I’m dreaming of a light Christmas. No bloating, sugar hangovers or weight gain. Fortunately, celebrating the holidays below the equator means lots of red and green summer vegetables and fruits which look festive but feel light. Plus, these Christmas salads and sides are so quick to make that you’ll have plenty of time for all that holiday fun in the sun.
(Americans, Europeans and other Northern hemisphere residents, there are a couple awesome ideas for you at the end – scroll down!)
So for you Southern Hemisphere dwellers, here are some ideas that I came up with simply by pairing fresh red and green produce. The combinations and possibilities are endless, so use your imagination and let your taste buds lead the way.
Start with Christmas coloured salad ingredients
GREEN: Asparagus, zucchini, green beans, green capsicum (pepper), spinach and other leafy greens, basil and other wonderful herbs.
RED: Red Capsicum (pepper), all types of tomatoes, watermelon, chili peppers, strawberries and cherries.
Then mix and match!
This can be as simple as blanched or steamed green beans with raw red capscium.
Start with a basic combination of red and green, then add herbs, nuts, salt and pepper, oils and vinegars, or homemade dips.
This beautiful salad took 5 minutes to make and is delicious! It’s drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then sprinkled with sea salt and pepper.
Another variation is to use large sliced tomatoes, and arrange with the green beans on a plate. My arrangement here is very basic, but you can jazz it up however you like. This is also delicious drizzled with oil, vinegar, sea salt and herbs.
Zucchini is plentiful and very cheap in the summer and can be prepared so many ways. It is delicious sliced and grilled or sauteed. You can also eat it raw, grated or peeled as a salad. Here, I’ve used a veggie peeler to ‘peel’ the entire zucchini, then added red capsicum for the Christmas colour. Again, add dressings, herbs, nuts, avocado, etc. as you wish!
Capsicum (bell peppers) come in both red and green and often plummet in price over the summer when supply is plentiful. We have already shown how it can be sliced and eaten raw with salads. Here, I’ve grilled the capsicum until the skin got black and blistered. Then let it cool thoroughly and pulled the skin off. Grilled capsicum can be added to any salad or eaten on it’s own, with fresh herbs like basil and some oil/vinegar/seasoning or dip.
Or hollow out the capsicums and stuff with salads or meat, like I talk about in the Lovin’ Leftovers article, ‘Same Food, New Dish‘.
Asparagus is another star summer veg which can be grilled, oven-roasted, sauteed or quickly blanched (dropped into boiling water for a couple minutes). It works well as the main component of the dish with red fruit or veg added for Christmas colour.
Tomatoes, as shown above, go with everything, come in many different sizes, and are so easy to prepare. Sliced, diced, marinated, roasted, grilled, sauteed, and raw. You can make a tomato salsa to pour over your green vegetables, or hollow out large tomatoes and stuff them like the capsicum. Here, I’ve halved some cherry tomatoes and topped them with my homemade pesto. Dee-lish!
Don’t forget the lovely red fruits – strawberries, cherries and watermelon. Throw cherries and berries onto your green salads. Chop up some watermelon and mint for a refreshing red and green fruit salad.
Veggie Christmas Trees
Broccoli is a mainly a winter veg, so if you are having a winter Christmas, or find some quality broccoli in your summer Down Under, try out these gorgeous Christmas tree veggie platters! I might try the top one with steamed broccoli drizzled with oil and sea salt. What could I use instead of pretzels for the tree trunk?
Pair these Christmas salads with a roast ham, pork or lamb shoulder, roast beef, roast chicken or turkey, or grilled fish. Throw some prawns on the barbeque or peel and eat them cold.
Your Christmas feast will be gorgeous, delicious, nutritious and feel light in your body on a warm summer day. Plus, you’ll have room leftover for some primal style Christmas desserts (recipes coming next week!).
Merry Christmas Mate!
Does your family have the same foods for Christmas every year? Are you starting some new healthier traditions?
Christmas Salads for a Healthy Summer Holiday – December 2013