The holidays are here, but that doesn't mean all your goals need to go on vacation. Here are 5 must-try low-calorie Christmas recipes from BBC Good Food:


1. Salmon, fennel & lime plates



  • 140g smoked salmon

  • 1 fennel, finely sliced

  • 1 red onion, finely sliced

  • juice 1 lime

  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar

  • 3 tbsp olive oil

  • a little black pepper



  1. Divide the smoked salmon between 4 plates. Toss the fennel, red onion, lime juice, white wine vinegar, olive oil and a little black pepper. Arrange over the salmon and serve.


2. Lemon & garlic roast chicken with charred broccoli & sweet potato mash




  • 1 small free-range chicken

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 1 tsp rapeseed oil

  • small bunch thyme

  • 1 lemon, halved

  • 1 small head broccoli, cut into small florets

  • 200g sweet potato , peeled and cubed

  • 1 tbsp low-fat cream cheese



  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and put the chicken in a large non-stick roasting tin. Halve 1 garlic clove and rub it over the chicken. Drizzle with oil, rub in with your fingers, then stuff the cavity with the thyme, 1 lemon half and the garlic you just used.
  2. Cut the other lemon half into quarters and scatter around the chicken with the other garlic clove, halved.
  3. Cover the tin with foil and bake for 40 mins, then remove the foil and spoon over the hot juices. Arrange the broccoli around the chicken, turning well in the juices, and return the tin to the oven for another 20-30 mins. To check that it is cooked through, pierce between the leg and thigh – if the juices run clear, the chicken is ready. Re-cover with foil and set aside while you prepare the sweet potatoes.
  4. Put the sweet potatoes in a pan of boiling water, return to the boil, then simmer for 7-10 mins until tender. Drain well, then mash. Set aside 100g of sweet potato mash if using for Chicken wrap with sticky sweet potato, see 'goes well with', then add the cream cheese to the rest and stir well.
  5. Remove the broccoli from the roasting tin and divide between 2 plates. Put the chicken on a serving plate, discard the lemon and garlic from the tin and remove as much of the fat from the juices as possible. Pour the remaining juices into a serving jug.
  6. Carve the chicken and serve about 100g (1-2 slices) per person (keep the rest of the chicken for Chicken wrap with sticky sweet potato if making, see 'goes well with'). Serve with the broccoli and mashed sweet potatoes, and a drizzle of the lemony-garlic juices on top.


3. Sticky pork & pineapple hotpot



  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

  • 1.5 kg pork shoulder steaks, each cut into 4 thick strips

  • 3  onions, roughly chopped

  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • small bunch coriander , stalks finely chopped, leaves reserved

  • 3 Thai red chillies, 2 sliced, 1 left whole and pricked

  • 3 star anise

  • 100g dark soft brown sugar

  • 2 tbsp tomato purée

  • 2 tbsp fish sauce

  • 600ml chicken stock

  • 350g fresh pineapple, cut into chunks



  1. Heat the oil in a large, flameproof casserole dish. Season the pork, and brown it in 2 or 3 batches until golden, about 5 mins per batch. Set aside in a bowl. Stir the onions into the remaining fat, cover and soften for 5 mins – they will take on the browned color of the meat. Heat oven to 160C.
  2. Add the garlic, coriander stalks, chillies and anise to the dish, sizzle for 1 min, stirring often, then mix in the sugar and tomato purée. When these have melted and it looks a bit like barbecue sauce, return the pork and its resting juices to the dish, along with the fish sauce and stock. Tuck in the pineapple chunks here and there.
  3. Once simmering, cover the hotpot, leaving a small gap for steam to escape, and transfer to the oven for 2 hrs. With 30 mins to go, skim some of the fat from the top (this tends to seal the liquid in, making it more difficult for the sauce to reduce), then return to the oven. The pork will be meltingly soft when ready. If the sauce is thin, lift the pork into a warmed serving dish, put the casserole dish on the hob and simmer until the sauce has slightly thickened. Leave to cool for 5 mins, taste for seasoning, pour over the pork and sprinkle over the coriander leaves.


4. Warm chicken & ciabatta salad




  • 500g skinless boneless chicken thigh fillets, cut into chunks

  • 3 tbsp olive oil

  • ½ ciabatta loaf, torn into chunks

  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 140g pickled red cabbage, plus 4 tbsp of the pickling juices

  • 1 red onion, sliced

  • 100g bag baby leaf & herb salad

  • 110g pack pomegranate seeds



  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Toss the chicken pieces with 1 tbsp of the oil, season and arrange on a baking tray. Roast for 10 mins. Toss the torn ciabatta with the chopped garlic, a little seasoning and the remaining oil. Add this to the chicken and cook for another 10 mins.
  2. Toss together the red cabbage and red onion. Once the chicken is cooked, cool for a couple of mins, then add to the cabbage mix. Stir together, then toss with the pickling juices from the cabbage, and the salad leaves. Sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds.


5. Turkey piccata



  • 3 tbsp oil

  • 750g baby potatoes , larger ones halved

  • 4 turkey breast steaks

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 3 tbsp capers

  • 250ml gluten-free chicken stock

  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced

  • small pack dill, roughly chopped

  • green salad, to serve



  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/ gas 6. Toss the potatoes with 2 tbsp of the oil, season and roast for 40-45 mins.
  2. Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan. Season the turkey steaks and cook for 2-3 mins each side until cooked through, then remove and set aside. Add the garlic, capers, stock and lemon juice to the pan and bubble for 3-4 mins. Return the turkey to the pan to warm through. Stir in the dill and lemon zest, then serve with the potatoes and salad.




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