Healthy, Tasty Festive Meals

Healthy Christmas Recipes: The Starter

Here’s wishing all our readers a very Merry, Healthful Christmas and Festive season.

Melon Parma Ham Salad

Melon Parma Ham


  • 1 honeydew melon
  • 2 x 88g (2oz) packs of Parma ham, torn
  • 50g (2oz) wild rocket
  • pinch ground black pepper
  • 4 tsp rapeseed oil


  1. Cut the melon into thick slices and remove the skin and any pips. Then chop into large chunks.
  2. Divide the melon between 4 plates then add the Parma ham.
  3. Scatter with a little rocket, season with black pepper and drizzle with the rapeseed oil.

Healthy pork roast

Brine & Ham
6 quarts water
2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup kosher salt
12 whole cloves
12 allspice berries
4 bay leaves
1 cup 2 cups ice cubes
1 pound 1 10- to 12-pound shank-end fresh ham
For Roasting
5 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
6 medium leeks
Red Pepper Glaze
½ cup red pepper jelly
¼ cup honey
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon light brown sugar

Step 1
To brine ham: Heat water, 2 cups brown sugar, 1 cup salt, cloves, allspice and bay leaves in a large pot over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Add ice and stir to cool the liquid.

Step 2
Score fat of ham into a 2-inch-wide crosshatch pattern without cutting into the meat. Submerge in the brine. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 days.

Step 3
To roast ham: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Step 4
Pound garlic, thyme and salt to a paste in a mortar and pestle (or in a mini food processor). Transfer to a bowl and stir in oil and crushed red pepper. Remove the ham from the brine and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. Rub the paste all over the ham and into the scored cuts.

Step 5
Trim the root end and top inch of greens from leeks; cut in half lengthwise. Submerge them in a large bowl of water and gently separate the layers to remove any grit, while keeping each piece together. Drain well.

Step 6
Arrange a layer of leeks in a large roasting pan. Set the ham on top, with the fat cap facing up. Roast in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes.

Step 7
To prepare glaze: Bring jelly, honey, ginger and brown sugar to a simmer in a small saucepan, stirring, to melt the sugar. Remove from heat.

Step 8
After 20 minutes, brush the ham with 1/4 cup of the glaze.

Step 9
Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees . Roast, brushing with 1 tablespoon glaze every 30 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part without touching bone registers 150 degrees F, about 3 hours.

Step 10
Transfer the ham to a clean cutting board, loosely tent with foil and let rest for 20 minutes before slicing. Serve with the leeks, if desired.

Healthier Roast Potatoes

Serves: 4
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed

Prep:15min › Cook:20min › Ready in:35min
Preheat oven to 250 C / Gas 9.
Combine oil, garlic, basil, rosemary, parsley, chilli flakes, and salt in a large bowl. Toss in potatoes until evenly coated. Place potatoes in a single layer in a roasting tin or baking tray.
Roast in preheated oven, turning occasionally, until potatoes are brown on all sides, 20 to 30 minutes.

Pecan Pie


heaping 1 cup chopped pecans
2 tbsp molasses, blackstrap or regular
3/4 cup pure maple syrup, honey, or agave
2-3 tbsp nut butter of choice OR butter spread
1/4 cup flaxmeal whisked into 1/3 cup water
1-2 tbsp bourbon OR 1 additional tbsp water
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
optional 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, pinch nutmeg, etc.
optional pecans for garnish


*You can use any homemade or store-bought 9-inch pie crust. I used the following recipe: 1 3/4 cup whole wheat or white flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/3 cup vegetable or melted coconut oil, and 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup cold water, as needed. Stir everything together to form a dough. If too dry, add more water or oil. If too sticky, add more flour. Press into a pie pan. You can pre-bake it for 10 minutes at 400 F, but honestly it still works even if you don’t. I love the taste of molasses, but feel free to simply sub maple syrup if you don’t.
For the pecan pie: Whisk together all ingredients except optional garnish, and let sit at least 30 minutes in the fridge, during which time it will thicken thanks to the flax meal. (If the flax is good, the mixture will be noticeably thicker when you take it out.) Preheat oven to 350 F. Pour filling into a crust. Arrange the optional extra pecans over top if desired. Bake on the centre rack 35 minutes, then do not open the oven door but let sit in the now-turned-off oven an additional 10 minutes.

About the author: Brian Kitching
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