The holiday season is upon us! During this festive time of year it can be hard to find ways of balancing eating healthy with holiday entertaining since no one wants to compromise on flavor when prepping for a holiday party or dinner. Which is why we compiled a list of some amazing recipes that let you have the best of both! Take a look at some of our top picks for holiday entertaining, from drinks and appetizers to dinner and dessert, we’ve got all the inspiration you’ll need to wow guests AND stay true to your diet during this festive season!
- 2 cups nonfat milk
- 2 large strips orange and/or lemon zest
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- White rum or bourbon (optional)
- Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish
Combine 1 1/2 cups milk and the citrus zest in a medium saucepan. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds; add the seeds and pod to the saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, egg yolk, sugar and cornstarch in a medium bowl until light yellow.
Gradually pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly, then pour back into the pan. Place over medium heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon in a figure-eight motion until the eggnog begins to thicken, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the remaining 1/2 cup milk to stop the cooking. Transfer the eggnog to a large bowl and place over a larger bowl of ice to cool, then chill until ready to serve.
Remove the zest and vanilla pod. Spike the eggnog with liquor, if desired, and garnish with nutmeg.
- 1 bottle white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
- 2 ½ cups fresh apple cider (3 if you want more of a cider taste)
- 1 cup carbonated water
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1/2-1 cup gluten-free vodka
- 2 apples, chopped
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup pommegranates
- 1 orange, chopped
- Optional: 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
Chop apple and oranges and place in the bottom of a large pitcher with pomegranate seeds.
Add in cinnamon sticks, cider, carbonated water, wine, cinnamon, and honey.
Add in vodka (I start with 1/2 cup), mix well and taste. Adjust sweetener as desired.
Serve over ice!
- 1 C (overflowing) canned pumpkin
- 1 C black beans (rinsed)
- 1/2 C cannellini beans (rinsed)
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- juice from 2 lemons
- 1/2 tsp cumin (this totally made the dip!)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
Toss it all into a food processor and whirl away until completely blended. Refrigerate until serving. Serve with tortilla chips, pita chips, or veggies!
- 1lb full-fat Greek feta cheese
- 1T black peppercorns, cracked
- 1-2 sprigs of fresh thyme; leaves stripped off will equal a large tablespoon.
- One lemon
- ½ hot chili (optional)
- Olive oil
Cut the lemon in half and then one half into quarters.
Remove the pulp and a bit of the pith (the white part) and discard them or use them for something else. Cut the rind into thin strips and then crosswise so you get small diced pieces. They do not have to be perfect!
Cut the feta into ½-3/4 inch cubes and place into a bowl.
Add the peppercorns, thyme, lemon rind, and chili, and pour around 2-3T olive oil over everything. Mix gently with a spoon to combine. Be gentle so you don’t break the feta apart.
Let sit anywhere from 20 minutes to overnight, mixing every so often so the flavors meld.
Serve with lots of crusty bread, olives, charcuterie, or whatever else you want!
- 3 to 4 medium shallots, in their skins
- Kosher salt, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons
- 1 pound fresh green beans, stemmed, and halved crosswise
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced (about 4 cups)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups mushroom, vegetable, or chicken broth (see Cook’s Note)
- 3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Vegetable cooking spray
- 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put the shallots (in their skins) on a small baking dish, roast until soft, about 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, skin and coarsely chop the shallots. Set aside.
Bring a medium-large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add kosher salt, to taste. Add the green beans, and cook, uncovered, until crisp-tender and bright green, about 3 minutes. Drain the beans in a colander and rinse with cold water. Transfer the beans to a large bowl.
In the same saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, season with 1 teaspoon salt, cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 7 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the beans.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until golden, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the broth, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Add the shallots, 1 teaspoon of the thyme, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Pour the sauce over the vegetables and stir to combine evenly.
Spray a 2-quart baking dish with vegetable cooking spray. Transfer the vegetable mixture to the pan. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of thyme to bread crumbs and scatter over the vegetables. Bake uncovered until the sauce bubbles and the crumbs brown, about 20 minutes.
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 pork tenderloins (2 to 2 1/2 pounds total), trimmed
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, about 8 minutes. Add the mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste; cook until the mushrooms are soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the breadcrumbs and all but 2 tablespoons parsley. Let cool.
Soak 10 to 12 toothpicks in water to prevent them from burning. Rinse the pork and pat dry. Butterfly the pork: Make a 1-inch-deep incision down the length of each tenderloin; do not cut all the way through. Open the meat like a book so the tenderloins lie flat.
Cover the pork with plastic wrap; pound with the flat side of a meat mallet until about 1/2 inch thick, starting from the middle and working outward. Spread the mushroom mixture over the 2 tenderloins. Starting with a long side, tightly roll up each tenderloin. Secure the seams with the toothpicks.
Preheat a grill to medium high; brush the grates with olive oil. Brush the pork rolls with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning, until a thermometer inserted into the center of the pork registers 140 degrees F, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board to rest, about 10 minutes.
Mix the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons parsley, the lemon zest, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Remove the toothpicks and slice the pork rolls. Top with parsley oil.
- 1 1/4 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- Seeds from 1 pomegranate
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts
- Finely grated zest of 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Put the Brussels sprouts in a medium roasting pan; toss with the canola oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until light golden brown and a knife inserted into the centers goes in without any resistance, about 45 minutes.
Transfer the sprouts to a large bowl and add the pomegranate molasses, pomegranate seeds, hazelnuts, and lime and orange zests. Season with salt as needed.
- 7 cups chopped apple, with the skins left on (above 7 – 8 apples)
- 2 tbsp arrowroot
- ⅛ tsp fine grain sea salt
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup oats (gluten free, if necessary)
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- ½ cup almond meal
- 5 tbsp grass fed butter or coconut oil, melted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp salt
Vegan Caramel Sauce
- 1 13.5 ounce can full-fat coconut milk
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss together all FILLING ingredients, then fill a 10″ round baking dish (I used my Lodge Cast Iron) or baking dish of choice. Mix together TOPPING ingredients, then sprinkle evenly over top of filling. Bake for 30 – 45 minutes, or until topping is golden brown.
Meanwhile, mix together coconut milk and coconut sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thick, syrupy and deep brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and add the coconut oil and vanilla; stir vigorously to incorporate oil; set aside.
Drizzle the caramel atop the crisp and serve. Serves 10 – 12. The crisp can be stored in the fridge for 3 – 4 days, and the caramel can be stored in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for 4 – 5 days.
- 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 6 Bosc pears, peeled, cored, and halved
- 1 pint low-fat vanilla ice cream
In the bowl of the slow cooker, combine the sugar, ginger, and butter.
Add the pears and gently toss to coat. Arrange the pears cut-side down.
Set the slow cooker to high and cook, covered, until the pears are tender and easily pierced with the tip of a knife, about 1 to 2 hours. Divide the pears and ice cream among individual bowls and drizzle with the sauce.
Note: This recipe was tested in a 6-quart slow cooker. Because different models cook at different rates, the cooking time above is presented as a range. Check for doneness at the low end of the range (but not before, as the escaped heat will significantly slow the cooking). If the food is not done, cover and cook to the end of the suggested time range. If using a slow-cooker smaller than 6 quarts, the cooking time may take an additional hour or more, and results may vary.