Healthy holiday recipes

February 27, 2012

Holidays, Recipes

When planning our holiday meals, tradition often trumps good nutrition.

by Stan Kalson — 

When planning our holiday meals, tradition often trumps good nutrition. We tend to stick to the old tried-and-true recipes, instead of considering healthier alternatives.

Healthy doesn’t have to mean unpalatable, however. Many delicious foods are available for nutritious holiday eating. Below are some healthy recipes to share with family and friends.

 Vegetable Pâté


  • 1 cup fresh green beans
  • 1 cup fresh carrots
  • 1 cup canned and drained black beans or beans cooked from scratch
  • 1 large scallion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
  • Seasonings, to taste


Combine scallions, carrots, green beans, black beans, butter and two tablespoons water in a small saucepan. Cover and cook at medium heat, until vegetables are tender. Do not overcook. Add more water if needed. Purée in a food processor, until smooth. Mix flour with remaining two tablespoons water to form a smooth paste. Stir in puréed vegetables and beans, and return to saucepan at medium heat, stirring until mixture thickens and begins to boil. Remove from heat; stir in yeast and seasonings, to taste. Cool to room temperature. Chill until serving time. Spread on crackers or vegetable rounds, such as zucchini or cucumbers, or stuff pâté in raw mushroom caps.

Pumpkin Soup


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon peeled ginger root, chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 cups pumpkin purée, either canned or from scratch
  • 2 tablespoons tahini or milk
  • Seasonings, to taste


Heat oil in a 3-quart pot, add onion and ginger, and sauté until soft, but not overcooked. Add broth and seasonings, and bring to a boil. Stir puréed pumpkin into boiling liquid and cook until smooth and heated throughout. Stir in tahini, which will give the soup a creamy consistency. If you prefer, use 1/2 cup of milk.

Traditional Bread-Stuffed Peppers


  • 4 large green peppers
  • 4 cups bread or corn stuffing from scratch or store-bought


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut tops from peppers; remove seeds and any tough inner ribs. Steam the peppers for five minutes to soften slightly. Stuff with bread mixture and place upright in a baking dish. Surround peppers with hot water to a depth of one inch. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Top with gravy of your choice. Serve with a salad, steamed cauliflower and cranberry sauce.

Applesauce Cake


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • • tablespoons safflower oil
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1-1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together oil and butter, until soft and smooth. Add the molasses, beaten egg, applesauce, cinnamon and salt to butter/oil mixture. Add baking soda and stir until dissolved. Fold raisins and flour into wet mixture and stir until batter is smooth. Place in an 8-inch loaf pan. Bake one hour or until firm. Cool in the pan and then place on a rack. After cooled, place in refrigerator.

Vegetable-Stuffed Peppers


  • 1 cup parsnips, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup potatoes, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup turnips, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup carrots, cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • Seasonings, to taste (real salt, garlic, ginger, Bragg Aminos)
  • 4 to 6 green peppers, depending on size


Steam vegetables until tender. Mash the vegetables with potato masher and add the egg, bread crumbs, flax seed and seasonings. Mix together and place into green peppers.


Stan Kalson is the founder and director of the International Holistic Center, Inc.; 602-266-1160.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 28, Number 6, Dec 2009/Jan 2010.

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