December 22, 2020

Heart Healthy Dishes for Your Christmas Dinner

Healthy Living, Nutrition, Weight Loss

The holiday season is here, but that doesn’t mean that all of your health goals need to go out the window. While it’s okay to indulge in a sweet treat every now and then, give yourself a little help by including a few of these nutritious dinner recipes into your Christmas dinner.

Brussels Sprouts with Pickled Shallots and Hazelnuts


1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

2 sprigs thyme, plus 1 tablespoon leaves

3 shallots (2 thinly sliced and 1 chopped), divided

6 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 pounds brussels sprouts, halved

1 garlic clove, chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts


  1. Combine vinegar, sugar, thyme sprigs and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Combine sliced shallots and 3 tablespoons oil in a bowl. Pour hot vinegar mixture over shallots and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours or refrigerate up to 48 hours. Drain; discard thyme.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss together brussels sprouts, garlic, chopped shallot and remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until brussels sprouts begin to brown, about 12 to 15 minutes.
  3. Melt butter in a small sauce-pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add hazelnuts and toss to coat. Season with salt.
  4. Serve brussels sprouts topped with pickled shallots and hazelnuts.

Roasted Squash with Goat Cheese and Poached Cranberries


1 butternut squash, sliced crosswise into 6 rounds

1 tablespoon olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups fresh cranberries

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

2 teaspoons fresh chopped rosemary

1 (4-ounce) log goat cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup roasted and salted pepitas


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss together squash and oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Roast, turning once, until golden brown and tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
  2. Combine cranberries, maple syrup, orange juice and rosemary in a medium saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until cranberries begin to pop, 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Stir together goat cheese and heavy cream in a bowl until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve squash topped with cheese mixture, cranberries and pepitas.

Maple Cranberry Sauce


1 (12-ounce) bag fresh or frozen cranberries, rinsed and picked over

1/3 cup maple syrup, or more to taste

1/3 cup water

Juice and zest of one fresh orange (about 1/4 cup juice)


  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir to combine.
  2. Heat over medium-high heat until the mixture reaches a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and reached your desired consistency. Keep in mind that it will also thicken a bit more as it cools.
  3. Taste and add extra maple syrup, if needed.
  4. You can either serve this cranberry sauce warm or let it cool in the refrigerator until chilled and then serve it cold.

Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole


For the sweet potatoes:

4 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, scrubbed (about 4 to 5 very large sweet potatoes)

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

2 vanilla beans or 2 tablespoons vanilla bean paste

2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, melted

3/4 tablespoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly grate nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

For the pecan oat topping:

1 1/3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup roughly chopped pecans, untoasted

1/2 cup almond meal

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

5 tablespoons melted coconut oil

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch casserole dish or other 3-quart casserole dish and set aside.
  2. Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork, then place them on a baking sheet lined with foil or a silpat mat. Bake until the potatoes are fork tender, about 1 hour or so, depending on the size of your potatoes. Remove from the oven and let sit until cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes. Peel and discard the skins (they should come off easily with your fingers), break the potatoes in large chunks with a fork, then place the chunks into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl.
  3. While the potatoes bake, pour the almond milk in a small saucepan. Split the vanilla beans, scrape the seeds into the pan, then add the empty pods to the pan too. Bring to a very gentle simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not let the almond milk boil. Remove from heat and let the vanilla steep while the potatoes continue baking.
  4. Remove the vanilla bean pods from the saucepan, then pour the almond milk and vanilla bean specs into the bowl with the sweet potato chunks. Add the melted coconut oil, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and white pepper.
  5. Mash the potatoes together with the milk and spices (or beat gently with a mixer or your paddle attachment or run through a food mill) until fairly smooth with some texture remaining. Taste and add additional salt/pepper as desired. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. With the back of a rubber spatula, press and smooth into a single layer.
  6. In a separate bowl, combine the topping ingredients — oats pecans, almond meal, cinnamon, salt, coconut oil and maple syrup — until moist and evenly mixed. Sprinkle over the sweet potatoes.
  7. Bake until the topping is toasted and fragrant and casserole is warmed through, about 20 minutes. Serve warm.

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