Christmas is just around the corner and here we are again, trying to decide what we should cook for the holidays. Not only that, but we know that the tendency to overeat is also just around the corner and we want to avoid that as much as possible. To lessen the guilt, it’s better to opt for recipes that are on the healthier side. So, I combined some of these holiday recipes that you might like.
Green Bean Casserole
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. Panko breadcrumbs
1 lb. green beans, trimmed
6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 medium shallots, finely chopped
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
3 c. almond milk
- Make onion topping: Preheat oven to broil on medium and line a medium baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a medium bowl, toss onion with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add flour and Panko and toss to coat onions. Broil, tossing every 2 to 3 minutes, until onions are crisp and golden, about 6 to 8 minutes in total. Turn oven down to 375°.
- Prepare an ice bath. In a large pot of boiling water, add green beans and cook until bright green, about 6 minutes. With a slotted spoon or tongs, quickly transfer green beans to ice bath to cool, then drain and transfer to a large bowl.
- In a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add shallots and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until mushrooms are golden, about 5 minutes more. Stir in garlic then transfer mixture to the bowl with the green beans.
- Heat remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in almond milk and bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat then add green bean mixture and toss until evenly combined. Transfer mixture to a medium casserole dish.
- Bake until warmed through and bubbling around the edges, about 20 minutes. Top with “fried” onions and bake 5 minutes more.
Vegan Mashed Potatoes
3 lb. gold creamer potatoes halved
Kosher salt 1/3 c.
Extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish
6 tbsp. vegan butter
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly chopped parsley, for serving.
- In a large pot, cover potatoes with water and season with salt.
- Bring to a boil and cook until totally soft, 15 to 18 minutes. Drain and return to pot. Use a potato masher to mash potatoes until smooth.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, heat oil and rosemary then add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Discard rosemary and pour oil over potatoes.
- Add butter and stir until completely combined and creamy.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer potatoes to a serving bowl and season with more pepper and garnish with rosemary and parsley.
Spiced Hot Fruit Bake
2 cup sliced apples
2 cups pear slices
1 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1 cup pineapple chunks (save the juice)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup coconut palm sugar (unrefined) or brown sugar
1 tbsp maple syrup, agave, or honey
1 tsp cinnamon (extra for topping)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 stick melted butter (4 to 5 tbsp melted vegan butter can be substituted)
Optional – An additional 2 teaspoons melted coconut oil or butter to coat walnuts
1/3 cup chopped raw walnuts or pecans
extra cinnamon for nuts or serving.
- Preheat oven to 300F.
- In a large bowl, toss your fruit and add in 1-2 tsp lemon juice. Set aside.
- In another glass bowl, combine your melted butter, spices, and honey or maple syrup.
- Mix in a few tablespoons of your leftover pineapple juice as well.
- Add this sugar/butter mixture to your fruit and coat evenly.
- Pour fruit evenly in a 9×12 baking dish.
- Pour the leftover sugar/butter/oil mixture on top.
- baking for 1 hr.
- OPTIONAL – Toss the nuts in a tiny bit of melted coconut oil or butter and a pinch of cinnamon. I usually just coat the nuts in the leftover butter/sugar from the fruit mix bowl. Then sprinkle the nuts to the top of the dish and bake all together for 1 hr.
Avocado-Spelt Filo Pastry:
250 g whole grain spelt flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
90 g avocado flesh about 1 medium, mashed
90 g very hot water
Mushroom, Spinach & Stilton Fillings:
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1 tablespoon water
400 g brown mushrooms or similar halved or quartered
1 medium red onion diced
3 cloves garlic crushed
100 ml drinkable dry white wine
100 ml water
1 lightly heaped tablespoon vegetable stock paste
20 g rolled oats
25 g walnuts
few handfuls fresh herbs roughly chopped
sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
400 g frozen spinach thawed
1/2 lemon juice only
150 g Stilton omit for vegan
100 g extra virgin olive oil
2 heaped tablespoons Greek yogurt substitute for vegan
1 egg substitute for vegan
sesame seeds to garnish
dried oregano to garnish
Add the flour and salt to a food processor and mix to combine. Add the avocado and blend in. Add the hot water a little at a time and blend or combine with your hands. I used 90g of water when I made this pastry, but you may need a little more or a little less, depending on your flour. Knead for about 5 minutes in the machine. When ready, the dough should be moist and pliable, but not too sticky. Thoroughly scrape out the food processor, wrap the dough in plastic and rest on the work surface while you prepare the fillings.
Mix the flaxseed and water together in a small tub and rest in the fridge.
In a large saucepan, stew the garlic, wine, water, and stock paste over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes, adding a dash of water if it starts to dry out.
While the garlic is stewing, dry sauté the mushrooms over high heat in a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan until well browned – you will most likely need to do this in batches. When the garlic and mushrooms are ready, add the mushrooms to the garlic and stir to combine. Cover and cook for a further 15 minutes, adding a splash of water if needed to keep everything lubricated.
After you add the mushrooms to the garlic, start cooking the red onion in the pan you were sautéing the mushrooms in, until softened and translucent, about 15 minutes.
Grind the rolled oats and walnuts to a fine powder with a high-powered blender or spice grinder. When the mushrooms are ready, stir in onions, the oat-nut mixture and the flax egg that has been resting in the fridge. Stir very thoroughly to combine. Transfer half the mixture to a blender or food processor and pulse to a chunky texture. Return the chopped mixture to the rest of the mushrooms and stir again to combine. Set aside.
Put half the spinach in the center of a clean tea towel and twist it around the spinach to remove as much water as possible. Repeat with the other half of the spinach. Transfer to a bowl and thoroughly season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Set aside.
Roughly chop the Stilton, if using, and set aside.
Cut the dough into eight even pieces. Working one piece at a time, roughly shape a piece of dough to fit the width of your pasta machine. Run a piece of dough through the machine, starting on setting 1 and working your way up, until the dough is as thin as you can make it. I got up to setting 8 on my machine. You will need to add a little sprinkle of flour to the dough sheets occasionally to stop them sticking. Sticking is very, very frustrating, so definitely avoid that!
Preheat the oven to 200c. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. When one sheet is complete, lay lengths of it on the baking paper, trimming as necessary to form a rough 30cm x 40cm rectangle – you want to create one even layer, as pictured. Drizzle over a touch of olive oil – no need to go nuts – and brush or rub over the pastry so it is mostly covered. Repeat with three more layers – one piece of dough makes roughly one layer.
Start layering the fillings, starting with the spinach, then the mushrooms, then the Stilton, if using. You want the fillings to have some height and will cover roughly 12cm wide x 30cm long.
At each end, cut two diagonal slits through the uncovered pastry from the corners of the filling to the corner of the pastry, so you have a triangular flap at each end. Fold these triangular flaps up over each end and press the pointed corners down the sides. Fold the remaining side pieces of pastry up around the filling. You should now only have a small strip of exposed filling along the top.
Roll out another piece of pastry and trim it to cover just that small strip. Drizzle with a touch of oil and repeat with another two strips. Brush a little oil over the entire surface. Roll out one final piece of pastry, large enough to cover the whole thing if possible, and lay over the entire length and sides of the Wellington.
Beat together the yogurt and egg (substitute soy milk for vegan) and brush over the pastry. Bake for about 15 minutes, then remove from the oven, brush again with the glaze, sprinkle with sesame seeds and oregano, and return to the oven to bake for a further 15 minutes or so, until the whole surface is evenly browned.
Rest for about 5 minutes, then cut into pieces with a serrated knife and serve.
Now, all you have to do is choose your favorites among this bunch! Happy Holidays, everyone!