The moment you start planning your Christmas dinner, the first thing you start thinking about is the turkey. But let’s be honest, no one is actually fussed about the bird. Not really. In fact, when people hear you say the lip-smacking words, “dinner is served” at 4.30pm, they want to walk into your kitchen and see a lifetime’s worth of stellar seasonal sides waiting on the table or kitchen island.
The question is: which sides are going to wow your guests the most as you entertain them this year?
From show-stopping sprouts to gorgeous-looking gratins to the kind of casseroles that will make you want to indulge in a warm-up Christmas meal, we have pulled together a list of 8 scientifically-proven (okay, maybe not quite) side dishes that will elevate your Christmas Day dinner to a level never reached before. Enjoy.
For anyone wanting to add a bit of va-va-voom to their Christmas meal, look no further than this tasty take on an American classic: green bean casserole bundles. Flavoured with onions, soy sauce and black pepper, simply take your green bean casserole and then use bacon to wrap 5 or 6 beans into delicious little packages.
Nothing beats a dish of simple yet scrumptious roasted vegetables, especially when that dish celebrates the colours of Christmas. We’re talking carrots and brussel sprouts, topped off with some sweet dried cranberries, crunchy pecans and a bit of balsamic vinegar for a bit of tasty tartness. It really is a festive delight in every sense.
Okay, before we go any further, we’ll admit it: we’re massive fans of festive casseroles. That’s because you get a lot of bang for your buck in that they taste great without being too much fuss to make. And this one is up there with the best. All you need to do is cover your asparagus with bits of bacon, a creamy sauce, lots and lots of cheese and — wait for it — cream crackers. Trust us: this is the dish your guests will be talking about for weeks afterwards.
Is there anything more festive than brussel sprouts? But while we reserve this tasty root vegetable for the festive period, throwing a few lardons in with them, they can be whipped up in a hundreds of exciting ways — and this is one of our favourites. Creamed brussel sprouts, made with either gruyere, fontina or cheddar, as well as a delicious mix of onion, yoghurt, parsley, parmesan and more. Just be aware, this side dish is extremely addictive.
Delicious, decadent and delightful, this creamy dish gives you everything you’re used to with a traditional potato gratin, minus the guilt when indulging in it. The trick is to blanch the cauliflower first, though, so that you’re not serving a dried-out, undercooked dish in your kitchen this Christmas. On the flip side, make sure you dry out your cauliflower before layering it into gruyere and parmesan led sauce.
Whether it’s out of necessity, fun or the start of something more permanent, serving up a vegan side dish this Christmas is a great move — and this easy vegan green bean casserole is the move to make. That’s because the layer of crispy fried onions on top are packed full of flavour, texture and wow. Just wow. The kind that will make people forget their manners when there’s only one portion left in the dish.
This is a dish that goes with everything, and we mean everything. Turkey, pheasant, rack of lamb, venison, nut roast, vegan wellington — whatever the centrepiece on your kitchen table might be, this cheesy bacon butternut squash side goes with everything. Not only that, but this cheesy squash skillet manages to combine sweet, salty and creamy in such a way that it might actually steal the show. And the best part: it’s not a hassle to make.
Straight out of a Tennessee Thanksgiving scene, this side dish is sure to become a fan-favourite for one good reason:it tastes so darn good. Sure, smothering spinach in Velveeta, cheddar and Monterey Jack probably isn’t the healthiest way to indulge on Popeye’s favourite, but it’s Christmas. So relax and enjoy whipping up this delicious, extra cheesy, slightly spicy twist on the classic creamed spinach dish.
Parsnips are the perfect side dish for Christmas Day feast and have been for generations. But it’s time to leave those soft and soggy parsnips in the past and bring this crunchy variation to the table. Simply roast your ‘snips with a delicious polenta and paprika coating, cook for forty and, voila, you’ll have your guests making involuntary noises as they chomp down on these golden, crunchy veggies.
There’s something about this combination that is absolutely divine, the kind that will make you realise you should have made a lot more than you did, so don’t hold back when whipping up a batch. As for the dish itself, this combination of celeriac, leek and mature cheddar is about as indulgent as any side dish can be, especially if you stir in a spoonful of horseradish through the cream. After that, just pop it in the oven for an 1and a ½ hours and you’re ready to serve.
Now it’s just a matter of picking the perfect wines, storing them correctly and having a merry old time.