Recipes for a Festive, Flavor-packed – and Fit – Holiday
While for many people this year’s holiday may be a little different from in past years, there’s one thing that is sure to stay the same: a focus on the season’s festive foods. From the smell of freshly baked gingerbread wafting through the house to the fruitcakes that will likely make their way onto countless holiday tables this year, some things just say (and taste like) the holidays. This year, perhaps more than any other, the season’s traditional foods can take on a whole new level of importance and meaning for many families. And, with some simple substitutions and a focus on wholesome, nutritious ingredients, you can turn some of your favorite holiday recipes into healthier options – giving you and your family the best gift of all this year.
From enticing appetizers to the traditional holiday main dish and sides, to that all-important festive dessert, every family has its favorites. But when it comes to giving them a healthier spin, many people would be surprised at how easy making their favorites even healthier can be! By making some simple adjustments and swaps, you create keto-friendly, gluten-free, and sugar-free dishes. Eating healthy – particularly during the holidays – doesn’t have to be about depriving yourself of the signature dishes that have been part of your family traditions for years (perhaps decades). Instead, it’s about little things you can do and choices you can make that work for you and your family. There’s a way to make just about all of your holiday favorites into healthier versions of your tried-and-true family recipes, which not only add some delicious flavors to your holiday table but help keep you healthy all year long.
Following are some of my favorite healthy holiday recipes that have become part of my new holiday traditions. As you’ll see, just a few simple adjustments have turned these longtime holiday staples into dishes that are bursting with flavor – and healthier eating. Whether looking for vegetarian, vegan, keto-friendly, gluten-free, or sugar-free options, these delicious dishes can add something special to your holidays this year – without taking away any of the traditional flavors and festivity of our holiday celebrations.
Here’s to a happy, healthy – and delicious – holiday season!
Holiday Quinoa “Meatballs”
- Sauté Pan
- large bowl
- baking sheet
- Large Skillet/Pan
- 1-1/2 cups Quinoa cooked
- 2 cups Garbanzo Beans pureed- some left aside to break apart w/ hands
- 1/3 cup Red Onion diced small
- 1/4 Yellow Pepper diced small
- 1/4 Orange Pepper diced small
- 1/4 cup Celery diced small
- 2 Tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/2 cup Fresh Parsley finely chopped
- 2 Eggs -OR- Vegan Eggs (mix 2 Tbsp flax and 6 Tbsp water, set 10 minutes)
- 1/2 cup Almond Milk may need a little more for blending meatballs
- 1 pat Butter or Olive Oil
- 1 handful Almond Flour or All-Purpose Flour
- 2 cups Vegetable Broth
- 1 cup Heavy Cream
- 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 1 bottle Worcestershire Sauce optional- not Gluten Free or Sugar Free
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- In a medium sauté pan, add ¼ cup of Olive Oil.Place red onion, peppers, celery, into pan. Sauté until translucent. Set aside and let cool.
- In a large bowl, add pureed Garbanzo Beans, OldBay Seasoning, black pepper, salt, garlic powder, fresh parsley together and slightly blend.
- Whisk together Almond Milk and Eggs (or Vegan eggs) Add to Garbanzo Bean mixture.
- When cool, add pepper and celery mixture to Garbanzo Bean mixture; add almond milk mixture and lightly blend together with a wooden spoon.
- When blended; roll into desired size of meatballs. Bake in the oven at 350F for about 20 minutes or until slightly golden. Take out of the oven when done and cover with foil.
- In a large skillet, add 4 Tablespoons Almond Flour (All-purpose flour) and butter or olive and whisk together until it turns brown to make a roux. Slowly stir in Vegetable Broth and heavy cream. Add Dijon Mustard and simmer until sauce thickens. Salt and pepper to taste. Added Worcestershire sauce is optional and not Gluten-Free or Sugar-Free
- Add the meatballs back to the skillet and simmer for another few minutes. Serve over rice or serve as an appetizer.
Honey Dilled Carrots
- Medium Pot
- 6 Carrots peeled & cut into large bite size pieces
- 1/4 cup Honey (no honey for sugar-free)
- 1 Salt and Pepper to season
- 2 tsp Dill fresh or dried
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp Butter (optional)
- Place cut carrots in a medium size pot. Cover the carrots with water and add ½ teaspoon of salt. Simmer until the carrots are at desired firmness, about 20 minutes.
- Drain carrots and rinse with cold water to retain bright orange color.
- Place pot of carrots on medium heat and add olive oil or butter, honey (optional), dill, salt and pepper to taste.
Pork Tenderloin with Creamy Mustard Seed Sauce
- Small Bowl
- Plastic Sealable Baggie
- Food Processor
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 pkg Pork Tenderloin usually 2 in package
- 2 tsp Mustard powder
- 1 tsp Pepper
- 2 tsp Thyme fresh or dried
- 1/2 tsp Salt
Marinade (NOT Keto, Gluten-Free, or Sugar-Free)
- 2 cloves Garlic minced
- 2 Tbsp Pickled Ginger
- 1/2 cup Soy Sauce
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
- 1-1/2 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1/2 cup Whole Grain Seed Mustard
Marinade and Preparing the Tenderloin
- In a small bowl, mix mustard powder, pepper, thyme, salt together.
- Rub Olive Oil over the pork tenderloins; then rub the dry seasonings mixture onto the tenderloins.
- Put the olive oil, soy sauce, pickled ginger, and garlic in a large plastic baggie. Seal and mix the from the outside of the bag with your hands. Place the seasoned pork tenderloins into the marinade; seal and place into refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
- Place the heavy whipping cream, whole grain seed mustard, salt and pepper into a blender, food processor, or bullet and mix on high. It will look like whipped cream and blend to desired thickness. Place into refrigerator until ready to serve. You may serve cold with pork tenderloin or lightly heat up.
Cooking the Tenderloin
- Heat grill to high or oven to 375°F. Grill or Roast about 25 minutes. Let rest lightly covered with foil for 15 minutes. Serve with Sauce.
- 9-inch Springform pan
- Small Bowl
- large bowl
- Mixer or Blender
- Large Baking Pan
- 2-1/2 cups Cream-filled chocolate cookie crumbs
- 1/3 cup Butter melted
- 5 8oz pkgs Cream Cheese softened
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 cup Sour Cream
- 3 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
- 3 tsp Vanilla
- 1 tsp Peppermint Extract
- 3 large Eggs slightly beaten
- 2 pkgs Andes Mint Candies chopped
- 1 8oz pkg Cream Cheese softened
- 1/3 cup Sugar
- 1 12oz pkg Frozen whipped topping thawed
- 1 handful Miniature Candy and Andes Mints for Garnish
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Place a greased 9 -inch Springform baking pan onto a sheet of foil and secure the foil around the base of the pan.
- In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs and melted butter. Press cookie mixture onto the bottom of pan and also up to 1 inch on the sides.
- Put in oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes. Cool
- In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in sour cream, flour, vanilla, and peppermint extract.
- Add eggs; beat on low speed just until mixture in combined. Fold in chopped Andes Mints. Pour into cooled chocolate crust.
- Place springform pan into a large baking pan; add 1 inch of hot water to larger pan.
- Carefully place baking pans in to preheated oven. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until the center is just set.
- Carefully remove springform pan from the hot water bath and let cool
- Carefully run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen; let cool in springform pan for hour. Refrigerate overnight.
- In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Fold in thawed whipped topping. Place topping over Cheesecake
- Remove the Springform pan from the Cheesecake.
- Garnish with Mini Candy Canes and Andes MintCandies