"Christmas side dishes from around the world"

Delicious Christmas Delights: Discover Global Side Dishes to Spice Up the Festive Season

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Delicious Christmas Delights: Discover Global Side Dishes to Spice Up the Festive Season

Spice up your festive season with a wave of global flavors! Get ready to tantalize your taste buds and discover a world of mouthwatering side dishes that will take your Christmas feast to a new level. From traditional favorites with a twist to exotic culinary delights, these global recipes will leave your guests begging for more.

Whether you’re a fan of the rich flavors of Indian cuisine or the vibrant spices of Latin America, there’s something for everyone in this gastronomic extravaganza. Picture golden samosas filled with fragrantly spiced potatoes, tangy tandoori cauliflower roasted to perfection, or crispy empanadas bursting with savory fillings. These side dishes are sure to impress even the most discerning palates.

So why stick to the same old mashed potatoes and green bean casserole when you can explore the diverse and delicious world of international cuisines? This year, let your Christmas table become a melting pot of flavors and traditions with these delectable side dishes guaranteed to steal the show.

Prepare to embark on a culinary adventure and make your Christmas celebrations unforgettable. Get ready for the most delicious Christmas delights from around the globe!

"Bahamian Pigeon peas and rice recipe"
Bahamian Peas and Rice – Click Here

Christmas side dishes from around the world

When it comes to Christmas side dishes, every culture has its own unique and cherished recipes. From Europe to Asia, Africa to Latin America, countless traditional dishes have been passed down through generations. These dishes not only add a touch of authenticity to your holiday menu but also provide a glimpse into the rich culinary heritage of different regions. Explore some traditional side dishes that will transport you to far-off lands.

European Christmas Side Dishes

Europe is a treasure trove of culinary delights, especially during the festive season. From the rich and decadent flavors of France to the hearty and comforting dishes of Germany, there’s something for every taste bud. In France, you can indulge in creamy gratin dauphinois, a potato dish baked to golden perfection with layers of cheese and cream. The classic Caponata, a sweet and sour eggplant relish in Italy, adds flavor to any Christmas table. And in Germany, you can’t go wrong with a serving of red cabbage braised with apples and spices, a perfect accompaniment to roasted meats.


"Braised red cabbage on a black plate with a green apple and cabbage wedge"
Braised red cabbage – Click Here

Asian-Inspired Christmas Side Dishes

If you’re a fan of Asian cuisine, why not bring some of its vibrant flavors to your Christmas feast? From aromatic spices to delicate flavors, Asian-inspired side dishes will impress your guests. In India, you can serve a bowl of fragrant biryani, a rice dish cooked with spices, vegetables, and meat. In China, stir-fried green beans with garlic and soy sauce are a simple yet delicious addition to any meal. A refreshing green papaya salad with a tangy dressing perfectly complements Thailand’s rich and indulgent main dishes.

"papaya, snow peas, tomatoes and carrots salad on a white plate"
Papaya Salad – Click Here

Latin American Christmas Side Dishes

Latin American cuisine is known for its bold and vibrant flavors; Christmas is no exception. From Mexico to Argentina, countless side dishes will add a Latin twist to your holiday menu. In Mexico, you can go right with a serving of tamales and savory corn dough filled with various fillings and wrapped in corn husks. In Brazil, a platter of pão de queijo, cheese bread rolls made with cassava flour, will delight your guests. In Argentina, a bowl of chimichurri sauce made with parsley, garlic, and vinegar perfectly accompanies grilled meats.

"Brazilian bread muffins with cheese"
Pao de Queijo (a Brazilian bread) – Click Here

African Christmas Side Dishes

African cuisine is as diverse as the continent, with each region boasting unique flavors and ingredients. From the rich stews of West Africa to the spicy curries of North Africa, there’s something for every palate. In Nigeria, a serving of jollof rice, a flavorful one-pot rice dish cooked with tomatoes and spices, is a must-have on Christmas day. In Ethiopia, injera, a spongy flatbread made from fermented teff flour, perfectly accompanies various dishes. And in Morocco, a platter of vegetable tagine, slow-cooked with aromatic spices, will transport you to the bustling souks of Marrakech.

