The most popular traditional Christmas foods consumed on Christmas Day

It’s all about indulging at Christmas time and these Christmas foods are the perfect choice when it comes to the big day…

Most popular Christmas foods
Roast potatoes, bread sauce, glazed ham, gravy and the classic roast turkey are the most popular food choices
(Image credit: Future)

From roast potatoes to gravy, from stuffing to pigs in blankets, we’ve rounded up the most popular Christmas foods consumed on Christmas Day so you can make sure you’ve got all the trimmings this year.

When it comes to Christmas dinner (opens in new tab), we've all got our favourites and, according to a survey conducted by Asda, some festive foods are much more preferred than others by us Brits. Amid all the classics like turkey, roast potatoes and Christmas pud, it turns out some of us Brits even enjoy chips at our big feast, as well as the festively divisive Yorkshire pudding. Asda’s survey also found that Brits will typically tuck into their first mince pie on 29th November, will have bought their first Christmas present on the 20th November and start really embracing the festivities on 5th December - including a Christmas joke (opens in new tab) or two.

“The most important food to have on the Christmas dinner table is food you love. If you hate sprouts, don’t have them! If the kids want ketchup rather than gravy – what’s the harm in letting them? Don’t have anything on the table you don’t enjoy and look forward to in a meal,” says Caroline Hartley from The Happy Food Kitchen (opens in new tab)

“The only rule is that Christmas dinner should be delicious to you – I have personally never eaten turkey on Christmas Day! In fact I have rarely had a roast, preferring something like a really delicious fillet of fish and baby vegetables, or even making an Asian feast one year. Remember too you can make some of the sides and freeze them rather than cooking them on the day to save time.” Indeed, you could even take inspiration from Christmas food traditions (opens in new tab) around the world for your Christmas meal this year.

Roast potatoes

Roast potatoes are in at number one – we'll be having at least three. OK, make that five… 

(Image credit: Rights unknown)

1. Roast potatoes

Why so popular? Of all the trimmings, a roast just simply would not be a roast without the icon of side dishes, and you put a perfect roast potato firmly in the top spot – ahead of even the turkey. And we concur. Soft and fluffy on the inside, crispy and crunchy on the outside, whether you go festive trad/slightly posh by cooking them in goose fat, or go for the (somewhat more heart healthy option) of roasting them in olive oil, the humble spud is the undisputed King of Christmas dinner. 

How to serve: Jazz things up with some crushed cloves of garlic, sprinkle over some fresh rosemary or thyme, go a little Italian with a dash of oregano and some lemons. You could also mix other root veg in with them (saves on oven space and washing up) - try adding swede and a festive parsnip (though make sure they’re pretty chunky or add them in later in the cooking process as they will take less time). Or, just put them in sizzling oil and add salt. Because sometimes the simple things are the best.

Get the recipe: Roast potatoes (opens in new tab)

The humble carrot is in at number 2 – even beating turkey and Christmas pud

2. Carrots

Why so popular? We all love a carrot, that most crowd pleasing of veggies – though we’re a little surprised they’ve ranked quite this highly on the Christmas food list. They’re certainly one of the most important veggies on the festive dinner plate, though, bringing colour as well as flavour. And, for the big meal, it’s worth making them a star (so, no, over-boiled, soggy versions have no place on a festive table, folks).

How to serve: Eschewing your basic carrot for a posher version like Chantenay and cooking them whole is a nice touch at Christmas (saves on prep, too). You could roast them, maybe alongside your parsnips and they work well with sticky sweet marinades like maple syrup, or honey. This recipe from the Hairy Bikers makes great use of an under-used spice, caraway seeds as well as butter and honey to give them a lovely glaze - because what in life isn’t made better with the addition of butter and honey?

Get the recipe: Glazed Carrots (opens in new tab)

how to cook a turkey

The central star of a traditional feast, turkey is third on the list

3. Turkey

Why so popular? Well, it is the most festive meat of all the meats, the crowning glory of Christmas dinner tables up and down the land. While most of us don’t regularly tuck into a turkey dinner, come December 25th, 76% of households get stuck in to one of the 10 million birds sold. One of the appeals is they feed a lot of folk, for those of us who have a lot of people to cater for, and it’s something different from the everyday. And so long as you know how to cook a turkey (opens in new tab) properly and served with a very good gravy, it tastes very fine too.  If budget allows, it’s worth investing in an organic, free range bird from a small, local producer, because there will be a huge difference in taste and flavour. 

