Christmas & New Years Recipes

Festival of Lights, Brookings, Oregon. MHollander

Last week I shared healthier versions of recipes for Hanukkah. This week I will share healthier ideas for Christmas & New Years eve. A traditional Christmas menu depends on what part of the U.S. you are from & what your cultural roots are. Basically it is very similar to Thanksgiving. I am going write about other foods for your menu besides turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes & stuffing. New Years is a bit easier because it is traditionally a time to toast in the new year & eat lots of yummy hors d’oeuvres. 

Main courses instead of turkey or tofurkey 🙂 

  • MyRecipes: Chicken-Broccoli Mac and Cheese with Bacon This is a lighter version. Only 2 slices of bacon for entire recipe & the minimal amount of cheese. Turmeric is used for flavor & color. 
  • MyRecipes: Cornbread Crab Cakes  Another lighter version of the original recipe. 
  • MyRecipes: Shrimp and Grits I lived in Kentucky & Georgia for a short time. I learned to love grits! This recipe has a low-fat creamy sauce.
  • MyRecipes: Smoky Pork Stir-Fry Instead of frying pork chops this is a healthy stir-fry. Use olive oil instead of canola.
  • Eating Well: Fennel & Meyer Lemon-Stuffed Salmon This is made with  fresh salmon. You could substitute frozen salmon fillets.
  • Minimalist Baker: GARLIC MAC ‘N’ CHEESE This is a vegan version of the classic mac & cheese. If you haven’t tried using Nutritional Yeast, you should. It makes everything creamy & cheesy. Try it on popcorn first.
  • Minimalist Baker: CREAMY VEGAN GARLIC PASTA WITH ROASTED TOMATOES Very simple & elegant for a dinner party. Your favorite nut milk can be used. 
  • Minimalist Baker: SWEET POTATO LASAGNA  This is a vegan recipe. Instead of lasagne noodles you layer with sweet potato. You can buy a vegan ricotta cheese rather than make it if it would be easier for you. Same with the pesto layer. You can buy vegan pesto, just check the labels. Victoria makes wonderful vegan sauces.
  • Food & Wine: Carrot Osso Buco No meat in this Osso Buco! I have marinated carrots before & they always turn out so tasty. 

Healthier side dishes. 

  • MyRecipes: Herbed Potato Salad  Potato salads are one of my favorite dishes. It is quick & easy to make. You can change the ingredients to reflect your own tastes & dietary needs. I use Veganaise rather than yogurt & sour cream. I also add shredded bright orange carrots to make it festive looking & it adds another healthy vegetable. Very versatile recipe.
  • MyRecipes: Cornbread Stuffing With Sweet Potato and Squash This is another recipe that you can tweak. It is a light version, but you can make it lighter by substituting ingredients. Take a look & see what you can do.
  • Better Homes & Garden: Roasted Root Vegetable and Wilted Romaine Salad I am a big fan of roasted vegetables. 
  • Better Homes & Garden: Cauliflower “Couscous” Couscous is a pasta, so substituting cauliflower is a great idea. I have made cauliflower rice before & it was very good. I would leave out the butter or cut down on how much you use. 
  • Minimalist Baker: CRISPY GARLIC BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH SRIRACHA AIOLI You can use frozen Brussels sprouts for this. They are easy to cut in half when frozen. 
  • Minimalist Baker: DILL ROASTED SWEET POTATOES + WARM SPINACH SALAD Anything served over a bed of spinach would make me happy 🙂
  • Food & Wine: Roasted Delicata Squash with Quinoa Salad This is a definite must try. Delicata squash is a winter staple in my house. Roasting it brings out the natural sweet flavor.
  • Food & Wine: Mixed Mushroom Ragout This can be put over anything from rice to fish. Switch out the chicken broth for a vegetarian version. My favorite are Edwards & Sons Natural Bullion Cubes These cubes make a great broth for a fast soup. Add scallions, mushrooms & grated carrots. Yum!

Ring in the New Year with some tasty hors d’oeuvres. 


  • Minimalist Baker: VEGAN GLUTEN-FREE GINGERBREAD MEN You can’t leave out the Gingerbread men!
  • I found this interesting cooking blog, The Big Man’s World 🙂 Somehow he doesn’t come across as a macho guy like the name of the blog suggests & his picture is of a cute young kid 🙂 Here is what he says about his website: THE BIG MAN’S WORLD ® is all about healthy, easy, quick, and simple sweet recipes. Every single recipe is 100% gluten-free and dairy free, with most having a vegan, paleo and sugar-free option. I believe that desserts and sweets should be a daily staple and part of an everyday diet. Take a look at all his recipes, but especially the Desserts for something new for your Christmas sweet tooth. 
  • My Blog post for last year at this time was for Christmas sweets. Healthy Holiday Recipes for Cookies, Candies & Nuts!

I am making only vegan Christmas cookies & Pralines this year. I started looking for vegan replacements for the recipes I usually use. They were so complicated & used ingredients I don’t ordinarily use. I went back to my old recipes & decided to experiment.

  • For the spiced nuts, I needed an egg white to coat them with before adding the spices. I substituted 2 tablespoons of aquafaba for each egg.~the name for the viscous water in which legume seeds such as chickpeas have been cooked. Wikipedia~  I used the liquid from a can of organic garbanzo beans. Aquafaba can be beaten stiff like egg whites. It worked perfectly & the flavor was the same!
  • For my cookies that required butter, I substituted Vegan Earth Balance. You can also use coconut oil, but I found that I preferred the buttery taste for one of the cookies. 
  • If it required an egg or two I used flax or chia eggs~ How to Make a Flax EggYou can use this recipe using chia rather than flax.

This was much easier than buying all those new ingredients & I could bake my favorite holiday recipes. I do love simple 🙂

OldWays Whole Grains Council: EXPERT SHARES TIPS FOR BAKING WITH WHOLE GRAINS, DECEMBER 6, 2017  “Convert your favorite recipes to whole grain! Get the tips you need, including which recipes can be substituted part-for-part, which ones might need extra liquid, and which whole grain flours have the sweetest flavor. Originally posted April 5, 2015; updated in 2017 to include additional tips.” Handy info-graph of these tips for you to download & put on your frig.

MOMables: Ingredient Substitution List For Baking Great information on how & with what to substitute eggs, dairy & flour.

VegKitchen: Vegan Substitutions Guide, POSTED BY ERIN PAVLINA Interesting guide. Remember when using this guide, the same dietary guidelines for vegans apply…eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains & omit the processed foods when possible. There are unhealthy vegans. 

One Green Planet: A Guide to 15 Types of Gluten-Free Flour Who knew their were so many! Take a look at the list.

Happy cooking & baking! Enjoy the Holidays with family & friends. The next post will be January 2nd, 2018.

Until next year!…Mary 🙂