Christmas sides that shouldn’t be sidelined

  • Dec 12, 2017

Christmas Sides | Dips, Bread & Caramelised Carrots

“Don’t gorge yourself on all the sides”, they say. “Don’t eat it all or there will be no room for the main event”, they groan. Well, ask any veggie and they’ll tell you that most often our only options are the sides!
Because of this, we know our way around one or two for your Christmas spread. We wouldn’t leave any table without a hearty salad, but those will come later. For now, jot down these few crowd-pleasing starters and sides.

I grew up either spending an English-style Christmas with family in Kenya; or a local (most likely have something on the braai too) Christmas with my family here. Either way, we were both lucky enough to have impressive spreads growing up and generally rolled from the table to a more comfortable chair (loosening a notch on the belt) as we rolled.

Whether you’re a family who likes snacks before lunch or prefers it all laid out on the table for you to pick at tapas style, we created two dips or spreads for your breads. Or just eat it by the spoonful. First, we made a salty, rich Olive Tapenade and then a smoky, creamy roasted aubergine Baba Ganoush. Balance.

To make the Olive Tapenade, we used 5 simple ingredients – good quality kalamata olives, great olive oil, some lemon juice, parsley and a little garlic. Make sure you buy pitted olives or you’ll spend the good part of an afternoon removing the pips yourself. Unless you have a helpful elf about, then you can put them to work.
Tapenade can be quite salty, so we advise taste testing a few olives before you whizz them up in a food processor.

Our Baba Ganoush is a little more complicated but well worth it for its nutty, creamy full-bodied flavour.
We pricked our aubergines with a knife and roasted them whole for what felt like a long while. While you’re waiting on this, you can make yourself our Christmas Cocktail – maybe even make a few for your guests. Maybe just keep all the gin to yourself. We don’t judge. Christmas cooking is hard and should never be done without a drink in hand.

Once the aubergine is completely cooked and soft as butter, you scoop it out of its skin and pop this in the food processor along with the rest of the Baba Ganoush ingredients. Be careful not to over process it as a little bit of a chunky texture adds to it. More Baba Ganoush on your crostini, basically. Sprinkle a few pomegranate seeds on top for some festive flair and of course, to add a little sweetness.

Once your dips are ready, we can move onto caramelising the carrots. For our Vegan Christmas Feast, we held onto the one flavour profile that made us think of the meals of past December 25th’s most. Earthy, rich, warm flavours with strong spicy aromas permeate the kitchen of both our family homes and we didn’t want to lose that when we passed on the meat.

Both our grandmother’s used to make the sweetest carrots for Christmas lunch. Cooked down in sugar and little else, these syrupy roots probably did little for our teeth but are firmly cemented in our memories. We made a slightly healthier twist on this old favourite, using NOMU’s Festive Spices, honey and the prettiest organic rainbow carrots.
Simply toss the carrots in the mixture et voila! Bang ’em in the oven, al la Jamie Oliver, and you’re on your way to memory lane.

Over the next 12 days (of Christmas!) we’ll be sharing our Christmas Feast with you, from start to finish. Trust us, you’re going to want to leave room, and wonder, for dessert!



Caramelised Rainbow Carrots

  • 1 Bunch Rainbow Carrots
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp Organic Honey
  • 2tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Baba Ganoush

  • 2 Large Eggplants
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp White Sesame Seeds
  • 1 Lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Pomegranate Rubies

Olive Tapenade

  • 3 Clove Garlic, peeled
  • 1 cup Pitted Kalamata Olives
  • 3 tbsp Fresh Parsley, chopped
  • 1 Lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Caramelised Rainbow Carrots

  1. Preheat your oven to 220 degrees Celcius and line a baking tray with baking paper or foil.
  2. In a small jar/cup combine oilve oil, honey, and spices, using a fork gently whisk to combine.
  3. Lay your carrots over the prepared baking tray and drizzle on your glaze, rolling the carrots around to fully coat them
  4. Season with salt and pepper and roast for approximately 30min, or until the carrots have taken on a lovely golden colour.
  5. Remove from the oven and serve hot.
  6. Enjoy!

Baba Ganoush

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius and line a baking tray with baking paper or foil.

  2. Using a knife pierce the eggplant a couple of times to allow trapped air to escape while in the oven. Place your whole eggplants on an oven tray with a splash of olive oil and some salt.

  3. Roast the aubergine until tender, about 30-45 minutes.

  4. Let the eggplants cool for a while, then slice them open and carve out the “flesh”, leaving the skin behind.

  5. Add your remaining ingredients to a food processor and pulse to combine, be careful not to over blend as you don’t want the baba ganoush to be completely smooth.

  6. Garnish with some pomegranate rubies, and eat as a dip with your crispy bread.


  7. Enjoy!

Olive Tapenade

  1. Place the garlic cloves in a blender or food processor and pulse to mince.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until everything is finely chopped. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Serve as a dip alongside your baba ganoush and crispy bread.
  4. Enjoy!


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