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Gut-friendly Christmas Dinner Recipes


As part of its Christmas campaign ‘Gifts for your gut’, Bowel & Cancer Research, together with chef Tonia Buxton, The Gut Stuff founders The Mac Twins, and expert nutritionist and Bowel & Cancer Research ambassador, Lily Soutter, has compiled the ultimate gut-friendly ‘Alternative Christmas Dinner’.

Christmas is a time of over-indulgence for most, with late nights, too much alcohol and rich foods, which can all present difficulties for those with gut-related illnesses such as IBS, or sensitive tummies.

The video sees the fantastic trio of Tonia Buxton and the Mac Twins in Tonia’s home, creating delicious alternatives to the usual festive fare, along with fascinating facts about gut health, how to look after your good gut bugs and tips on great swaps for ingredients that can upset tummies if you live with a digestive condition such as IBS.

Recipes include:

  • Tonia’s winter warmer soup
  • Tonia’s turkey burgers with Greek tomato salad
  • The Mac Twins’ Figgy Pud Twist

Bowel & Cancer Research is a leading and innovative medical research charity that also understands the practical challenges faced by people living with bowel conditions. IBS is an invisible illness that affects up to 20% of the population – affecting twice as many women as men. Symptoms can include bloating, pain, diarrhea and/or constipation. Making changes to your diet is often the most important factor in managing IBS, the ‘Alternative Christmas Dinner’ recipes offer simple swaps that people can make at home to ease the strain on their stomachs this festive season.


Tonia’s winter warmer soup

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 tsp coriander seeds crushed   
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion chopped
  • 2 carrot roughly chopped
  • 1 fennel roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic or garlic infused oil if garlic affects your gut
  • 1 ½ pts vegetable stock
  • 1 x 400g plum tomatoes or fresh grated tomatoes
  • 1x 200g cans chickpeas drained
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • bunch coriander, chopped.
  • Greek yogurt or coconut yogurt if dairy intolerant.


  1. In a large saucepan dry fry the cumin and coriander till they start to jump
  2. Add the oil and onion and gently fry till transparent but not browned.
  3. Add carrots & fennel
  4. Add tomatoes
  5. Add the stock
  6. Simmer for 30-40 minutes. Until all the veg is soft.
  7. Blintz the soup to a smooth texture
  8. Add the chickpeas, and simmer for another 5 minutes
  9. Taste and season.

Serve hot with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkling of coriander, and lots of bread for dipping.

Tonia’s Turkey Burgers with Greek Tomato Salad

gut-friendly Christmas dinner recipe two

Ingredients (Serves 4)

Greek Turkey Burgers

  • 1 lb ground turkey 
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach, chopped 
  • 3 spring onions
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, rubbed between the palms of your hands 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed or garlic infused oil if garlic affects your tummy
  • 2 eggs
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste 

Greek Tomato Salad

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered 
  • 3 spring onions 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley 
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar 
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil 
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste 

Other Ingredients

  • 4 pita bread rounds 


Greek Tomato Salad

  1. Combine all of the salad ingredients in a bowl and stir together until combined. Taste for seasoning, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Greek Turkey Burgers

  1. In a large bowl combine the spinach, spring onions, feta, eggs, dill, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper.
  2. Add in the minced turkey and use your hands to mix everything together, don’t overwork the meat.
  3. Form the meat mixture into 4 patties.
  4. Heat your grill, grill pan, or skillet over medium heat. Spray or coat the grill grates/pan with oil.
  5. Grill the burgers for approximately 4-6 minutes then flip over and grill another 4-6 minutes or until done.
  6. Serve the turkey burgers in pitas topped with the tzatziki sauce, Greek tomato salad and more crumbled feta.

The Mac Twins’ Figgy Pud Twist

gut-friendly Christmas dinner recipe three

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 500ml kefir (organic if possible)
  • 8 large figs
  • 2 tablespoons honey / maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • Handful of crushed pistachios  


  1. Mix the kefir, honey/maple syrup and vanilla together in a mixing bowl and set to one side.
  2. Slice the figs into 5-6 slices and line the inside of each bowl (so it looks pretty from the outside)
  3. Pour in your kefir mix

Roughly chop the pistachios and sprinkle on top of each bowl.

Find out more about the campaign and get access to great tummy friendly tips at www.bowelcancerresearch.org