Pescatarian holiday dinner

Create a holiday menu even meat eaters will love.

Story by Carrie Hirsch + Photo by Butch Hirsch

Pescatarians, like all those who will be hosting family and friends, can sometimes find themselves floundering for festive dinner ideas during the holidays. This menu offers a way to make all the courses literally glitter and will have your guests hoping for another invitation next year. Chilean sea bass or any white, flaky fish will make a fine substitute for salmon. 

Pescatarian Holiday Menu  

Serves 4

Recipes by Carrie Hirsch

Sugarplum Fairy bread pudding 

Pan-seared salmon with pistachio pesto

Mashed Yukon Gold potatoes with caramelized leeks

Sautéed golden beet greens

Sugarplum Fairy bread pudding


(1) 15-ounce can whole purple plums in heavy syrup 

1/4 cup orange vodka (or any fruit-flavored vodka)

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup orange juice

Zest from 1 orange

3/4 loaf sliced brioche bread

1/2 stick butter, melted

2 eggs, beaten

3/4 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cooking spray

8” x 8” x 2” baking dish 

Optional toppings

Whipped cream

Vanilla ice cream

Pomegranate seeds

Directions Strain plums and reserve syrup. Remove any pits from plums, then chop coarsely. Combine plums, syrup, vodka, sugar, orange juice and orange zest in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then simmer uncovered, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Tear or cut bread slices into 1-inch pieces then place in a large bowl. Add melted butter, eggs, milk and cinnamon, making sure the bread soaks up all the liquid. Spoon bread mixture into baking dish coated with cooking spray. Pour plum mixture over the bread. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.


Arrange each fillet on the plate, then spread pistachio pesto evenly over the fillet, covering the entire surface. Arrange a dollop of mashed potatoes sprinkled with parsley next to the fillet. Add sautéed beet greens to the plate, then sprinkle entire dish with mini edible gold hearts.

1. Sautéed golden beet greens


Beet greens from 1 large bunch golden or red beets, thoroughly washed, tough stems discarded

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

Salt & pepper to taste

Directions Thoroughly wash then chop beet greens into 1-inch pieces. Heat olive oil and butter in a medium skillet over medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Sauté beet greens, stirring constantly, or until desired tenderness. Salt and pepper to taste.

2. Salmon


4 salmon fillets (4 ounces each)

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup orange juice

Ingredients (Garnish)

2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon mini edible gold hearts or stars

Directions In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Place fillets in skillet, skin side down, and cook for 5 minutes. Flip fillets, add orange juice into the skillet. Cook for 3-4 more minutes or until flaky.

3. Pistachio pesto


1/2 cup pistachios, shelled, roasted, & salted 

1 cup baby arugula, packed

1/4 cup pimiento peppers

1/4 cup blood orange extra-virgin olive oil*

*OK to substitute 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil less 2 tablespoons, with 2 tablespoons blood orange juice

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 large clove garlic, coarsely chopped

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

Directions Combine all pesto ingredients in a small food processor. Pulse to combine, making sure the texture remains coarse.

4. Mashed Yukon Gold potatoes with caramelized leeks


6 Yukon Gold potatoes

4 tablespoons salted butter

½ cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 large leek, dark green leaves trimmed and discarded, thoroughly washed, julienned

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/3 cup dry white wine

Salt & pepper to taste

Directions Peel and chop potatoes, add to a medium pot with cold water, bring to a boil, cook until tender. Drain, then add butter, heavy cream, salt and pepper. Mash, cover (keep warm) and set aside. While the potatoes are boiling, heat the butter and olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté leeks, stirring often, stirring in white wine after 3 minutes, until caramelized. Stir leeks into mashed potatoes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Time saving tips

Prep a day in advance by washing and chopping the leeks and the beet greens, and keep them in sealed bags in the fridge. Make the green olive appetizer (baking it just before guests arrive) and pistachio pesto a day ahead and refrigerate. Make the bread pudding first so it can bake while you’re making the other recipes.

Similar Posts