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Holiday side dishes to keep on standby

Make side dishes that will be the main attraction – serving flavour and finesse worthy of celebration.

A side dish shouldn’t be reduced to a sideshow. Arrive at any bring-and-braai with these on your arm and you’ll be the main attraction.

Honeyed seed, nectarine and goat’s cheese salad

Serves 4-6

Total time 15 min


  • Pumpkin seeds 100g
  • Chevin 200g
  • Olive oil 1/2 tbsp
  • Honey 1 tbsp
  • Nectarines or peaches, sliced 4-6
  • Wild rocket 80g
  • Radishes, thinly sliced 3
  • Basil to serve
  • Basil pesto 60g


  1. Crush half the pumpkin seeds in a pestle and mortar.
  2. Roll the Chevin in the crushed seeds and set aside.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the remaining pumpkin seeds until golden. Season well. 4. Add the honey to the seeds and remove from heat.
  4. Arrange the fruit on a platter.
  5. Scatter with the rocket, radishes, basil and seed mix.
  6. Thin out the basil pesto with a splash of olive oil and drizzle it over the salad.

Filled butternut roast

Serves 4

Total time 1 hour 15 min


  • Butternut 1
  • Aubergine, halved 1
  • Baby marrow, halved 1
  • Olive oil 2 tbsp
  • Red onion, chopped 1
  • Garlic, chopped 1 clove
  • Sultanas 1/4 cup
  • Almonds, raw and chopped 50g
  • Pumpkin seeds 3 tbsp
  • Sherry or vegetable stock 45ml
  • Couscous, cooked 1/2 cup
  • Fresh parsley, chopped handful
  • Lemon juice 60ml
  • Lemon zest 1
  • Fresh herbs
  • Herb butter

Method to make the vegetables

  1. Halve the butternut, remove the seeds and score the flesh.
  2. Steam for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Steam the aubergine and baby marrow for 3-5 minutes until tender.
  4. Scoop out a little bit of flesh from each vegetable to create a hollow and set aside.

Method to make the stuffing

  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan and sauté the red onion until soft.
  2. Add the garlic, fry until fragrant.
  3. Stir in the sultanas, almonds and pumpkin seeds and fry for another minute.
  4. Add the sherry or vegetable stock, allow to reduce for a minute and remove from heat.
  5. Add the mixture to the couscous and stir it through with the parsley, lemon juice and zest. Season well.

Method to assemble

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Fill each vegetable shell with stuffing.
  2. Place the aubergine inside the hollow of one half of the butternut. Then place the baby marrow inside the hollow of the aubergine.
  3. Sandwich the other butternut half on top and secure it with butcher’s string. Drizzle with olive oil.
  4. Place the butternut on a baking tray and bake for 45-50 minutes until cooked through.
  5. Slice and serve with fresh herbs and herb butter.

Fiery fruity red cabbage slaw

Serves 4-6

Total time 15 min


  • Red cabbage, finely shredded 1 kg
  • Red seedless grapes, halved 125g
  • Dried cranberries 65g
  • Orange, segmented 2
  • Fresh coriander, chopped handful
  • Olive oil 60ml
  • Orange juice 60ml
  • Dijon mustard or wholegrain
  • mustard 1 tsp


  1. Toss together the red cabbage, grapes, cranberries, oranges and coriander.
  2. Combine the olive oil, orange juice and the mustard and season to taste.
  3. Toss the dressing through the salad just before serving.

Marinated feta and green veg salad

Serves 4-6  

Total time 15 min plus 2 hr resting


  • Feta, cubed 300g
  • Olive oil 90ml
  • Sesame seed oil 45ml
  • Garlic, grated 1 clove
  • Red chillies, sliced 1-2
  • Sesame seeds, toasted 4 tsp
  • Lemon juice 60ml
  • Lemon zest 1
  • Sugar snap peas 240g
  • Green beans 600g
  • Mange tout peas 120g


  1. Combine the feta, olive oil, sesame seed oil, garlic, chillies, sesame seeds, lemon juice and zest.
  2. Set aside to marinate for at least 2 hours.
  3. Blanch the sugar snap peas, the green beans and the mange tout.
  4. Refresh in ice-cold water, drain and pat dry.
  5. Place all the greens in a bowl, season and scatter over the feta. Drizzle with the feta’s marinating oil and serve.

Roasted cauliflower with hummus dressing

Serves 4-6  

Total time 45 min


  • Cauliflower florets 800g
  • Cashew nuts, toasted 50g
  • Sesame seeds, toasted 3 tbsp
  • Coriander seeds, toasted 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds, toasted 1 tsp
  • Hummus 60g
  • Olive oil 30ml
  • Apple cider vinegar 1 tbsp
  • Fresh mint, chopped for serving
  • Fresh parsley, chopped for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 200 ̊C.
  2. Place the cauliflower florets on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and season.
  3. Roast them for 25-35 minutes.
  4. Lightly crush the cashew nuts, sesame seeds, coriander seeds and cumin seeds together. 5. Mix the hummus, olive oil and vinegar together and season.
  5. Sprinkle the mint, parsley and the seed and nut mix over the roasted cauliflower.
  6. Drizzle the hummus dressing over the cauliflower or serve on the side.

Salted caramel carrots

Serves 6  

Total time 20-25 min


  • Baby carrots 600g
  • Butter, melted 60g
  • Dark brown sugar 30ml
  • Salt 1/2 tsp


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 ̊C. Place the baby carrots in a baking dish.
  2. Combine the butter, sugar and salt in a small bowl.
  3. Pour the mixture over the carrots and bake for 15-20 minutes until tender.

Spiced pumpkin fritters

Makes 30  

Total time 35 min

Ingredients to prepare the syrup

– Sugar 300g

– Water 180ml

– Milk 125ml

– Butter 2 tbsp

– Salt 1/2 tsp

– Cinnamon sticks 2

– Cardamom pods, crushed 3

– Cornflour 2 tsp

Ingredients to make the fritters

– Oil for deep-frying

– Pumpkin, cooked 750g

– Egg, whisked 2

– Ground cinnamon 1 tbsp

– Ground ginger 1 tsp

– Ground cloves 1/2 tsp

– Self-raising flour 300g

– Flaked almonds for serving

Method to make the syrup

  1. Place the sugar, water, milk, butter, salt, cinnamon and cardamom in a pan.
  2. Simmer until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Mix the cornflour with a little bit of cold water to create a paste.
  4. Stir it through the syrup and boil the mixture for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and set aside.

Method to make the fritters

  1. Heat the oil for deep-frying. Combine the pumpkin and eggs.
  2. Combine the cinnamon, ginger, cloves and self-raising flour.
  3. Add the pumpkin mixture and stir.
  4. Fry tablespoons of the mixture in the oil until golden.
  5. Drain the fritters on kitchen paper.
  6. Remove the whole spices from the syrup and soak the hot fritters in the syrup for 5 minutes.
  7. Serve the fritters scattered with flaked almonds.

And for an additional carrot slide, combine chopped parsley, pecan nuts, lemon zest and chilli and sprinkle over roasted carrots to give them a zing of flavour and a little extra crunch.

Photography: Fresh Living magazine

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