Caribbean Christmas side dishes

If you want to add creativity to your Christmas feast, why not try some unique and unconventional side dishes? These dishes may not be traditional, but they bring excitement and adventure to your holiday table. From fusion flavors to innovative ingredients, these recipes are bound to impress.

Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and Cheese – Click Here

Fusion Flavors

One way to spice up your Christmas feast is by combining flavors from different cuisines. How about a serving of kimchi mac and cheese, where the sharp and tangy flavors of kimchi meet the creamy comfort of mac and cheese? Or a curried sweet potato latkes dish, where the traditional Jewish potato pancake gets a spicy Caribbean twist? These fusion flavors are sure to surprise and delight your guests.

"Curried sweet potato latkes on white plate"
Sweet potato latkes – Click Here

Innovative Ingredients

Another way to add a unique twist to your Christmas side dishes is by experimenting with innovative ingredients. How about a salad of roasted Breadfruit with pomegranate and tahini dressing? Or a dish of roasted cauliflower steaks with green seasoning sauce? These unexpected combinations will flavor your holiday menu and showcase your culinary creativity. But if you want a little less innovation and more traditional side dishes, I get you here: sharing

What can I eat for Christmas besides turkey?

Christmas is a time of joy and celebrations.  No hard and fast rule says you have to eat turkey. Consider indulging in succulent roasts like prime rib, beef tenderloin, or glazed ham as alternatives to the traditional turkey. Roasted duck or Cornish hens make elegant and flavorful main courses. For seafood lovers, options like roasted salmon, stuffed baked fish, shrimp scampi, or a seafood paella can be delightful. Vegetarian and vegan options like stuffed squash, lentil loaves, or hearty vegetables can cater to diverse dietary preferences in Wellington.

Explore festive side dishes such as turmeric rice, roasted vegetables, wild rice pilaf, or cranberry-mango relish to complement your chosen main course. Don’t forget about decadent desserts! Classic choices include yule logs, fruitcakes, and gingerbread, or for a twist, try a chocolate mousse cake or a festive trifle. Embrace the holiday spirit by experimenting with various cuisines and flavors to create a memorable Christmas feast beyond the traditional turkey.  Let’s eat around the world!!

Caribbean-inspired Christmas side dishes

Now that you have a collection of mouthwatering global side dishes, it’s time to incorporate them into your holiday menu. Here are some tips to help you seamlessly integrate these dishes into your Christmas feast.

  1. Plan ahead: Take the time to research and choose the side dishes that best complement your main course. Consider each dish’s flavors, textures, and ingredients to ensure they harmonize with the rest of your menu.
  2. Balance flavors: Aim for a balance of flavors when planning your menu. Mix spicy dishes with milder ones, and pair rich and indulgent side dishes with lighter and fresher options. This will create a well-rounded and satisfying dining experience for your guests.
  3. Prepare in advance: Many side dishes can be prepared in advance, allowing you to spend more time with your loved ones on Christmas day. Look for recipes that can be made ahead of time and reheated or assembled at the last minute.
  4. Consider dietary restrictions: Consider any dietary restrictions or preferences your guests may have. Make sure to include vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options so everyone can enjoy the feast.
  5. Have fun with the presentation: Remember the presentation of your side dishes. Use colorful platters, garnishes, and serving utensils to make the dishes visually appealing and inviting.
"Roasted cauliflower and asparagus"
Roasted cauliflower and asparagus – Click Here

Caribbean Christmas side dishes

Now that you have some tips for incorporating global side dishes into your holiday menu, it’s time to cook! Here are a few delicious recipes to get you started.

  1. Spiced Sweet Potato Mash


– 4 large sweet potatoes

– 2 tablespoons butter

– 1/4 cup milk

– 1 teaspoon ground ginger

– 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

– 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

– Habanero pepper (optional)

– Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork and place them on a baking sheet. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until they are soft and tender.
  3. Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and let them cool slightly. Cut them in half and scoop out the flesh into a large bowl.
  4. Add butter, milk, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and pepper to the bowl. Mash everything together until smooth and well combined.
  5. Serve the spiced sweet potato mash hot as a flavorful and comforting side dish.

