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green bean casserole

Holidays look a little different this year. We might not be hosting as many as friends and family as we’d like, but there’s no reason to skip the celebratory meal. Here are nine of our favorite tasty — and healthy — holiday dishes.

What are your favorite healthy holiday dishes to share? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Maple-Apple Meatballs

Set these savory-yet-sweet meatballs out with some toothpicks for easy noshing. They’re loaded with seasonal whole-food ingredients including green apples, sage, and parsley, and deliver a warm autumnal flavor.

apple meatballs

Makes six to eight servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 to 35 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 3 green apples, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbs. sage, chopped
  • 3 lbs. lean ground turkey

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the turkey and stir. Then, add the turkey and mix thoroughly.
  3. Form evenly sized meatballs, using about 1/4 cup of the mixture for each. Place in a greased or lined muffin tin and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Tip: Turn the heat to broil for the final 3 to 4 minutes for a caramelized finish.

Source for Maple-Apple Meatballs: The Life Time Foundation|

Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus 

Blanched asparagus provides a bright and crisp contrast to the tender and salty prosciutto in this classic hors d’oeuvre recipe — and delivers plenty of vitamins and fiber. For a sweet counterpoint, you could also wrap pear slices to serve alongside.

proscuitto-wrapped asparagus

Makes four to six servings
Prep time: 10 minutes plus time to chill
Cook time: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 cups water
  • Large bowl of ice water
  • 12 asparagus spears, tough ends trimmed off
  • 4 thin slices prosciutto, each cut into three long strips
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

DIRECTION

  1. Pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until reduced by half, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill while you prepare the asparagus.
  2. Bring water to boil in a saucepan, then place the trimmed asparagus in the boiling water. Cook for one minute, then remove the asparagus and quickly transfer to the bowl of ice water.
  3. Dry the asparagus stalks and then wrap one slice of prosciutto around each. Arrange on a serving plate and chill at least 15 minutes.
  4. Serve chilled with a drizzle of the vinegar reduction with salt and pepper added to taste.

Source for Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus: Betsy Nelson (a.k.a. “That Food Girl”) is a Minneapolis-based food stylist and recipe developer.|

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Bursting with vitamins, these cruciferous veggies are a classic this time of year. The balsamic vinegar and bacon lend a nutty, slightly sweet quality to this recipe.

charred Brussel sprouts

Makes four to six servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 lbs. Brussels sprouts
  • 2 to 3 tbs. melted ghee
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 4 bacon slices, diced
  • Balsamic vinegar to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut off the ends and pull any wilted outer leaves from the Brussels sprouts. Cut the sprouts in half and toss them with the melted ghee, salt, and pepper.
  3. Pour the coated sprouts onto a foil-lined baking sheet, making sure to keep everything in one layer. Sprinkle the diced bacon over everything, and pop the sheet into the oven.
  4. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, checking at 10-minute intervals to rotate and flip the sprouts.
  5. Remove from the oven and drizzle some balsamic vinegar over the finished dish to taste. Serve warm.

Source for Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon: Reprinted with permission from Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans, 2013, by Michelle Tam, published by Andrews McMeel Publishing, an Andrews McMeel Universal company.|

Turkey Wild Rice Soup 

Full of immune-supporting ingredients such as onions, garlic, mushrooms, and parsley, this soup makes good use of Thanksgiving turkey leftovers. (No leftovers? No problem. You can sub rotisserie chicken for the turkey and chicken broth for the turkey broth.)

turkey wild rice soup

Makes eight to 10 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbs. olive oil or butter
  • 2 small yellow onions, diced
  • 1 tbs. minced garlic
  • 10 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 6 stalks celery, chopped
  • 12 cups turkey stock or broth, divided
  • 6 cups shredded roast turkey
  • 8 oz. baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 oz. fresh sage
  • 3/4 oz. fresh thyme
  • 1 cup wild rice blend

DIRECTIONS

  1. Add the butter or oil, onion, and garlic to a large pot over medium heat and cook until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add the carrots, celery, and two cups of turkey stock, cooking for an additional five minutes.
  3. Pour in remaining ingredients except for the wild rice and bring to a boil. Cover and cook for five minutes.
  4. Add wild rice. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes, or until rice is tender.

Source for Turkey Wild Rice Soup: The Life Time Foundation|

Walnut, Date, and Herb Salad With Chive Oil 

Think of herbs as tasty, highly concentrated packets of nutrition. You can try this salad with basil, chervil, dill, or tarragon, all of which are loaded with vitamins as well as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.

walnut herb salad

Makes four servings
Prep time: 15 minutes 

DRESSING INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

SALAD INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups tightly packed arugula or mixed greens
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed chopped mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces, toasted
  • 1/4 cup chopped dates
  • 4 oz. chèvre or other soft goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup dressing

DIRECTIONS

  1. Make the Dressing: Combine the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
  2. Make the Salad: Place the arugula or mixed greens, parsley, and mint in a bowl and toss to combine. Add the walnuts, dates, and chèvre. Toss with the lemon juice and dressing and serve.

