Healthy Holiday Recipes

Happy Holiday Season!

I’m compiling my favorite healthy holiday recipes here.  Whether it’s hosting, entertaining house guests or bringing a dish to share, the holidays CAN be healthy. And that includes desserts too!  I’ll be updating this blog over the season, so check back for any new updates.

Wilted Kale Salad

1 bunch of kale (either dino or green curly), washed and cut in thin strips

2 lemons, juiced

1 tsp – 1 TBSP salt, to taste

1-2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

1 carrots, shredded

1 cucumber, peeled, halved, deseeded and sliced

Handful of pecans, chopped

  1. Put the kale in a large bowl. The combo of the oil, lemon juice and salt wilts and dresses the kale.
  2. Add half of the olive oil, salt and juice of the lemons to the kale. With your hands massage the kale until it wilts. Add more of each according to taste and texture of the kale.
  3. Top with the remainder of the ingredients.
  4. Option to add any of your favorite salad toppings.

Mashed Squash

1 acorn or butternut squash, or both

1 TBSP coconut oil

½ tsp turmeric

Salt to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut squash lengthwise and place face down into roasting pan with about 1 inch of water.
  3. Bake until tender – about 45 minutes. Pierce with a fork to feel if it’s tender; when cooked fork will be able to pierce through the skin into the flesh easily.
  4. Remove from oven and cool.
  5. When cooled enough to handle, scoop out the seeds and discard.
  6. Scoop the flesh into a bowl. Add the coconut oil, turmeric and salt.
  7. Mash with a potato masher until blended and consistency is smooth (no lumps). Option to run through food processor or use a hand blender to puree. Add a little water if needed.
  8. Serve warm.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Orange and Pomegranate


1/4 Cup Extra-Virgin Avocado Oil

Juice and Zest of 1 Orange

1 Tablespoon Honey

1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt (ground)

1/2 Teaspoon Pepper

2 Pounds Fresh Brussels Sprouts (cored)

1/2 Cup Pomegranate seeds

Coarse Sea Salt

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Whisk the oil, orange juice, zest, honey, and salt and pepper in a large bowl until well combined.
  3. Add the Brussels sprouts to the mix (leave them whole or halve them for quicker cooking time) and toss to coat.
  4. Lay on a baking sheet in a single layer, being careful not to overcrowd. Roast until the sprouts start to tenderize and turn brown, about 40-50 minutes. Remove from oven and toss with the pomegranate seeds and a sprinkling of coarse sea salt.

Stuffing alternatives:

#1: Gluten-Free Stuffing from Canyon Bakehouse , visit their site for the recipe.

#2: Millet Amaranth Herb Stuffing (from (also gluten-free)

1½ cups millet, rinsed in cold water (option to soak for 8 hours, then rinse)

½ cup amaranth, rinsed in cold water (option to soak for 8 hours, then rinse)

6 cups water

2 bay leaves

1 medium onion, diced

2/3 cup celery, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon of coconut oil or ghee

2 teaspoons dry sage leaf, crumbled

1 teaspoon dry thyme leaf

1 teaspoon herbs de Provence

Celtic sea salt to taste

  1. Bring millet, amaranth, water, and bay leaves to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and cook for 30 for minutes. Remove bay leaves.
  2. Sauté onion, celery and garlic in coconut oil or ghee over medium heat until tender, but still firm.
  3. Add herbs and sauté for about 30 seconds to release flavors.
  4. Add veggies to cooked grains and stir to combine thoroughly.
  5. Add sea salt to taste.

Pumpkin Pancakes

(perfect for holiday house guests)

4 large eggs
4 large egg whites
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup coconut or almond milk alternative
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup pecans, crushed (optional)
1-2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil

  1. Mix all ingredients in large bowl except optional pecans.
    2.  Heat a griddle or large skillet to medium heat and coat with butter or coconut oil when hot.
    3.  From here, traditional pancake rules apply with slight modification.  These will not bubble like your traditional pancakes.  The batter is a bit thicker.  On medium heat the first side takes about 2-3 minutes to brown then another 1-3 minutes on the other side.

Variations:  Add a few chopped nuts on top of a freshly poured pancake.  You can also top with blueberries, or mix into the batter some finely chopped apples for a little sweetness.

