A Christmas meal should have plenty of variety.  This article provides a tasty and colourful selection of vegetarian side dishes with a range of textures and flavours.  Included are simple dishes such as ‘Tri-colour Mash’ and ‘Glazed Runner Beans with Peas and Onions’ that can compliment a rich main dish.  ‘Cauliflower with a Cheese Sauce’ provides a saucy dish to go with nut roasts and is always a popular choice.  It can be given a festive flare by using a rich blue cheese.  ‘Broccoli and Spinach Pastry Packets’ provide a touch of elegance and no Christmas meal is complete without a side dish including Brussels sprouts, here cooked with walnuts and garlic butter.  For colour, think about adding a ‘Baby Leaf Salad with Pinenuts’ or ‘Roasted Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato’.   Enjoy.

‘Cauliflower and Cheese Sauce’


     Fresh cauliflower, cleaned and separated into florets

     Steam cauliflower but leave slightly hard

For the Sauce:

     2 oz butter

     2 oz wholemeal flour

     1 pint semi-skimmed milk

     4 oz cheese – grated – or use crumbled blue cheese

    Salt and pepper

     Grated cheese for topping


     Melt butter in a small saucepan over a slow heat

     Add the flour and mix to a stiff paste

     Cook for 1 minute only

     Remove from heat

     Gradually added the milk ensuring a smooth sauce without lumps

     Bring to the boil

     Simmer for one minute on low heat

     Remove from heat and add the cheese until it melts

     Season to taste

          Place cauliflower florets in an oven-proof dish,

          Cover with sauce and top with grated cheese

          Grill until the top is brown and crunchy

‘Broccoli and Spinach Pastry Packets’


     4 oz cooked broccoli florets

     2 oz frozen spinach – thawed out

     6 oz soft cream cheese

     ½ teaspoon dried herbs

     Sheets of ready to roll filo or puff pastry


     Mix cream cheese, herbs, broccoli and spinach

      Preheat oven to 200 degrees (gas mark 5)

     Grease a flat baking tray

     Cut filo pastry into squares

     Place some vegetable mix in the middle of each square

     Fold the edges of the pastry up to make a packet and twist closed

     Brush with milk

      Cook in a hot oven for 15 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown


 ‘Tri-Color Mash’


     3 carrots – cleaned and diced

     2 parsnips – cleaned and diced

     3 medium potatoes – cleaned and diced

      Salt and pepper


     Dry peel the vegetables to maintain most nutrients


     Steam vegetables until soft, they all cook at the same time so can be cooked together.

     Drain well

     Mash all together

     Season with lots of black pepper

     Form into balls with an ice-cream scoop or two spoons

     Place in an oven-proof dish

     Cover with grated cheese and breadcrumbs

     Grill until the top is brown and crispy

‘Baby Leaf Salad with Pine Nuts’


            8 oz of baby leaf salad leaves, include things like rocket, baby leaf spinach and watercress

            Fresh basil leaves

            1 tablespoon olive oil

            2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

            4 oz pine nuts


            Place ingredients in a large bowl

            Mix olive oil, vinegar in a jug

            Toss together oil and salad

‘Brussels sprouts with Walnuts and Garlic Butter Breadcrumbs’

            6 oz Brussels sprouts – steamed until nearly soft

            2oz butter

            2 garlic cloves – crushed

            1 cup of walnut pieces

            1 cup of breadcrumbs


            Steam Brussels sprouts until almost soft, about 10 minutes

            Melt 2 oz butter in a saucepan

            Add garlic and cook for 1 minute

            Add breadcrumbs and mix well

            Place Brussels in an oven-proof dish with walnut pieces

            Spoon breadcrumb mixture over Brussels

            Grill to until top is brown and crispy

‘Roasted Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash


            1 butternut squash – cleaned and diced

            2 small sweet potatoes – cleaned and diced

            Olive oil


            Preheat oven to 220 degrees (Gas mark 5)      

Prepare vegetables and cut into large chunks

            Steam vegetables together for 10 minutes

            Drain well

            Arrange vegetables on a greased roasting tray

            Spray with olive oil

            Bake in hot oven for 30 minutes or until soft and golden brown

            You will have to turn the vegetables at least once and spray with olive oil

‘Runner Beans, Peas and Onions’


            4 oz runner beans

            2 oz garden peas

            4 spring onions


     Cut runner beans length-wise

     Steam until almost soft

     Add garden peas for the last 5 minutes


     Put in a hot oven-proof dish

     Mix beans, peas and onions

     Top with knobs of butter and serve




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