A heart-healthy Christmas menu

Stuck for Christmas dinner ideas? Try our festive menu and enjoy a delicious spread on Christmas Day with friends and family. It’s full of colour, flavour and heart-healthy goodness.

Christmas is only one day, but it can feel all-consuming for a lot of people. Our Christmas menu aims to reduce some of the mental load needed for preparing a meal to share with whānau and friends. 

We've taken some twists on tradition and kept things simple for a fuss-free Christmas. Our Christmas dinner menu serves eight people including vegetarian and non-vegetarian options with a range of colourful salads and sides. 

For the main event

Choose a fresh, flavourful baked salmon with pesto crumb or a vegetarian nut roast with mushroom sauce – or make both!

Baked salmon with pesto crumb

Baked salmon with pesto crumb

Tips for preparing the mains

Baked salmon

  • Cut vegetables and lemon and mix with oil the day before. Keep refrigerated, or if pressed for time the vegetables can be roasted the day before as well.
  • Vegetables can also be roasted earlier on the day and left covered on a bench for up to two hours before the salmon is placed on top and cooked.
  • Make the pesto crumb the day before and keep refrigerated.
  • The salmon is best cooked close to serving time but can be cooked and kept warm for 30 minutes before serving.

Get the baked salmon recipe.

Nut roast

  • Prepare the nut roast up to two days before, cook and keep refrigerated. Then all you need to do is re-heat before serving.
  • Or prepare the nut roast mixture up to two days before then keep refrigerated and cook it on the day.
  • If you cook the nut roast on the day, aim to have it out of the oven 30 minutes before serving and cut just before serving.
  • The mushroom sauce can be made two days before and kept in the fridge. Reheat the sauce in a saucepan or in the microwave before serving.

Get the nut roast recipe.

For the salads and sides

We have three salads full of colourful vegetables and plenty of flavour to serve up on the side. 

Get the BBQ going and reduce the number of dishes you need to make with our BBQ corn salad with beans, coriander, chilli and lime dressing

For something green we have an asparagus and courgette salad with lentils and fresh mint

To bring in some Christmas colours that will stand out on the table we have a glazed baby beetroot salad with parsley, feta and walnuts. 

On the side we also have Christmas potatoes with a herby olive oil dressing.

BBQ corn salad and asparagus salad

BBQ corn salad and asparagus and courgete salad

Tips for preparing the salads and sides

BBQ corn salad

  • This salad is better with freshly BBQ’d corn, but you can prepare a few other parts the day before to save time.
  • Remove husks from corn the day before and chop the onion, coriander and chili. Keep refrigerated.
  • Mix lime juice and olive oil the day before.
  • BBQ the corn on the day and mix with the remaining ingredients shortly before serving.

Get the BBQ corn salad recipe.

Asparagus salad

  • Cut the asparagus and blanch the day before, then cut the other vegetables and mint then keep refrigerated.
  • Mix olive oil, lemon juice and zest the day before and keep refrigerated.
  • Mix all together the next morning and keep refrigerated until serving.

Get the asparagus salad recipe.

Beetroot salad

  • Cook, peel and dice beetroot one to two days before and keep refrigerated. 
  • Mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar and mustard day one to two days before.
  • Assemble all parts of the salad just before serving.

Get the beetroot salad recipe.

Herbed Christmas potatoes

  • Wash potatoes and chop parsley the day before and keep refrigerated.
  • Boil potatoes up to an hour before serving and keep warm.
  • Mix with herbs, oil, salt and pepper just before serving.

Get the herbed potatoes recipe.

For the final course

Strawberries and chocolate are an iconic staple in a New Zealand Christmas, so for dessert we have a chocolate Bavarian cream with strawberry coulis.

Chocolate Bavarian cream with strawberries

Chocolate Bavarian cream with strawberry coulis

Tips for preparing dessert

Chocolate Bavarian cream with strawberries

  • You can make the chocolate Bavarian cream the day before and keep refrigerated.
  • Place strawberries on top of dessert on the day of serving (preferably not more than two to three hours before).

Get the chocolate Bavarian cream recipe.

Want to make this menu for Christmas? We have pulled together a shopping list to make all the recipes on this menu.

Download the ingredients list (PDF)

It's also important to keep yourself well over the busy period and focus on being physically active, prioritise sleep and manage your stress. Check out our blog on keeping healthy across Christmas and the summer holidays.

Read our healthy Christmas tips blog
Nickie Hursthouse, NZRD

Nickie Hursthouse, NZRD

National Nutrition Advisor

As a Registered Dietitian, I know that food gives us so much more than just nutrients. I am driven to simplify nutrition messages, educate on all aspects of food and support Kiwis to develop a love of food that helps them stay healthy throughout their life.