These healthy holiday recipes and meal-planning tips will bring all your friends and family together — whether they’re vegetarian, flexitarian, or none of the above! They’re perfect for all kinds of holidays, including Christmas and other celebratory gatherings.

  • Send invitations early. People can get very busy around the holidays.
  • Prepare the menu at least a week in advance.
  • Plan a schedule for when to serve food.
  • Do your grocery shopping a few days before the gathering. Be sure you have all the ingredients you need, so you’re not rushing at the last minute.
  • Clean the house before the gathering.
  • Set the table early — perhaps even the day before.
  • If you don’t have anyone wanting support in recovery, you may want to serve both alcohol and alcohol-free beverages. A glass of wine with dinner can help the meal pass more smoothly for those who are used to it. But if you do offer it, be sure to include festive alcohol-free drinks for kids, drivers, and those who prefer not to imbibe.
  • Choose festive and relaxing background music ahead of time.
  • Delegate tasks, including grocery shopping, chopping and prepping food, dishes, and clean-up, and setting the table, to willing friends and family members. Make it part of the experience that everyone shares.

Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms (V)
Makes 12-14 pieces

Ingredients:

1/2 cup pecan halves
1 cup fresh spinach, tightly packed
1 cup fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons water, or as needed to facilitate blending

250 grams of whole crimino or white button mushrooms

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 175C and prepare the pesto. In a mini food processor, pulse the pecans into a fine meal. Add in the spinach, fresh basil, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and water and process until a uniform texture is achieved. You might have to scrape down the sides and process a couple of times to get it all evenly combined. Set aside.

Gently remove the stems from the mushrooms and wipe off any dirt with a damp cloth. Fill the centre of each mushroom with about a teaspoon of the pesto and arrange all of the stuffed mushrooms in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake them at 175C for 20-25 minutes until the mushrooms are tender. Serve warm.

If you have any leftover pesto, it makes a great dip for veggies or can be tossed with your favourite pasta.

Gluten-free chocolate brownies

Ingredients:

  • 75 ml sunflower oil , plus extra for greasing
  • 6 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 x 400g tin of aduki beans
  • 200 g soft light brown sugar
  • 55 g cocoa powder
  • 55 g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100 g dark dairy-free chocolate

FOR THE COCONUT WHIP:

  • 200 ml coconut cream
  • 3 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD:

  1. The day before you make your brownies, place the carton of coconut cream in the fridge and leave for 24 hours to thicken up.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Lightly grease a 23cm square brownie tin with sunflower oil and line with baking paper.
  3. In a bowl, combine the ground flaxseed with 9 tablespoons of water, stir well and leave to one side to thicken up. (The flaxseed will absorb all of the liquid, acting as a binder for the brownies.)
  4. Drain and rinse the beans, then put in a food processor and blitz to a smooth paste. Add the flaxseed mixture, sunflower oil, sugar, cocoa, ground almonds, baking powder and vanilla extract, then pulse everything again until you have a rich and glossy batter.
  5. Roughly chop the dark chocolate into small chunks, add to the mixture and pulse briefly just to incorporate the chocolate.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared brownie tin and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, covering the brownies loosely in tin foil halfway through cooking to stop them catching. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool just a little.
  7. In a bowl, whisk the chilled coconut cream, icing sugar and vanilla extract until thick and creamy. Slice the brownie into squares and serve with the coconut whip for drizzling.

 

Quinoa Kale Chickpea Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 cup trimmed kale washed, drained, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 can chickpeas drained, rinsed
  • 3 tablesoon raw almonds
Almond butter dressing
To serve
  • 1 pinch chilli flakes
  • 1 apple finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup defrosted raspberries

METHOD

  1. Cook the quinoa according to the package directions. When quinoa is done cooking, cool to room for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, wash, drain the curly kale leaves. Trim the middle part and roughly chop the leaves. Place the kale pieces into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
  3. Stir in cooked quinoa, chickpeas, whole almonds. Refrigerate while you prepare the dressing.
Almond Butter Dressing
  1. In another bowl prepare the almond butter dressing. Whisk together almond butter, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce garlic and maple syrup.
  2. Pour the almond butter dressing onto the kale quinoa salad and combine to cover all the ingredients with the dressing. You can use your hands to massage kale and make sure it is well incorporated.
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in the fridge for 1 hour. It is optional but this step will soften the kale leaves as it soak into the dressing. Also, the flavour will combine and it will be even more delicious.

Serving

Serve topped with apple slices,  dollops of extra almond butter if you like and defrosted raspberries. Season with salt and chilli flakes if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: This recipe serve 4 people. Store the salad in an airtight container in the fridge up to 24 hours.

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