The holidays are a time of annual traditions. There's often tree decorating, present wrapping, cookie baking, eggnog drinking, and, of course, sitting down to an impressive Christmas Eve dinner surrounded by family and loved ones. While sharing a meal is a simple-enough activity, the planning and preparations leading up to it aren't always so effortless. In fact, it can be a real challenge. Before anyone can sit down to enjoy homemade food, someone has to decide on a menu and get cooking.
If you're unsure what to prepare for Christmas Eve dinner this year, fret not. Ahead we've rounded up some truly scrumptious options for appetizers, side dishes, and main courses alike. All you have to do is mix and match the recipes that look the most appetizing to you, and you've got yourself a beautiful three-course meal perfect for the holidays.
Inspired by flavors and ingredients of the season, whip up a baked brie appetizer that's sure to impress, a batch of tangy maple-dijon-glazed carrots on the side, and a rich chimichurri steak for the main course. If you're looking for a healthier vegan-friendly meal, try your hand at a classic creamy hummus to start followed by a garlic cauliflower pasta and a side of sun-dried tomato skillet rolls. No matter which combination of these 15 Christmas Eve dinner ideas you choose, you and your guests will enjoy sitting around the table, making new holiday memories together.
Baked Brie and Prosciutto Rolls
Instead of the usual cheese and charcuterie board, prepare a batch of these baked brie and prosciutto rolls. They're perfect for eating on the go as you mingle throughout a holiday party, and they're filled with delicious winter-inspired flavors. Drizzled with honey and topped with pomegranate arils and fresh thyme, this cheesy appetizer is sure to delight.
Mozzarella and Tomato Caprese Flatbread
Upgrade a traditional Caprese salad to a fun flatbread perfect for entertaining. Not only is it delicious, but this recipe for mozzarella and tomato Caprese flatbread is also particularly easy to execute. Using naan-style flatbread or thin pizza crust from the market, you can have this appetizing starter ready to serve in less than a half hour.
Fig Spread and Cheese Crostini
A salty and sweet combination of gruyere cheese and fig jam, this fig and cheese crostini dish makes for a timeless holiday appetizer. It's simple enough to prepare; merely toast a sliced baguette in the oven and top with grated cheese, fig spread, and blue cheese crumbles. Serve it up with a drizzle of honey and fragrant rosemary leaves to give it a little something extra.
Classic Creamy Hummus
For a less indulgent first course, opt for a healthy hummus to serve alongside a bit of sliced pita and fresh vegetables. This classic creamy hummus is bursting with flavors, thanks to tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and seasonings like parsley, paprika, and za'atar, all of which perfectly complement the smooth chickpea creation.
Smoked Gouda and Apple Crostini
Perfect for serving to a crowd, these smoked gouda and apple crostinis are made from seasonal favorites like honey crisp apple slices, smoked gouda, fresh thyme, and sweet honey. Organized neatly atop toasted baguette slices, the ingredients come together for the perfect bite-size treat.
Roasted Potatoes with Arugula and Creamy Beets
Trade in a typical side of potatoes for this colorful, healthy roasted potatoes with arugula and creamy beets recipe. Serve up perfectly golden brown potato wedges with fresh arugula, and baby beetroots topped with a combination of sour cream, red wine vinegar, and mayonnaise. The display looks almost as good as the dish tastes.
Citrus Brussels Sprouts Slaw
Don't let the ingredients list for this citrus Brussels sprouts slaw deter you from trying your hand at the vegan side dish. Complete with almond parmesan and rice paper "bacon" bits, it's a tasty side perfect for any holiday gathering. Top the slaw, imitation bacon, and vegan cheese with a citrus dressing made with lemon juice, orange juice, maple syrup, and dijon mustard for a vegan option that even ardent meat eaters will enjoy.
Sun-Dried Tomato Herb Skillet Rolls
In place of the usual mixed bread basket, prepare these sun-dried tomato herb skillet rolls. You'll need to make the rolls from scratch along with a sun-dried tomato butter for extra flavor. Inspired by the Mediterranean, these rolls make for a comforting, carb-filled side, perfect for a cold Christmas Eve night.
Cauliflower, Parsnip, and Roasted Garlic Mash
Mashed potatoes have long been a staple when it comes to holiday side dishes. Why not upgrade the traditional offering to something a bit healthier with a cauliflower, parsnip, and roasted garlic mash? Instead of potatoes, boil cauliflower and parsnips until they're tender and mash together with roasted garlic, heavy cream, and seasonings. You'll be left with a light and flavorful side dish that makes for an excellent mashed potato substitute.
For a festive holiday side dish, make a batch of colorful maple-dijon-glazed carrots. With just six ingredients, you can prepare a sweet, roasted veggie offering that goes with just about any main course. All you need are baby rainbow carrots, maple syrup, stone ground mustard, dijon mustard, garlic powder, and chives. Simple mix up the mustard dressing and bake the carrots until they're perfectly tender.
Coq au Vin
Don't be intimidated by its French moniker, this coq au vin recipe is miraculously ready in less than hour with the help of an Instant Pot. You'll achieve the same beautiful flavors that you'd expect from a slow-braised chicken in a fraction of the time. Consider preparing this main dish for your Christmas Eve dinner if you're looking for an impressive meal that takes just 15 minutes to prep and 15 to cook. You'll need chicken, cremini mushrooms, dry red wine, bacon, onion, and carrots to make it happen.
Lentil and Eggplant Lasagna
A vegan, gluten-free version of the traditional Italian meal, this lentil and eggplant lasagna recipe would make for a healthy Christmas Eve dinner. With just 10 ingredients, you can prepare this dish in no time at all. The layers include a lentil sauce, eggplant slices, and a tofu ricotta mixture. Top it all off with some extra crumbles of vegan parmesan cheese and fresh basil for a hearty vegan dinner.
Pancetta Wrapped Chicken with Blue Cheese and Sage on Creamy Braised Fennel
Although pancetta wrapped chicken sounds rather impressive (and challenging), this recipe is surprisingly easy to master. Similar to a chicken cordon bleu, for this holiday dish you'll pound cut chicken breasts until they are thin enough to roll up with pieces of pancetta and a single sage leaf for a decorative touch and a burst of flavor. The chicken will sit on top of a creamy fennel mixture to bake for less than an hour. Only you will know how simple it was to make.
Creamy Cauliflower Pasta with Garlic and Roasted Tomatoes
This creamy cauliflower pasta with garlic and roasted tomatoes is just the thing for a cozy, comforting Christmas Eve dinner (that's pretty healthy to boot). Start by sautéing cauliflower florets, garlic, and tomatoes and making a plant-based cream with soaked cashews, basil, chilies, green onions, and linguine pasta. For the final touch, the recipe calls for peas and a sprinkle of vegan parmesan cheese.
Chimichurri, the South American classic, is like a fresher iteration of the popular pesto sauce. It's also the star of this recipe for perfectly grilled steak. Along with a great cut of steak, you'll need shallots, parsley, oregano, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil, and red wine vinegar to prepare a top-notch chimichurri sauce. Serve this main course with a side of vegetables or cauliflower mash for a special Christmas Eve dinner.