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11 Healthier Holiday Dishes


With all the tasty temptations of the holiday season, it can be tough to keep your healthy eating goals on track. But this year, you can have your turkey and eat your pie, too. Here are 11 recipe ideas that will satisfy your taste buds without derailing your diet. 


Curried Pumpkin Hummus

Serving size: 2 tbsp, Servings per recipe: 2 3/4 cups


  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 can (15 oz/430 g) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz/430 g) unsweetened pumpkin purée
  • 1 1/2 tsp finely minced fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
  • Optional garnish: toasted pumpkin seeds


1. In a small nonstick frying pan over medium heat, warm the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the garlic and sauté just until beginning to soften, about 30 seconds. Add the curry powder and sauté, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute longer. Stir in the honey, remove from the heat, and set aside.

2. In the workbowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process the chickpeas until finely mashed. Add the pumpkin purée, ginger, salt, and the garlic mixture. Process until the hummus is smooth and puréed. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Transfer to a serving bowl. Cover and set aside for 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds, if desired.

Dip Do-Ahead: This dip can be prepared up to 2 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate. Remove from the refrigerator 45 minutes before serving.

PER SERVING: 36 calories; 1.0g total fat (sat 0.1g, mono 0.5g, poly 0.2g); 1g protein; 6g carbohydrates; 2g fiber; 0mg cholesterol ; 0.7mg iron; 126mg sodium; 13mg calcium

CREDIT: Diane Morgan, Skinny Dips: 60 Recipes for Dips, Spreads, Chips, and Salsas on the Lighter Side of Delicious, Chronicle Books (2010).

Sweet Potato Tzimmes 


Servings per recipe: 6 - 8

Gluten-free, soy-free


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil or other healthy vegetable oil
  • 1 large red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 3 large carrots, sliced
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, cooked or microwaved, then peeled and sliced
  • 1 large pear, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried prunes
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 2/3 cup orange juice, preferably fresh
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp minced fresh or jarred ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg (or 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts for topping, optional


1. Preheat the oven to 350º F.

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the carrots and continue to sauté until the onion is golden. Combine with the remaining ingredients except the walnuts in a mixing bowl and stir until thoroughly mixed. Don’t worry if the potato slices break apart.

3. Oil a shallow 2-quart baking dish. Pour in the sweet potato mixture and pat in evenly. Sprinkle the optional walnuts over the top. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top begins to turn slightly crusty. Serve hot.

CREDIT: Reprinted with permission from Vegan Holiday Kitchen © 2011 by Nava Atlas, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photographs by Susan Voisin.


Red Quinoa Pilaf with Kale and Corn


Servings per recipe: 8 or more 

Gluten-free, soy-free (use a soy-free bouillon cube), nut-free


  • 1 1/2 cups red quinoa, rinsed in a fine sieve
  • 3 cups prepared vegetable broth or 3 cups water with 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 1 bunch kale (about 8 ounces)
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 to 4 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups cooked fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
  • 2 jarred roasted red peppers, cut into strips, or 1/3 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, cut into strips
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice, or more, to taste
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


1. Combine the quinoa with 3 cups broth in a medium saucepan. Bring to a rapid simmer, then cover and continue to simmer gently until the broth is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. If the quinoa isn’t quite done, add an additional 1/2 cup broth (or water) and continue to cook until absorbed.

2. Strip the kale leaves away from the stems. Discard the stems, or slice them very thinly. Cut the kale leaves into narrow strips. Rinse well and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the garlic and sauté over low heat until golden.

4. Add the kale, stir together, and cover; raise the heat to medium and cook until wilted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook, stirring frequently for 4 to 5 minutes longer. Transfer to a serving bowl or casserole dish and serve at once, or cover until needed.

CREDIT: Reprinted with permission from Vegan Holiday Kitchen © 2011 by Nava Atlas, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photographs by Susan Voisin.


Sweet Potato Casserole 

Servings per recipe : 6 servings; 1 ramekin each 


  • 1 cup plain almond milk or unsweetened coconut milk beverage
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 Tbsp turbinado sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp no-sugar-added apple butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/8 tsp ground cayenne (optional)
  • 3 cups finely diced scrubbed unpeeled sweet potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped dry-roasted pecans


1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.

2. Whisk together the almond milk and arrowroot powder in a medium bowl until well combined. Add the eggs and whisk until well combined. Add the sugar, apple butter, butter, vanilla extract, salt, and cayenne (if using) and whisk until well combined.

3. Place 6 (6- to 8-ounce) ramekins or crème brûlée–type individual baking dishes onto a large baking sheet. Place 1/2 cup of the sweet potatoes into each ramekin. Pour the milk mixture evenly over the sweet potatoes.

4. Bake for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the pecans and bake until the sweet potatoes are very tender and the top of the each casserole is well caramelized, about 45 minutes.

5. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving to allow the liquids to settle, and serve warm. 

PER SERVING: 170 calories, 7g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 70mg cholesterol, 180mg sodium, 24g total carbohydrate, 2g dietary fiber, 11g sugars, 4g protein

CREDIT: 1000 Low-Calorie Recipes by Jackie Newgent (Wiley 2012).


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