New ideas for the best Christmas side dishes – Bar & Kitchen

New ideas for the best Christmas side dishes

The turkey gets all the glory on Christmas Day, but vegetable side dishes deserve some care and attention too. Spending time getting them right will always be appreciated by your customers. These clever tips and recipes can often be prepped ahead to improve efficiency and Christmas cheer in the kitchen.


  • Heritage: Look for colourful purple, yellow and orange carrots to add variety
  • Brown butter: Cook butter on the hob until it turns a dark caramel colour and drizzle over steamed carrots for a nutty finish
  • Microwave: Toss baby carrots with butter and microwave for 5-6 mins in a large, covered bowl with 2 tsp water until just tender

Roast potatoes

  • Freeze ahead: Keep parboiled potatoes in the freezer and roast in hot rapeseed oil until golden to save time
  • Cheesy: Toss parboiled potatoes in a mix of flour and parmesan for savoury, cheesy roasties
  • Hasselback: Slice like a hedgehog and roast for more texture and a premium look on the plate


  • Say NO to scoring: Don’t cross the bottom of your sprouts as it makes them soggy
  • Marmite butter: Mix 100g unsalted butter with 4 tsp Marmite and chill until firm. Toss sprouts with flavoured butter just before serving
  • Middle Eastern sprouts: Griddle halved sprouts until charred and dress with pomegranate, molasses and pistachios
  • Gluten-free recommendation: Brussels sprouts with cranberries and chestnuts

Red cabbage

Red cabbage adds great colour to the plate and can take a wide range of flavour combinations.

  • Ginger beer, coriander and apple: Fry 1 red onion until soft and add 1 tbsp crushed coriander seeds. Stir in 1 shredded red cabbage and cook for 5 mins. Add 350ml ginger beer, 1 whole star anise, 1⁄2 tbsp brown sugar, and 1 chopped, peeled apple. Cook for 1 hr on low until soft.
  • Port, prunes and orange: Gently fry 1 large onion in butter in an ovenproof dish until golden. Add 1 medium, finely sliced red cabbage, 220ml port, 80g pitted prunes, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 tbsp brown sugar, and juice and zest of an orange. Bake for 2 hrs at 140C, stirring halfway through and adding more liquid if needed.
  • Chorizo, fennel and pear: Fry 120g diced chorizo to release its oils and add 1⁄2 tbsp fennel seeds. Add 1 sliced red onion and 1 sliced fennel bulb and cook until soft. Add 1 finely sliced red cabbage, 1 tbsp red wine vinegar and 1 tin pears in their juice. Cook for 30 mins or until soft.

Roasted roots

  • Parsnips: Roast chunky parsnips with potatoes for extra sweetness
  • Butternut squash: Stuff a whole butternut squash with vegetarian stuffing for an impressive alternative main dish for non-meat eaters or as a grand side dish
  • Sweet potato: Counts as one of your five a day. Roast it with ordinary potatoes or puree with a touch of cinnamon
  • Celeriac: Makes an elegant gratin or mash as a stylish alternative to potatoes
Save Article