Salads steal the spotlight

’Tis the season for festive feasting, and what better way to decorate your Christmas table than with a lineup of vibrant salads that are as decorative as they are delicious.

These spectacular salads are set to steal the spotlight, bringing freshness, flavour bombs and a rainbow of colours to your dinner table.

When planning a Christmas feast, having a diverse array of salads adds an excellent dimension to your festive dining, offering various flavours and textures to every plate. A well-curated spread enhances the whole feast, from hearty and substantial options that serve as a satisfying main to lighter, refreshing selections designed to cleanse the palette. Each one of these salads will pair perfectly with your classic Christmas meats.

On the more substantial side, I have included a golden cauliflower, green bean and sticky onion salad dolloped with garlic tahini sauce. Want to make it even more substantial? Adding a cup or two of your favourite grains pairs perfectly; lentils, quinoa or brown rice all work well while keeping it gluten-free.

New potatoes are a given at Christmas. If, like me, you swoon over a delectably crispy potato rather than opting for the conventional boiled potato, brace yourself for a flavour revelation. These crispy new potatoes, paired with a vibrant romesco sauce, turn a side dish into a showstopper. You will want to be first in the queue to fill your plate, as these will only last for a while.

Ensuring a well-rounded meal involves balancing the flavours with a selection of lighter, juicer, fresher salads. Let me share one of my most cherished, effortlessly prepared salads. A trustworthy favourite at my dinner table, the essential green salad isn't just here to refresh the palette.

By incorporating an array of crisp green vegetables, the texture and flavour of this salad are elevated to new heights. Infusing a touch of excitement, toasted seeds, avocado and goat feta contribute a delightful crunch and a creamy, salty flavour, seamlessly transforming the humble green salad into a much-desired addition to your plate.

What makes these salads even better? They are made easy. Many components can be prepped beforehand, allowing you to assemble them effortlessly when needed. It is essential to remove as much stress as possible for us cooks on Christmas Day; prepping is the way to go. Say goodbye to last-minute kitchen chaos and hello to stress-free entertaining.


Golden cauliflower, green bean and
sticky onion salad with garlic tahini sauce

A classic. Want to make this salad go further? Add a can of lentils or 1 cup of cooked quinoa and a little extra salad dressing.

Other flavour bombs that work well in place of garlic tahini sauce are feta, tahini yoghurt or grilled halloumi.

Gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan

1 medium size cauliflower, roughly chopped (inner leaves included)

¼ cup olive oil

1½ tsp each; turmeric, ground coriander, ground cumin, sea salt

200g green beans, ends removed and sliced in half

2 spring onions, finely sliced

2 handfuls of baby spinach

3 Tbsp pumpkin seeds

3 Tbsp sunflower seeds

Salt and pepper, to taste

Garlic Tahini Sauce

¼ cup lemon juice

100g tahini, hulled

1 garlic clove, crushed

Good pinch of sea salt

70ml cold water

Sticky Onions

4 Tbsp olive oil

2 large red onion, very thinly sliced

½ tsp sea salt

4 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp maple syrup

Salad dressing

3 Tbsp lemon juice

6 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp Dijon mustard

½ tsp honey

Good pinch of sea salt


Preheat the oven to 220°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Mix the chopped cauliflower, spices, and cup of olive oil in a large bowl and transfer to the prepared baking tray.

Roast for 20 minutes, and then set aside to cool.

For the sticky onions, add the oil to a large frying pan on medium heat. Once hot, add sliced red onion and sea salt and fry for 15-20 minutes, stirring every few minutes to cook evenly. The onions will break down and become very soft and translucent.

Stir in the apple cider vinegar and maple syrup, and cook for 2 minutes until onions have become sticky and any excess liquid has evaporated.

Cool in the pan before using; if you have made these for later use, transfer onions to an air-tight jar and store in the fridge.

For the seeds, place a small pan on medium heat and add sunflower and pumpkin seeds, 1 teaspoon olive oil and a pinch of salt. Toast for 5 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds to ensure even cooking. Set aside to cool until needed.

For the garlic tahini sauce, add all ingredients to a Nutribullet or the small food processor bowl and blend for 30 seconds or until you have a thick pourable sauce (a whisk will also work). If your sauce is too thick, add a little extra water; if it is too thin, add extra tahini and blend again.

This sauce can be made ahead of time and kept for 5 days in the fridge.

For the green beans, boil the jug, place the sliced green beans into a medium heat-proof bowl, cover with boiling water and sit for 1 minute. Strain immediately and run under cold water to cool quickly and drain thoroughly.

Mix all salad dressing ingredients in a small jar, shaking to combine.

Combine the salad. Using a large bowl, toss together with your hands the roasted cauliflower, green beans, baby spinach, sliced spring onions, two-thirds of the toasted seeds (reserve 2 tablespoons for garnish), and salad dressing, and season to taste with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper if needed.

