Christmas recipes: Festive vegetables

Delectable dishes of carrots, parsnips and sprouts add colour, flavour and texture to make your Christmas feast sparkle. Claire Thomson presents six seasonal recipes

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A blazing bird or a hulking rib of beef, more roast potatoes than necessary, a glass of wine, and all is well with Christmas lunch. Except, that is, for the vegetables.

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This is where I am happy for tradition to take a back seat. Boiled sprouts and carrots and plain roasted parsnips have long meant these seasonal stalwarts are sidekicks to the main event. But shown a little festive glamour, vegetables can shine. The dishes presented here are not too quirky to cause offence – Christmas and convention are bedfellows after all – but tantalising enough for any vegetarians or even, vegetable-loving meat-eaters to demolish on the day.

I am happiest in the kitchen when faced with a pile of seasonal vegetables in tiptop condition. These recipes strike a balance in the time they take to prepare – low and slow like the carrots, or a day in advance like the pickles. As with most cooking, I am a firm believer that not all dishes taste best served scalding hot. Relieve the pressure and prepare and serve the carrots and parsnip gratin warm, leaving you to cook the sprouts at the last minute. Easy.

Malted carrots with sunflower seeds

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Prunes wrapped in bacon with grainy mustard

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Pan-fried brussels sprouts with sage, brown butter & grated chestnuts 

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Recipe: Parsnips baked with pearled spelt, radicchio, crème fraîche & walnuts

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Plus, check out these two Boxing Day recipes to use up leftovers here

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Image credit: Jason Ingram