main course and dessert. You can choose one of them or make your own combination to create your ideal menu.

Starters

Your guests are arriving, the main course is in the making, and they need to snack on something while those who hadn’t seen each other for a long time (perhaps since last Christmas) catch up. What can they find on the table?

1. Iberian repertoire

The most carnivore, pure-blood Spanish, or just hungry people will enjoy a platter with charcuterie products, the most popular one at any dinner in Spain. There are supermarkets that have developed a broad selection of organic meats, guaranteeing animal wellbeing, which in turn also makes the quality higher. So everyone wins.

  • Serrano ham: the king, indispensable in this platter. Most ready-made options are filled with nitrites and nitrates, so look for one that doesn’t, that’s just meat.
  • York ham: I know it’s controversial to include it here, but I’d put it, because not all of us like the strong flavors of the products that come next. Most of the hams we find at supermarkets are frankly horrible: less than half of it it’s actually meat (or they use strange mixes of meats, with little real ham) and the rest of it it’s made of additives and sugar. So be careful.
  • Chorizo: I don’t like these kind of products, but hey, no need to demonize them. They have a bad reputation because of its high content of calories and saturated fats, but a moderate consumption is perfectly fine.
  • Fuet
  • Loin fillets
  • Mature or semi-mature cow, goat and/or sheep cheese: my favorite part!
  • Bread: choose whole wheat (it’s not enough to trust what the package says, it should have more than half of whole wheat flour in the ingredients) and with as few additives and added sugars as possible. If you want to be more original, you can choose variations like rye or spelt bread.

2. Gourmet di mare

An option for refined people and for all those who’d wish to be spending Christmas at a cruise through the Mediterranean Sea. I always buy my fish in a supermarket that has a policy of sustainable fishing. 

  • Smoked salmon: the star, the equivalent of Serrano ham in this menu. It never fails.
  • Tzatziki sauce: my favorite sauce to make smoked salmon toasts. It has the following ingredients: yogurt (choose an organic option; you could also use soy yogurt), cucumber, oil (I always use extra virgin olive oil), fresh mint, garlic, lemon juice and pepper.
  • Dill: the herb that combines best with salmon.
  • Green and black olives
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Mussels
  • Bread

3. Eastern and veggie

A perfect option, not necessarily for vegans, but just for just for those of you who like to experiment with flavors.

  • Hummus: the basic recipe is this:
    • cooked chickpeas
    • 1 tbsp tahini (paste made with sesame seeds, water and salt)
    • a squirt of oil
    • You can add cumin, lemon juice, garlic, smoked paprika…
  • Carrot, cucumber and zucchini crudités: cut the veggies into sticks to eat with the hummus.
  • Dates: the tastiest and most popular dried fruit of the Middle East.
  • Seaweed and carrot salad with sesame seeds and soy sauce: let’s now go to the Far East! Try to make some small bowls with this salad.
  • Edamame
  • Microwaved potato chips: ok, this isn’t Eastern, just veggie, but it will help people discover how to eat healthy chips instead of the ones you find at stores. You just have to cut them into fine slices, add salt (optional: spices) and put each round in the microwave about 6-7 minutes at 750 w, keeping an eye on them so they don’t get burnt.
  • Bread: in this case, you can use pita bread as the crown jewel.

Main course

If you haven’t gone overboard with the starters, people will still be hungry for the main course. And they’d better be, because it’s going to be delicious!

1. Chicken salad with pomegranate and yogurt sauce

No more stereotypes, this salad is anything but boring. It’s ideal to eat a balanced and whole meal full of Christmassy flavors.

Ingredients for 4:

  • 600 g chicken breast
  • Romaine lettuce
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 2 apples
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 150 g Feta cheese or similar
  • 80 g almonds or cashews
  • Sauce:
    • 1 yogurt
    • 1 tbsp honey
    • 1 tsp mustard
    • salt & pepper

Method:

  1. 1 h before starting to cook, put the chopped lettuce in abundant water, so it’s smooth.
  2. Grill the chicken breast.
  3. On a cutting board, cut the chicken into dices and place it in a bowl.
  4. Add the cucumber, the apple and the avocado, cut into dices.
  5. Deseed the pomegranate and add to the bowl.
  6. Mix the ingredients for the yogurt sauce in a small bowl and stir well. Pour into the bowl and mix.
  7. When you’re going to serve it, add the cheese. Drain and dry the lettuce and add. Mix everything and sprinkle with chopped almonds or cashews.

2. Jumbo shrimps with wild rice garnish

Jumbo shrimps are easy to cook but they’ll make you look like quite a chef. To accompany them you can serve normal rice, whole, basmati…but wild rice (which isn’t really rice, but let’s just call it like that) will give it a touch of designer cuisine because of its black color. Be careful with the cooking times! They’re different than those of normal rice.

