We spent quite a bit of time searching for the perfect holiday dishes over Thanksgiving, and after a lot of looking and a little trial-and-error, we have a few winners. We are proud to say that we didn’t miss the heavy, coma-inducing traditionals one bit. We found a healthy dose of flavor, but we passed on the guilt. Not a common trend when it comes to holiday recipes, if you know what we mean!
The recipes we found we’re necessarily just for Thanksgiving, and we can’t recommend them enough if you’re looking for a healthier alternative for your Christmas meal. Without further ado, we’ll jump right into our favorite finds.
We’ll start with the Cauliflower Kale Colcannon:
(Amounts = one serving)
1 cup cauliflower
1 small leaf of kale
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 tsp coconut oil or olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
Place the cauliflower and garlic in a vegetable steamer and lay the kale leaf on top. Steam for about 8 minutes.
Let the veggies cool for a few minutes. Remove the kale leaf and set it aside. Put the cauliflower, garlic, oil and salt in a food processor and blend until the mixture is soft and creamy. Tear the kale leaf in pieces and add it to the processor and pulse a few times, until it is chopped.
Serve and enjoy!
(P.S. – we just have to share our favorite part of this recipe: When doing a taste-test with Lolly’s food-loving husband, he thought he was eating mashed potatoes. Sneaky veggies for the WIN!)
Next, we have the Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberry Pistachio Pesto
*We opted to simply toss parmesean cheese on top rather than the cranberry pistachio pesto simply due to time, but we bet it is delicious!
1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup Cranberry Pistachio Pesto (see below)For Pesto
1/2 cup toasted pistachios
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3 cloves roasted garlic
2 sprigs fresh parsley
1/2 cups olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400F degrees.
Cut off the knobby end of the brussels sprouts and pull off any loose outer leaves. Cut the brussels sprouts in half, lengthwise. Toss with olive oil.
On a baking sheet, spread the brussels sprouts evenly and roast for 25 minutes, until you begin to see a bit of browning on the brussels sprouts. The interior should be fork tender.
Place the pistachios, cranberries, garlic and parsley into a food processor and process until very finely chopped. While the food processor is running, slowly drizzle in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Spoon out the pesto into a bowl and stir in remaining olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. The pesto should be slightly sweet and salty.
Season the brussels sprouts with salt and pepper and spoon the Cranberry Pistachio Pesto on top.
Our next recipe was incredible. Have we mentioned how much we love broccolini!?
Broccolini and Feta Galette
We loved everything we cooked, but this was by far the best. It is now a staple for appetizers when hosting guests or as an dinner entree for two….
2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 bunches Broccolini (1 pound total)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2/3 cup crumbled feta (3 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 large egg, lightly beaten
In a medium bowl, combine flour, oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/3 cup cold water. With a fork, stir to combine. Knead dough 1 minute. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with rack in lower third. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook Broccolini until bright green, 1 minute. With tongs, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.
Roll out dough to a 14-inch round; transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle dough with Parmesan and top with Broccolini, leaving a 2 1/2-inch border. Top with feta and red-pepper flakes; season with salt and pepper. Fold dough border over filling and brush with egg. Bake until crust is golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Cider Glazed Roots with Cinnamon Walnuts
We loved this recipe because we could prep ahead of time and warmed up well for leftovers. We also think the leftovers would be delicious if put into a sweet frittata.
3 pounds assorted root vegetables, peeled (see Tip) and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup apple cider
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon butter
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400°F.
If using parsnips, quarter lengthwise and remove the woody core before cutting into 1-inch pieces. Whisk cider, brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish until the sugar is dissolved. Add root vegetables and toss to coat. Cover the baking dish with foil.
Bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and stir the vegetables. Continue cooking, uncovered, stirring every 20 minutes or so, until the vegetables are glazed and tender, about 1 hour more.
Meanwhile, place walnuts in a small skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and add butter, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Stir until the butter melts and the nuts are coated. Spread out on a plate to cool slightly.
Transfer the vegetables to a serving dish and sprinkle with the cinnamon walnuts.
Tips & Notes:
Beets, carrots and parsnips are easily peeled with a vegetable peeler, but for tougher-skinned roots like celeriac, rutabaga and turnips, removing the peel with a knife can be easier. Cut off one end of the root to create a flat surface to keep it steady on the cutting board. Follow the contour of the vegetable with your knife. If you use a vegetable peeler on the tougher roots, peel around each vegetable at least three times to ensure all the fibrous skin has been removed.
Celebrations shouldn’t be about forgetting our healthy habits and over-eating. If that’s been a “holiday tradition” in your family, let this be the year that you begin the new, healthier version of a tired, trans-fatty tradition. You’ll not only enjoy the benefit of fewer regrets; you’ll also be pointing your family in the direction of better health. If you ask us, that’s better than anything they could find wrapped up under the tree!