Delicious and Easy Christmas Side Dishes (and a Free Recipe You’ll Love)

New // Sarah Link // 12 November 2016

It can be tricky to know what to bring to Christmas dinner (or make if you’re hosting!) when you want something everyone will love, but is still healthful. So who better to ask than 12WBT dietitian Erica Grandjean for simple, yummy and healthy Christmas side dishes that look great, taste great, and make you feel great! Plus, we’re sharing our 12WBT Spinach, Walnut & Cranberry that looks oh-so-festive.

Erica’s Top 3 Tips

  • Go seasonal – you’ll enjoy the freshest produce and save some money
  • Go fresh – use vegetables or fruits as the base for your side dishes (chance are there will be enough ‘heavy’ food on the table already)
  • Go for colour – this boosts the nutrition profile of the dish AND makes the table look great!

Colour Coordinate!

In keeping with the Christmas theme, use foods that are red, white and/or green for your side dishes.

Red (or orange)

  • Red onion, tomatoes and capsicum make a great base for an easy salad, so get creative!
  • Roast some pumpkin, carrots, sweet potato (and garlic!) for a sweet and delicious side.


  • Throw together a green salad using baby spinach, lettuce, rocket, avocado, green capsicum, cucumber and herbs (basil, parsley, coriander or mint – these will come in handy when it’s cocktail time as well!).
  • Steam or barbecue green vegetables – broccoli, peas, asparagus, zucchini, green beans or chinese greens. These are delicious with a squeeze of lemon juice and drizzle of olive oil.


  • Make a cold potato salad. Potatoes cooked and then served cold are a great source of resistant starch, which helps to slow the release of energy into the blood stream, potentially minimising the post-lunch/dinner slump.
  • Try cauliflower (or cauliflower rice), a dipping sauce using natural yoghurt and herbs and fresh mushrooms (raw or cooked).

On Dessert Duty? Go Fresh!

If you’re preparing a dessert, the same principles apply. Fruit salad is delicious, perfect for summer and a lighter option for dessert. Strawberries, raspberries, peaches, plums, bananas, melons, kiwi and grapes make for a summer taste explosion!

Spinach, Walnut & Cranberry Salad

This salad looks festive and sure to be a favourite at your Christmas lunch or dinner.

10 Serves
10 min prep time
82 Cal / serve


4 Handfuls Baby Spinach (160g)
250g Snow Peas, trimmed
1 Telegraph Cucumber (281g), halved then chopped
1/3 Cups Dried Cranberries (50g)
1/3 Cups Walnuts (45g), roughly chopped
1 Tablespoons Lemon Zest (8g)
3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice (60g)
1 Tablespoons Olive Oil (20g)
2 Tablespoons Fresh Tarragon (8g)
2 Teaspoons Wholegrain Mustard (10g)


1. Dressing: Put the lemon zest and juice, oil, tarragon, mustard and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk well to combine.
2. Put the spinach, snow peas, cucumber, cranberries and walnuts in a large bowl. Toss to combine.
3. Add the dressing to the spinach mixture and toss to coat.
4. Spoon mixture onto a large serving platter to serve.

Mish Tip

Cranberries can be found in the dried fruit & nut section of your supermarket, otherwise you’ll find them in your health food store.


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