       2. Crispy Tandoori Cauliflower


– 1 large cauliflower, cut into florets

– 1 cup plain yogurt

– 2 tablespoons tandoori masala

– 1 tablespoon lemon juice

– 1 clove garlic, minced

– 1/2 teaspoon ground clove

– Salt to taste

– Fresh basil, chopped, for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine yogurt, tandoori masala, garlic, lemon juice, clove, and salt in a large bowl. Mix well to form a smooth marinade.
  3. Add the cauliflower florets to the bowl and toss them in the marinade until they are well coated.
  4. Arrange the cauliflower florets on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the cauliflower is tender and crispy, turning them halfway through.
  5. Remove the crispy tandoori cauliflower from the oven and garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve hot as an exotic and flavorful side dish.

      3. Savory Patties


For the dough:

– 2 cups all-purpose flour

– 1/2 teaspoon salt

– 1 teaspoon turmeric or curry powder

– 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces

– 1/4 cup ice water

For the filling:

– 1 tablespoon olive oil

– 1 small onion, finely chopped

– 2 cloves garlic, minced

– 1/2 pound ground beef or chicken

– 1 teaspoon curry powder

– 1/2 teaspoon slap ya mama season

– 1/2 teaspoon paprika

– Salt and pepper to taste

– 1/4 cup pitted olives, chopped

– 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped


  1. Whisk together flour, turmeric, and salt in a large bowl. Add cold butter and use your fingers or a pastry cutter to cut it into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. Add ice water a tablespoon a time until the dough comes together. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until softened and fragrant.
  4. Add ground beef or chicken to the skillet, cook until browned, and break it up with a spoon. Stir in slap ya mama, curry powder, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  5. Remove the skillet from heat and stir in chopped olives and hard-boiled eggs. Let the filling cool slightly.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/8 inch on a lightly floured surface. Use a round cookie cutter or a glass to cut out circles from the dough.
  8. Place a spoonful of the filling in the center of each dough circle. Fold the dough over the filling to form a half-moon shape and press the edges together to seal.
  9. Place the patties on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
  10. Remove the empanadas from the oven and let them cool slightly before serving. Enjoy these flavorful and savory delights as a festive Christmas side dish.

African Christmas side dishes

This Christmas, let your taste buds travel the world with these delicious global side dishes. From traditional favorites to fusion flavors, this extravaganza has something for everyone. So why settle for the same old mashed potatoes and green bean casserole when you can explore the diverse and delicious world of international cuisines?

Whether you’re craving the rich flavors of Bahamian cuisine, the aromatic spices of Asia, the bold and vibrant tastes of the Caribbean and Latin America, or the diverse and unique flavors of Africa, these side dishes are guaranteed to add a touch of excitement and adventure to your holiday menu. So go ahead, embark on a culinary adventure, and make your Christmas celebrations unforgettable with these mouthwatering delights from around the globe.

"Injera an Ehtiiopian spongy bread on cream plate"
Injera, an Ethiopian Bread – Click Here

Unique and unconventional Christmas side dishes

Africa is a continent known for its vibrancy and diverse culinary traditions. Incorporating African side dishes into your Christmas menu is a surefire way to add a unique and exciting twist to your festivities. The endless options are spicy West African jollof rice to comforting South African bobotie.

  1. Jollof Rice: Jollof rice is a beloved West African dish perfect for Christmas celebrations. This flavorful rice dish is cooked with a tomato-based sauce, onions, peppers, and a blend of spices. The result is a fragrant and colorful dish that pairs well with grilled meats and roasted vegetables.
  2. Bobotie: The traditional South African dish often enjoyed during the festive season. It is a flavorful meat dish made with minced lamb or beef, mixed with spices, and topped with an egg-based custard. The combination of sweet and savory flavors makes this dish a true crowd-pleaser.
  3. Injera: Injera is a sourdough flatbread staple in Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine. It is made from fermented teff flour and has a unique, tangy flavor. Injera is often served with various stews and curries, making it a great addition to any Christmas feast.

What do Europeans eat for Christmas?

