You don’t have to eat parsnips if you don’t want to! (Although I am a fan of a good, spicy parsnip soup!) There are lots of other seasonal veg for you to enjoy if you are sick of the sight of the Christmas classic roasted parsnip. Think of kale and carrots instead, which are bang in season and full of good nutrients. I know that kale can be kind of scary and some people are scared of it tasting too strong, but there are ways of ‘disguising’ it.
Chilli is a great partner to kale and when you roast the two together you get an almost ‘meaty’ kind of flavour. Kale also makes a great, healthy nibble. Tear into bite-sized pieces, wash, dry in a salad spinner and then place on a baking tray. Use a oil spray to evenly but lightly coat each piece of kale and then sprinkle some rock salt on top. Cook in a medium oven for around 10-15 mins, (keep an eye on it though as it can burn quickly.)
When done, just enjoy as a savoury crisp-like snack. You will find that it tastes almost the same as Chinese deep-fried ‘seaweed’ but you actually know what it is. It’s a great nibble to have in front of you while you’re watching TV and packed full of goodness too.
Carrots can be another one of those veg you’ve seen enough of after Christmas, but they are also versatile and really good for you. If you’re trying to be conscious of what you’re eating after pigging out over Christmas, then substitute chips made with potato for ones made from carrots. Top and tail them, and give them a quick wash. (Don’t peel unless absolutely necessary as most of the nutrients are just below the skin.) Cut into chip-sized pieces, (not too thin as they can easily burn,) spray with oil spray and season with salt, pepper and some smoked paprika and then oven roast for around 25 minutes. They are delicious!
Cauliflower and leeks are also still in season and these can make a delicious and filling soup, with the addition of a chopped onion or two and a potato. One potato will thicken the soup and give it an almost creamy texture and will not overload you on carbs. Just boil together with some chicken or veg stock and seasoning and then blitz with a hand blender.
Most citrus fruits are still in season as well and so try and make some healthy desserts, using these as your base flavour. I know it’s tempting to want stodgy, full fat puddings at this time of year, but home-made jelly using fruit juice and gelatine and then set with the fruit mixed in, and served with home-made meringues is a great alternative. Top with some thick Greek yogurt and sprinkle with a little brown sugar… Delicious!