Do you take time to plan a new Christmas menu every year? Or are you more traditional with regards to the food you serve on Christmas Eve and the Holidays? My family definitely belongs to Type 1 and with four women and a man at the table, choosing the right menu is not always easy. It must be gluten-free for one of my sisters and preferably full of plant-power for me. My dad hardly dares to say it, but he would not say not to a little meat. Yes and one of the sisters has a bit of a sweet tooth, so dessert is a must in my family as well.
That’s why our Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve consists of many smaller dishes, which we try to prepare already on December 23rd. Here in Germany, Santa already brings presents on Christmas Eve, so that’s when all the magic happens. We also all love a big, fresh salad, as well as oven vegetables and some other vegetable side dishes. For dessert we usually keep it simple and classic with a fruit salad. But last year we had prepared small mini-crumbles, which we all enjoyed very much. That’s why they are also part of today’s Christmas menu.
New this year are delicious lentil and millet patties. Of course they do not taste like meat, but the high proportion of fried mushrooms, red onions and spices such as rosemary and thyme give them a wonderfully festive aroma. Also, our oven vegetables will get a very special twist this year in the form of Swedish Hassleback potatoes. Maximal visual outcome with minimum input. That’s ‘ma Christmas jam, everyone. By cutting into the potatoes or vegetables, they absorb the aromas of the spices and roasting way better. With delicious olive oil, rosemary and sea salt, the oven vegetables remain simple, yet festive.
My secret favorite, however, is the butternut squash. I was inspired by the simple yet incredibly tasty side dish from my last trip to South Africa. On one evening we were served cooked butternut squash with cinnamon and nutmeg. No more and no less. And since this side dish is very juicy, it perfectly complements the patties and the oven vegetables in this menu.
Heavenlyn for body and soul because…
… well, because it contains so much the concentrated plant power. The colorful salad provides plenty of vital substances such as vitamin K from the kale, which, among other things, ensures healthy bones. The butternut squash is a great source of beta-carotene, called provitamin A, which is converted into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is not only important for the eyesight, but also for an intact immune system. Like all lentils, beluga lentils contain a lot of plant-based protein as well as dietary fibers that keep us full for longer. Millet contains magnesium, which is important for our muscles and nervous system, but also iron, which is essential for oxygen transport in the blood. A little bit of vitamin B5 is also found in millet (4% in 100 g millet). The beauty vitamin B5 promotes, among other things, beautiful skin, hair and nails and counteracts stress.
Well, did you feel like a little different Christmas dinner? If you still need some inspiration, then I have the following ideas for you:
– stuffed butternut squash with lentils and kale
– sweet potato parsnip soup with truffled popcorn (so good!)
– festive roasted Brussels sprouts with pumpkin and pecans
– heavenly spiced apple red cabbage
– lentil loaf with cranberry sauce
I hope I could inspire you to try some of today’s dishes this Holiday season.
What to prepare the day before:
– the dressing for the salad
– roast the hazelnuts (or you can buy roasted nuts or almonds to save time)
– chop the almonds for the crumbles
– remove the seeds from the pomegranate
– cook millet and beluga lentils
– prepare the cranberry sauce
– free the kale from the stalk
For the winter mini-crumbles:
- 2 apples
- 1 pear
- 75 g raisins
- the juice of an orange
- the zest of a ½ organic orange
- the zest of a ½ organic lemon
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- a pinch of ground vanilla
- a pinch of ground or fresh nutmeg
- a pinch of ground cloves
- 200g fine (gluten-free) porridge oatmeal
- 100 g roughly chopped almonds
- 3 tablespoons of coconut oil (or flavorless vegetable oil or butter)
- 3 tablespoons of rice syrup or maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- a pinch of salt
- For the filling, core the apples and pears and cut into small pieces. Put all the ingredients in a pot and let it simmer over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, so that the ingredients will become beautifully soft. Set the filling aside and let it stand while preparing the crumble topping.
- For the topping, lightly heat the coconut oil with the rice syrup and cinnamon in a small saucepan. Mix the oats and the chopped almonds with the sticky mix and a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl. If it does not get sticky enough, add some rice syrup.
- Preheat the oven to 160 ° C circulating air (180 ° C top and bottom heat). Grease 4-5 small oven-proof bowls, mine are meant for crème brûlée, with a little coconut oil and divide the filling to the small bowls. Spread the topping evenly over the filling using your hands. Bake the mini-crumbles for about 15 - 20 minutes (the same time depends on the oven). After about 10 minutes, take a look at how browned the oatmeal topping is and adjust the baking time if necessary.
- Serve the mini crumbles either neat or with some natural or coconut yoghurt.
Tip: I would not put the crumbles in the oven until the main dish is served. So they are still warm when they come out of the oven. However, they also taste very cold with some (coconut) yoghurt.
For the winter kale salad:
- 125 g millet (if you’re making the patties, too, save time and cook all of the millet (250 g) at once)
- 3 good handful of kale
- 2 mandarines
- 1 pomegranate
- 100 g roasted hazelnuts (or nuts of your choice)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon of honey (or maple or rice syrup)
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Mix the dressing in a small bowl. Core the pomegranate and roast the hazelnuts in a pan for about 5 minutes. Boil 250 g of millet together with 600 ml of water. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. In between, see if there is still enough water in the pot and if necessary add a little more water. After 10 minutes, remove the pot from the heat and let it swell for another 10 minutes with the lid closed.
