If you ask us, the holidays AKA the most wonderful time of the year, can’t come soon enough. It brings together friends, family and loads of mouth-watering feasts. And while we totally endorse indulging in all of your cravings during these festive months, it’s no reason to completely go off track with your healthy eating habits. To take some stress off your plate, we’ve put together some of our favourite festive, yet healthy Christmas recipes that are packed with both flavour and nutrition. So, even if you get carried away in the festive spirit, you won’t spend the next 5 months struggling to lose the extra weight. Without further ado, let’s dig in!
Ruby Red Christmas Salad
Ingredients 1 box of your preferred mixed salad leaves ¼ block of Danish Feta cheese (crumbled) 1 Pomegranate deseeded 1 small butternut squash cut into chunks (the shape doesn’t matter as long as they are all cut in the same way) 4-6 figs cut into quarters (optional) ½ cup quinoa (any variety)
Spice rub for roasting the butternut squash ½ to 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil ¼ teaspoon ground cumin ¼ teaspoon ground coriander ¼ teaspoon cinnamon ¼ teaspoon cayenne, less if sensitive to spice Salt Dressing 2 tablespoons honey 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly crushed black pepper finely ground 1 large garlic clove minced 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil Salt + pepper to taste Salt + pepper to taste for garnish
Roasting the butternut squash
Start by preheating the oven to 425 F/200 C. While the oven is pre-heating peel and cut the butternut squash. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper. Place the butternut squash pieces on the sheet and drizzle with olive oil and pinches of sea salt and pepper. Toss to coat and spread evenly on the baking sheet. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, or until tender and browned around the edges.
In a small mixing bowl whisk together the honey, balsamic, mustard, salt, pepper and garlic. Add the oil and whisk thoroughly to combine. Continue whisking until the dressing is fully emulsified.
Layer the salad in a large salad bowl and have it ready.
Remove the butternut squash from the oven once they’re ready. Let it cool slightly, and, while warm, toss it with the spice mixture.
Assemble the salad with the mixed greens, roasted squash and cooked quinoa. Top it up with fresh-cut figs, pomegranate, and crumbled Danish feta.
Serve the dressing on the side or add to the salad only before the guests arrive to avoid wilted or soggy salad leaves.
Note: If adding dressing to the salad add such that the leaves have a glossy sheen over them. Store the extra dressing in an air-tight glass container.
One Pan Cranberry Orange Balsamic Roasted Chicken
Serves: 4-5 Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Marinade 1/3 cup fresh cranberries or previously frozen and thawed 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 Tablespoons maple syrup 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 1 clove) 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Cranberry and Orange Chicken 1 kg bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (~4 to 6 chicken thighs) 1/2 cup – 1 cup fresh cranberries or previously frozen and thawed 1 large orange sliced 1 Tablespoon each of maple syrup and balsamic vinegar mixed together to coat chicken during roasting Topping- fresh thyme leaves or dried herbs
Add the marinade ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
In a bowl (or Ziplock bag), completely coat the chicken thighs in the marinade.
Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for 30 minutes or overnight for deep flavour.
Preheat the oven to 375F or 190 C.
Place the marinated chicken with some more cranberries and slices of oranges.
Bake uncovered skin side down for 25-35 minutes depending on the size of the chicken thighs.
Remove and turn the skin side up. Check for doneness (preferably using a meat thermometer). Then brush each chicken skin with more marinade to intensify the flavour. The internal temperature of each of the chicken thighs should be 165°F or 74°C.
Once the thighs are cooked, broil until the skin is crispy.
Plate each chicken piece with an extra spoonful of the extra marinade with thyme leaves or dried herbs.
Honey Cinnamon Cookies (Because life’s too short to skip dessert)
Makes: 24 cookies Total time: 20 Minutes
Ingredients: 2 ½ cups whole wheat flour ¾ cup extra virgin coconut oil softened (not melted)/unsalted butter at room temperature ¾ cup coconut sugar ¼ cup raw honey 1 egg2 teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon vanilla extract ¼ teaspoon Himalayan salt 1 ½ teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon ½ teaspoon nutmeg powder*
Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a mixing bowl and set aside.
In another bowl, add softened coconut oil and sugar. Beat it using an electric mixer for a few minutes or till it becomes creamy. Add in the egg, vanilla extract and honey and mix until fully combined.
Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and beat together until it is combined.
Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30-60 mins or until completely chilled.
Preheat your oven to 190°C. Line your baking tray with parchment/baking paper.
Place small balls of the dough with the help of a scoop or tablespoon on the baking sheet. Place your dough balls at least 2 inches apart for proper baking. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Once baked, remove your baking tray and let it cool for a few mins. Then transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let them cool completely. Store in an airtight cookie jar.
Add half a cup of ground walnuts or semi-sweet chocolate chips for added flavour and a more indulgent dessert.
You can replace nutmeg powder for ginger powder, or add both for a unique Christmassy flavour.
If your cookies go hard, add a slice of bread in your cookie jar, and leave it overnight. Next morning your cookies will soften and taste as good as ever.
No matter which recipe you pick to cook this Christmas, make sure to involve your friends and family, to keep it fun and festive. Because that’s what this season is all about! Merry Christmas!
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