Written by Endeavour College of Natural Health | Monday, 19 December 2022
In Australia, the festive season takes place over summer. This means fresh seafood, fruit salads, barbeques, and warm summer afternoons spent on the verandah.
Produce is at its finest (and ripest) over the warmer months, which means endless possibilities in the kitchen over the Christmas and New Year periods. In light of this, we want to share some of our favourite recipes for the festive season!
This rosemary and olive tapenade is an ideal savoury starter! Simple ingredients, easy to assemble, and lasts in the fridge for about a week (meaning you can prep this one before the festive madness begins) – giving you plenty of time to experiment with how you’d like to serve this tapenade. Spoon it onto crackers, serve it as a dip, spread it onto some bread… The limit does not exist!
Nutritious, packed full of flavour, quick and easy to assemble? Sold! These chickpea and quinoa zucchini boats are inspired by a traditional Middle Eastern dish called Maftoul (hand-rolled couscous) – A celebratory dish made only on special occasions since it would take all day to hand roll the couscous. For this recipe, the couscous has been substituted with quinoa, making it one for your gluten-free guests. Serving tip: Dollop some tzatziki on top of the boats for an added level of flavour.
A well-known adage among cooks is that we eat with our eyes first. This recipe by Nutritionist and Endeavour graduate, Meg Yonson, caters to that and then some. Using humble but nutritionally dense ingredients, this golden chickpea and corn salad will both look and taste incredible this festive season. We’re awarding this recipe some bonus points as two of the star ingredients can be swapped from fresh to canned if desired/needed.
When a major US study found watercress achieved a perfect nutritional score of 100, we asked Naturopath and Endeavour graduate Meg Thompson to create a recipe for us with this powerhouse vegetable as the star ingredient. The result is a fresh and tasty summer salad featuring watercress, halloumi, and strawberries. The ingredients in this recipe speak for themselves, so even the most modest of cooks will find this one a breeze.
We’re pretty confident in saying pasta salad is a staple for many Australian households. Cost-effective, easy to assemble, accessible ingredients, and stores well in the fridge. This pasta salad calls for only seven ingredients and requires almost no actual cooking – Boil, chop, toss, and stir to assemble! This recipe is a great one for dinner parties and barbeques, as it travels well.
A plant-based main that doubles as a centrepiece? Look no further! This whole roasted cauliflower is coated in a harissa-meets-shwarma seasoning and topped with a lemon yoghurt sauce has got you covered. In terms of nutrition, cauliflower contains a solid amount of fibre, which is important for feeding healthy gut bacteria, reducing inflammation and promoting healthy digestion. It’s also high in choline, an essential nutrient that plays a major role in maintaining the integrity of cell membranes, synthesising DNA, and supporting metabolism and liver health.
Seafood is a festive season favourite in Australia, and we couldn’t be more grateful for it! The star of this show is the crispy skin barramundi but the accompanying kale slaw definitely holds its own. One thing to note is that the serving size of this recipe is easily adjusted – if your gathering is on the larger side, you can move the barramundi from the frying pan to a sheet pan in the oven.
The beauty of slow cooker recipes is that once you’ve prepped the ingredients, you can leave your shiny-silver kitchen companion to do the rest (music to our ears over the festive season). Acupuncturist Russell O’Reilly shares this slow-cooked lamb recipe that’s packed with health benefits from a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective.
This chocolate bark is a great sweet treat to have in the freezer or to make as a gift for loved ones and friends for Christmas. Cacao is not only delicious, it’s choc-full of health benefits too! Packed with antioxidants, high in magnesium (which is great for muscle and nerve function) and can even help calm some skin disorders. The best bit? Only five ingredients.
Nothing says Christmas quite like a trifle, but unlike the traditional version of this recipe, this take gets extra gold stars in the nutrition category. The layers? Berry chia jam, vanilla cashew cream, almond cacao biscuit. If that doesn’t sound scrumptious we don’t know what does. This berry and cream trifle is raw, vegan, and can be prepped ahead of time/stored in the fridge!
Now, for those who prefer fruity flavours over chocolate, this orange cake is for you! This gluten-free orange cake is light, satisfying and full of citrusy flavour. It’s also ideal for those conscious of artificial sugar, as it’s sweetened naturally by the orange and a sprinkle of stevia. Taking a sharp right into the nutrition lane, this recipe calls for a whole orange (peels and all), ensuring that the goodness of the fruit is not lost. Most importantly, fibre, which is food for our good gut microbes, stabilises blood sugar levels and keeps us feeling fuller for longer.
Summer is the time of year to move away from heating herbs like ginger and cinnamon, over to energetically cooling plants like peppermint, hibiscus, rosehip and lemon balm. Here are a handful of herb-inspired drink recipes to keep you cool as a cucumber during the blistering festive season in Australia. A summertime tea, elderflower lemon soda, and a watermelon hibiscus mocktail.
Empower yourself with knowledge — find out more about our range of Natural Health courses and take the plunge towards a happier, healthier you.
Check out the other recipes on the Wellspring Blog.
Endeavour College of Natural Health is Australia's largest Higher Education provider of natural medicine courses.
The College is known as the centre of excellence for natural medicine and is respected for its internationally recognised academic teams and high calibre graduates. Endeavour offers Bachelor of Health Science degrees in Naturopathy, Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine, Acupuncture Therapies and Chinese Medicine, Undergraduate Certificates, a Diploma of Health Science and massage courses.