European Christmas culinary traditions vary widely across the continent, each region having its cherished dishes. In Northern Europe, countries like Germany and Scandinavia often feature roasted meats such as goose, duck, or pork as the centerpiece. Accompanying these meats are delicious sides like red cabbage, sauerkraut, and potato dishes. Scandinavians also savor lutefisk (dried fish treated with lye) and various fish dishes. Moving to Southern Europe, Italians celebrate with a Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve, featuring a variety of seafood dishes like baccalà (salted cod) and seafood pasta.

A popular Christmas dish in Spain is the succulent roast suckling pig called “cochinillo.” Throughout Europe, sweet treats like Christmas cookies, fruitcakes, stollen, gingerbread, and mince pies are prevalent, along with mulled wine and hot chocolate to warm up the festive season. Each European country boasts unique and cherished Christmas culinary traditions, making the holiday a celebration of diverse and delicious foods.

"Roasted whole succulent pig on silver baking tray with potatoes and lemon"
Cochinillo, a Spanish tradition during the holidays – Click Here

Tips for incorporating global side dishes into your holiday menu

If you want to break away from tradition and surprise your guests with something unexpected, these unique and unconventional Christmas side dishes are just what you need. These dishes will twist your holiday menu and spark interesting conversations around the dinner table.

  1. Roasted Green Beans with Balsamic Glaze and Bacon: Roasted Green Beans are a classic Christmas side dish, but this recipe takes them to a new level. Roasted to perfection and glazed with balsamic vinegar, these beans are topped with crispy bacon for an irresistible combination of flavors.
  2. Stewed Peas: Try these stewed peas for a vegetarian-friendly option. The peas are cooked with onions, garlic, and a blend of spices. They are cooked until the broth thickens and the peas are tender. The result is a colorful, flavorful, satisfying, and nutritious dish.
  3. Spiced Roasted Carrots with Tahini Sauce: Elevate your roasted carrots with a Middle Eastern twist. Toss the carrots with a blend of spices like cumin, coriander, and paprika, then roast them until golden and tender. Serve them with a drizzle of creamy tahini sauce for a burst of flavor.
"Miso madness dressing with watermelon salad"
Watermelon Salad with Miso Madness Dressing – Click Here

Christmas side dish recipes

Now that you have some inspiration for global side dishes, here are a few tips to help you incorporate them seamlessly into your holiday menu:

  1. Plan ahead: Take some time to research and test out recipes before the big day. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with new ingredients and techniques, ensuring everything goes smoothly on Christmas day.
  2. Balance flavors: When planning your menu, consider the overall balance of flavors. Pair bold and spicy dishes with milder options to create a harmonious combination. This will ensure that every dish shines without overpowering the others.
  3. Consider dietary restrictions and preferences: Remember your guests’ preferences. Offer various options, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dishes, to ensure that everyone can enjoy the feast.
  4. Presentation is key: Pay attention to the presentation of your dishes. Garnish with fresh herbs, sprinkle with colorful spices, or arrange them in an eye-catching way. Remember, we eat with our eyes first, so make sure your side dishes look as delicious as they taste.

Conclusion: Add a global twist to your Christmas feast

To help you get started, here are a few recipes for festive Christmas side dishes from around the globe:


  1. Recipe: Jollof Rice

– Ingredients:

– 2 cups long-grain rice

– 1 onion, diced

– 1 red bell pepper, diced

– 1 green bell pepper, diced

– 3 ripe tomatoes, diced

– 2 cloves garlic, minced

– 1 teaspoon paprika

– 1 teaspoon thyme

– 1 teaspoon curry powder

– 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

– Salt and pepper to taste

– 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth

– 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

– Instructions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, garlic, and sauté until softened.
  2. Add the tomatoes, paprika, thyme, curry powder, cayenne pepper (if using), salt, and pepper. Cook for a few minutes until the tomatoes start to break down.
  3. Add the rice and stir to coat it with the tomato mixture. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed.
  5. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve hot.

