It has been a couple of years since UNESCO determined the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity to the Mediterranean Diet, valuing that it is not only a way of eating but a lifestyle.
The Mediterranean diet is a set of skills, knowledge, practices, and traditions related to human food, ranging from the earth to the table, covering crops, harvests, and fishing … is a cultural element conducive to social interaction, since communal meals are a cornerstone of social customs and the celebration of festive events. The new Pyramid of the Mediterranean Diet already includes social traditions, coexistence, and the celebration of festive events such as those we have very close to Christmas.
Something has changed in Christmas traditions, in general, the amount of food eaten during these celebrations has been reduced. Many of us remember the number of dishes and the volume of them when we were children, our mothers, aunts, grandmothers … They prepared an innumerable amount of appetizers, perhaps also hors d’oeuvres, very consistent first courses, very generous main courses, desserts, Christmas sweets, drinks, sweetest … For health reasons, it is necessary that these ‘banquets’ are not so succulent, and less having so many consecutive days of celebrations. Enjoying the Mediterranean Diet also at Christmas is very easy given our pantry, making a balanced menu will favor our well-being and that of our guests. We do not want to say that during the Christmas holidays you have to deprive yourself of eating what corresponds, although it is important to control the quantities.
what does a Mediterranean Christmas look like
Mediterranean Diet, many of the most popular Christmas recipes are contemplated within this diet, as they include cereals, vegetables, nuts, fish, meat, and dairy products. Traditional recipes also play in favor of seasonal foods, in this month of December we have vegetables such as red cabbage, pumpkin, beets, endive, endive, artichokes, or thistles among others, surely you are already identifying with these ingredients some Christmas recipes.
These foods will make it easier for us to prepare a light and nutritious first course, and we can complete the menu with fish or meat, or with both if we are used or want to make a wider menu, but then the amounts should be reduced by half. Among the seasonal fish and seafood, we can have problems choosing from the great variety we have, although there is usually no shortage of clams, cockles, razor clams, scallops, oysters, prawns, cod, sea bass, salmon, sea bream …
If we talk about meat, both seasonal game, poultry, and common meats such as lamb, beef, beef, or pork, are healthy foods and contemplated in the Mediterranean Diet. To do all this, we must add fruits, which can be part of side dishes, a salad, or desserts. Now, with the generous and varied pantry that we have in these holidays, to favor a balanced, nutritious, and digestive lunch or dinner, we must value the ‘added ingredients and cooking methods.
Once again one of the Christmas customs plays in our favor, which is to cook in the oven. Meats or fish roasted in the oven, in addition to evoking a festive meal, are contemplated within the healthy cooking methods, provided that as we mentioned, the added ingredients are valued. The same can be said of the grilled or steamed cooking of seafood that we are going to serve, in addition to being healthy cooking methods, they are ideal to preserve and enjoy the nutrients of the food and its flavor, sauces can always accompany them, but apart from the dish or in the salsa so that the diner decides how he prefers to take it.
As we well know, the best fat with which we can add our food is olive oil, as a garnish for roasts of meat or fish we must continue thinking about seasonal products, they are the ones that best flavor and best nutritional contribution will offer us. There are many ways to lighten the garnish of a dish, the fattest ingredients of a recipe … Something that will be appreciated when it comes to digestion, even if we are healthy. If we take care of each of the dishes that make up the Christmas menu, we can reach the desserts and even enjoy nougat, marzipan, polvorones … Yes, they are also included in the Mediterranean diet, they are made from cereals, nuts, honey … We must only moderate the quantities, let’s not forget that it is a day of celebration, coexistence and good food.
Mediterranean Christmas menus for all tastes
Are you already thinking about Christmas menus? So do we! And as every year we want to make a proposal of different options with which to conform Christmas menus that fit all tastes: classic menus (for those who do not want to do without lamb and nougat), economic Christmas menus (yes, it is possible …), menus for children …
To make this compilation of our best Christmas recipes as useful as possible, we will start with the appetizers for Christmas; Then the main courses and we will finish with a selection of delicious Christmas sweets, such as homemade polvorones, marzipan … and, of course, our classic Christmas Roscón, which so many of you have already tried successfully in these years and with which we close as always the holiday season.
What would any Christmas meal be without Christmas snacks? We could not start this recommendation of Christmas menus without first suggesting some appetizers or starters open your mouth.