Homemade Yogi Chai

12-15 black peppercorns

6-8 whole green cardamom

10-12 whole cloves

1” – 2” of fresh ginger, sliced

5-6 cinnamon sticks

Black or green tea bags (optional)

Almond, hemp, coconut or cow’s milk (optional)

  1. Fill large soup pot ½ – ¾ with fresh water. Add spices and ginger. (Depending on preferred flavors you can increase or decrease the spice and ginger content.) Bring to boil.
  2. Simmer for 1 – 2 hours until desired taste.
  3. Ladle into mug, leaving spices in the pot. Option to pour over green or black tea bags in each mug to add caffeine or more flavor. Option to add milk to each mug.
  4. You can keep the tea brew going for hours or a couple of days. Just keep adding water and re-simmering.  I usually leave mine on the stove for the entire Thanksgiving weekend.


Wild Rice & Mushroom Pilaf with Cranberries

Serves 8

1 ½ cups long-grain and wild rice blend

¾ cup dried cranberries

2 tbsp coconut oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 pound mixed mushrooms (cremini, oyster, shitake), sliced

Sea salt and black pepper

½ cup dry white wine

½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon

  1. Cook the rice blend according to directions. Fold in cranberries, cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until tender.
  3. Add mushrooms, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper and cook, tossing frequently, until tender.
  4. Add wine and simmer until evaporated, about 1 minute.
  5. Stir in parsley and tarragon.
  6. Add mushroom mixture to rice and toss to combine.


Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Serves 4

3 tbsp butter or coconut oil

1 lb. Brussels sprouts, halved

1 tbsp pure maple syrup

½ tsp Dijon mustard

  1. Melt butter or oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add Brussels, toss to coat.
  2. Add ¼ cup water and cook, covered about 8 minutes.
  3. Remove cover, cook stirring occasionally until liquid evaporates and sprouts are lightly browned.
  4. Stir in syrup and mustard to coat sprouts. Cook while stirring for about 1 minute.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Butternut Squash Puree with Caramelized Onion

Serves 6 – 8

1 large butternut squash (5-6 lbs)

1 lb yellow onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced

1 tbsp coconut oil or butter

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp ground cumin

  1. Heat oven to 450°. Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Rub cut surfaces with oil.  Place cut side down on roasting pan and roast until soft, about 45 minutes.  (A sharp knife stuck through the skin should have no resistance.) Set aside to cool.
  2. While squash is cooling, caramelize the onions. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.  Cook onions slowly until golden brown about 40 minutes.  Add vinegar and cook another couple of minutes. Let cool.
  3. When ready to puree, peel the squash and cut into chunks. Mash with stick blender or by hand.  Re-heat in large pot.  Add water if it seems too thick or if it sticks.  When hot, add cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Add caramelized onions and heat through.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Sage

1 large butternut squash

2-3 TBSP of fresh sage, minced

3-4 TBSP coconut oil

  1. Carefully slice the outer rind off of the squash
  2. Once skinless, scoop out the seeds, then cut into small cubes
  3. Place cubes in large roasting pan with coconut oil
  4. Place in 350 degree pre-heated oven for 5 minutes
  5. Take out of oven and stir to spread the melted coconut oil
  6. Add chopped sage and stir
  7. Bake for another 30-45 minutes


Double Chocolate Paleo Brownies


4 medium ripe bananas

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup almond flour

1/3 cup packed coconut flour

1/3 cup high-quality cocoa powder*

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3 oz dark chocolate bar (at least 80% cacao), coarsely chopped (or substitute 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips. Enjoy Life brand is recommended.)

Sea salt (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 inch baking pan with coconut oil or butter.
  2. Add bananas, eggs and vanilla to a blender (or food processor) and blend until smooth.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  4. Gently fold in wet mixture and stir until well combined.
  5. Stir in chocolate chunks, reserving a few tablespoons.
  6. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan and sprinkle remaining chocolate chunks on top.
    1. Option to also sprinkle the top with sea salt.
  7. Bake for 18-23 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Once done baking, transfer pan to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes before cutting into 12 bars.

*Recommendations: Trader Joe’s Cocoa powder, Ghriradelli’s Unsweetened Cocoa powder or  Dagoba’s organic cacao powder.

