Typical Christmas cuisine of Campania
In the Christmas culinary tradition of Campania the list of food from Italian tradition is endless; from entrees to fish-based first courses, from fried cod to shellfish, from insalata di rinforzo to dry fruit. Having said that, even at Christmas you can eat healthy so theorist giving up on taste.
In fact, there are many dishes that feature on the tables of the people of Naples during the festivities, with not many calories and with many nutritional benefits for the health of body, even at Christmas!
The important thing is to prepare these dishes in a healthy way, let us see a few examples!
Campania’s healthiest Christmas recipes
1. Christmas broccoli
A typical vegetable grown between Salerno and Naples, which strengthens immune defense and antitumoral properties. It is rich in magnesium, phosphorus and iron, and it is an important source of dietary fibers, very useful to feel full to prevent and reduce constipation.
A typical Christmas food, a great source of iron. The lentils, just like legumes in general, reduce the incidence of chronic-degenerative pathologies, increase bowel movement and satiety thanks to the presence of fibers, they improve cholesterol disease, blood sugar and blood pressure. Prolonged cooking of lentils allows to improve their digestibility because lectins are degraded as well as hemagglutinins, which are enzymatic inhibitors that do not allow the processing of proteins generating intestinal disorder. Typical of the Campania territory are the lentils of “Colliano”and of “San Gerardo” but are not very known and also for this reason they risk extinction.
3. Insalata di rinforzo
It is a dish always present in the Christmas cuisine of Campania featuring several vegetables such as carrots, green beans, cauliflowers, peppers and pickled onions and legumes such as peas and white beans. For this reason, it is considered a recipe with a lot of nutritional potential. In fact, the carrots are rich in betacarotene; green beans contain a high quantity of fibre; the cauliflower contains potassium, calcium, and phosphorus; peppers are rich in vitamin C and the onions have antitumoral properties.
Beware though: the original insalata di rinforzo has quite a lot of mayo but in the case you want to reduce your calories and fats intake, the quantity must be significantly decreased, perhaps replacing the Mayo with white low fat yoghurt.
The seafood of the famous Mediterranean Sea have proteins and vitamin A. They have several functions, among these: anti age, antitumoral, they are used to stimulate immune system and to fight acne.
The cod presents a few calories thanks to its high water value and contains high quality proteins, vitamins of the B group (in particular B1, B3, and B6), phosphorus and omega 3 fats able to prevent heart diseases such as heart attacks and ictuses. At Christmas it is often proposed in two ways: boiled or fried but in order to follow a healthy diet the former cooking method is to be preferred as it best preserves the nutritional properties without increasing the calories intake.
6. Castagne del prete (the friar’s chestnuts)
Chestnuts, in addition to providing energy avoiding stress symptoms, they contain B group vitamins and iron. But there is more, they can help bowel function.
The castagne del prete are recognized as traditional agri-food product in the Campania region, especially in Montella (in the province of Avellino). These should be dried on a slow fire, toasting them in a fan oven at about 180 degrees for about 30 minutes and finally, before being marketed they are hydrated immersing them in water or in a solution of water and wine.
7. Dried figs
The fig is a fresh fruit extremely nourishing for the rich sugar content. The discreet calcium and potassium and fiber quantity, together with the small seeds, have a laxative effect. Dried figs with honey surely make the list of the Campania recipes typical of Christmas time because it is an old dish from the Sorrento peninsula, in the province of Naples.
They are rich in vitamin (mainly C and A), furthermore they contain iron, potassium and other precious minerals. They combat inflammatory states and protect airways from seasonal illnesses.
9. Pumpkin seeds
In Naples pumpkin seeds are referred to as “semmente” and they are usually enjoyed as a snack just as they are, but also dried and then toasted or cooked in the oven with no salt. These contain vitamins (C, E, K and B group vitamins), phosphorus, magnesium, helpful to the heart, zinc that keeps cholesterol in check, omega 3, useful to combat aging, and selenium. Napoli i semi di zucca prendono il nome di “semmente” e vengono gustati come snack al naturale, ma anche essiccati e successivamente tostati o cotti al forno senza aggiunta di sale. Questi contengono vitamine (C, E, K e vitamine del gruppo B), fosforo, magnesio, di grande aiuto per il cuore, zinco, che tiene sotto controllo il colesterolo, omega 3, utili per contrastare l’invecchiamento, e selenio. The constant intake of these sees has a beneficial action on bladder muscles: it helps to prevent problems related to prostate engrossment and it is useful to combat in general to fight disturbs that interest the urinary apparatus, female too, such as inflammation and UTI.
10. Dried fruit
An element that cannot miss in Campania Christmas cuisine. Dried fruit is rich in essential fat acids able to combat bad cholesterol in the blood, keeping its levels under control helping heart health. Furthermore, the fibers contained in dried fruit help to placate stress eating, help to feel full and help regularity of the bowel function.
Cover Image: cookist