Many traditional holiday appetizer and dinner recipes are loaded with sugar, corn syrup, gluten, and all sorts of processed ingredients. This year we challenge you to take your holiday dinner back to a natural state by serving recipes prepared with whole foods. Here are some great recipes to try. As an added bonus, many of them can be made ahead, which makes meal preparation on the holiday a little easier. You can download a printable copy here.
2 tsp avocado oil or coconut oil
2 tsp honey
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp cloves
¼ tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 c. walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Pour coconut oil and honey into a bowl and stir to combine. Add the spices to the bowl and stir until well blended. Then add the walnuts and continue to stir until the nuts are evenly coated. Spread nut mixture onto the parchment lined pan and spread until evenly distributed. Bake in the oven for 6-8 minutes. They will become aromatic as they roast, but be sure you don’t let them burn, as nuts continue to cook as they cool. Cinnamon Walnuts can be stored in a covered dish in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
1 pound white mushrooms
4 oz. chopped, fresh spinach
3 oz. dry curd cottage cheese
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
¼ c. grated parmesan cheese
¼ tsp sea salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Clean the mushrooms and separate caps and stems. Place the mushroom caps onto a parchment lined jelly roll pan, with the bowl shaped opening facing up. Chop up the stems. Add the chopped stems to a bowl with the other ingredients. Evenly distribute the mixture from the bowl into the mushroom caps, heaping and gently pressing as needed. Bake on the top oven shelf for about 15 minutes. Serve warm.
½ large cucumber
8 thin slices prosciutto
Peel the kiwi and then cut into round slices approximately ¼ inch thick. From the 3 kiwi, you should net about 16 slices. Peel the cucumber and slice into round slices about ¼ inch thick. From the cucumber, you need 8 slices. Sandwich the cucumber between two slices of kiwi. Then wrap each sandwich with a piece of prosciutto and fasten with a toothpick. Gently squeeze lime juice over the 8 wrapped sandwiches before serving.
2 ½ c. almond flour
2 eggs, beaten
¼ c. grass fed butter
1 T. honey
½ tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place all ingredients in a bowl and combine until a soft dough forms. Roll the dough into a ball and place in the freezer for 15 minutes. Then, remove the dough form the freezer and place between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough until it is uniformly about 1 inch thick. Next, cut the biscuits using the rim on a water glass. Return the biscuits to the refrigerator for 15 minutes prior to baking, so they hold their shape better. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm for best results.
Sweet and Savory Delicata Squash with Pine Nuts
1 medium delicata squash, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 stalks organic kale, chopped into 1 inch pieces
¼ c. pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
4 T. avocado oil
1 T. fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ tsp honey
1/8 tsp red chili pepper flakes
1/4 tsp Sea salt, divided
Heat 2 T. oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and sauté (stirring frequently) for about 5 minutes, until a light brown. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the other 2 T. oil to the pan, and add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for 1 minute. Add the squash and a 1/8 tsp. sea salt to the pan, cover with a large lid and cook 6 minutes. Remove the lid and stir, and continue to cook without the lid until the squash is tender (about 5 more minutes). Add the kale to the pan and 1/8 tsp. more sea salt. Sauté until the kale begins to wilt and turns a vivid green color (about 4-6 minutes). Drizzle the honey and lemon juice in the pan and gently stir to coat the squash and kale. Taste, and add a little more salt, honey or lemon juice to attain the desired taste of saltiness, sweet, or sour.
Garlic Mashed Cauliflower
Large head organic cauliflower
2 cloves garlic, minced (roasting it will really bring out the garlic flavor)
2 T. grass fed butter or avocado oil
1 tsp sea salt (more to taste)
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
¼ c. grated parmesan cheese (optional)
½ tsp chopped fresh or dried chives or rosemary for garnish (optional)
Clean the cauliflower and chop into small pieces. Microwave for 4 minutes, until soft. Place the cauliflower, butter/oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and cheese (if you are using it) in a food processor or immersion blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Serve warm with the chives or rosemary for garnish.
Nature’s Green Bean Casserole (4 parts)
Part 1: Homemade Mushroom Soup
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 T. avocado oil or coconut oil
¼ pound crimini mushrooms, chopped
5 c. chicken broth
½ c. coconut milk
4 T. coconut flour or tapioca flour
1 ½ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. dried thyme
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
Place a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the oil, onion, mushrooms, salt, pepper, and thyme. Sauté for about 3-5 minutes, until the onions are clear. Add the chicken broth and simmer for about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour the contents into a blender, adding the coconut milk and flour also.