         2. Recipe: Roasted Green Beans with Balsamic Glaze and Bacon

– Ingredients:

– 1 pound Green Beans, trimmed

– 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

– 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

– 1 tablespoon honey

– Salt and pepper to taste

– Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Place the Green Beans on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil—season with salt and pepper.
  2. Roast the Brussels sprouts for about 10 minutes or until they are tender and caramelized.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine the balsamic vinegar and honey. Cook over medium heat until the mixture has reduced and thickened slightly.
  4. Drizzle the balsamic glaze over the roasted beans, then sprinkle with the crumbled bacon. Serve immediately.

         3. Recipe: Stewed 15 Blend Peas

– Ingredients:

– 1 bag of 15 beans, pre-soaked

– 2 carrots, diced

– 1 onion, diced

– 1 tomato, diced

– 7 cloves garlic, minced

– 1 cup vegetable broth

– 3 sprigs of fresh thyme or one teaspoon dried thyme

– 1 teaspoon ground ginger

– 1 teaspoon paprika

– 1 teaspoon onion powder

– 1 teaspoon adobo seasoning

– 1/4 cup of red bell peppers and scallions, diced

– 1 scotch  pepper, whole

– Salt and pepper to taste

– Olive oil for drizzling

– Instructions:

  1. Soak and clean the peas and let them soak overnight.  Blend about 6 cups with five cloves of garlic and let sit overnight.
  2. Strain peas from water.  Add peas to a pot with garlic water, vegetable broth, ginger powder, paprika, onion powder, and adobo seasoning. Bring peas to a boil, reduce heat, and cook for 30 minutes.
  3. Combine diced carrots, tomatoes, onion, and thyme in a mixing boil.  Add to pot with peas and stir to incorporate. Reduce heat to low and cook for another 30 minutes or until peas are soft or break when squeezed but not falling apart.
  4. Finish stewed peas by removing them from heat and adding olive oil, scallions, red bell peppers mixed, and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve with rice or grits as a main dish and topped with extra scallions.

Vegetable Tarte Tatin


  • 1 sheet puff pastry (store-bought or homemade), thawed if frozen
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3-4 assorted vegetables (such as butternut squash, corn, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, and carrots), thinly sliced or chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish (optional)


  • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • In a 9 or 10-inch ovenproof skillet, melt the butter with olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced red onion and minced garlic. Sauté for about 5-7 minutes until the onion softens.
  • Add the assorted sliced/chopped vegetables and thyme leaves to the skillet—season with salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 8-10 minutes until the vegetables are slightly tender but still retain some firmness.
  • Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the vegetables in the skillet. Stir gently to combine and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the vinegar reduces slightly.
  • Remove the skillet from heat. Arrange the cooked vegetables evenly in the skillet, creating a single layer.
  • Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface to fit the size of your skillet. Carefully place the puff pastry over the vegetables in the skillet, tucking the edges around the sides.
  • With a sharp knife, make a few small slits on the pastry to allow steam to escape.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and puffed.
  • Once done, carefully invert the skillet onto a serving plate (use oven mitts for safety). The vegetable tarte tatin should come out with the pastry on the bottom and the caramelized vegetables on top.
  • Optionally, sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over the vegetables and garnish with fresh basil leaves.
  • Slice and serve the vegetable tarte tatin warm. Enjoy this delightful dish as a flavorful appetizer or main course!

Additional Resources

Sardines – Tap Tap

Avocado smoothies – Tap Tap

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Crispy potatoes – Tap Tap

Caribbean Spiced Brussels Sprouts

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder (adjust to taste)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges (for serving)
Step 1
Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
Step 2
Prepare Brussels Sprouts: In a large mixing bowl, toss the halved Brussels sprouts with olive oil, minced garlic, ground turmeric, ground coriander, smoked paprika, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper until the sprouts are evenly coated with the spices.
Step 3
Roast Brussels Sprouts: Spread the seasoned Brussels sprouts in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Roast in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the sprouts are tender and browned, tossing halfway through to ensure even cooking.
Step 4
Finish and Serve: Transfer the Brussels sprouts to a serving dish once roasted. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley and serve with lime wedges on the side for an extra citrus flavor. Enjoy your Caribbean-inspired Brussels sprouts as a delightful side dish!


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