How to serve: Because of the size of a turkey and the cooking time involved, it can easily dry out, so it needs a lot of care in the cooking process. Cover it in butter or streaky bacon, put a delicious stuffing, like the one in the below recipe, into the cavity, and make good use of flavours like lemon and garlic. If space allows, take your bird out to the table as the crowning glory, dressed with fresh herbs and surrounded by your roast veggies.

Get the recipe: Perfect Turkey (opens in new tab)

Turkey gravy

A roast would never be complete without a generous pouring of proper good gravy

4. Gravy

Why so popular? Much like the potatoes, a roast wouldn’t be a roast without lashings of thick, juicy gravy. Whether it’s a veggie version to add moisture to a nut roast, or one made with meat juices, it’s one of the trickiest parts of the meal to do well, getting the right thickness and taste, just at the time when all the other parts of the meal start coming together. 

How to serve: All you really need is the meat juices, stock and some cornflour to thicken, like in this recipe below, though there are other flavours that work well – try splashing in some of that old bottle of red plonk you have lying around (don’t waste your best stuff on cooking!), add a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce, or some people even swear by adding a spoonful of Marmite for that umami flavour. You can also throw in crushed garlic cloves from your roast veg pan, some fresh herbs and a bay leaf, just strain the mix afterwards and serve in your finest gravy boat or jug. Just make plenty as you’re almost certain to be asked for seconds.

Get the recipe: How to make gravy (opens in new tab)

A classic sage and onion stuffing is the perfect partner for turkey, chicken or even roast pork

5. Stuffing

Why so popular? An essential part of a festive dinner table if turkey or chicken are your meats of choice, it’s essential for stuffing the bird, but also great oven roasted and crispy as a side dish. It tends to feel special and significant because most of us don’t bother with it for a regular Sunday roast. There’s a heck of a lot you can do with stuffing, and it can even be promoted to a central role in your Christmas meal, especially for vegan and veggie folks (so long as you don’t stick any sausage meat in there, of course). 

How to serve: Oh, the choices. From the classic sage and onion below, you could try a meaty sausage and apple stuffing (that would pair beautifully with pork as well as turkey) or how about apricot and hazelnut? Olives work well in stuffing too, especially for roast lamb, and throwing in some pancetta works a treat. Breadcrumbs are an essential part of a stuffing, so you could swap regular bread for sourdough or ciabatta as a special twist. Bake and serve straight from the dish, or roll into balls and serve on a platter with pigs in blankets, and your dishes of cranberry and bread sauce. 

Get the recipe: Sage and onion stuffing (opens in new tab)

If we're honest, we'd probably be happy just with a plate of these for Christmas dinner

6. Pigs in blankets

Why so popular? If these hadn’t been in the top ten, we’d have eaten our Christmas hats. One of the most fought-over foods on the dinner table, they pair wonderfully with the turkey and stuffing, and would work equally well with roast chicken or pork. Get as good quality sausage as your budget allows (it’s one of the top things we’d suggest spending a little extra on), and streaky bacon is best, though you could use pancetta instead, or back bacon, which has a much lower saturated fat content (not that most of us worry about that sort of thing on Christmas day). 

How to serve: Display them on a serving platter with stuffing balls and other accoutrements like your sauces, for the Christmas dinner. Pigs in blankets are also a wonderful festive canape, served on cocktail sticks and decorated with sprigs of fresh herbs like rosemary, and with dips like Dijon mustard or even a sweet chilli sauce on the side. 

Get the recipe: Pigs in blankets (opens in new tab)

How to use up leftover parsnips

The sweet root veg is a popular staple of Christmas dinner

7. Parsnips

Why so popular? After the all-conquering roast spud, the parsnip is our favourite festive root and a crucial part of the Christmas meal, thanks to their distinctive, slightly sweet taste. You could cook and serve them with the potatoes, just be sure to cut them chunkily and don’t cook the thinner bottom part for as long as they do have a tendency to burn – and we don’t need that drama in the Christmas kitchen. 

