A healthier Christmas makeover: entrée and desserts

With Christmas fast approaching, many people are preparing to put on a feast. Here are two great recipes to help make your feast a little healthier. 

Sometimes we don’t need to reinvent the wheel, we just need to modify it slightly to make it a little bit healthier.

Some foods are particularly popular at certain times of the year…

Mince pies for instance, are arguably one of the best parts of Christmas and many would argue Christmas is not the same without eating at least one!

Same goes for the good old fashioned prawn cocktail. Creamy Marie Rose sauce with fresh prawns. It just screams 'Aussie Christmas'. 

We’ve taken these Christmas favorites and given them a slight tweak to make them a little healthier. 

Prawn cocktail lettuce wraps

Prawn entree
Healthier tip: Adding natural yoghurt to the mayonnaise helps keeps the saturated fat down, and wrapping them in lettuce helps keeps the portions small.

Serves: 4
Difficulty: easy


Ingredients 
  • 16 large cooked prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 8 baby cos leaves
  • ½ Lebanese cucumber, diced
  • 1 avocado, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons baby capers
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dill, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon castor sugar
For the sauce
  • 1 tablespoon natural yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon good quality mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons tomato sauce (reduced sugar and salt)
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Method
  1. Place diced cucumber into a bowl with dill, vinegar, capers and sugar. Stir and set aside for a few minutes to pickle lightly.
  2. Spread 2 teaspoons of sauce onto each lettuce leaf. Gently trim the base of the leaf if it won’t sit flat. Be careful not to cut all of the way through or it will leak and you will wear it!
  3. Place one or two slices of avocado onto the leaf and top with two prawns.
  4. Add one tablespoon of cucumber and caper salsa before adding a little more sauce if required. Season wraps with a crack of black pepper before serving.

Healthier mince pies

Mince pies
Healthier tip: This short crust pastry is perfectly crumbly without falling apart in your hand, but we’ve kept the butter and sugar down.

The use of the dried fruit means you do not need to add any sugar to the mince filling.

Makes: 16
Difficulty: medium


Ingredients 

For the pastry
  • 3 cups plain spelt flour
  • 170g butter, cold
  • 70g lite cream cheese, cold
  • 1/3 cup castor sugar
  • 1 egg
For the filling 
  • 200g prunes, pitted
  • 200g dates, pitted
  • 1 orange
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 large apples, skin on, grated
  • 100ml water
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 100ml water
Method
  1. Place spelt flour, butter and cream cheese into a food processor and pulse it until it forms a breadcrumb consistency.
  2. Whisk the egg with one tablespoon of water, and add half to the mix and pulse again until it comes together. Add a little more egg and water mix if required. You want it to form a nice dough.
  3. Shape into a disc and refrigerate for an hour.
  4. For the filling, toss everything into a heavy based saucepan with the water and put onto a low heat with the lid on for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off and leave to cool.
  5. Preheat oven to 220C fan forced. Grease your muffin tray well.
  6. Roll pastry out between two sheets of baking paper to about 3mm thick. Using a circular cookie cutter or glass cut out 7-8cm rounds of pastry. Re-roll when required. Cut out 16 stars to create the pie lids.
  7. Place into the muffin tray pressing it with your fingers to get the shape even.
  8. Fill with a tablespoon of filling, being careful not to overfill or tear pastry, before topping with a lid.
  9. Pop into oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to cool and they will just pop out of tin when you place a knife down the side. 
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