Christmas side dishes

Every household has its special Christmas roast. This year, in some homes it will be chicken, in others pork, beef, turkey or lamb.

Vegan homes might have meatless roasts made of plant protein, which includes variety of ingredients such as mushrooms, soybeans and textured vegetable protein, or from wheat gluten or roasted cauliflower, just to name a few. Whatever your tradition is, you are likely to have it down pat.

What about the side dishes though? Don’t you ever feel like you want to switch them up a bit? Maybe the Macaroni and cheese and potato salad are not so ubiquitous after all. You could try dropping one or two of your usual sides and incorporating one of these. Or you could drop them all and use these four. Whatever floats your boat.

Festive rice


* 2 cups parboiled rice

* 4 cups hot water

* 4 tablespoons oil

* 5 cloves garlic (minced)

* 1 medium onion (minced)

* I each red, yellow and green medium sweet peppers (chopped)

* 2 carrots (chopped)

* 2 cans sweet corn

* 2 small bundles long beans (bora) (chopped)

* Raisins

* Cranberries

* Maraschino cherries

* Salt to taste

* Black pepper to taste



In a wok-shaped pan (karahee) heat half of the oil and add half the

chopped onion to soften. Add half the garlic after about 5 minutes. Add rice after 3 minutes and salt to taste. Fry for about 5 minutes.

Add enough hot water to barely cover rice and lower heat to steam it. Keep adding hot water until rice reaches desired consistency – fully cooked but not soft. (You may not use all of the water.) Remove from heat and set aside.

In a saucepan, heat the rest of the oil and add the remainder of the onions and garlic sauté the vegetables with salt and black pepper to taste. Do not overcook. Vegetables should be al-dente.

Remove from heat and immediately mix in with steamed rice, adding corn, raisins and cranberries.

Cut Maraschino cherries in quarters and sprinkle on top to garnish.

Serve hot.


 Crispy roasted potatoes


* 3 lbs Russet (baking) potatoes (scrubbed and cubed)

* Salt to taste

* 4 tbsps olive oil (You can also use oil from rendered bacon)

* Black pepper to taste

* Chopped fresh thyme, parsley and chives



Preheat the oven to 450ºF (230ºC).

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold salted water. Bring to the boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are just barely cooked through – about 10 minutes (a knife inserted into a potato should meet resistance). Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

Drizzle the oil over the hot potatoes, add black pepper and toss well to coat.

Spray two baking sheets with cooking spray and transfer the potatoes to them in a single layer.

Place in the oven and roast until the bottoms are crisp, rotating the pans halfway through cooking, about 25 minutes. Test the potatoes. If they resist coming off the baking sheets continue to roast for additional 3-minute increments until they do.

Flip the potatoes so that the already crisp bottoms are on top and continue to roast until they are crisp all over and do not resist coming off the pan when tested.

Transfer to a serving bowl and toss with chopped thyme, parsley and chives.


Sticky red cabbage


* 1 tbsp olive oil

* I large onion (diced)

* 1 medium-size red cabbage (core removed and shredded)

* 1 finger-sized piece fresh root ginger (finely chopped)

* 1 tsp ground allspice

* 1 tsp Dijon mustard

* 7 tbsps caster sugar

* 3 tbps apple cider vinegar

* 2 tbsps red wine


Mix together the vinegar and wine and set aside.

Heat oil in a large saucepan and saute onions about 5 minutes.

Add ginger, allspice and mustard, then cook for 3 minutes

Add cabbage and cook for about 5 minutes or until it starts to wilt.

Add the sugar and vinegar and wine mixture and cover pan.

Lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes, then remove lid and turn up the


Let it simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir continuously for the last few minutes until all the liquid has evaporated and the bottom of the pan is sticky.

Place cabbage in a large bowl and serve.


Christmas slaw


* 2 carrots (julienned)

* ½ white cabbage (shredded)

* 100g pecans (or walnuts or peanuts) (roughly chopped)

* 1 bunch spring onions (eschallot) (sliced)

* 2 red peppers (deseeded and julienned)


For the dressing

* 1 tbsp honey

* 2 tsp Dijon mustard

* 8 tbsp olive oil

* 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar

* Salt to taste



Mix the salad ingredients in a large bowl.

Combine the dressing ingredients in a jar or bottle, put the lid on and shake well.

Toss the dressing through the salad when you are ready to eat it. The salad and dressing will keep

separately in the fridge for up to four days.


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