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Foods to add to your festive checklist

Foods to add to your festive checklist

With the festive season around the corner, braving the shopping malls and planning your festive dinner can be quite the exercise.

We thought we would help relieve some of that stress by putting together a comprehensive list of our favourite foods for you to plan your festive shopping.

Foods to add to your festive checklist
Sweet potatoes. Picture: Jess Loiterton

Sweet potatoes

Mashed potatoes are great and all, but mashed sweet potatoes? That is my carb choice, every time.

They have got the creamy goodness of the traditional mash, with about a hundred times more flavour and nutrition.

Add a little rosemary and sprinkle the whole shebang with roasted pecans and watch everyone head back for seconds.

Foods to add to your festive checklist
Olive oil. Picture: Pexels


You cannot get very far in the kitchen without cooking oil, so do a final audit before you make your last trip to the shops.

You may want to stock up on different varieties – including extra virgin olive oil for drizzling over salads or making salad dressings, peanut, or sesame oil for Asian salad dressings, vegetable oil for roasting and frying, and maybe even some duck fat for roast potatoes if you are feeling indulgent.

Foods to add to your festive checklist
Prawns. Picture: Pexels/Dana Tentis


The festive season is the holiday season in South Africa, meaning that seafood is an ever-popular festive dish, especially in coastal towns where fresh fish is available daily.

Dishes such as crayfish tail, mussels, prawns, and line-fish are typically served as starters before the hearty meat dishes.

When it comes to prawns, you could serve them as a starter in the form of a prawn cocktail or maybe even garlic and spice them for a simple side accompaniment.

Foods to add to your festive checklist
Mimosa. Picture: Pexels/Sabel Blanco


Mimosas are not just for Sunday brunch. They are also the perfect way to kick off Christmas morning. Just combine champagne and orange juice for a traditional mimosa, or give it a festive twist by mixing champagne with a bit of cranberry juice.

Foods to add to your festive checklist
Brussels sprouts. Picture: Pexels/Damir Mijailovic

Brussels sprouts

This polarising vegetable is a key part of a festive dinner. Even though many people dislike Brussels sprouts (they can have a slightly bitter taste), they can always be found on the table during the festive time! They are normally served steamed or fried up with bacon.

Foods to add to your festive checklist
Pecan pie. Picture: Pexels/Regina Ferraz

Pecan pie

Although pecans are packed with healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, pecan pie is a minefield of sugar and calories.

According to health experts, a typical slice of pecan pie has 464 calories, and that is because it is usually made with lots of corn syrup, butter, and sugar.

Nibble on a bowl of mixed nuts instead. If you cannot resist the pie, choose pumpkin or opt for a very small slice, and do not eat the crust.

Foods to add to your festive checklist
Pasta. Picture: Pexels/Engin Akyurt

Spaghetti and macaroni pasta

Pasta is another dry good and a great pantry staple. You can buy these in bulk and have a full stash of different kinds of pasta as needed.

Does your family have to have spaghetti? Is macaroni salad a must-dish on the dinner table? Dried pasta keeps well if kept away from moisture and insects, so these make prime ingredients to stock up on.

Foods to add to your festive checklist
Tacos. picture: Pexels/Los Muertos Crew


Tacos are a great dish to serve to your guests during the day or night. They are tasty, easy to prepare and encourage your guests to get their hands dirty and tuck in, making it a really social meal to enjoy.

The taco recipe below is tasty, easy to make, and can be made with relatively affordable ingredients, which makes it perfect for feeding the whole family.

Foods to add to your festive checklist
Fully loaded breakfast tacos. Picture: Supplied

Fully loaded breakfast tacos

Makes: 2 large tacos


1 cup baby button mushrooms, sliced in half

1 cup white button mushrooms, sliced

½ cup black beans, rinsed and drained

½ cup corn, fresh or frozen

1 tsp Mexican taco spice

4 eggs

1 tbsp butter

½ avocado, sliced

⅛ red onion, finely sliced

½ cup cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 small fresh chilli, finely sliced

2 large flour tortillas

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh lime wedges for serving


Fry mushrooms in a drizzle of olive oil until golden brown. Season with salt, pepper, and taco spice. Add black beans and corn and stir together until hot and the flavours have mixed. Set aside and keep warm.

Scramble eggs in simmering butter until done to your liking. Season. Keep warm.

Prepare the rest of your taco toppings.

Toast your flour tortillas over a gas burner using tongs until charred on the edges and warm throughout. If you do not have a gas hob, toast the tortillas in a dry pan until warm.

Assemble the tacos by layering them with scrambled eggs, mushroom, bean and corn mix, fresh avocado, tomatoes, red onion, and chilli.

Squeeze over some lime juice and serve.

Recipe by The South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association.

Foods to add to your festive checklist
Roasted Brussels sprouts with apple and sunflower seeds. Picture: Goran Kosanovic

Roasted brussels sprouts

Serves: 4


450g brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise

2 tbsp olive oil

¼ tsp kosher salt

2 tbsp hulled, unsalted sunflower seeds

1 ½ tsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp whole-grain mustard

½ tsp honey

⅓ cup diced red apple


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Celsius. Place the brussels sprouts on a rimmed baking sheet and then toss them with one tablespoon of the oil and the salt.

Roast (middle rack) for 30 to 40 minutes until they are deep golden brown, crisp on the outside, and tender on the inside.

Meanwhile, place the sunflower seeds on a small baking sheet. Place them in the oven (lower rack), and toast for 6 to 8 minutes until fragrant. Let cool.

Whisk together the remaining tablespoon of oil, vinegar, mustard, and honey in a liquid measuring cup to form an emulsified vinaigrette.

Once the brussels sprouts are done, transfer them to a serving bowl.

Toss with the apple, sunflower seeds, and dressing; serve right away.

Recipe by dietitian, nutritionist, and author Ellie Krieger.

Original Article