- Set aside 150 g of millet for the patties.
- Remove the kale leaves from the stalk. Put the leaves together with the dressing in a large bowl and massage the kale with your hands for about 5 minutes. This makes the leaves softer and less bristly in the mouth.
- To serve, place the massed kale on a nice serving plate. Spread the millet over it, as well as the hazelnuts and pomegranate seeds.
- Store the salad in the fridge until served. Distribute freshly peeled mandarins on the salad just before serving. As a decoration, you can decorate the sliced pomegranate nicely on the salad plate (see photo).
For the cinnamon-roasted butternut squash
- 1 big butternut squash
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 nutmeg or ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tbsp of virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar (or 1 tbsp rice syrup or maple syrup)
- Peel the pumpkin and cut into bite-sized cubes. Grease a dutch oven or oven-proof pot with a little bit of olive oil. Put the butternut cubes in the dutch oven, freshly grate the nutmeg or sprinkle already ground nutmeg on top. Add the coconut blossom sugar and mix well with a wooden spoon. Place the cinnamon stick and the sage in the middle of the dutch oven between the cubes. Cook the butternut in the oven with the lid closed for approx. 30-40 minutes. After about 20 minutes, stir once to see that the cubes do not burn. Leave the butternut squash in the roasting pan until ready to serve. This keeps it warm longer.
- If you do not have a roasting pan, you can also roast the pumpkin on a baking tray for about 25-30 minutes and then mix with about 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and ½ teaspoon nutmeg in a mixing bowl. You’ll need to fry the sage leaves in the olive oil before pouring the oil and the leaves into the oven together with the butternut.
For the Hassleback-style oven-roasted vegetables:
- 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 kg of potatoes, thoroughly washed
- 500 g of colorful carrots
- 1 leek
- 4 red onions
- Briefly wash the rosemary under hot water. This allows the leaves to be better detached from the branches. Coarsely chop the rosemary leaves and place them in a bowl with the olive oil. Add sea salt and black pepper and set aside.
- Place two wooden spoons parallel to each other with a distance of about 3 cm on a chopping board. Place a potato between or on the wooden spoons. Cut the potato fan-shaped with a knife, but do not cut through it. The two wooden spoons should take care of that. They prevent the knife from cutting through the entire potato.
- Cut all other potatoes according to the same principle.
- For carrots, by the way, you can use Asian chopsticks as a knife holder. Carve the carrots in the same way as the potatoes. Slice the leek and peel and quarter the onions.
- Put everything on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and brush with the olive oil-rosemary mix.
- Roast the Hassleback oven vegetables at 180 ° C circulating air for approx. 30 - 40 minutes. The exact oven time will depend on your oven, so check on them regularly.
For the lentil-millet patties with cranberry sauce:
- 125 g dry Beluga lentils
- 150 g boiled millet (otherwise 120 g of uncooked millet)
- 200 g mushrooms
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 red onion
- 2 big, juicy dates
- 2 tablespoon coconut oil (or olive oil or ghee)
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons Tamari (or normal soy sauce)
- 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard (I also recommend coarse-grained mustard with turmeric from the organic shop)
- 1 tablespoon of virgin olive oil
- 70 g fine (gluten-free) porridge oats
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 100g fresh cranberries
- 125ml of freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2-4 tablespoons of maple syrup, rice syrup or honey (to taste)
- the zest of half an organic orange
- Wash the cranberries and place in a saucepan.
- Add orange juice, orange zest and sweetener of choice (start with 2 tablespoons) and simmer for about 15 minutes on medium heat. During this time, the liquid is reduced and the sauce will slowly begin to thicken.
- When the sauce is well thickened, turn off the heat and set the sauce aside to cool. Sweeten more according to taste.
- Fill the cranberry sauce in airtight jars and enjoy for Christmas dinner.
- A little tip: cranberry sauce also tastes great in apple and red cabbage.
- Wash the Beluga lentils and millet if you have not already cooked the millet for the salad Put the lentils and the millet into two different saucepany and cover both with twice the amount of water. Add ½ teaspoon of vegetable stock (or my vegetable broth paste paste) to the water of the lentils.
- In the meantime, clean the mushrooms and slice the mushrooms, garlic and onions. Core the dates and finely chop them.
- Heat a little bit of coconut oil in a pan. Fry the onions and garlic for about two to three minutes. Then add the rosemary and thyme, sauté briefly and then add the mushrooms. Fry the mushrooms for about 4-5 minutes in the pan from one side, then deglaze with tamari (or soy sauce). Stir well again so the mushrooms are completely covered with tamari and then remove the pan from the heat.
- In a large bowl, mix the beluga lentils, millet, the contents of the mushroom pan, date pieces, Dijon mustard, olive oil, oatmeal and pepper. Be generous with the pepper. Mash everything with a hand blender. If you own a food processor, you of course pulse everything in it for a short time. The mixture should not be completely pureed and the individual ingredients should still be recognizable. However, the individual components must be well mixed in order to form patties.
- Form about 10-12 patties from the mixture. Fry the patties either in a pan with a little coconut oil (or ghee) from each side for about 5 minutes or roast them in the oven at 180 ° C for about 10 minutes from one side and then 10-12 minutes from the other side. On the baking sheet should either be glazed some olive oil or sprinkled with a little bit of (gluten-free) flour so that the patties do not stick to the baking tray.
- Enjoy while still hot.
Bon Appetit and Merry Christmas!