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Holiday recipes with a healthy twist

Great Day's Cristina Kooker feasted with Recipe for Success and Chef Erin Stewart from Define Foods on gorgeous dishes like Winter Kale Salad with Pear, Kumquat & Maple Vinaigrette… so delicious that you would never know it's healthy, too! Plus, how to stay healthy by taking the Veg Out Challenge.

The holidays will have the average person gain up to ten pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, so how do you stay healthy, trim and indulge in all the holiday dishes at the same time? Take the Veg Out Challenge with Recipe for Success! If you’re interested in taking the challenge, visit: vegoutwithrfs.org

Chocolate-Avocado Pudding

Yield: 1-2


2 avocados, pitted and peeled

1 cup pure maple syrup

¼ cup raw cacao

2 Tbsp coconut oil

pinch Celtic sea salt

Optional toppings: cacao nibs, fresh berries

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.

*This can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

Winter Kale Salad with Pear, Kumquat & Maple Vinaigrette

Yield: 2


1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp pure maple syrup

Splash apple cider vinegar

Extra-virgin olive oil

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

¼ bunch kale, stems removed and thinly sliced

¼ bunch purple kale, stems removed and thinly sliced

½ ripe pear, like bosc or comice, sliced into thin matchsticks or cubed

3-4 Tbsp fresh pomegranate seeds

3-4 kumquats

2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds, toasted

To make the dressing, mix together the mustard, maple and vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk in enough extra-virgin olive oil slowly until the mixture becomes emulsified. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Set aside.

Slice the kumquats thinly and toss with good olive oil in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a large salad bowl, toss the kale, pear, pomegranate and kumquats together with the dressing. Plate onto salad plates and top with pumpkin seeds.

Quinoa, Lentil & Apple Stuffing

Yield: 8-10


2 Tbsp olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 pinch red pepper flakes

4 stalks celery, thinly sliced

2 cups sliced mushrooms

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 splash red wine

2- 4 Tbsp fresh herbs, like thyme, rosemary, and sage

2 large apples, cut into ½-inch wedges

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp pure maple syrup

¼ tsp each ground spices, like clove, nutmeg, coriander and cinnamon sea salt and black pepper

1 cup quinoa, cooked

1 cup lentils, cooked

1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped ½ cup fresh cranberries

¼- ½ cup vegetable broth

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery and pinch of red pepper flakes and sauté until translucent. Add the mushrooms, garlic, splash of red wine, a couple Tbsp fresh herbs, and pinch sea salt and continue to cook a few minutes more until mushroom start to cook down. Add the apples (reserving a few slices), vinegar, maple, and spices and cook a few minutes more.

Take off the heat and stir in the quinoa, lentils, hazelnuts and cranberry. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Add vegetable broth, if needed, 2 Tbsp at a time, until mixture is slightly moist.

Transfer to a large baking dish. Add the remaining apple slices and top with more fresh herbs. Bake for 15- 20 minutes, until heated through. Turn oven up to broil and cook 5 minutes longer to crisp the top, watching close to be certain not to burn.

Maple Roasted Acorn Squash with Millet, Grapes + Autumn Leaves

Yield: 4


2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp pure maple syrup

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

¼ cup olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup millet

2 cups water

2 acorn squash, sliced into ¼ inch rings

½ bunch red grapes, picked

1 large shallot, thinly sliced

3 sprigs fresh thyme, picked

1 handful autumn greens

½ cup toasted and chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

To make the dressing, whisk together the Dijon, maple and vinegar. Drizzle in the olive oil, whisking to combine. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Set aside.

To make the millet, place the millet in a small saucepan on low and allow to dry toast for a few minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Cover and allow to cook, simmering for 15 minutes. Take off the burner and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Toss the cooked millet with some of the dressing and set aside. This can be done up to a day in advance. The longer the millet marinates in the dressing, the better. Store in the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before serving.

Toss the squash, grapes and shallot in a large bowl with olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Spread onto a foil-lined half sheet pan and roast in the oven for 20 minutes until the squash is fork tender.

To assemble, plate some of the squash rings on a platter or plate, layering with the millet, greens and grapes. Drizzle any pan drippings and spoon a little more dressing on top. Garnish with walnuts and sea salt. Serve at room temperature.

Roasted Parsnip Soup + Apple with Pecan Gremelota

Yield: 4-6


2 lbs parsnips, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces

1 apple, peeled, cored and cut into ½ inch pieces

4 Tbsp olive oil

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

4 cups vegetable stock

1- 2 Tbsp maple syrup

10- 12 Brussels sprouts, stemmed and thinly sliced

¼ cup pecans, chopped

1 Tbsp chopped parsley

2 Tbsp fresh pomegranate seeds

zest from 1 lemon

juice from 1 lemon

Good balsamic, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Toss the parsnips and apple in a bowl with 1 Tbsp oil, sea salt and black pepper. Spread evenly onto a foil-lined bake sheet and roast until fork tender, about 20- 25 minutes.

To make the Pecan Gremelota, toss the shaved Brussels in a small bowl with the pecans, parsley, pomegranate seeds, lemon juice and zest, plus 1 Tbsp olive oil. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Set aside.

Transfer the parsnips and apples to a blender. Add the stock and puree until smooth. Add the maple, and season with more salt and pepper. Pour soup into a large saucepan and heat over medium heat until warmed through.

To serve, spoon into bowls and season with gremolata.


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