Most of us don’t have the room for more stress in our life this holiday season. So, when it comes to thinking up healthy recipes for this time of the year, I have a motto: Keep it simple.
Vegetable-centered recipes can offer the perfect mix of simplicity and nutrition. Recipes that call for veggies, such as salads, are easy to pull together. They can also be an excellent source of fiber, which can help you feel fuller for longer.
This holiday season, whether you’re bringing a dish to a loved one’s or you’re holding your own dinner party, consider adding some veggies to the menu. To get you started, I’ve compiled three of my favorite veggie-based dishes below.
Simple Green Salad
Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best. This salad is super quick to prepare and works perfectly as a delicious healthy side.
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp. fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tbsp. lemon juice)
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 1 head whichever green you enjoy, roughly chopped
- 2 endive, leaves separated then roughly chopped
- 1 pear, cored and chopped
- 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- Choose a large mixing bowl which can double as your presentation bowl.
- Using a fork or a whisk, combine dressing ingredients together in the bowl.
- Add salad ingredients to the bowl and toss.
- Gently toss salad just before you’re ready to serve.
I’ve always found this one to be a crowd-pleaser. The vinaigrette dressing helps break the grated cauliflower down a little bit, which creates a softer yet still crunchy texture. This can be served as a salad, a side dish, or as an entree by adding a protein of your choice.
- 1 head of cauliflower, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tbsp. raw apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 stalk of celery, diced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup hemp seeds
- 1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds
- 1 tbsp. diced fresh chives
- 1 tbsp. lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt, adjust to taste
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper, adjust to taste
- 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
- Pinch of cayenne
- Using a food processor or a high-speed blender on the pulse setting, add the cauliflower and pulse until it’s completely grated and a fine texture has formed, similar to cauliflower rice. Set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, and mustard.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all remaining ingredients.
- Add the grated cauliflower to the larger mixing bowl.
- Evenly coat all ingredients with dressing from smaller bowl. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
- Serve chilled or at room temperature.
- Store all leftovers in an airtight glass container for up to 1 week.
Beet Blueberry Muffins
If you think beets are only good in salads or savory dishes, think again! This is yet another way to squeeze in vegetables this season, only this time with a touch of sweetness. Enjoy these delicious muffins as the perfect dessert option.
- 1 1/2 cups chopped beets (about 3 large beets or 6 small)
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup melted organic coconut oil
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup almond milk
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill oat flour
- 1 tbsp. chia seeds
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 2 tbsp. coconut sugar, topping
- Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Roast beets for 30 minutes or until tender.
- Puree beets in a food processor or high-speed blender.
- Heat oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Using square pieces of parchment paper or muffin liners, line a 12-muffin baking tray and grease paper or liners with some coconut oil.
- In a food processor or blender, combine eggs, coconut oil, maple syrup, coconut sugar, vanilla, and beet puree. Gently blend until smooth, about 30 seconds.
- Add almond milk, baking soda, sea salt, and cinnamon, and stir.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine brown rice flour, oat flour, and chia seeds. Add the beet mixture and stir to combine.
- Gently fold in blueberries. Batter should be thick.
- Fill each muffin tin about three-quarters full and repeat until all muffins are filled. Sprinkle the coconut sugar on top.
- Bake for 16 minutes or until a tester comes out clean from the center.
- Let cool for 20 minutes before removing from the muffin tin. Store at room temperature or in the freezer for 1 month.
McKel Hill, MS, RD, is the founder of Nutrition Stripped, a healthy living website dedicated to optimizing the well-being of women all over the globe through recipes, nutrition advice, fitness, and more. Her cookbook, “Nutrition Stripped,” was a national best-seller, and she’s been featured in Fitness Magazine and Women’s Health Magazine.