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Suggestions for "make ahead" vegetable side dishes for Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is my BIG deal--always has been. Often I've hosted my entire family, done "theme" dinners with many courses, etc. I love it, and don't mind the massive amount of planning and work.

This year, though, it's just the four of us (husband, and my home from college 22 yr old daughter and my 18 yr.old daughter. ) I still want to have a magical Christmas Eve--after all, everything still looks gorgeous, the house is till clean, anticipation sparkles in the air--but both daughters have expressed the desire to "not make a big deal" and "let's not just stuff ourselves all night."

Pooh. No fun.

Anyway, I'm scaling way down to No Cook or make head nibbles for a buffet: probably just pate, Scottish salmon and brown bread, plain old shrimp cocktail (boring but everyone loves it), a baked brie en croute, champagne, and cookies. BUT what to serve along with all this protein/starch that doesn't require that Ma be out in the kitchen, apparently "working" and "spoiling the fun"? A big salad's out, as we're having that with our prime rib for Christmas Dinner the next day.

I'm drawing a blank. Sliced pears and clementines; fine...but not a green vegetable, which I really crave. Given the Frenchified nature of much of the menu, I want to avoid a pasta salad thing...What can you suggest? What either require little prep time or can be made early in the day and still be palatable?

Thanks!

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  1. I don't see any reason why you cannot have a green salad both Christmas Eve & for dinner the next day -- just use different ingredients to vary the focus. Our Christmas Eve dinner always has a tri-color salad (radicchio, romaine, endive), with pomegranate seeds, served with a vinaigrette. The colors go with the hoiday and its easy to make.

    1 Reply
    1. re: masha

      I agree with masha...why not salad both times? OR, consider a crudite platter/relish tray with broccoli, celery, red pepper strips, etc. It appears that you have all finger-foods going on so if you want to keep with that idea, the crudite/relish tray would be the way to go, I think.

    2. I like this recipe for Green Beans with Lemon and Pine Nuts from Epicurious: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
      It's just as good at room temperature, and quite easy to make.

      1. Roasted asparagus can be served at room temperature and might fit the bill.

        1. Someone on a recent post suggest pickled items for a similar spread How about pickled asparagus and garlicky dilly beans. You might be serving cornichon with the pate anyway.
          Maybe baby spinach or mache or a mix of baby greens, lightly tossed in a lemon vinaigrette, served in two-bite Parmesan fricos.

          1. Broccoli and Grape Tomato Salad from the Bon Appetit Y'All cookbook would be a nice addition to your menu and it's definitely a do-ahead recipe. Very easy to prepare and the combination of red & green is definitely in season. Here's the link to my report (with paraphrased instructions):
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6164...

            Another possibility would be a simple sautee of green beans and red peppers with sliced onion or shallots. Can be served at room temp.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Gio

              I'd go with something like this as well. There's a very nice broccoli salad in Deborah Madison's Greens book which also has roasted red pepper, iirc.

              Xmas Eve is my favourite too.