These healthy Christmas recipes from our latest diet and lifestyle books will really give you something to celebrate this year.

Looking for healthy Christmas recipes to cook up this year? Well stop the search, we got you. Our nutritional and lifestyle scientists developed three new books this year. They all help improve your diet and physical activity to enhance wellbeing. A healthy diet and lifestyle can reduce the risk of obesity or help you manage chronic diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes.

So we’ve selected a recipe from each book for entree, main and dessert you can make for a healthier festive feast.

Flying start: Cauliflower feta dip and seeded crackers

Serves: 8 | Prep time: 35 mins plus resting time | Cooking time: 30 mins

This recipe comes from the CSIRO Gut Care Guide by Michael Conlon, Pennie Taylor, Dr Cuong D Tran and Megan Rebuli.
Published by Macmillan Australia, RRP $39.99. Photography by Rob Palmer.

This healthy Christmas recipe is shown as an looking straight down on a bowl of dip surrounded by seed crackers and green leaves

Dip into these healthy Christmas recipes to wow your guests

The CSIRO Gut Care Guide provides an update on the latest science and looks at how the gut changes over time. It includes 60 recipes to encourage you to add dietary fibre to your meals in simple and delicious ways.

Ingredients

Dip

  • ½ head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 garlic cloves, skin on
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 anchovy fillet
  • 160 g reduced-fat goat’s feta
  • ½ cup (125 g) reduced-fat natural yoghurt
  • 1 cup (160 g) cooked butter beans or drained and rinsed tinned butter beans
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted walnuts, crushed
  • 4 cups mixed raw sliced vegetables (snow peas, radish, celery, carrot, capsicum or cucumber), to serve

Seeded crackers

  • 90 g rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseeds
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1½ tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced).
  2. To make the crackers, place the oats in a food processor or blender and blitz into small pieces. Add the flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds and pulse until roughly chopped. Tip into a bowl, add the remaining ingredients and ½ cup water and mix until well combined. If you need more water to bring the dough together, add it 1 tablespoon at a time. Set the mixture aside for 20 minutes to firm up.
  3. Meanwhile, make a start on the dip. Place the cauliflower and garlic on a baking tray, sprinkle over the ground coriander and 1 tablespoon olive oil and toss to coat. Spread out over the tray and bake for 25 minutes, until the florets are tender and golden brown on the edges. Remove and set aside to cool, leaving the oven on for the crackers.
  4. Place the cracker mixture between two sheets of baking paper. Using a rolling pin, roll it out to a 3–4 mm thickness (don’t roll it too thin or the crackers will crumble when cooked). Remove the top layer of baking paper and slide the seed mix and bottom layer of paper onto a large baking tray.
  5. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, then remove and carefully flip the seed mixture over. If it cracks in places, don’t worry – you’ll be breaking it into crackers anyway! Bake for another 10 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes, before breaking into crackers.
  6. To finish the dip, place the cooled cauliflower in a food processor and squeeze in the flesh from the garlic cloves. Add the anchovy, feta, yoghurt, butter beans and lemon juice and blitz to a smooth paste. For a smoother consistency, add a dash of water and blitz again.
  7. Scoop into a serving bowl and sprinkle over the walnuts. Finish with the remaining olive oil and a good grinding of black pepper. Serve the dip with the seeded crackers and the raw vegetables.

Main event: BBQ chimichurri prawns

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cooking time: 5 mins

This healthy Christmas recipe comes from CSIRO Low-Carb Diabetes Every Day by Professor Grant Brinkworth and Pennie Taylor.
Published by Macmillan Australia, RRP $39.99. Photography by Rob Palmer.

Healthy Christmas recipe of prawns in bowls with salad and a set of tongs

Chuck another shrimp on the barbie!

Featuring nutritious low-carb, high-protein recipes and weekly meal and exercise plans, the CSIRO Low-Carb Diet books can help you lose weight without the hunger pangs. Not sure about low-carb? Let us give you the low down.

Ingredients

  • 600 g peeled, deveined raw prawns, with tails intact
  • 6 cups (300 g) radicchio, leaves roughly torn
  • 2 teaspoons Golden Mustard Dressing
  • 1 small avocado, sliced into wedges
  • 2 Lebanese cucumbers, sliced in half lengthways, seeds scooped out, then sliced into thin half moons
  • 2 limes, sliced into cheeks

Chimichurri

  • 2 bunches flat-leaf parsley, very finely chopped
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed„
  • teaspoon freshly ground
  • ½ black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. To make the chimichurri, combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl, then stand for 5 minutes to allow the flavours to develop.
  2. Place half the chimichurri with the prawns in a bowl and toss well
    to coat.
  3. Heat a barbecue chargrill plate to high, or place a large frying pan over
    high heat. Cook the prawns in a single layer for 2 minutes on each side, or until just cooked through.
  4. Toss the radicchio in the golden mustard dressing in a bowl.
  5. Divide the prawns between four plates and serve with radicchio and the avocado, cucumber, lime cheeks and remaining chimichurri.

Sweet spot: Custard brulée with choc pastries

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 30 mins plus cooling time | Cooking time: 15 mins

Our final recipe is for desert. And it’s from the CSIRO Women’s Health and Nutrition Guide by Jane Bowen, Bev Muhlhausler & Gemma Williams.
Published by Macmillan Australia, RRP $39.99. Photography by Rob Palmer.

Three creme brulees on a tray with a spoon sprinkling sugar on top and pastries beside it

This recipe is really the creme-de-la-creme

In the book, we encourage people to think about food as a way to nourish their bodies for health and wellness instead of denying themselves and restricting eating.

Ingredients

  • 8 sheets filo pastry
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 80 g dark chocolate, finely grated
  • 400 ml custard
  • 100 g reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced). Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Lay out the filo sheets on a work surface and lightly spray the tops with oil. Sprinkle the chocolate evenly over seven of the sheets, then stack them directly on top of each other. Finish with the remaining piece of filo and press down lightly. Cut the stack into 12 even pieces, then transfer to the prepared trays.
  3. Place both trays in the oven and bake for 10–12 minutes, turning the trays around on the shelves halfway through, until the pastries are cooked and golden. Cool on the trays, then transfer the pastries to serving plates.
  4. Using a hand-held electric mixer, beat the custard and cream cheese until smooth. Divide among four 180 ml flameproof ramekins, then level the surface and sprinkle the tops evenly with sugar. Use a blowtorch to caramelise the sugar until it melts and turns deep golden. Allow the caramelised sugar to set, then serve with the chocolate pastries alongside. No blowtorch? No problem. Pop your ramekins under your oven grill for about 5 minutes until the sugar turns a deep golden.

We hope our healthy Christmas recipes have given you some inspiration. Now you can whip up something delicious, filling and healthy this festive season. And with our range of diet and lifestyle books and programs, you can eat better all year round. Did someone say New Year’s resolution?

2 comments

  1. These recipes look amazing, thanks for sharing them.
    I don’t see the recipe for the golden mustard dressing too use with the prawns though.
    Am I missing something?

    1. Hi Carol,

      Oh no, sorry we missed this! Never fear – we have located the recipe.

      Here it is:
      Golden Mustard Dressing:
      Serves: 1 Cup (250ml), 1 portion = 1 tablespoon
      Preparation: 3 minutes
      Difficulty: easy

      1 small golden shallot, roughly chopped
      ¾ cup (185ml) extra virgin olive oil
      ¼ cup (60ml) lemon juice
      1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
      ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

      Blitz all ingredients in a blender until well combined, smooth and creamy. Pour into a jar or airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

      Happy cooking,
      Team CSIRO

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