There’s no need to pile on the extra calories during the festive season. We know that it’s very easy to get carried away when grandma brings over that second slice of pie, so we’re sharing our favorite healthy recipes for the perfect holiday feast. We’ve compiled some of our favorite, starters, entrees and desserts to cover all the basis this Christmas.
Cauliflower Mac ‘n’ Cheese Bites
A starter that will have the whole family running for more. This mac n cheese appetizer is the ultimate comfort food with half the calories.
- 8 ounces macaroni
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 clove garlic
- 1⁄2 small onion, minced
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1⁄2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Prep 20 m
- Ready In 1 h
- Serves 12
- Cook pasta as package directs. With a slotted spoon, remove pasta to bowl. Add cauliflower to boiling water; cook 10 minutes. or until tender. Drain. Transfer half to food processor; purée.
- In pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add garlic and onions; cook 5 minutes. Add flour; cook 1 minute. Whisk in milk; let simmer 2 minutes, stirring. Stir in cauliflower purée and cheeses. Remove from heat. Add pasta and remaining cauliflower; toss to coat.
- Heat oven to 400 F. Divide mac ’n’ cheese evenly among 12 greased muffin-tin wells. Bake 15 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.
A stuffing so good you might even forget about the turkey. Packed with loads of flavor and cooked to your taste, whether you like it extra moist or with a uber crispy topping you will love this recipe.
- 10 cups cubed cornbread ( ½- to 1-inch pieces)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups chopped leeks
- 2 cups chopped mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or 3 teaspoons dried
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2-3 cups low-sodium broth
- ¾ cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted (see Tip)
- ¼ cup cooked diced pancetta
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- Prep 40 m
- Ready In 1 h 30 m
- Serves 10
- Preheat oven to 275°F. Spread bread on a large rimmed baking sheet and bake until dry to the touch, about 30 minutes. Let cool. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees . Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add leeks and mushrooms; cook, stirring often, until just starting to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes more. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add parsley and rosemary and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Scrape the mixture on top of the bread. Melt butter in the pan, scraping up any browned bits, then scrape onto the bread. Add broth to taste, pecans, pancetta and pepper to the bread mixture and stir to combine. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Spray one side of a piece of foil with cooking spray and cover the stuffing, sprayed-side down.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until golden brown, about 20 minutes more.
Make Ahead Tip: Toast the bread and store, uncovered at room temperature, for up to 2 days.
Place chopped pecans in a small dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.
Bay and Lemon Brined Turkey
It just wouldn’t feel like the holidays without a big turkey in the center of the table. Enjoy this low and slow bird in just three simple steps.
- 1 (6-7Kg) turkey
For the brine
- 7.5L water
- 200g sugar
- 200g salt
- 2 lemons, sliced in 1/2
- 4 bay leaves
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- Small handful cloves
- Prep 10 m
- Ready In 3 h 30 m
- Serves 12
- Combine all brine ingredients in a container or pot large enough to hold the turkey. Make sure all the sugar and salt have been fully dissolved. Add the turkey and refrigerate about 6 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4.
- Remove turkey from brine and transfer to a roasting pan with a rack. Stuff turkey with the lemon halves, bay leaves, and cinnamon sticks used in the brine. Cook turkey for about 3 1/2 hours, basting every 40 minutes or so. If any part of the turkey gets too brown towards the end of cooking, shield with pieces of tin foil. When the turkey is done, juices should run clear from the breast and the legs should pull away from the bird easily. Remove from the heat and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving.
Wild Rice Pilaf with Butternut Squash, Cranberries and Pecans
Serve a side dish that’s 100% Guilt-free and 100% delicious. This rice pilaf can be served hot or cold and is guaranteed to leave tummies satisfied.
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes
- 2 cups wild rice, rinsed
- 6 cups vegetable stock (or half water, half stock)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup warm water
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped
- 3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional but good!)
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Prep 20 m
- Ready In 1 h
- Serves 8
- Heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Toss the butternut squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread the squash on two baking sheets. Roast until tender and starting to brown, about 20 minutes (check earlier if your pieces are very small).
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet. Sauté the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes.
- Place the dried cranberries in a bowl with the warm water and vinegar. Let sit for 10 minutes, then drain.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil, lemon zest, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, orange juice, lemon juice and fresh ginger.
- Place the wild rice and stock in a medium saucepan. Heat to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 40 minutes, or until some of the grains start to split. The rice should still be quite chewy. Drain thoroughly and place in a large bowl.
- Add the onions and garlic, cranberries, parsley, pecans and dressing to the wild rice and stir. Gently mix in the roasted squash. Serve warm if possible, or at room temperature.
Individual Paleo Pear Cobblers
Cobblers are one of our all-time favorites for a winter holiday dessert, so we can’t resist trying this healthy alternative that’s baked in 20 minutes.
- 3 ripe pears
- 1/3 cup walnuts
- 1/3 cup pecans
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 2 tbsp ground flax
- 2 tbsp coconut flakes
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tbsp manuka honey I use Wedderspoon Manuka Honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Prep 30 m
- Ready In 20 m
- Serves 6
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine all of the dry ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until desired consistency- preferably still with small chunks.
- Melt the coconut oil in a small bowl. Add honey and vanilla to the melted coconut oil and whisk together.
- Pour wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix together.
- Spray a baking dish with coconut oil.
- Slice the pears in half and spoon out the center/seeds.
- Pour the crumble over the top, sprinkle with cinnamon, and spray once more with coconut oil & bake for 20 minutes.
- Drizzle fresh out of the oven with additional honey & enjoy!