Food hack: 5 ways to eat more veggies this Christmas
We love our cheeseboard and mince pies as much as everyone else. But the effects of over-indulgence can even spoil the festive season, and a happy Christmas is a balanced one.
Eating seasonally has benefits for your health as well as the environment, as they’re more likely to be fresh and retain more of their vitamins – and the deep shades of seasonal winter veg sure pack a nutritious punch.
Maintain your five a day with these easy tips from The Vegetarian Society.
1 Get your fair share of carrot, pumpkin and winter squash, all of which are full of beta-carotene. These are best roasted – get inventive with herbs and spices to jazz up the flavour combo.
2 Add chestnuts to increase the protein content, and mushrooms for B vitamins and potassium that helps to control blood pressure. Both work great as essential ingredients in homemade nut-roast, or try our recipe for chestnut pie, which makes for a tasty alternative to meat.
3 ‘Nuts (even chocolate-covered ones, but remember portion control!) boost your zinc, selenium and immunity, while a freshly squeezed orange makes a great base to a salad dressing. Drizzle onto iron-rich watercress with diced avocado and some added walnuts to boost omega-3 content.
4 Sprouts are full of iron, folate and calcium, and provide your liver with useful enzymes that help a hangover on its way. If you don’t like them steamed, try stir-frying them with tahini, chilli and lime. Delicious.
5 Stuff the turkey! Try this festive Chestnut Pie
2 onions, finely chopped
130g leeks, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
225g mushrooms, sliced
25g dried cranberries
340g tinned butter beans,
250g tinned chestnuts, sliced
50g hazelnuts, chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp English mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp cranberry sauce
For the pastry:
115g vegetable suet
330g plain white flour
½ tsp salt
1 Gently fry the onions and leeks in oil for 5 mins. Add the garlic, 150g mushrooms, cranberries, chopped butter beans, chestnuts, hazelnuts, thyme and mustard. Cook for 10 minutes.
2 Season with salt and pepper, add the leftover mushrooms and remove from heat.
3 Now make the pastry: heat oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4. Boil water in a pan, add suet and stir. Remove from heat.
4 Put flour in bowl, add salt and suet solution. Make into a ball, put on work surface and knead for five mins. Grease a 20cm spring-loaded deep pie tin. Roll out about ¾ of the pastry to line tin. Spread cranberry sauce over the pastry, then top with pie filling. Fold excess pastry to centre. Leave 3cm lip around top of tin.
5 Roll out leftover pastry to make lid. Seal, brush with soya milk and bake for one hour.
6 Carefully release the tin’s catch; place pie on dish. Serve with gravy and plentiful amounts of veg on the side.