healthy holiday eats

Healthy Meat-Free Holiday Recipes

Eating healthy isn’t easy—especially during the holidays, when it doesn’t take much of an excuse to overindulge in the tastes of the season. One way to combat the urge to eat unhealthy is to whip up healthy, no-meat holiday treats.

Try your hand at these tasty, easy-to-make recipes this holiday season. Note that most of them are plant-based, reducing or eliminating animal products.

Whole-Wheat Berry Muffins

Muffins are good for practically any occasion, especially breakfast. The problem is that many popular recipes call for too much sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. This recipe prioritizes whole foods, is low in sugar and takes only about an hour to make.

  • ⅔ cup unsweetened plant-based milk
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup berries (Use wild blueberries if possible because they’re smaller and make the muffin less soggy.)

Before mixing all the ingredients together, heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. To make the muffins, create a milk mixture by mixing the milk, flaxseeds and apple cider vinegar. Add this mixture to another bowl that has the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt already mixed. Next, stir the applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla into the mixing bowl, and fold in the berries. In a nonstick or silicone pan, fill each muffin cup about three-quarters full and bake for 22 to 25 minutes. Muffins are done when a knife inserted through the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Vegan Pumpkin Bean Chili

Make chili, a holiday staple, healthier and more delicious by adding pumpkin and cilantro to it.

  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or water
  • 1 cup of diced onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 8 ounces of finely chopped soy tempeh
  • One 15-ounce can of adzuki beans
  • One 14.5-ounce can of fire roasted tomatoes or 1-½ cups of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup of water or vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon of chile powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of chipotle chile powder
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cumin (optional)
  • ½ cup of pumpkin puree or 1-½ cups of roasted and cubed pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon of sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon of wheat-free tamari (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of minced cilantro
Snack Tray: Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Place a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add coconut oil and onion, and cook for three minutes, stirring often and adding small amounts of water to prevent sticking, if necessary. Add the garlic and tempeh, and cook for three minutes. Add adzuki beans, fire-roasted tomatoes, chile powder, chipotle powder and cumin, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water, pumpkin, lime juice, salt and tamari; stir, and cook for five minutes. Add cilantro. Stir and serve.

Cook the pumpkin with the rest of your chili ingredients or roast it. To add it with the other ingredients, peel and chop the pumpkin into one-inch cubes and add in with the tempeh and cook for an additional 20 minutes. To roast it, heat oven to 400 degrees and slice pumpkin into halves or quarters and remove the seeds. Place on a baking sheet with about a half-inch of water and roast for 35 minutes, or until it’s just tender. Then allow the pumpkin to cool, scoop out the flesh and cut into half-inch pieces to use in the chili.

Rainbow Chard

Rainbow chard, a green leafy vegetable, is among the most nutrient-dense foods. When you combine this with its delicious taste, it makes for a terrific side dish or main course.

  • 2 pounds of chard, including half of the stems
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1 chopped onion
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup of fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons of chopped dill or parsley
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • 1 cup of milk or cream
  • 1 cup of crumbled fresh goat cheese

Separate chard leaves from the stems and wash them. Trim the edges off the stems, dice them into small pieces and chop the leaves into thin pieces. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium heat, add the onion and chard stems, and cook for about 20 minutes (or until the onions begin to brown). Add the chard leaves and one teaspoon of salt, and cook for about 10 minutes (or until the chard is tender).

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Heat oven to 400 degrees and oil a two-quart gratin dish. Melt half the remaining butter in a small skillet and add bread crumbs, garlic and dill, and stir for about a minute. Scrape the crumbs into a bowl and return the pan to the heat. Melt the last tablespoon of butter, stir in the flour and whisk in the milk. Simmer for about five minutes, season with ½ teaspoon of salt, add the chard mixture and cheese, and season with pepper.

Pour the mixture into a serving dish and cover the rainbow chard with breadcrumbs. Bake for about 25 minutes (or until heated through and golden on the surface).

Vegan Coconut-Glazed Sweet Potatoes With Walnuts

This vegan sweet potato recipe is loaded with nutrients and is sure to be a hit. Use garnet and purple sweet potatoes for appealing, vibrant colors.

  • ½ cup of water
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon of pumpkin spice mix
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • ¼ cup of chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 425 degrees, place the water in a 9-inch-by-13-inch casserole dish and add sweet potatoes (with the cut side on top). Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for about 45 minutes (or until the sweet potatoes are just tender).

Place the coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla extract, pumpkin spice mix and salt in a small bowl and whisk. Poke holes in the sweet potatoes with a fork, pour the coconut milk mixture over the potatoes and place them back in the oven for about 10 minutes.

Remove sweet potatoes from the oven, place them on a serving dish, top with walnuts and any of the coconut milk mixture that’s left in the dish and serve.


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