How to serve: Like carrots, parsnips pair beautifully with sweet flavours like honey and maple syrup and benefit from a generous amount of seasoning (especially pepper, so don’t be shy). They also work well baked with grated Parmesan, which would be particularly wonderful paired with roast beef. To do something a bit different, they also work beautifully in a creamy gratin.

Get the recipe: Honey roast parsnips (opens in new tab)

Gordon Ramsay's Brussels sprouts with pancetta

They're a divisive veg but, paired with pancetta and chestnuts, even the naysayers won't be able to resist a festive sprout

8. Brussels sprouts

Why so popular? The Marmite of veggies, however you feel about them (and clearly they’ve made the top ten, so a lot of you are fans) they are an undisputed star of Christmas dinner.  Looking to jazz them up a bit for that extra punch of flavour? Check out Gordon Ramsay's recipe for brussel sprouts with pancetta.

How to serve: You could just serve them simply, steamed or boiled (do not over boil though, please!) with a drizzle of butter and maybe a pinch of nutmeg, or make them super festive with the addition of pancetta or, for veggies, some crumbled roast chestnuts. Oh and it’s of course essential to keep any leftovers for a Boxing Day bubble and squeak

Get the recipe: Gordon Ramsay’s Brussel Sprouts (opens in new tab)

Christmas pudding

Topped with berries, from a recipe by Mary Berry, the ultimate Christmas pud

9. Christmas pudding

Why so popular? An icon of the dinner table, a classic Christmas pud quite rightly made the top ten. Sure, some folk prefer trifle, or a yule log, or just to go straight ahead to the cheese board, but it’s a once-annual affair and it's worth being revered and celebrated. Dried fruit, mixed spices, nuts, booze, it really is Christmas in a bowl. Make it as far ahead as time allows (that’s why ‘stir up Sunday’ is always in November) for the flavours to develop.

How to serve: It needs centre stage, it needs a sprig of holly, and it needs drenching in booze and setting a-light. And then it needs a good dollop of brandy cream, or clotted cream, or ice cream, depending on your particular persuasion. And then you will need a lie down and a nap while someone else does the dishes.

Get the recipe: Mary Berry's Christmas Pudding (opens in new tab)

How to make Yorkshire puddings

Not everyone thinks they belong on a Christmas dinner, but any reason to eat fluffy Yorkies is a good reason

10. Yorkshire pudding

Why so popular? A controversial one here, as some would say there’s no place for a Yorkshire on the Christmas roast whereas others, clearly, disagree. And as we all love one on a regular Sunday, why not throw them into the festive version? It’s good news for vegetarians, too. “I love that Yorkshire pud is on the list – I make veggie roasts and the best thing is you can have Yorkshires and any of the sauces for meats like mint or cranberry too,” says Caroline Hartley. Ideally, if it’s not one too many tasks, make your own rather than relying on Aunt Bessie.

How to serve: The tricky thing when there’s so much else going on in the oven, is to avoid sinking or soggy Yorkshires - remember the golden rules of getting the oil very hot and not opening the oven til they’re done. Luckily though, they won’t need to go in until the turkey is resting. Serve them in a wide, shallow dish, topped with sprigs of fresh herbs like rosemary or sage. 

Get the recipe: Yorkshire puddings (opens in new tab)

Cranberry sauce

Sweet, tart, vibrant, and a very good friend to your roast turkey or chicken

11. Cranberry sauce

Why so popular? Deliciously tart and sweet, it's a staple condiment for a turkey or chicken roast and is particularly festive because we don’t tend to think to serve it at any other time of year (hands up who still has half a jar from last year at the back of the cupboard). Making your own is worth the effort though, for both taste and satisfaction, though we recommend doing this ahead of time as you won’t be needing an extra task like this on Christmas morning. It’ll fill the whole house with festive smells too. Delightful.

How to serve: Depending on how many people you’re serving, add it around the table in glass ramekin dishes with a small serving spoon, for some pops of festive colour. Increasing the recipe quantities, it could be a lovely gift to others ahead of the big day, stored in decorated jam jars wrapped with festive ribbon.

