The flavours of Christmas are so distinctive and popular that everything around this time of year can be flavoured with either a spiced fruit or a turkey-cranberry-stuffing concoction. I love Christmas flavours as much as anyone, but often the foods associated with them are not the healthiest.
What about salads?! Yes it can be done! Say hello to a very healthy and Christmas themed salad….
Now, I can’t actually take credit for this salad as it’s a guest recipe by the lovely Emma Charles. Emma is a London-based foodie who fell in love with real food and heavy weights and hasn’t looked back. Her simple, purse-friendly recipes use natural flavours such as spices and cacao to replace sugar and sweeteners – which is of course, is right down my street.
Emma is currently helping me with some low sugar recipe developments (watch this space!).
I’m not saying too much yet but there are some really exciting things coming your way in 2015 to help you live lower sugar in the nicest way possible. If you’re passionate about this like myself and Emma, then please drop me a line as there could be lots of things to get involved with. Also don’t forget to make sure you’re on the Mentor Me Off Sugar front of queue get the first dibs on a kind, holistic sugar detox like no other.
So, the recipe, in Emma’s own words…
The salad tastes great hot or cold (and has been approved by my very honest boyfriend!) and is perfect for anyone who wants to join in with the Christmas spirit without sacrificing their healthy eating goals. It’s packed with protein and all the carbohydrates are low GL so it will keep you full and not reaching for the quality streets mid-afternoon! I’m sure I wasn’t the only person who was really disappointed by Pret only offering Christmas sandwiches rather than salads/non bread based options so hopefully this recipe will help bring Christmas cheer to your packed lunch!
Cranberries & sugar
The only source of sugar (fructose) in the salad are really the cranberries and then natural sweetness from the vegetables. Cranberries are a winner on a low sugar diet as they are particularly low in fructose with less than 1g per cup of them. Do watch out when buying cranberries however – because they’re not as naturally sweet as other fruits, they’re extremely prone to having sugar added to them in some form. You can however buy frozen unsweetened ones which are 100% sugarfree and of course you can buy them fresh. Avoid cranberry juice as this is a sugar bomb. Of course a little cranberry sauce on Christmas day isn’t perfectly sugar-free but hey, it’s Christmas day – maybe just don’t slather it all over your turkey and have some extra gravy instead
Warm Christmas salad recipe by Emma Charles
Makes 3 salads
- 270g broccoli, cut into florets
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt (pink Himalayan salt works well)
- 100g leeks, sliced
- 100g kale
- 80g frozen unsweetened cranberries
- 200g sugar snap peas
- 300g diced turkey breast
- 400g butternut squash
- Pre-heat the oven to 180c (160c fan oven).
- Microwave or roast the squash until it is soft enough to cut, then peel and dice into small chunks.
- Toss the squash, broccoli, leeks and kale in the olive oil and salt. Roast the vegetables in the oven for 15 minutes, then add the turkey to the roasting pan and cook for a further 15 minutes.
- After 25 minutes, steam the sugar snap peas in the microwave until cooked. Separately, microwave the cranberries for 1 minute until the juices begin to run out of the fruit.
- Combine the roasted vegetables, turkey and sugar snap peas, then top with hot cranberries.
Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to two days – this recipe makes a fantastic healthy packed lunch.
Are you going to try out this festive salad? Let me know if you fancy this recipe and share with someone else if you’ll think they’ll like it too