Who says Christmas can’t be meat-free? Celebrate the holiday season with these healthy vegetarian recipes by our nutritionists Nishita Kaushik and Gouri Priya.
Nishita says, “This is a perfect Christmas starter because it’s both healthy and yummy. To avoid refined carbs, I usually swap the white flour toasties with whole wheat ones. The fiber and antioxidant-rich veggies in the salsa are just the thing you need to complete the dish.”
- Wheat toasties
- 2 onions, diced
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 2 green chillies, chopped
- A handful of coriander leaves, chopped
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- Lemon juice to taste
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp olive oil
- Mix all ingredients and mash them in a bowl.
- Spoon the salsa mixture on to the wheat toasty and serve.
Nishita says, “A perfect mix of complex carbs, fiber and protein, this recipe is a great vegetarian spin on a Christmas classic. You can also add vegetables of your choice, to this recipe. Try to avoid potatoes to keep it healthy. ”
- 150 g mixed nuts including almonds, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, peanuts and brazil nuts, roughly chopped
- 100 g of feta or any low fat cheese
- 2-3 tomatoes, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, grated
- 2-3 onions, chopped
- 60 g rolled oats
- 2-3 tbsp gram flour (instead of eggs, for binding)
- Salt, pepper and Italian seasoning to taste
- Mix the vegetables and oats in a bowl.
- Add the gram flour and cheese to the mixture.
- Now add the nuts. Mix well and season with salt, pepper and mixed herbs as per your taste.
- Grease a baking tray with some olive oil and pour in the mixture. Bake in the oven at 190˚C for 45 minutes. Serve hot.
Corn and Veggies Quesadillas
Nishita says, “For a Christmas party, this is the ideal vegetarian main course dish, made with whole-wheat tortillas and feta cheese, this dish gives you a well balanced mix of complex carbs and low fat cheese, which is easier to digest when compared to other cheeses. Packed with veggies rich in antioxidants and fiber, it’s an easy to make, filling and delicious meal option.”
- 4 whole-wheat tortillas
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 2 tsp garlic paste
- 1 cup kidney beans (rajma), boiled
- 1 cup bell peppers, chopped
- 1 cup tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cup sweet corn kernels
- A handful of baby spinach, roughly torn
- Chilli powder, Italian seasoning and salt to taste
- ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the garlic and onions. Sauté.
- Add the bell peppers, sweet corn, spinach, kidney beans and tomatoes and fry.
- Once the mixture softens a little, add the chilli powder, Italian seasoning and salt.
- After it cools slightly, stuff the tortilla with the mixture along with some grated feta cheese. Fold the tortilla over, in a half-moon shape. Prepare the other three in a similar manner.
- Heat a non-stick tawa and brush it with a bit of oil. Roast the stuffed quesadillas on both sides until it’s golden and crisp. Cut in half and serve with any low fat dip.
Yoghurt and Fruit Parfait
Nishita says, “A sugar-free Yoghurt and Fruit Parfait is a healthy alternative to all the decadent cakes and puddings that people binge on during Christmas. An added bonus is that this dessert is also rich in antioxidants, protein and complex carbs. Unlike a forkful of cake, which is full of calories and not likely to satiate your appetite, just one spoonful of this pudding made with low-fat yoghurt is guaranteed to leave you feeling full.”
3 cups low fat yoghurt
1 cup frozen banana, puréed
1 cup orange slices
1 cup frozen strawberries and blueberries, diced
1 cup grapes
1 cup raspberries, puréed with a tsp of honey
1 cup crushed granola bars
- Layer 1/3 cup yogurt at the bottom of 4 tall glasses.
- Alternate layers of fruit and granola with yogurt until the glasses are filled to the top. Serve immediately to keep the granola crunchy.
Spinach Cheese and Paneer Quiche
Gouri says, “You won’t find much fiber in a traditional Christmas meal, and that’s what makes this Spinach, Cheese and Paneer Quiche a lovely choice of main course. Plus all the greens are a great source of iron and the other ingredients are packed with essential nutrients that are good for weight loss.”
For the pie crust
- 1 ¼ cup wheat flour
- 100 g cold butter
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp sugar free
- 2 tsp cold water
For the filling
- 1 big bunch of spinach, finely chopped
- 200 g low-fat cheese
- 1 cup toned milk
- 1 cup crumbled paneer
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 green chillies, finely chopped
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp red chilli flakes
- To prepare the crust, mix the wheat flour, butter, sugar-free and salt with your fingers, until it is crumbly. Add the cold water and bring the dough together. Knead and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Heat butter in a pan, and add onions and green chillies. When the onions caramelize, add the spinach and salt. Sauté till the spinach is dry.
- In a mixer, pulse the milk, paneer and red chilli flakes to a sauce-like consistency.
- Preheat oven to 200˚C.
- Divide the dough into equal balls, then dust and roll the dough out into thin discs. Gently press the discs into the mini quiche moulds, and remove the extra dough from the sides. Prick the lined dough with a fork so it bakes evenly.
- To arrange the quiche, spread a portion of the cheese on the crust. Then add the spinach mixture and another layer of cheese. Add the paneer sauce and sprinkle the remaining cheese and red chilli flakes on top.
- Bake the quiches on the middle rack for 20 minutes or till the tops turn brown. Cool, and then gently transfer to a serving plate.
Vegetarian Burrito Casserole
Gouri says, “Most Christmas treats are prepared with refined flour, which is why this Vegetarian Burrito Casserole — made with brown rice — is both a filling and nutritious main course choice. The soya and beans are good sources of protein and the fiber content makes this dish ideal for people looking to control their sugar intake.”
- ¾ cup brown rice
- 1½ cups water
- 1 (12 ounce) package frozen soy burgers, crumbled
- 1 can whole tomatoes, drained, (reserve ¼ cup juice)
- 2½ tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp jeera (cumin)
- 1 package taco seasoning mix
- 2 (10 inch) burrito-sized flour tortillas (choose wheat or buckwheat based tortillas)
- 1 can vegetarian refried beans, divided
- 2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded, sliced and divided
- 1 ½ cup salsa, divided
- 2 ½ cup low fat cheese, grated
- In a saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add brown rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 190˚C.
- Fry the crumbled soya burger, tomatoes, reserved tomato juice, chilli powder, jeera and taco seasoning in a frying pan over medium high heat. Cook and stir breaking up tomatoes, for about 10 minutes.
- Place one flour tortilla in a lightly greased 8×8 inch baking dish. Layer with one half of the beans, jalapeno slices, rice, salsa, soya mixture, and one cup of cheese. Repeat layers with remaining ingredients, beginning with the tortilla, and top with remaining cheese.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until heated through and cheese is melted. Serve immediately.