Christmas is all about indulgence; rich creamy dishes, heavy desserts and meats with every meal. There’s no doubt you’re going to feel a little more bloated and stretched than in the heat of summer, and we say: embrace it!

We do think it’s a great idea to get a kick-start on the clean eating craze that’s sure to sweep the country once January comes ‘round the corner, so why not eat a little lighter (better yet, a little smarter) around the big day and you’ll thank yourself come new year. Definitely don’t deprive yourself this festive season, simply make some very subtle substitutions and we’ve rounded up these must-try recipes from some of Ireland’s best bloggers.

Natural Born Feeder Roz Purcell Christmas Cake

We really like Roz Purcell’s (aka Natural Born Feeder) take on a Christmas cake – it’s extra crunchy, sweetly spicy and loaded with rich fruit. Try it, it’s vegan, dairy-free, gluten AND refined-sugar free – sure where would you be!?

Lisa Murrin Instagram The Health Balance

Whether cooking a nutritious Christmas breakfast or seeking sustenance for a hefty hangover, over on Instagram The Health Balance (AKA Eathos star Lisa Murrain) is filled with fantastic, fresh and healthy meals, and we particularly love her take on avo, eggs and seriously crispy bacon on toast. Drool!


Into sharing starters or little nibbles if having friends round yours for a few drinks? These courgette fritters from the ultra talented Forkful.TV crew will look and taste the absolute part. Might be a nice idea for a lazy brunch on one of your Xmas days off too?


Turkey might be the king of the Christmas table, but we think ham is the deserved emperor. Try Donal Skehan’s gorgeous, sticky, rich, salty plum and star anise ham this year. We’re salivating just looking at it! Find the recipe on Donal’s site.


A little of what you fancy does you good! That’s definitely the case where Thyme To Eat’s celeriac and Parmesan gratin is concerned. Make it a day or two before Christmas and just re-heat in the oven before serving.


Love ‘em or loathe ‘em, sprouts are here to stay, and chances are you’ve just had badly-cooked ones. Never fear – Food Flicker’s simple method of bunging them in the oven with pancetta and coconut oil will transform the taste of these mini cabbages. 20 minutes later, they will be soft (with a little crunch) and might just turn you sprout-mad!


The combination of chestnut and chocolate is sensational and if you’re tired of traditional trifle, can’t hack the sight or smell of Christmas pudding and would rather avoid another dry Christmas cake, why not make a buche du Noel the star of the dessert spread? Who else but French Foodie in Dublin to lead the way with Ketty’s own recipe.

squash butternut Rory Kelly cooks blogger

Veggies can definitely be the star of the plate at Christmas and we have to give a shout-out to Rory Kelly’s stuffed butternut squash. Whether vegan, vegetarian or neither, this is a filling and fulfilling dish.

Susan Jane White's banana bread and nutella

We’ve reported on this stunner before and it never fails to fill us with envy that it’s not sitting in front of us any time we see it. Seriously, go off and make Susan Jane White’s rye banana bread with ‘virtuous’ Nutella. As she would say: it’s INDECENTLY good. Any time, any day.

Lilly Higgins sushi Irish Times recipe

Here’s a bit of a curveball: what about sushi as a Christmas starter or nibble to welcome people with their first drink? Definitely a table talking point, we can’t pass up Lilly Higgins’ simple sushi! A great skill to have (that will definitely come in handy once January rolls around)

*all images and recipes bloggers’ own