Have yourself a veggie little Christmas
This Xmas, Naini Setalvad invites you to tickle your taste buds with stuffed tomatoes instead of stuffed turkey
The world over, Christmas is a time for celebration and giving. There is a lot of feasting and fun. Various kinds of meat, especially turkey, as well as white sugar and cream-laden savouries and sweets are laid on the table. I have found that many of my vegan clients want to partake in the Christmas celebrations but are unable to enjoy a typical Christmas meal.
Let me share with you a vegan twist to Christmas feasting which I always share with my vegan clients so that they too can enjoy Christmas fully. Although their being vegan does not necessarily make my recipes healthy or low-calorie, they let you as well as your body enjoy the festivities.
The tradition of stringing before you decorate the tree with strings also involves munching on the popcorn while you do it. So, let’s start with yummy, salted, butter-free popcorn, which is vegan as you could toss it in olive oil and salt. It is a high-fibre snack.
1) Starter: Salted Pistachios
• Just buy salted pistachios with the shell. This makes for a good starter as it involves shelling and eating the nuts. It is also a good way to spend time with the family during the festive season. Gram for gram, pistachios contains more protein than chickpeas, salmon, or egg. 30 pistachios have only 100 calories. Additionally, pistachios are contributors of good fats which the body requires.
2) Main: Pumpkin Soup
• You can accompany the pistachios with some hot, delicious pumpkin soup without any added sugar or cream. This soup can be sipped on slowly while you are sitting at the dinner table with your family. Eating pumpkin soup is a win-win as not only is it yummy but it is also packed full of nutrients like beta-carotene which makes your eyes, skin, and hair glow. Pumpkin also has a low glycaemic index.
250 gm pumpkin
1 small onion
4 whole crushed walnuts
2 tsp olive oil
Salt to taste
• Sauté the onion and pumpkin with olive oil on a slow flame till tender
• Once cooled, blend them into a thick pulp
• Add salt to taste
• Garnish with crushed walnuts
• Serve hot
3) Entrée: Stuffed Tomatoes
• As an entrée, you cannot go wrong with stuffed tomatoes. This dish is simple but can deceive anyone into thinking it is calorie-dense.
• Besides ample flavour, it also has ample nutrition.
Tomatoes - 300 gms
Cauliflower – 50 gms
Coconut, grated – 15 gms
Peanuts, coarsely ground – ½ tbsp.
Coriander – ½ cup
Chilli Paste – ½ tsp
Salt and lemon juice to taste
Slice off the top of the tomatoes and scoop out the insides. Put a pinch of salt inside the scooped part of each tomato.
Keep each tomato inverted to drain excess water.
Add grated coconut, peanuts, chilli paste, salt, lemon and coriander to the grated cauliflower.
Stuff the scooped tomato with the cauliflower mixture.
Can be served at room temperature or chilled.
4) Main: Sweet Potato Bake
• Sweet potato boosts your immunity due to its antioxidant powers. Instead of gouging the sweet potato in butter before baking it, just sprinkle it with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. It also contains good quality fats and protein from walnuts, cashew nuts, and sesame seeds.
500 gm sweet potatoes
12 pieces coarsely ground cashew nuts
12 pieces coarsely ground walnuts
3 tsp roasted, salted sesame seeds
1 tsp garlic paste
Salt to taste
• Boil and mash the potatoes
• Mix the rest of the ingredients into the mash
• Pour into a baking tray greased with olive oil
• Sprinkle sesame seeds on top
• Bake for 20 minutes till sesame seeds start browning
5) Sides: Braised Carrots, Peas, and Mushrooms
• Sauté the carrots, peas, and mushrooms in olive oil, salt, and herbs.
• This dish gives fibre and protein from the peas and mushrooms, and antioxidants from the carrots
6) Dessert: Prune, Apricot, and Fig compost
• Prunes are traditionally served at Christmas. Try my yummy, high-fibre, natural sugar, mineral-dense and zero-fat desert.
4 dried prunes
4 dried figs
4 dried Indian apricots
2 cinnamon sticks, ¼ inch each
• Chop the dried fruits and soak them in just enough water to cover them
• Place both the cinnamon sticks on either side of the bowl
• Cover and let it marinate for 12 hours
• Serve warm or chilled
The above recipes will satisfy your Christmas cravings while ensuring that you maintain your weight. Bon appétit!
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