Get the recipe: Cranberry sauce (opens in new tab)

Roasted broccoli with parmesan and pistachios

Make your Christmas broccoli shine by cooking it with Parmesan and pistachios

12. Broccoli

Why so popular? It’s not quite as festive as the likes of carrots, parsnips and sprouts, but broccoli is a crowd pleaser, kids love it, and it will give the family a nutrient boost over what is not, generally, the most vitamin-filled time of the year. And this is the time to do something a little extra special with your broccoli, rather than the usual boiled-on-the-side offering. 

How to serve: If you can’t go the extra mile with your veg recipes  at Christmas, then when can you? Stir fry it with pine nuts, garlic and lemon, add to a gratin, mix it in with your cauli cheese, or try this delicious roasted broccoli with parmesan and pistachios recipe – we’d eat that as a meal in itself, personally.

Get the recipe: Broccoli with parmesan and pistachios (opens in new tab)

Cauliflower cheese

Because cauliflower cheese is always a good idea

13. Cauliflower cheese

Why so popular? Do you even need to ask? What isn’t to love about veggies cooked in a bubbling, toasted cheese sauce? Cauli cheese adds a different dimension of flavour and texture to any roast, from turkey to beef to a classic nut roast. It can even be the main event for non-meat eaters.  “Cauliflower cheese is a fab make ahead dish as who wants to be faffing about with cheese sauce on Christmas morning. It can just slot into the oven while the rest of your food is roasting and is a real treat,” says Caroline Hartley.

How to serve: No need to mess with a classic, though you could add some broccoli in with the cauli, a spoonful of mustard and/or a pinch of nutmeg or even cayenne pepper for a stronger flavour. Try topping it with some bread crumbs mixed with Parmesan and herbs for more of a gratin and serve it looking all rustic, straight from the oven. 

Get the recipe: Cauliflower cheese (opens in new tab)

roast gammon

Add it to your dinner table, or wonderful as a cold cut for that Boxing Day buffet

(Image credit: Rights unknown)

14. Roast ham

Why so popular? A roast ham is a staple of Yuletide, beautifully complementing turkey as well as being a brilliant cold cut for evening sarnies or the Boxing Day buffet. Cooking your own is a satisfying labour of love, that involves boiling the ham before roasting it in the cooking liquor.

How to serve: . It is complemented wonderfully by sweet flavours like maple syrup in the cooking process, to give it that delightful sweet glaze. Excellent with pickles (we like to pair it with mango chutney - try it, promise it works) or with a strong English mustard and a good dollop of mayo. Oh and a crusty white loaf. And chips. Because everything is made better by crust  bread and chips. Serve the whole ham on a platter, with some of it thickly sliced, and surrounded by the condiments. 

Get the recipe: How to cook a ham (opens in new tab)

smoked salmon

A treat of a starter on the big day, or as part of a festive buffet spread

15. Smoked salmon

Why so popular? It’s such a treat, it’s so versatile, and it’s the perfect posh starter for your Christmas lunch – getting the taste buds excitable and light enough so as not to get you too full for the food onslaught. Perfect just as it is with a squeeze of lemon, there are lots of other things you can do with your salmon, for the buffet, for canapes, for breakfast, we could go on…

There's an abundance of smoked salmon recipes you could try to add variety to your Christmas dinner spread. From salads to bite sized salmon parcels, there's a good reason why smoked salmon ranked at number 15 on the most popular Christmas foods list!

How to serve: Where do we begin? Wrap it up into wheels with cream cheese and sprinkle with dill, for a canape, cook it up lightly with scrambled eggs and serve on some toasted sourdough for festive brekkie, or as an appetiser as part of a fish platter for the big meal. Serve with king prawns and perhaps some squid or cockles and mussels, or how about scallops or some smoked fish, and a bowl of mackerel pate? Check out the recipe collection below.

Get the recipe: Smoked salmon (opens in new tab)

Mustard and thyme roast beef

Rare, juicy, and a great choice for those who don't rate a turkey dinner

16. Roast beef

Why so popular? For all those turkey refusers out there, roast beef is the favourite option for the festive lunch centrepiece and we get why – it’s the king of Sunday roasts, the best pairing for a Yorkshire pud, and a delight with a dollop of horseradish sauce on a Boxing day butty. 