Assemble the salad. Using a large salad plate, place half of the cauliflower salad onto the plate, then dollop with half of the garlic tahini sauce, scatter half the sticky onions on top, and repeat in the same order.

Garnish the salad with extra toasted seeds. Keeps for up to 3 days in the fridge.


You can pre-prepare a lot of this salad 2-3 days in advance. Keep them separate and in sealed containers in the fridge: roasted cauliflower, toasted seeds, garlic tahini sauce, sticky onions and the salad dressing. This will make assembling on the day very quick.

My kind of green salad with goat feta and toasted seeds

I love using sturdy lettuce, like oak or cos, for this salad; iceberg would also work well. They will hold up longer than a delicate, soft salad green.

This is a lovely fresh green salad with added fats from avocado, goatʼs feta and toasted seeds, adding more fuel to your usual green salad.

Enjoy a large serving as a side with barbecue meats, or make this salad alongside another grain-based salad. This is the perfect green fill-in dish to accompany any meal and add that palette cleanse we all need.

Gluten-free, dairy-free

4 handfuls of salad greens, roughly torn

1 cucumber, finely sliced on an angle

1 to 2 avocados, cut in half, stone removed and finely sliced

200g baby peas, fresh or frozen

150g goat feta or goat chevre

2 handfuls of herbs, a mixture of any parsley, mint, dill, fennel, basil, or coriander.

¼ cup pumpkin seeds

Sea salt to taste

3 tsp Zaatar (optional)

Salad dressing

3 Tbsp lemon juice

6 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp Dijon mustard

½ tsp honey

Good pinch of sea salt


Place a small pan on medium heat, add pumpkin seeds and olive oil, and toss regularly until lightly toasted, about 3-5 minutes.

Mix all salad dressing ingredients in a small bowl or jar until well combined. This can be made ahead of time.

Place peas in a medium bowl, pour boiling water over the top and allow to defrost for 1 minute. Drain the water completely.

Prepare all of your above ingredients and have them ready to assemble.

Assemble salad using a large serving plate or platter; we are going to create two layers of salad, using half of all your ingredients for the first layer, scatter in this order across your plate: salad greens, cucumber, baby peas, avocado, goat’s feta, chopped herbs, toasted pumpkin seeds, salad dressing, zaatar and a good sprinkling of sea salt, repeat in this order with the remaining ingredients.

Serve immediately. Best eaten on the day.


Want to make ahead of time? You can prepare this salad beforehand and assemble it as instructed, but leave out the avocado and salad dressing and add these when you are ready to serve.  The salad can be prepared earlier in the day and kept well-covered and chilled until served.

Crispy new potatoes with romesco sauce

These are the ultimate jazzed-up roast potatoes that will steal the show and have your crowd returning for seconds.

Romesco sauce brings a bold pop of colour and flavour bomb to your potatoes.

While very easy to prepare, these will elevate your Christmas spread, and the flavours will be a great addition to most meat options enjoyed alongside. 



To make dairy-free/vegan, omit the feta on top

1kg to 1.2kg small-medium new potatoes

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp each; garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano

Good grind of black pepper

A small handful of coriander or Italian parsley leaves

40g feta cheese

Flakey sea salt to serve

Romesco sauce

300g charred capsicums,

drained before weighing

¼ cup sundried tomatoes

½ cup blanched almonds, lightly toasted

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1 tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp chilli powder

1 Tbsp sherry vinegar

1/3 cup olive oil


Prepare the potatoes; scrub and rinse the dirty potatoes with goldilocks under cold water. Transfer to a medium-size pot.

Fill the pot with tap water until the potatoes are fully submerged. Add 1 tsp of sea salt and bring the water to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes or until a knife can pierce through the potatoes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C on fan-bake and pop a large baking tray into the oven to heat while the potatoes boil.

Drain the potatoes into a colander and let them sit for 30 seconds to drain completely.

Remove the hot baking tray from the oven and drizzle 2 Tbsp of olive oil before transferring the potatoes to the tray.

Separate potatoes evenly, and using a masher or base of a flat-bottomed glass, press each potato down to 2cm thick. Drizzle the remaining oil over the potatoes and sprinkle with 1 tsp sea salt, garlic and onion powder, dried oregano and a good grind of black pepper.

Bake until potatoes are golden and crispy around the edges, about 25-35 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make your romesco sauce, blend all ingredients in a Nutribullet or high-powered blender until smooth.

Roughly tear Italian parsley or coriander leaves.

Spread half to three-quarters of the romesco sauce in the centre of a large serving plate, and with the back of a dessert spoon, spread it in a circular motion to cover three-quarters of the plate.

Remove the potatoes from the oven, and using a spatula, transfer to your plate with romesco sauce.

Garnish with crumbled feta, coriander or Italian parsley leaves and a sprinkle of good flakey sea salt.


You can store the remainder of the Romesco sauce in an air-tight jar in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.