Easy Festive sides with May Simpkin

Easy Make Ahead Festive Sides

You’ll love how easy these easy festive sides are to make and also that they’re super practical to prep ahead of the big day. I’ve kept these festive sides uncomplicated but with a little added spice and flavour, you’ll be able to serve up some fabulous sides that the whole family will love. Whether you’re serving a hero roasted turkey or a hearty vegan nut roast, these healthy delicious sides will sit perfectly alongside.

 

I’m a fan of two things that make roasting veggies super easy! Firstly, I use the whole oven tray so there’s plenty of space to arrange the veggies in a single layer. I have 5 trays for a single oven! I ordered extra as I roast ALOT! Secondly, I always use a silicone baking sheet and indeed, each oven tray has a sheet cut to size ready to go in the oven. Nothing ever sticks and you can significantly reduce the amount of oil you need to use when roasting.

 

 

Hero of the Festive Sides; Fluffiest Roast Potatoes

This foolproof recipe will give you the fluffiest, crispiest roast potatoes to serve as your hero festive side or to accompany any roast meal throughout the year.

Ingredients
  • 1kg King Edward or Maris Piper potatoes
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • Festive luxury alternative: 100g duck or goose fat
  • Sea salt (good quality)

Hero festive side; fluffy roast potatoes

Here’s how…

Put a roasting tray (lined with a silicone baking sheet if using) in the and heat oven to 180C.

Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and cut each half widthways or quarters if using large potatoes. Boil them in a large pan with enough water to just cover them.

Add salt and bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer the potatoes for 10-12mins – set a timer!

Meanwhile, add the oil to the roasting tray heat it in the oven for a few more mins, so it’s really hot.

Drain the water from the potatoes, then shake the pan back and forth a few times to fluff up the outsides. Be vigorous with this!

[If making ahead, you can prepare to this point]

Put the potatoes into the hot oil; you should hear them sizzle. Try to coat them as much as possible by turning and rolling them around on the tray and arrange them in a single layer.

Roast the potatoes for 1 hour, turning them every 20 mins. They are ready when they’re all crisp and golden – this may take a little longer depending on your oven.

Finally, sprinkle with a little salt (optional) and serve immediately.

 

Golden Roasted Roots

  • 500g carrots, scrubbed and halved if small, otherwise quartered (do not peel)
  • 500g parsnips, scrubbed and halved if small, otherwise quartered (do not peel)
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil

Preheat the oven to 180°C

Place the carrots and the parsnips in a large bowl and toss with the oil, salt and pepper.

Place them in a single layer on a roasting tray (lined with a silicone baking sheet if using) and roast for 30-40 mins, turning once, until soft and golden.

[If prepping in advance, remove from the oven after 30mins, allow to cool and return to the oven to finish roasting once you’re ready to serve.]

 

Serve immediately

Easy Festive Sides: Spiced Balsamic Red Cabbage

This vibrant brassica vegetable is one of my favourites and adds wonderful warmth and colour to your plate. With a slightly sweet and a little tang, even the fussiest eaters might find this surprisingly moreish – make plenty!

Festive sides; balsamic red cabbage

Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • ½  red cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon or allspice
  • 2 tbsps balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
  • S & P
Here’s how…

Prepare the cabbage; remove the tough outer leaves if necessary, cut into quarters and remove the core but cutting it out at an angle

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and the red cabbage. Cook it over a moderate heat for around 5 minutes, tossing continuously.

Add the cinnamon or allspice and continue to cook for 2-3 mins before adding the balsamic vinegar.

[You can prep ahead to this point. Warm through in a frying pan over a medium heat when you’re ready to serve.]

Season well to taste and serve.

 

Brussels Sprouts with bacon and garlic

 Easy Festive Sides; Brussels Sprouts with bacon
Ingredients
  • 1kg Brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 3 rashers smoked streaky bacon, cut into small strips (or use more, if you like)
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 200g vacuum-packed chestnuts, cut into small pieces
Here’s how…

Quick steam the Brussels sprouts; place around an inch of water in a pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to very low and allow the sprouts to steam for around 10 mins. Drain well and set aside.

[If you’re prepping ahead, plunge the sprouts in a bowl of ice-cold water so it cools quickly and stops cooking. Set aside]

Meanwhile, sauté the bacon or pancetta in a frying pan until it starts to release a little fat and begins to brown and crisp. If using chestnuts, also add them to the frying pan and turn the heat up for around 2-3 until they are slightly browned.

Now add the garlic, tossing it with the bacon for 30secs or so, taking care not to burn it before adding the sprouts and combine with the bacon and garlic for 2-3 mins until they’re warmed through. Season well with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

 

Alternatively, you can roast fresh chestnuts instead of using vacuum-packed ones; simply cut a slit into the shell of each chestnut with a sharp knife and roast the chestnuts at 200 degrees for around 20 minutes or until tender. Allow them to cool a little (but not completely) before peeling them. The skin should come off easily.

 

Want more recipe inspiration? I send out a meal inspiration email each Friday as part The New Healthy Membership. You’ll never get stuck for healthy meals to serve the following week and of course they’re always easy and uncomplicated!

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