Blend until smooth. Can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Part 2: Fried Onions
1 large onion, peeled and sliced into strips
1 c. coconut oil or avocado oil
2 T. coconut flour or tapioca flour
¼ tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
In a bowl, combine the tapioca flour, sea salt, and pepper until well mixed. Add the onions and toss until they are evenly dusted with flour. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Drop the onions, in small servings, into the hot oil and cook until crisp and light brown (about 3-4 minutes). Carefully remove from the onions from the hot oil and drain on paper towels. Continue making in batches until all the onions are cooked.
Part 3: Fresh Green Beans
1 ½ pounds fresh organic green beans
1 c. water
3 strips bacon, cooked crisp & diced (optional)
Wash and trim the green beans. Add 1c. water to a saucepan, and heat until gently boiling. Then, add a steamer basket to the pan and place green beans into the steamer basket. Cover the pan with a lid and steam the green beans 10-15 minutes, until slightly soft but not mushy. Remove green beans from the steamer and place into a large serving bowl. Toss with the bacon if desired.
Part 4: Casserole Assembly
Add the green beans (and bacon if desired) to a large casserole dish. Next, add 4 c. of the mushroom soup and stir until well mixed. Then, top with the fried onions you prepared. Finally, bake in a 350 degree F oven for 30 minutes.
Crustless Pumpkin Pie (make at least 1 day ahead)
3 large organic eggs
1 ½ c. organic pumpkin puree
1 c. coconut milk
½ c. honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground ginger
¾ tsp ground allspice
Coconut oil (to grease pan)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease a 9-inch pie pan with coconut oil. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs until light yellow and frothy. Add pumpkin and coconut milk. Mix on low until well combined. Add honey, vanilla, sea salt, and spices and mix on low again until well combined. Pour into the prepared pie pan and bake for one hour, until the custard has set and the top is a golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool on counter for 30 minutes. Then cover and place in refrigerator overnight. Must be chilled at least 8 hours, or the center will be gooey.
Coconut Whipped Cream
1 can full fat coconut milk (chilled in the fridge overnight)
1/8 tsp. vanilla
Chill the coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight. Remove the coconut milk from the fridge. Scoop out the fat from the top of the can and place into a bowl. Add the vanilla to the bowl and whisk until it thickens. Serve on top of Crustless Pumpkin Pie. (Tip: you can use the remaining coconut water from the can in a smoothie or drink in a glass.)
Nutty Snack Bars
1 c. cashews
2 c. almond slivers
2 c. walnuts
1 c. pecans
1 c. pistachios
1 c. honey
2/3 c. coconut oil
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper and evenly distribute nuts on the pan. Bake until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. In a large saucepan, heat honey until it simmers, then add coconut oil and whisk until the mixture is well blended (about 5 minutes). Remove the pan from the heat and add the nuts to the pan with the honey sauce. Stir the nuts until they are thoroughly coated. Pour the mixture into a parchment lined 9X13 pan, and then place in the freezer for at least 1 hour. Remove pan from freezer and cut into individual bars. Wrap each bar in parchment paper and return to freezer for storage. These tasty treats will soften quickly at room temperature, so don’t get them out until you are ready to eat them. Don’t worry, they won’t last long!
Pumpkin Spiced Coffee
12 oz. hot coffee
2 T. organic pumpkin puree
1 T. coconut oil
1 T. honey
¼ tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cloves
Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix on high until frothy. Serve warm. For added richness, you can add a tablespoon of the coconut whipped cream from the pumpkin pie recipe on top.
Spiced Apple Cocktails
1 quart unfiltered apple cider
3 cinnamon sticks
1 knob of peeled ginger, chopped (about 1 to 2 T.)
3 whole cloves
Pinch of nutmeg
2 lemons, juiced
1 firm red apple (honey crisp, braeburn, fuji, or gala)
1 firm granny smith apple
¼ c. honey
1 bottle dry sparkling wine
Combine the apple cider, cinnamon sticks, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg in a medium saucepan, and stir until blended. Heat over medium until gently boiling. Then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the volume is reduced by half. Remove from heat and pour through a strainer to remove spices. Chill the remaining liquid in the refrigerator. Wash the apples, and then core them and chop into bite-sized cubes. Place the chopped apples into a bowl and add lemon juice and honey. Toss until evenly coated, and add to the chilled cider, and return to the refrigerator until ready to serve the cocktails.
When ready to serve, fill each champagne flute half way with the cider and apple pieces. Then pour in the sparkling wine to fill the remainder of the flute. Gently stir and serve.
Written by Marci L. Hardy, PhD
Photo Credit: Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_suba’>subbotina / 123RF Stock Photo</a>