Sides can really help to make your Christmas menu shine – they play an important role in a successful festive meal and it would be curtains without them! Here are some essential festive favourites…
No Christmas dinner is complete without potatoes – especially roast! With the popularity of sweet potato showing no sign of fading, make sure you have a sweet potato offering too. Aviko’s Sweet Potato Diced is a versatile side and will give a real point of difference over the festive period. For children, why not serve sweet potato bites cut into Christmas shapes like snowmen or stars? Appealing, fun, and easy to prepare, either sprinkle with smoked paprika before cooking, or leave plain.
Good old carrots are a staple for the festive table, however, why not jazz them up a bit for the occasion? Serve these humble vegetables with a sweet butter glaze and star anise for some Christmas spice, or a fruity sweet orange and maple glaze. Roasting carrots brings out their sticky sweetness, so try tossing them into a roasting tin with olive oil, honey, red wine or cider vinegar and let them work their magic! A bonus with carrots is that they can be prepped the day before.
Love or loathe them, sprouts are still the king of sides at Christmas and must have some presence on your table. The most popular way is to steam them, but roasting is now a firm favourite; especially served with bacon and chestnuts. Or why not fry them with red onions in butter and cover with a sweet and tangy sherry vinegar dressing?
Served by themselves or with a touch of honey, parsnips continue to be a favourite at Christmas. Mix up your offering by roasting them with maple syrup and thyme leaves for a soft and sticky option. A dollop of marmalade and harissa creates caramelised parsnips with a fruity-sweet taste and a little heat. Save time and serve Aviko’s Mini Gratins with Parsnip & Jerusalem Artichoke to add a real point of difference to your festive menu and justify a higher price point. These can be cooked from frozen and served in a matter of minutes. For something completely different that will appeal to children too, try parsnip croquettes or even curried parsnip mash.
Don’t waste them!
Manage portion control and your costs this Christmas by maintaining margins and reducing the amount of food waste. Sides tend to be the dishes that are left, so be vigilant and if a certain vegetable keeps coming back to the kitchen uneaten, then change it, or if it is half eaten reduce the portion size. Train waiting staff to politely ask customers if they want sides. That way, you can find out what they prefer, reduce waste and above all save money!