Paleo Pumpkin Pie

A favorite from the blog last holiday season.  Find the recipe here

Raw Cacao Brownies

Courtesy of Fresh Thymes Eatery (my favorite place to eat in Boulder!), 2500 30th Street, Suite #101, Boulder and


1 cup raw pecans, soaked overnight and drained

1 cup pitted dates (soaked also if hard)

¼ cup raw cacao powder

2 tablespoons raw honey

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/8 teaspoon sea salt


3 ripe avocados

¼ cup raw cacao powder

¼ cup raw honey

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

pinch sea salt

  1. Lightly grease a tart pan or a baking dish with coconut oil.
  2. Place all ingredients for the brownie in a food processor. Process on high until the mixture comes together.
  3. Pour into greased pan and press down firmly along the entire pan, pressing the “dough” into place.
  4. Rinse bowl of food processor.
  5. Half and pit avocados. Place flesh in food processor along with the cacao powder, honey, coconut oil, vanilla and sea salt.
  6. Process on high until all ingredients come together and it look like frosting.
  7. Spoon frosting on top of brownies and spread to cover.
  8. Refrigerate 2 hours or more.
  9. Cut and enjoy


Pumpkin Nut Bread with Coconut Crème

Courtesy of my friend and nutrition colleague, Coleen Walsh, MNT at Harvesting Nutrition and 

Pumpkin Nut Bread:

3 cups of mixed nuts (I used 1 cup each: walnuts, cashews, pecans)
2 cups of seeds (I used 3/4 cup of both sunflower & pumpkin, and 1/4 of each flax & chia)
2 eggs (eggs could be replaced for another 3 tbsp of chia seeds expanded in 9 tbsp of water)
1 cup unsweetened, plain Pumpkin Purée
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut oil
6 Tablespoons of water (to mix with chia seeds for egg replacement)
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
2 Tablespoons of Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl combine the chia seed and the water. Stir to combine then set aside for about 5 minutes to form a gel like consistency. (If using eggs, skip this step.)
  3. Liquefy coconut oil.
  4. Meanwhile mix all nuts in seeds together in bowl, place 1/2 into food processor and process until a flour like consistency, add the rest of nuts and pulse a few times to break into chunks.
  5. Mix wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls then mix the two until incorporated.
  6. Place in a greased (or parchment lined) 8×8 baking dish or 2 loaf pans and bake for 50 minutes to one hour.
  7. Ready when toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Top with pumpkin coconut crème, coconut butter or butter.

Variation: for savory bread omit the pumpkin, spices, and vanilla. Top with coconut oil, butter or use as sandwich bread.

Pumpkin Coconut Crème:
1 can Full-fat Coconut Milk
1/2 can unsweetened, plain Pumpkin Purée
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or Pumpkin Pie Spice
2-3 droppers full of Stevia drops or your favorite natural sweetener to taste (I used 3 tbsp raw honey)
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of fine Sea Salt

  1. Chill coconut milk in refrigerator overnight. Remove from the fridge and gently turn the can upside down, but be sure not to shake it.
  2. Open the can and remove all of the clear coconut water (save this for shakes and drinks).
  3. Put the thick cream in a mixer bowl and whip until it starts to firm up.
  4. Add the pumpkin, cinnamon, sweetener and salt and whip until it forms soft fluffy peaks.

Variations: Instead of pumpkin, use raw cacao or cocoa; try it with just vanilla; or add a little coffee, chai tea spices.


Blueberry Raw Pie


¾ Cup Walnuts

¼ Cup Flax Seed

½ Cup Medjool Dates

½ tbsp. Coconut Oil

Pinch Sea Salt (Optional)


2 Cups mixed Blueberries and Raspberries

¾ Cup Medjool Dates

  1.  Add all ingredients for the crust to a food processer and blend until a somewhat moist and rough textured paste is made.
  2. Remove from processor and pat down into pie dish.
  3. For the filling, don’t bother rinsing out the food processor. It really doesn’t matter if some crust gets into the filling.
  4. Add the dates and 1/2 of all your berries to the processor and blend until smooth.
  5. Pour mixture over pie crust.
  6. Top with the remaining fresh, whole berries.

Roasted Chestnuts

When choosing chestnuts look for hard shells and discard any with soft spots since they could be rotten inside.

  1. Score raw chestnuts with knife to create small hole.
  2. Roast at 425° for 30 minutes or until they become aromatic.
  3. Crack open with mallet or nut cracker carefully while still warm since they’re best enjoyed warm. Makes a fun group activity.

Need more deserts? Visit PaleoHacks for 31 more gluten-free recipes!


Disclaimer: Nutrition therapy is not intended as a diagnosis, treatment, prescription, or cure for any disease, or as a substitute for medical care. Jen Marshall and Stacy St Germain are not licensed medical providers. Nutrition plans are not intended as a substitution for traditional medical care, nor should be interpreted as medical advice, but instead is an adjunctive and supportive therapy.