Ingredients for 4:

  • 16 jumbo shrimps
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • salt to taste
  • parsley to taste
  • 120 g wild rice

Method for wild rice:

  1. In a saucepan, put the wild rice with triple water.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Lower the heat and let it cook for about 50 minutes.

Method for jumbo shrimps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC / 350 F.
  2. Place the jumbo shrimps on a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Make a sauce with oil, salt, minced garlic and parsley.
  4. Sprinkle the sauce on the jumbo shrimps.
  5. Bake for 7-10 minutes, keeping an eye on the oven because the time depends on the size of the jumbo shrimps.

I get the impression that people laugh when we mention tofu, as if it was a less desirable option than meat that poor vegetarians find themselves forced to eat. Break that idea with this recipe. It’s perhaps the one that requires a bit more of preparation, but it’s 100% worth it.

Ingredients for 3:

Dough:

  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup oat meal
  • 3 tbsp ground linen
  • 2 tbsp sesame
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 4 tbsp water

Filling:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 leek, finely chopped
  • 300 g tofu
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp apple cider
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp green onion, finely chopped
  • A handful of spinach
  • Black olives
  • Fresh basil to decorate

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC / 350 F.
  2. In a bowl, add almond meal, oatmeal, ground linen, sesame, baking soda and salt. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
  3. Add oil and water and mix all the ingredients until you have a ball.
  4. Let the dough settle in the fridge while you make the filling.
  5. Once the filling is ready, place the dough in a mould. To do that, grab a bit of dough and make a ball the size of a golf ball. Put the ball in the mould —greased with oil— and use your fingers to spread out the dough until you cover all the base of the mould and it has a thickness of 1 or 2 cm. Repeat the process until you’re done with the dough.
  6. Bake for 8 minutes.

Filling:

  1. In a frying pan, heat the oil and add the diced onion. Sauté for 5 minutes with a pinch of salt until it’s translucent. Add the finely chopped leek and sauté for 5 more minutes until the veggies are cooked. Then add the spinach, turn off the heat and let them cook with the heat from the other veggies.
  2. While the veggies are cooking, add in a blender the diced tofu, the dried oregano, the dried basil, the black pepper, the salt, the apple cider and the soy sauce. Blend well. Add water if needed.
  3. In a bowl, mix the tofu filling with the cooked veggies and the green onion.
  4. Place the filling in the previously baked tartlets and decorate with black olives. Bake for 20 minutes at 180ºC / 350 F, until the filling is firm.

Garnish with roasted veggies: I suggest zucchini, eggplant and pepper. You can make them in the microwave if you want to take a break from the oven.

Desserts

The final touch but not the less important one. After all, what’s a Christmas dinner without the after-dinner conversation. Choose your favorite one. You can combine it with Christmas sweets, we’re not strict here.

1. Christmassy ginger cookies

No, they aren’t just for Christmas movies, you can make them too! Dare to give them fun shapes. If they don’t turn out perfect, it’s fine, that way you won’t feel sad eating them 😉

Ingredients:

  • 125 g / 1 cup oatmeal
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 30 ml / 2 tbsp warm water
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • Stevia
  • A pinch of salt
  • Optional: oil

Method:

  1. Sift the oatmeal and the baking soda. 
  2. Then add to these ingredients the peanut butter and mix well. 
  3. Add the cinnamon and ginger. 
  4. Add the warm water and a pinch of salt and mix until you have a ball of dough. It’s recommended to first dilute the salt in the warm water and then pour it into the mix.
  5. Let the dough settle for 20 minutes.
  6. Put a bit of flour on the table you’re going to stretch the dough (so it doesn’t get stuck).
  7. Stretch the dough with a rolling pin and cut the cookies into different shapes using moulds.
  8. Place the cookies on a baking sheet with parchment paper (if you don’t have paper, you can add some drops of oil to the sheet).
  9. Preheat the oven to 180ºC / 350 F and bake the cookies for about 10 minutes.

2. Fruit and nuts salad

The dessert with the best work-taste ratio. Without barely any effort, you get amazing results. Serve a tablespoon of the juice from the fruits to each person, don’t let it in the bottom of the bowl, and that way it will be more juicy.

Ingredients for 4:

  • 1 apple
  • 1 banana
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 1 kiwi
  • 1 orange
  • 50 g cashews
  • 50 g walnuts

Method:

  1. Peel and dice the fruits. Mix.
  2. When you’re going to serve (not before because they will soften up), add the finely chopped nuts.

Últimamente estoy obsesionada con ellos. Adoro las recetas en las que parece que has horneado pero no has tenido que hacerlo, solo amasar y a la nevera. Te encantarán, y son adictivos.

I hope now you have good ideas for your Christmas menu. My only problem now is that I don’t know which one to choose… What about you?

Tag me on instagram if you do any of these ideas!: @paolapetrinut

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