Christmastime brings forth family traditions, holiday baking, and gift-giving. Cooking is a staple of the season, with a large Christmas spread getting served.
Argentinians celebrate Christmas in the middle of summer. Temperatures are on the hotter side, averaging around 80 degrees or more.
So many traditional Christmas dishes are often served cold and pair well with a glass of Malbec wine. Argentina also celebrates with large barbeques and outdoor dining. In Argentina, a large holiday meal gets enjoyed on the eve of Christmas.
So, which foods and dishes from Argentina are most popular during this holiday season? Here is our list of the best Argentinian Christmas recipes.
Pionono is a traditional-style appetizer that gets made each Christmas season. It features a simple Argentinean sponge cake called Bizcochuelo.
The appetizer gets rolled into a log then cut into slices. It resembles a pinwheel sandwich.
The inside gets stuffed with a combination of chicken, cheese, tuna, or ham. You’ll also find vegetables like lettuce, artichokes, tomatoes, and olives. Condiments like mayonnaise and ketchup complete the dish.
Russian Potato Salad
Ensalada Rusa is a traditional Argentinian side dish that gets prepared for the holiday. This cold salad serves well during a hot summer celebration.
The boiled potatoes get prepared with mayonnaise, eggs, peas, and carrots. The side dish can also get made using an herb vinaigrette dressing instead of mayonnaise.
Cold crab or shrimp salads are another popular holiday side dish. These rich salads are heavy on mayonnaise and cream cheese. Some recipes call for a ketchup and mayonnaise mixture, called salsa golf.
Argentinians love a good meat and cheese plate before a large meal which is exactly what a picada is. These appetizers make for great food Christmas ideas for larger gatherings.
The traditional Argentinian dish features a spread of specialty meats and cheeses for sharing. It can comprise cured meats and chorizo sausage. Reggianito, Provoleta, and Sardo are common cheeses served in Argentina.
Many people will include bread, olives, and other small finger foods on their spread. Olive oil or a chimichurri sauce may even get used for dipping. And everybody knows a picada is not complete without Argentinian wine.
Humita features Argentina’s version of fresh corn cakes. The recipe uses corn mixed with a white cheese sauce.
It’s common to use goat cheese or queso fresco in the recipe. Red pepper, tomato, onion, and spices get used in the mixture.
There are different cooking styles for preparing a humita dish. Many people use corn husks to wrap around the corn mixture. Then the husks get steamed or boiled before serving.
Empanadas are a favorite dish of Argentina that shows up at every holiday. A traditional style empanada gets made in a crisp and flaky outer shell.
The filling can consists of a delicious mix of beef, onions, and spices. There are flavors of cumin, paprika, and chili powder. Veggie empanadas are also popular in vegan style cooking in Argentina.
Many families will make open-faced empanadas for Christmas. These appetizers use toppings like cheese and ham. Olives, tomato, and basil are other ingredients for this dish.
Lengua a la Vinagreta
This dish is a family favorite that is not too difficult to make. The recipe calls for a delicate cow tongue that gets sliced into thin pieces.
The tongue gets cooked in a herb, garlic, and vinegar sauce. Some recipes add in toppings like boiled eggs, red pepper, and capers. It may not be for everyone, but once you try it you may be surprised how delicious it really is.
This Argentinian appetizer features flavorful rice pilaf that gets stuffed inside tomatoes. It may also get stuffed with tuna as an alternative. The dish uses fresh tomatoes, either served raw or baked.
It’s also common to serve stuffed eggs as a holiday appetizer. These recipes use a mixture of pâté and mayonnaise for the filling. The stuffed eggs often get topped with fresh olives.
This Argentinian main dish starts with thin slices of tender veal. It gets topped with a homemade sauce of mayonnaise, tuna, and egg yolks.
The sauce also contains cream, capers, anchovies, and white wine. It’s a popular and flavorful entree that gets served cold. Perfect to combat the summer Christmas heat.
Holiday weather in Argentina makes barbeque grills (or parrillas) an essential part of the Christmas feast. These parrillas get heavy use during the holidays as asados (barbeques) are used to prepare many of the main courses. The focus is on an array of grilled meats. Lamb, chicken, steak, and sausages are all extremely popular during Christmas.
Meats get seasoned with ingredients like lemon, salt, or a chimichurri sauce. They may have dipping sauces, like sweet and sour sauce, or a warm cheese.
The stuffing of rolled meats is another traditional cooking style in Argentina. Stuffed chicken, flank steak, and tri-tip are common dishes for grilling.
These meats get stuffed with a boiled egg, bread, roasted red peppers, or spinach. Carrots, olives, bacon, and cheese are other tasty fillings.
In Argentina, it’s common to see other parts of the cow get grilled. They may cook up the intestines, pancreas, and kidneys.
Other alternatives for meat entrees include an oven-roasted suckling pig. This entrée is often the go-to if poor weather occurs during the Christmas Eve meal.
Dulce de Leche and Other Argentinian Christmas Desserts
Argentina’s dulce de leche is a soft milk caramel that gets used in many sweet traditional treats. It can even get enjoyed plain or spread on bread.
Dulce de leche gets used in a variety of Argentinian holiday desserts. This includes homemade ice cream, churros, and chocotorta.
You’ll also find bread puddings, chocolates, candied nuts, and Argentinian turron which are sweet nougat candies. All very popular during Christmas. Pan dulce cake is another traditional and festive dessert. The soft cake contains dried fruit and nuts.
Refreshing fruit recipes are popular during summer months in Argentina. Therefore many Christmas spreads include a simple fruit salad.
These can consist of peaches, cherries, pineapples, strawberries, and oranges. Juice and sugar may get added for extra flavor and sweetness.
Festive and Authentic Christmas Recipes from Argentina
Argentina offers a range of delectable and authentic dishes for the Christmas season. These recipes feature fresh and flavorful ingredients found in Latin America. These foods will be sure to impress any foodie or lover of Latin-influenced meals.
Looking for more Latin-inspired Christmas recipes? Here is our list of the best Colombian Christmas dishes.
Or to find the very best Argentinean foods and drinks, shop with us! Feliz Navidad!
Our blog is all about sharing our love of Latin American foods & drinks. We will bring you articles and recipes of the very best Latin American & Spanish cuisine. Amigofoods was founded in 2003 and is the largest online grocery store offering a wide variety of hard to find freshly imported foods & drinks from all over Latin America and Spain.