Source for Walnut, Date, and Herb Salad With Chive Oil: Photo: Andrea DAgosto; Prop Styling: Alicia Buszczak; Food Stylist: Paul Jackman|

Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Shallots 

Liven up this holiday favorite with fresh green beans and cremini mushrooms. The cashew-based cream sauce is loaded with minerals and antioxidants, and delivers casserole comfort without dairy, gluten, or MSG.

green-bean casserole

Makes 10 to 12 servings
Prep time: 1 hour including time to soak cashews
Cook time: 45 minutes

CASSEROLE INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup whole raw cashews
  • 1 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, halved
  • 1 shallot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbs. sherry (optional)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 3⁄4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 lb. thin green beans, ends trimmed

TOPPING INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup bacon fat or ghee for frying
  • 2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced into rings

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place the cashews in a bowl and cover them with boiling water. Soak for one hour.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, shallot, and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms and shallot have softened. Pour in the sherry and simmer for five minutes to reduce the liquid.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. While the oven is warming up, drain and rinse the cashews, transfer them to a blender, add the water, and blend until very smooth.
  4. Add the mushroom mix, half the chicken stock, salt, pepper, and thyme to the blender, and pulse a few times until the mushrooms are bite-size. Pour the mixture into a bowl and stir in the remaining stock. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
  5. Combine the mushroom mixture with the green beans and spoon into a casserole dish. Bake covered for 30 minutes until the beans are tender and the sauce is bubbling. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes more.
  6. To make the topping, heat the ghee in a small, deep saucepan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, pan-fry the shallots for about five minutes, until golden brown. Drain and cool in a single layer on a plate lined with paper towels.
  7. Top the casserole with the crispy shallots and serve warm.

Source for Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Shallots: Reprinted with permission from Against All Grains Celebrations: A Year of Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes for Every Occasion, 2016, by Danielle Walker, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Crown Publishing Group. Photo by Erin Kunkel.|

Sweet Potato Mash with Pomegranate and Maple-Balsamic Drizzle

Flavorful and antioxidant-rich, pomegranates elevate roasted sweet potatoes — which are nutritional heavy-hitters in their own right — into an easy-to-prepare side dish perfect for sharing.

Mashed sweet potatoes topped with pomegranate seeds

Makes six to eight servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes to 1 hour

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbs. freshly grated gingerroot
  • 1 tbs. maple syrup
  • 1 tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes to one hour. When tender, remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the skin with tongs.
  2. Place the peeled sweet potatoes in a large bowl and mix in the butter with a potato masher. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then stir in the ginger.
  3. Mix maple syrup and balsamic vinegar together in a small bowl. Scatter pomegranate seeds on top of the sweet-potato mash and drizzle with maple-balsamic sauce. Serve warm.

Source for Sweet Potato Mash with Pomegranate and Maple-Balsamic Drizzle: Betsy Nelson (a.k.a. “That Food Girl”) is a Minneapolis-based food stylist and recipe developer.|

Coconut-Cherry Almond Cookies 

Gluten-free and vegan — but decadent all the same— these cookies will disappear quickly at any gathering. If you want a gooier, more chocolatey version, substitute dark chocolate chips for the cacao nibs.

A plate of cookies and milk

Makes 24 cookies
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 7 to 9 minutes per batch

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup cacao nibs
  • 1/4 cup tart dried cherries, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Slowly whisk the maple syrup into the coconut oil until the mixture emulsifies. Fold in the remaining ingredients and stir until smooth.
  3. Use a tablespoon to scoop the dough into balls and place 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Press the balls to flatten slightly.
  4. Bake for seven to nine minutes, until the cookies are golden brown.
  5. Allow the cookies to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Source for Coconut-Cherry Almond Cookies: Photo: Terry Brennan; Food Styling: Betsy Nelson|

Winter Sangria 

This antioxidant-rich take on sangria features flavorful elderberry and pomegranate juices. To add “spirit” to this non-alcoholic beverage, top it off with a bit of brandy.

A glass of red sangria

Makes eight to 10 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes, plus at least three hours to chill

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 qt. pomegranate-juice blend, such as pomegranate-cranberry or pomegranate-cherry (look for 100 percent juice)
  • 2 cups elderberry juice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 lime, thinly sliced
  • 1 ripe pear, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup red grapes, cut in half
  • 4 cups sparkling water

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large pitcher, mix the pomegranate and elderberry juices, then add the cinnamon sticks and fruits.
  2. Cover and steep for at least three hours, preferably overnight.
  3. Serve in wine glasses, ladling a few pieces of fruit into each glass and add sparkling water for a little fizz.

Source for Winter Sangria: Photo: Andrea D’Agosto; Prop Styling: Alicia Buszczak; Food Stylist: Paul Jackman

Lead photo by: Erin Kunkel

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