How to serve: Choose your cut of meat well - topside is the most popular choice, but, for a special occasion, you could order beef ribs from your butcher, and serve with a rich port and Stilton gravy. It’s also wonderful roasted with flavours like thyme and mustard powder, or just simply done with salt and pepper. Or you could even turn your joint into a beef wellington (opens in new tab). Whatever you do, don’t overcook the meat. It’s all down to personal preference, but, really, it’s the most tasty if still a little pink in the middle. Serve at the table, surrounded by your roasted veg.

Get the recipe: Roast beef (opens in new tab)

Not much beats a retro prawn cocktail as a festive starter

17. Prawns

Why so popular? A prawn cocktail is an icon of starters and more than worthy of a spot at your Christmas dinner feast, though prawns of any fashion are generally a big, versatile hit all over the festive season. 

How to serve: Channel the Seventies with a marie rose sauce, and serve in half an avocado or, if retro classics aren’t so much your bag (and if not, why not?) , try shallow frying them in garlic (and we mean a lot of garlic), chilli and olive oil, for a tapas-style gambas pil pil. They work brilliantly with smoked paprika and chorizo, too. Splash out on king prawns if you can, as they feel way more special than those little tiddlers, not to mention tastier. Check out the recipe collection below. 

Get the recipe: Prawns (opens in new tab)

Bread sauce recipe

Creamy, comforting homemade bread sauce made it to number 18 on the list

18. Bread sauce

Why so popular? It was beaten by its Christmas condiment partner, the cranberry sauce, but, for many of you, bread sauce is still up there as a must-have part of the big meal on the big day. Like most things Christmas food-related, it’s rich, it’s creamy, it’s comforting, and you only really need a small dollop of it. It’s another of those elements that makes the Christmas roast stand out from your regular Sunday roast (don’t know about you but we don’t whip one up of an average weekend), and it can be prepped in advance so it’s one less task on a very busy day in the kitchen.

How to serve: The classic sauce is made from cream, milk, onions, bay leaves and, unsurprisingly, breadcrumbs, and sometimes you don’t need to mess with a classic. You can spruce it up though, with the addition of festive spices like cloves and nutmeg, and using ciabatta bread crumbs instead of a regular loaf. Serve it in a jug on a display plate with your other sauces, like cranberry and gravy. 

Get the recipe: Bread sauce (opens in new tab)

Eggs for festive brunch, added in your yule log and trifle, made into canapés - is there a more versatile food out there?

19. Eggs

Why so popular? Not one we necessarily expected on the list of Christmas foods, but they’re up there as a key ingredient in lots of our festive sweet treats, whether that be as in a chocolate yule log, or in our Christmas gingerbread bakes. They’re also obviously a perfect breakfast food over the festive period, whether that be a fried egg on the top of a Boxing Day bubble and squeak or paired with smoked salmon and bagels. 

How to serve: How about an eggs benedict on Christmas morning, a special omelette, or even a kedgeree? Eggs also make for great canapes – go retro with a plate of devilled eggs – or add chopped boiled eggs to a plate of smoked salmon. 

Get the recipe: Eggs (opens in new tab)

Roast chicken recipe

For smaller gatherings, a classic roast chicken is a delightful alternative, and works just as well with all the trimmings

20. Roast chicken

Why so popular? Because, sometimes, a turkey is too much to handle. If there’s only a few of you at the dinner table, you’ll be eating leftover fricassee for months to come, so a chicken is the ideal alternative – both more manageable and quicker to cook (and use less energy), and will avoid food waste in the process. Plus it’s arguably more tasty and succulent, and pairs just as well with all the traditional trimmings as its more substantial poultry cousin. 

How to serve: Our recipe is the classic, flavoured with thyme, lemon and olive oil and, at Christmas, it’s essential to serve with a lovely herby stuffing on the side. Using sage and orange to flavour your bird is festive, too. Going leftfield, Spanish flavours like paprika, tomatoes and olives, or a garlic chicken (yes, you’ll need to use a whole bulb), brings a different twist. Carve at the table on a serving dish surrounded by your roasties.

