The holidays are a rush. And we’re not just talking about traffic. When life gets in the way of planning “the big meal,” we’ve discovered five of the quickest (and healthiest) dishes to balance tradition and your busy lifestyle.
Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad
What’s easier than throwing a pre-cut bag of shaved Brussel sprouts into a bowl, sprinkling with pomegranate seeds and sliced apples, and drizzling with dressing? Before rushing to your holiday dinner party, prep this bright and tangy salad in under 10 minutes. Original recipe here.
- 1-pound Brussels sprouts (pre-shaved, if available)
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1 apple
- 1 shallot
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1⁄8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Shred Brussels sprouts or place pre-shredded sprouts in bowl.
- Cut the apple into bite-sized pieces. Thinly slice the shallot into rings.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, white wine vinegar, maple syrup, and kosher salt. Gradually whisk in the olive oil 1 tablespoon at a time until thick and emulsified.
- Stir all ingredients together, including pomegranate seeds. Serve immediately.
Thanksgiving is not possible without stuffing, but traditional stuffing is made primarily with bread and sausage and takes quick a long time to bake. This one, however, uses healthy carbs packed with fiber – and flavor. See original recipe here.
- butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
- 1red onion, peeled and diced
- 3–5cloves garlic, with peel still on
- 1 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil (or any high-heat oil)
- salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed
- 3 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water
- zest of one orange
- 2 cups roughly-chopped fresh spinach
- 2/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss butternut squash, onion, and garlic cloves (with peel still on) until they are evenly coated with oil. Spread then out in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, or until soft and cooked and the edges begin to slightly brown. Remove and set aside. Discard the garlic peels.
- Meanwhile, stir together quinoa, broth (or water), and orange zest, and cook according to package instructions. When cooked, set aside.
- Add the cooked veggies, quinoa, spinach, cranberries and pistachios to a large mixing bowl, and gently toss to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper if need be. Serve warm.
Gingered Green Beans
A quick and healthy take on a Thanksgiving classic, green bean casserole, with no baking required – or unhealthy canned soup fillers. Also, ginger can help ease digestion and stomach pain. See original recipe here.
- 2 pounds asparagus beans or Chinese long beans, cut into 3-inch lengths, or whole green beans
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Kosher salt
- Fill a large bowl with ice water. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the beans until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain the beans and transfer them to the ice water to cool. Drain and pat dry.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderately high heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the ground ginger and crushed red pepper, then add the beans. Season with salt and stir-fry until the garlic is lightly browned and the beans are tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the beans to a platter and serve.
Naturally Sweetened Cranberry Sauce
Although many of us prefer can rings on our cranberry sauce, a chunkier and healthier version is available if you have 10 minutes to spare. See original recipe here.
- 12 ounces (1 bag) fresh cranberries
- ½ cup honey or maple syrup
- ½ cup water
- Zest of 1 medium orange (about 1 teaspoon)
- Optional add-ins: ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon and/or ¼ cup fresh orange juice
- First, rinse the cranberries well and drain off excess water.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, honey and water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have popped and the mixture has thickened to your liking, about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Remove the pot from heat and stir in the orange zest. If you’d like to add cinnamon or orange juice, add it now. Taste and, if the mixture is too tart (keeping in mind that cranberry sauce is supposed to be a little tart!), add more orange juice, honey or maple syrup to taste. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.
Pecan Pie Cookie Dough Balls
Raw and gluten-free. Music to your ears? We thought so. A fast and easy interpretation of pecan pie without the messy syrup or lengthy bake time. Original recipe here.
- 1/2 cup raw pecans
- packed 1 cup pitted dates
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
- optional: chocolate chips (or mini chips, or a piece of your favorite chocolate bar)
Combine all ingredients in a food processor until it makes a crumbly dough. (You can add the optional chocolate chips either before or after blending.) Pour crumbles into a bag and smush into one big ball. Remove from bag and form little balls. Or you can make bars or cookie-cuttered shapes if you prefer. This can also be made in a Magic Bullet: halve the recipe for best blending in a bullet.
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