Zoe Bingley-Pullin’s favourite festive flavours

Our favourite chef and nutritionist shares some of her favourite recipes that add a modern and healthy twist to yuletide fare.

Walnut pate

walnut pate


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stick, chopped
  • 2 tbs extra virgin
    olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 100g button mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 50g walnuts, chopped
  • 175g cashews, finely ground
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • A good pinch of paprika
  • A good pinch of
    dried thyme
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 4 wholemeal pita bread, cut into triangles


Step 1.
In a large frying pan add a little olive oil, onions, celery, garlic and mushroom, and cook for 5-10 minutes, until brown.

Step 2.
Remove from the heat and stir in the walnuts, ground cashews, egg, paprika and thyme. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into a ramekin and allow to cool.

Step 3.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Place the pita on a baking tray and toast until brown.

Step 4.
Serve the walnut pate with the pita on the side.

Serves 6-8

This moreish appetiser is the perfect way to start any Christmas meal. Each time I serve this pate, I love watching my guests try to guess what’s in the pate to give it such a creamy taste and texture.

Raw apple and beetroot salad with goat cheese

raw apple beetroot salad


  • 1 cup beetroot, washed, skin on and grated
  • 1 cup green apple, washed, skin on and grated
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cos lettuce heart, chopped finely
  • ½ cup walnuts, toasted
  • ¼ cup goat cheese, crumbled


  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • ¼ cup verjuice
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp salt and pepper



Step 1.
Gently mix all salad ingredients except goat cheese in a bowl.

Step 2.
Mix the dressing in a small bowl and add on top of salad.

Step 3.
Crumble the goat cheese on top and lightly toss. Top with a little more goat cheese to serve.

Serves 2-4

Cumin chicken thighs with spicy pistachio quinoa

cumin chicken thighs


  • 300g chicken thighs
  • ¼ tbs cumin, ground
  • ¼ tbs coriander, ground
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • ¼ cup Greek yoghurt
  • ¼ cup chopped
    fresh coriander
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Pistachio quinoa

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 tbs pistachio
  • 2 tbs pomegranate seeds
  • 1 tbs currants
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 2 tbs extra virgin
    olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt


Step 1.
In a large mixing bowl add all of the chicken ingredients and combine until chicken is well coated. Leave to marinate for 15 minutes.

Step 2.
In another mixing bowl combine all of the quinoa ingredients and leave to marinate.

Step 3.
Heat a large griddle or fry pan to a medium/high heat and cook the chicken thighs for 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked through.

Step 4.
Serve the chicken on a bed of spicy quinoa, topped with a spoonful of yoghurt and a sprinkle of coriander and pomegranate seeds.

Serves 2

This dish looks beautiful served on a long platter in the centre of the table, allowing guests to serve themselves. If you can’t find fresh pomegranates, use dried seeds or cranberries for the same Christmas feel.

Grilled chilli coconut fruit skewers

grilled coconut fruit skewers


  • ½ punnet strawberries, whole and stems removed
  • 1 large ripe banana, sliced into 6
  • ½ punnet blueberries (large size preferably as easier to skewer)


  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tbsp honey
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut, to roll
  • 1 lime, zested
  • 1 lime, juiced


Step 1.
Wash and dry the blueberries and strawberries with stems removed, set aside. Peel banana and cut into 6.

Step 2.
In a saucepan, melt the coconut oil, lime zest and juice, and honey. Pour into a bowl and add the chilli.

Step 3.
Dip the fruits into the mixture and quickly roll over the shredded coconut and thread onto the skewers.

Step 4.
Place on the grill for 2-3 minutes each side. Serve with a squeeze of lime.

Serves 2

Mini apple and coconut crumbles with coconut yoghurt

apple and coconut crumbles


  • 4 apples, cored and cut in half
  • 2 tbs butter or coconut oil, melted, plus extra for brushing
  • 2 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 1 cup oats
  • ⅓ cup shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup fresh dates, chopped
  • 1 orange, cut in half (to squeeze)
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 150g coconut yoghurt



Step 1.
Preheat oven between 180-200C.

Step 2.
Mix oats, coconut, cinnamon, dates, vanilla extract, orange zest and butter or coconut oil in a bowl and roll into balls.

Step 3.
Rub each apple half with 1 tsp butter/coconut oil (melted) and top with 1-2 tbsp of oat ball topping, press down to secure the topping.

Step 4.
Place apple halves in a lined baking dish and squeeze orange juice over the top. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the top is golden, making sure not to burn.

Step 5.
Serve with an optional dollop of coconut yoghurt with a good squeeze of orange juice mixed in.

Serves 8

Lead image: Chris Jones