Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes for alternative Christmas vegetable sides (2024)

T-minus two weeks! But not too late in the day to suggest a few new sides for your Christmas table, I trust? I know I say that every year, but if Mariah Carey gets to sing from the same December hymn sheet, I’m going to as well. The vegetable sides are so often where it’s at, after all. The colour! The flavour! All the drama and deliciousness! As Mariah says, “All I want for Christmas is you-ooo.”

Gingery beetroot with peanut dressing, black sesame and chives (pictured above)

This dish, in which the earthy, sweet beetroot pairs very well with the salty peanut dressing, is all about the drama in flavour and appearance. If you want to get ahead, roast and marinate the beetroot the day before.

Prep 20 min
Cook 1 hr 40 min
Marinate 30 min
Serves 4 as a side

1kg small whole beetroot (about 10), topped
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper

3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
½ tsp maple syrup
20g fresh ginger
, peeled and finely grated
10g chives, cut into 3cm lengths
1 tsp black sesame seeds, toasted

For the peanut dressing
60g smooth peanut butter
1 tsp maple syrup
1½ tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp lime juice

Heat the oven to 240C (220C fan)/475F/gas 9. Lay the beetroot on a large sheet of kitchen foil, drizzle over a tablespoon of oil and sprinkle with a half-teaspoon of salt, and wrap tightly, so the beets are completely covered. Transfer to an oven tray and bake for an hour and a half, until a knife goes through the beetroots easily, then remove the foil and leave until cool enough to handle. Once cooled, peel with a small knife.

While the beetroot is roasting, make the marinade. In a large bowl, mix the vinegar, maple syrup and ginger with a third of a teaspoon of salt and set aside.

Cut each peeled beetroot into six wedges, toss in the marinade and set aside for half an hour.

Meanwhile, make the dressing. Put the peanut butter, maple syrup, soy sauce, lime juice and two tablespoons of water in a small bowl and stir until smooth.

Arrange the beetroot and any remaining marinade on a lipped platter, spoon over half the dressing and the remaining tablespoon of oil, sprinkle with the chives and sesame seeds and serve at room temperature with the rest of the peanut dressing on the side.

Chipotle roasted pumpkin with pumpkin seed salsa and chipotle oil

Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes for alternative Christmas vegetable sides (1)

The hot and sweet marinade here complements sweet pumpkins very well. The firm delica is a perfect fit, but any other firm-fleshed pumpkin will work here, too. Swap the chipotle for another dried chilli such as ancho or cascabel, if you prefer.

Prep 35 min
Cook 30 min
Serves 8 as a side

4 small dried chipotle chillies, stems and seeds removed (15g net weight)
2 tbsp white miso paste
60ml olive oil
tbsp maple syrup
3 garlic cloves
, peeled
1½ tsp tomato paste
1 medium delica pumpkin (about 1⅓kg), cut into 3cm-thick skin-on wedges and deseeded

For the pumpkin seed salsa
3 spring onions, trimmed and roughly chopped (30g)
30g coriander, roughly chopped
60ml olive oil
50g pumpkin seeds, toasted, 20g left whole, the rest roughly broken in a mortar
45ml fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)

For the chipotle oil
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp chipotle flakes
Flaked sea salt

Heat the oven to 240C (220C fan)/475F/gas 9. Soak the chipotle chillies in 150ml boiling water for 20 minutes, until softened, then put in a food processor with two tablespoons of the soaking water. Add the miso paste, oil, maple syrup, garlic cloves and tomato paste, then blitz for four minutes, until completely smooth.

Put the pumpkin slices in a large bowl and pour over the chipotle marinade. Toss to coat, then transfer to a large oven tray lined with greaseproof paper and bake for 25 minutes, turning the tray halfway, until the pumpkin is soft and the marinade forms a crust – make sure it doesn’t burn, though, so if need be lower the temperature to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7 for the last 15 minutes. Remove and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, make the salsa. Put the spring onions and coriander in a food processor and pulse four or five times until coarsely chopped. Scrape the onion mix into a large bowl, add the oil, the 30g cracked pumpkin seeds and half a teaspoon of flaked salt, stir in the lime juice and mix well.

To make the chipotle oil, heat the oil in a small frying pan on medium heat. for two minutes, until hot but not simmering. Stir in the chipotle flakes and an eighth of a teaspoon of flaked salt, then take off the heat.

Put the roast pumpkin in the salsa bowl, toss gently to coat, then arrange on a large platter. Pour over the chipotle oil and serve warm or at room temperature with the reserved whole pumpkin seeds scattered on top.

Charred brussels sprouts with lime dressing and basil

Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes for alternative Christmas vegetable sides (2)

The lime and basil bring lots of freshness and zing to the sprouts, which eagerly soak up the dressing. The dressing improves with time, so make it the day before, if you like. You can also char the sprouts up to four hours ahead of time – just make sure they’re well spaced out on the tray, so they don’t discolour too much from the residual heat.

Prep 1o min
Cook 45 min
Serves 4

3 shallots, peeled and cut in half (150g)
3 unpeeled garlic cloves
4 tbsp olive oil
750g brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
45ml fresh lime juice
(from about 2 limes)
2 tbsp fish sauce
tbsp palm sugar (or soft brown sugar)
15g basil leaves, large ones roughly torn, smaller leaves left whole
1 red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced

Put the shallots, garlic and half a tablespoon of oil in a small bowl and toss to coat. In a large frying pan on medium-high heat, char the shallots and garlic for 10-15 minutes, turning them regularly and transferring the garlic to a bowl halfway through, once the cloves have softened. Tip the shallots into the bowl and leave to cool.

Turn up the heat under the pan. In a large bowl, toss the sprouts with a tablespoon and a half of oil and a half-teaspoon of salt, then cook in the hot pan, in two or three batches, for 15 minutes on both sides, until softened and nicely charred, then tip into a large bowl.

Mix the lime juice, fish sauce, palm sugar and remaining two tablespoons of oil in a small bowl. Chop the charred shallots and garlic finely, discarding the garlic skin and any overly burned bits, and add to the marinade.

Pour the marinade into the sprout bowl, mix in the torn basil and half the chilli, then leave the sprouts to soak up the marinade for at least 10 minutes.

Spoon the sprouts and all the dressing on to a platter and serve topped with the whole basil leaves and the remaining chilli.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes for alternative Christmas vegetable sides (2024)
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