7 Healthy Holiday Recipes (GF, dairy-free)

salad with fresh figs, avocado, marcona almonds

I wanted to share some of my favorite healthy holiday recipes with you. My definition of a great recipe is one that is simple (not too many ingredients), wholesome (fresh, whole foods), and hearty (nutrient dense, nourishing), and one that you feel good about feeding to your whole family.

In the fall, we are blessed with an abundance of wonderful ingredients– a true harvest time. Fresh rosemary and thyme, fragrant apples, juicy pomegranate seeds, sweet winter squashes, brussels sprouts, and dark leafy greens are just some of my fall favorites! With Halloween and the World Series behind us, it’s time to start planning some holiday get togethers and make some delicious, homemade food that nourishes the body and soul.

Here are 7 of my favorite holiday recipes that I gathered together for you to try. If something isn’t available in your part of the world, feel free to substitute another ingredient. Please share your cooking adventures in the comments section of each recipe or at the end of this post. I look forward to hearing from you!

Arugula and Fig Salad with Citrus Dressing is amazing to bring to a potluck or include in a festive holiday menu:

salad with fresh figs, avocado, marcona almonds

Creamy Corn Soup with Dulse is comforting, soothing, and super sweet. Pan-fried dulse is crispy and savory garnish to compliment the sweet soup. This soup satisfies the sweet tooth without eating any refined sugar!

photo of creamy corn soup

Wild-Caught Salmon with Fresh Rosemary is a great alternative to turkey, or can be prepared the day after Thanksgiving to go with all of the leftover side dishes!

photo of wild caught maple roasted salmon, green beans, and rice

Maple-Roasted Roasted Brussels Sprouts are a hit with adults and children alike!

Photo of Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Creamy Polenta with Sweet Corn is a great gluten-free side dish instead of stuffing! Leftovers can be heated up for breakfast (like old-fashioned grits) after your holiday meal.

photo of creamy corn polenta

This zesty Cranberry Sauce wth Orange and Ginger is so much better than canned varieties and you can use leftover sauce for a cranberry-apple pie or to add to turkey sandwiches!

photo of cranberry sauce with orange slice

For a sweet treat that is easy to make ahead, try these dairy-free Chocolate-Coco Truffles:

photo of chocolate coco truffles

Enjoy these recipes and others found in the recipes section of my blog. You can type in a search word (like salad, soup, or avocado) and recipes on my site containing those keywords will come up.

Interested in learning how to cook and meeting others that love healthy food? I teach group classes in Austin, Texas (see schedule) as well as private classes, workshops, and dinner parties (contact me below for more information). If you have a group of friends that you’d like to host at your home for a cooking class or dinner party, I’d love to help you with that.

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images for healthy holiday recipes

Chocolate Coco Truffles

This recipe was inspired by my floral designer friend Amanda, who makes everything beautiful!

One year my daughter and I made these as holiday gifts for her teachers and garnished them with tiny basil flowers.

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You can also roll the truffles in cocoa, cacao, or carob powder or finely chopped nuts (like pistachios) instead of coconut flakes, as pictured in the cover image.

Chocolate Coco Truffles
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Raw
Serves: 12 truffles
Ingredients
  • 1 cup pitted dates, roughly chopped and packed
  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cacao powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened fine coconut flakes
  • extra coconut flakes, for rolling the truffles
Instructions
  1. Place the dates in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Strain the dates from the hot water (reserving liquid) and place in food processor along with chocolate chips and coconut oil. Pulse the ingredients until smooth. Add a little of the soaking liquid only if needed to blend.
  3. Sift the cacao powder into the medium mixing bowl and add coconut flakes.
  4. Scrape date mixture into the bowl with the coconut mixture. Using a spatula, fold ingredients together until well combined. Cover bowl and refrigerate 30-60 minutes.
  5. Once the mixture is cold, roll into balls working quickly so the chocolate does not melt and roll evenly in the remaining coconut.
Variations
  1. Roll truffles in sifted cocoa, cacao, or carob or finely chopped nuts insead of coconut flakes.
  2. Place rolled truffles in an airtight container in refrigerator to set.

 

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Enjoy making these treats for your friends and family this holiday season!

Almond-Orange Biscotti with Chocolate Drizzle

Make these for your next gathering of friends and family. Kids and adults will love them!

This recipe has been a hit when macrobiotic teacher and counselor David Briscoe teaches his “Macro-Vegan Italian Buffet” class to the professional students at The Natural Epicurean several times a year.