Cold Christmas snacks
If you do not want to complicate much with appetizers, the ideal is to prepare some kind of cold snacks, such as Christmas canapés or delicious stuffed volovanes. You can also prepare a salmon pate in advance for your guests to spread on slices of toast; Have you ever tried making marinated salmon?
Hot starters for the Christmas menu
Prefer something hot to start? As a suggestion do not forget to try the mushrooms with garlic, some delicious tiger mussels or the classic clams a la marinera or prawns with garlic.
If you are looking for something that you can prepare in advance, stuffed piquillo peppers are an excellent option; You can take them cold or hot giving a heat stroke at the last moment.
What do you think of our suggestions for snacks for Christmas lunches or dinners? But you know that after the appetizers … comes the main course! Do you want to know what Christmas menu options we have?
Classic Christmas menu
Classic dishes such as roast lamb, suckling pig, and seafood soup … are a safe bet! If you are one of those who consider that it is better to maintain traditions, for this Christmas, we can suggest different alternatives with their corresponding recipes step by step, which you can access by clicking on the links on the name of the recipe.
Our first menu option is to start with some vegetable cream, such as pumpkin cream; then continue with the main course, which in this case is the baked lamb shoulder that we can accompany with some delicious baked potatoes! In this classic version, there are those who prefer roast suckling pig to lamb… but that is already a matter of taste, our opinion is that both recipes are exquisite and will stand out on any Christmas table. And if you want to vary a little, try the roast ham glazed with honey.
Christmas menus with fish
Although meat and especially lamb usually triumph, there are also classic Christmas menus based on fish; We can suggest several main options: baked cod au gratin; stuffed hake; baked sea bass; hake in green sauce; baked salmon; sole meunière; baked sea bream with potatoes; baked sea bream… Although in these cases they are almost always baked recipes, you can also try to prepare some delicious recipes for fish in sauce, such as orange salmon.
In the case of Christmas fish menus, you can start with a seafood soup, some baked prawns … or, if you want some variation and compose a light menu you can start with a cold Vichyssoise or a seafood cream.
However, although we already told you that the classic menus continue to triumph, there are some trends, such as rice with lobster or Wellington sirloin that is beginning to become fashionable, what do you think? If these ideas have seemed few, we have many more fish recipes for Christmas:
Cheap Christmas menus
Of course! Christmas and celebrations don’t have to be at odds with the economy. We are going to propose a simple menu that therefore does not detract in any way from other Christmas recipes: we can start for example with a light noodle soup; Then continue with an exquisite chicken stuffed with figs and marzipan, an authentic delight that will conquer you. In this case, chicken can be a great ally, because it is economical meat that everyone likes. Be sure to try for example the apples stuffed with chicken, or the chicken braids with pâté sauce! And if you want a “Sea and Mountain” try these zucchini stuffed with chicken and prawns.
Christmas Recipes For The Little Ones
Don’t think we’ve forgotten about children! You already know that they are protagonists in the Christmas holidays, and for them we suggest a delicious menu that they will love: As a starter some breaded cheeses and zucchini balls. And as the main course, either Christmas tree of chicken meatballs, or these packages of puff pastry with chicken you will see how they like it!
Christmas Menus For Celiacs
We know, if any member of the family is celiac the Christmas menu is complicated; But do not despair, we also have options: naturally many of the proposals above can be adapted for a celiac menu, such as fish or baked meats, but this time we have chosen: a quinoa salad, roast chicken with apples and, the best, a gluten-free Christmas trunk.
Christmas Desserts Are The Grand Finale!
It’s time for desserts, and although we are all already full, we always have space for Christmas sweets, right? We suggest that you opt for the classic Christmas trunk, or for one of the desserts with nougat that we like so much: nougat flan; nougat ice cream; nougat mousse, or this sinful nougat cake… delicacies that will close a great lunch or dinner.
For the after-dinner of course, do not forget to take out a piece of homemade panettone, some coquitos, polvorones, carquinyolis, almond alfajores … and to finish our tour of Christmas cuisine, of course, you have to try the best homemade Roscón de Reyes in the world
Well, as you can see there are many options for Christmas menus, you just have to choose the one that best suits your family … do you have it clear? Well, you will tell us… Merry Christmas!