Get the recipe: Roast chicken (opens in new tab)

sweet potato wedges

Not the most common of Christmas dinner veggies, the sweet potato is growing in popularity

21. Roast sweet potatoes

Why so popular? Not your typical Christmas veggie, sweet spuds are a great one to throw in the mix with the regular pots (not just because they taste amazing, but they give a hit of Vitamin A and fibre, nutrients a little lacking at the most wonderful time of the year). They add a great pop of colour to the table, too, and leftovers could be added to a hearty curry over the following days for a change from all that heavy Christmas meat.

How to serve: Make them feel extra special by cooking with garlic and grating with Parmesan to add some salty flavour to the sweetness, or by cooking in butter and sprinkling over dried rosemary.

Get the recipe: Roast sweet potato wedges (opens in new tab)

Easter roast lamb recipes: Crispy roast lamb

It's more associated with an Easter roast, but lamb is clearly still a popular meat for the festive season

22. Roast lamb

Why so popular? More traditionally eaten at Easter, it would appear a lot of you are rule breakers on the festive meat front, fancying a spot of lamb as the main attraction. And we understand why. It’s arguably the tastiest of all roasts, and could also be served alongside other roast meats if you have a particularly carnivorous clan. It could also be made into a Boxing Day dish, should there be any left behind – a slice of lamb, rosemary and garlic pie would be a very welcome addition to the buffet, if you ask us.

How to serve: As it’s Christmas, push the boat out with a whole leg if you’re feeding the hordes, or how about slow cooking some lamb shanks in a lightly spiced sauce until they fall away from the bone? Another option that feels a wee bit special is a rack of lamb, served at the table and surrounded by all the usual trimmings. Don’t forget the mint sauce.

Get the recipe: Roast lamb (opens in new tab)

christmas_recipes_to_be_made_in_advance_christmas_chutney

Christmas chutney is a very popular condiment for that cheeseboard and cold cut selection

23. Chutney

Why so popular? Quite right too. It wouldn’t be Christmas without a good chutney on the table, pairing marvellously with your cheese selection and your cold meats. And the options are plenty. Try a tomato and chilli chutney with a spicy edge, a fruit plum chutney, a festive cranberry chutney, or even a seasonal beetroot chutney, great to make if you’ve got leftovers from your veg box. And then there’s an actual Christmas chutney (opens in new tab), including cinnamon, cloves and ginger.

How to serve: Making your own chutney is a very satisfying endeavour, and you can give it away as gifts, as well as keeping a pot for your festive table. Store it and serve it in Kilner jars, decorated with festive ribbon and pop a cinnamon stick in when serving, on a platter surrounded by a cracker selection, hunks of bread, your favourite cheeses, some cold cuts, and olives and pickles. 

Get the recipe: Chutney recipes (opens in new tab)

How to make cheese sauce

Add a crowd-pleasing mac and cheese to your buffet, or even include as part of your roast, because why not?

24. Cheese sauce

Why so popular? Well, who doesn’t love a good cheese sauce? It’s perfect to drizzle over veggies, and a big batch means it’s there for those days over the Christmas period when you frankly can’t be bothered to cook, so it can be poured over macaroni or take a lot of the graft out of putting together a lasagne. 

How to serve: As it’s Christmas, why not throw some blue cheese in the mix? It’s a great use for any leftover Stilton, gorgonzola or Danish blue. Strong cheeses like Parmesan work a treat too. Pop a jug of it on the dinner table for anyone who doesn’t like gravy (who are these people?) or as an additional sauce. Just don’t muddle it with the bread sauce. 

Get the recipe: Cheese sauce (opens in new tab)

Natural remedies for anxiety

Berries are a versatile fruity addition to lots of festive desserts and drinks

25. Berries

Why so popular? “Berries are light and their acidity as well as sweetness is great when you are having rich foods,” says Caroline Hartley. “Prep some to serve throughout the day for breakfast, with a creamy pudding or as part of a buffet.”  They’re ever so versatile, and can be added to drinks, desserts, the top of Christmas pudding, and as a lighter breakfast when the food onslaught gets all a bit overwhelming. As they’re not especially in season right now, get a bag of frozen berries to dip into when needed

How to serve: Their festive hues make berries a good addition to a winter cocktail, like our berry caipiroska, a vodka based Brazilian cocktail that is a twist on a caipirinha. You can also add them to a classic sherry trifle or use them to top a cheesecake. 