Almond-Orange Biscotti with Chocolate Drizzle
 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons flax seed meal (ground flax seed)
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1½ cups Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1¾ cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 6 tablespoons coconut spread
  • ¾ cup maple sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • ¼ teaspoon orange extract
  • zest of 1 orange
  • ½ cup gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened coconut milk, almond milk, or soymilk (room temperature)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Make 2 “flax eggs” by combining flax seed meal and water in a small bowl. Let sit for 5-10 minutes or until mixture is thick.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together gluten-free flour, almond flour, and baking powder. Add toasted, chopped almonds.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together coconut spread and maple syrup until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla, almond, and orange extracts, orange zest, and flax eggs. Stir to combine well.
  5. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and combine well by hand.
  6. Separate the dough into 2 halves. Using your hands, form 2 logs, each about 4 by 10 inches. Place each log on prepared cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven, slice into ovals about an inch thick, place back onto cookie sheet, and bake again for 10-12 minutes. Cool biscotti on cooking rack.
  8. Melt chocolate chips in a saucepan over very low heat with milk. When chips start to melt, remove from heat and whisk until smooth. While still warm, pour melted chocolate into small squeeze bottle (or Ziplock bag with a tiny piece of the corner cut off) and drizzle onto cooled biscotti. Work fast so that chocolate does not cool and become hard.
  9. Alternately, biscotti can be dipped into melted chocolate and coated with extra toasted almonds.

 

Gluten Free and Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

My daughter Isabel and I made our first cooking video together a few weeks ago. Well, actually, my daughter invited me to come do a video with her for her Curly Girl youtube channel. We decided to make Gluten Free and Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies because they are such a delicious treat, especially for people on gluten-free or vegan diets. I have been on a gluten-free diet for many years and appreciate finding recipes that are simple, tasty, and healthy.

vegan Choc Chip cookies-3

We used Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free all-purpose flour to make our cookies, but we have also had success using plain brown rice flour or other gluten-free all-purpose flour mixes. I like Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free all-purpose flour because it does not contain xanthan gum, which is known to be an intestinal irritant. The ingredients in this mix include: garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, whole grain sweet white sorghum flour, and fava bean flour. Because of the bean flours in the mix, it tastes unpleasant before it has been cooked, so don’t try eating the cookie dough before it is baked!

Gluten Free and Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
 
These cookies are perfect for the occasional treat for someone who is on a gluten free and/or vegan diet.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2 dozen cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon flax seed meal (ground flax seed)
  • 2 ½ tablespoons water
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour (such as Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl or cup, mix together flax seed meal and water. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, or until the mixture has the consistency of a beaten egg. This is your “flax egg.”
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together coconut oil, almond or cashew butter, maple syrup or agave nectar, and vanilla extract. Add “flax egg” and mix to combine.
  3. In a larger bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and sea salt.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients in the larger bowl. Mix until smooth with a wooden spoon. Add chocolate chips. Batter will be sticky.
  5. Transfer dough onto 1 or 2 sheets of wax paper or parchment paper. Fold paper over the dough to make cookie dough “logs.” Put the logs into the freezer for about 15-20 minutes, or until dough has become firm.
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  7. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of dough at a time onto the cookie sheet and form into round cookie shapes, leaving about an inch of space between cookies. These cookies will not flatten out a huge amount, so you can flatten them a little before baking them.
  8. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, or until cookies begin to flatten and are golden brown on the bottom.
  9. Remove cookies with a spatula onto a plate and serve warm.
Notes
  1. Leftover cookie dough can be wrapped up well and stored in the freezer for up to a month and taken out as needed to make a sheet of cookies.

These cookies don’t spread out as much as normal cookies do, so be sure to flatten them out a bit before baking.

vegan Choc Chip cookies-5

These cookies go great with a glass of almond milk or coconut milk!

vegan Choc Chip cookies-6vegan Choc Chip cookies-7

Kid-approved! Please check out the video on Isabel’s Curly Girl channel.

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Join the Cook Love Heal Community!

Join the Cook Love Heal Community, and I’ll send you my Natural Health Starter Kit for free and you’ll find out about the online course as soon as it is available. I’ll also keep you updated with amazing recipes, yoga ideas and tips for how to live a balanced life. Look forward to meeting you!

Also, I’m so excited to share this… my new online course, Cook Naturally Without A Recipe, is up and open for enrollment! Learn more here (opens a new window) and share with your friends!

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