Christmas is a time filled with celebrations around food and if you are trying to be healthy, it’s all about making the right choices! As someone who loves to celebrate and bond over food, I am always on the lookout for healthy options to feed family and friends. After all, it is possible to enjoy Christmas and still maintain health goals.
If you are in charge of Christmas celebrations this year, here are some nutritious and healthy-ish rice-infused ideas to whip up:
- Canapés: to put a healthy twist on canapés and nibble offerings, replace chips with a lighter option, such as SunRice Rice Cake Bites, which are baked, not fried, or top with mashed avocado and a slice of smoked salmon for a bite-sized delight.
- Salads and sides: many of us focus on meat as the main event. However, I encourage you to prioritise salads and vegetable sides, as they can be equally satisfying. This may include a Christmas-inspired rice pilaf, tossing roasted vegetables through cooked brown rice and herbs as a gluten-free-friendly side dish, or tossing a mix of rice and quinoa through tabouli for added fibre and protein.
- Meat: stuffed roast meats are a traditional Christmas favourite for many but aren’t always the healthiest choice. However, it is possible to still enjoy your favourite Christmas roasts in a healthier way, such as my pork with spiced stuffing balls (recipe below). This stuffing is made from a combination of rice, herbs and spices and is sure to become a new family favourite.
- Dessert: pudding and custard is a default dessert for many. However, as an alternative, try making a rice-based pudding flavoured with Christmas spices, such as nutmeg and cinnamon. This is delicious served with thick Greek yoghurt, mint leaves and berries.
Pork with Spiced Stuffing Balls and Garlic Beans
Pre: 15 minutes
Cooking: 60 minutes
1 tbsp. EV olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
180g SunRice Long Grain Rice
? tsp. saffron
1 tsp. paprika
375ml boiling stock
½ bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
¼ cup sultanas
1 bay leaf
1.5kg pork loin
2 tsp. good quality salt
2 tsp. pepper, ground
2 tbsp. EV olive oil
250ml white wine
500g green beans
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp. EV olive oil
season to taste
Preheat the oven 220C. Score the pork and season on both sides with salt and olive oil. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes at 220C and then drop the oven to 175C and roast for a further 30 minutes. To make the pork more crispy, grill for 5 minutes.
In a heavy-base saucepan, heat olive oil. Add the onion and garlic, and cook till the onion is translucent – approx. 5-10 minutes. Add the rice, salt, saffron, paprika and then the boiling stock. Cook for approx. 15 minutes. Add the parsley, bay leaf and ¼ cup sultanas. Allow to cool, roll into balls and pan-fry until golden.
In a saucepan cook the beans with the garlic and olive oil, approx. 5 minutes. Serve with sliced pork and stuffing balls, and the garlic beans on the side.