Get the recipe: Berry caipiroska cocktail (opens in new tab)

Mary Berry nut roast recipe

Mary Berry's veggie centrepiece is a triumph for those who don't wish to have a meat-based feast

26. Nut roast

Why so popular? The most classic of vegetarian centrepieces for Christmas day, many of us are turning to the nut roast to reduce our meat consumption. Packed with flavour from chestnuts, pistachios and other festive faves like Brazil nuts, it’s a protein-packed feast that works wonderfully with roast veggies. 

How to serve: Serve it at the table, topped with some brightly coloured herbs - basil works well - and surrounded by veggies.  It simply must be served with a big jug of hearty vegetarian gravy. 

Get the recipe: Mary Berry's nut roast (opens in new tab) 

 

It's Christmas, if you want chips, have chips, we say

27. Chips

Why so popular? Controversial indeed. Many would argue that fries, wedges, or chips by any other name have no place at the Christmas dinner table, but you lot seem to think otherwise. And Caroline Hartley is a strong agree. “If chips are your thing, then go for it on the big day! No one is judging and if it puts a smile on your face then that is all that matters! Treat yourself with some triple cooked baddies if you want to feel special,” she says.

How to serve: If you’re going for it, serve up a big bowl of home-cooked fries, as an alternative to your other potato offerings. Just don’t put them near the kids or they might not eat anything else. Sprinkle them with rosemary salt in a nod to festivities.

Get the recipe: Homemade chips (opens in new tab)

Bowl of raw spinach

Add to winter salads, make eggs florentine for brunch, or include in a quiche for your Boxing Day buffet

28. Spinach

Why so popular? Not the most staple of Christmas veggies, there’s no reason not to have a big bowl of steamed spinach on the table. It works particularly well with lamb or with veggie options like a nut roast. It’s also a great one to begin the day, so that you can at least start things off with some good nutrients in your system.  “Spinach is so brilliant to have on standby with eggs for breakfast or as part of a leaf salad and it has loads of nutrients to help balance that box of chocolates! “ says Caroline Hartley. 

How to serve: Serve it topped with a knob of nutmeg butter as part of the festive feast, or prep some eggs florentine for a Christmas day of Boxing Day breakfast. Put together a spinach salad to throw in to the mix on a buffet too, or add some to a quiche alongside some blue cheese and pancetta.

Get the recipe: Spinach recipes (opens in new tab)

Kale can be added to stuffing, or served as a veggie side dish alongside sprouts and chestnuts

Why so popular? Even more unlikely than spinach on the list, we’re clearly becoming a health conscious lot and choosing to add a veg that’s become popular in recent times for its high nutritional content into the Christmas dinner mix. 

How to serve: Kale is a great one to throw in with your sprouts and chestnuts as a veggie side dish, and it can even be an ingredient in a festive stuffing, or stirred into your cauli cheese. Try it fried up for breakfast and topped with poached eggs, too. 

Get the recipe: Kale recipes (opens in new tab)

30. Avocado

Why so popular? Well, we’ve all fallen in love with avocados in recent years, whether its spread on toast for brekkie, or in salads. And while they don’t particularly have a place on a traditional Christmas day feast table, we’re all for breaking the rules. They’re excellent as part of a starter, or on the Boxing Day breakfast table. 

How to serve: Go retro by making your avo a boat on which to top a prawn cocktail for your starter, or smash them on sourdough toast and top with chilli flakes and a poached egg for Christmas day breakfast. They pair well with blue cheese too, and a creamy guac would go down well on any buffet table, especially with leftover roast turkey or chicken. 

Get the recipe: Avocado recipes (opens in new tab)

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Lara Kilner
Food Writer

Lara Kilner is a writer and editor with two decades of experience in national newspapers, magazines, and websites. She writes about food, lifestyle, travel, health and wellness, and entertainment, and regularly interviews celebrities and people with interesting life stories and experiences. Her foodie content has included interviews with Jamie Oliver, Rick Stein, Queer Eye’s food expert Antoni Porowski, the Hairy Bikers, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, Raymond Blanc, Andi Oliver, Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith, and Nadiya Hussain.