Craving cheesy breadsticks? Although this recipe won’t fool anyone, it is a fun and tasty way to dip something bready and even somewhat cheesy into marinara sauce. It is made with whole, real foods, including vegetables, whole grains or nuts (depending on your choice of flour) and eggs. It is free of refined grains and dairy, and can be made without gluten or grains by using almond meal.
Swap out the flour for summer squash to make cheesy-tasting breadsticks that are much lower in calories and starch. A very tasty way to eat your veggies!
4 yellow crookneck squash or zucchini
4 large eggs
1/2 cup almond meal or whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush with olive oil.
Cut the squash into 1 inch chunks, which should yield about 6 cups. Place half the squash into a food processor and pulse until it is finely chopped, but not mushy. Transfer to a large bowl and repeat with remaining squash.
Squeeze some of the liquid out of the squash. When finished, it should yield about 4 cups of squash. Whisk eggs and add to squash. Add flour, nutritional yeast, salt, and garlic powder.
Spread squash mixture onto prepared baking sheet and form into an even, thin layer, about 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle with oregano. Bake for 25 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Move pan to top rack and broil for about 2 minutes or until top is golden brown.
Place a large cutting board on top of the baking sheet and carefully flip it over to move the breadsticks to the cutting board. Cut in half lengthwise, then cut into 1-inch strips. Serve with warm marinara sauce.
Holiday popcorn is a festive yet healthy treat made with whole grains, healthy fats, herbs and spices, and not too much added oil. It’s easy to pop your own popcorn on the stove, and healthier than microwave popcorn. Microwave popcorn bags are lined with perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), which are potentially dangerous for our health and the environment – so make it yourself, and save money as well!
Holiday popcorn is a festive yet healthy treat made with whole grains, healthy fats, herbs and spices, and not too much added oil. Microwave popcorn bags are lined with perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), which are potentially dangerous for our health and the environment - so make it yourself, and save money as well!
2 tablespoons canola oil (or other high heat oil)
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon dried parsley
In a large stock pot, heat the oil and 3-4 kernels of popcorn, covered, over
medium heat until all kernels pop.
Pour in the remaining kernels, cover pot and shake to distribute. Remove pot from heat for 30 seconds. Return pan to heat, shaking pan continuously, leaving the lid slightly ajar for crisper popcorn, if possible. To do this, you can wear two oven mitts (ones that cover your wrists or beyond are best), hold the lid slightly ajar while holding onto the pot handles and shaking the pan as pictured. If you have a lid with a vent, you could just open the vent, or use any other preferred popcorn popping method.
When popping slows to 2-3 seconds between pops, remove from heat. Pour popcorn into a large bowl, removing any unpopped or partially popped kernels.
Combine the paprika, garlic powder, and salt. These measurements are general and you may want to add more, but the beauty of this recipe is that the quantities don't have to be exact.
Drizzle the olive oil over the popcorn, then sprinkle with the spice mixture. Toss to combine. Add more spices if desired. Garnish with parsley and serve.
This is an updated post from last year. There are a few new recipes that were too good not to include this year, so they are shown below with their photo next to the recipe name. It’s now 25 recipes + 6 bonus recipes to share during the big game. For those with special needs or tastes, many recipes are:
These cookies are just enough to satisfy a craving for something sweet, without any refined flours, little added sugar (less than 1/2 teaspoon per cookie if you use unsweetened chocolate), and are vegan/dairy-free if you use vegan chocolate. For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, they are also gluten-free. If you are low on chocolate, you can replace half of it with chopped nuts (that’s what I did in these pictures).
These low sugar cookies have a nice almond and coconut flavor and are not overly sweet. If vegan chocolate is used, they are vegan/vegetarian, gluten-free, and considered paleo.
1 1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup virgin coconut oil (softened but not melted)
2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
18 drops liquid stevia (or 2 more tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar, and omit almond milk)
2 tablespoons almond milk or coconut beverage
1/4 cup dark chocolate chip (or dark chocolate bar, chopped)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a medium bowl, combine almond meal, salt, and baking soda. In a small bowl, combine coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and stevia. Stir until well mixed. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips.
Roll about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough into a ball, and flatten to about 3/4 inch on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
Bake 8-10 minutes, or until light brown on the edges. Let cool for two minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.
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Thanksgiving dinner is a special meal, and the thought of healthy dishes at this meal probably offends some people. So, here are some tasty somewhat traditional recipes that just happen to be healthy, but don’t tell anyone!
Ways to Use Leftovers
If you’re cooking pumpkin or any other kind of winter squash, save the seeds! Clean and dry them, then try one of the two recipes below.
If you have ham at Thanksgiving or other holidays, you can make a hearty soup out of the ham once most of the meat is eaten.
Leftover veggies? Chop them up and use them in an omelet, or an omelet muffin!
You can also toss leftover veggies into cauliflower fried “rice.”
This unbelievably simple ice cream alternative mostly consists of one ingredient – bananas! You can also add a little vanilla extract for even better flavor. It tastes best when whipped up fresh because it will be smooth, creamy, and light. Feel free to add other flavors as desired – peanut butter, chocolate, etc.
Make your own no-sugar-added, vegan, dairy-free "ice cream" with just bananas and vanilla extract.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or to taste)
Peel the bananas and slice into 1/2 inch pieces. Freeze on a plate or cookie sheet in a single layer for at least 1 hour. You can also use parchment paper to prevent sticking.
Allow banana slices to thaw a bit, about 15 minutes at room temperature. Puree in a food processor with vanilla extract, pulsing a few times to start, for several minutes, until smooth and whipped. Serve immediately as "soft serve" or freeze and scoop it out later.
These carrot pancakes are healthy and delicious and make a great side dish.
1lb carrots (grated)
4 large eggs (beaten)
1/4 cup almond meal, nut meal, or whole wheat flour (or other flour substitute)
1/4 cup olive oil
salt to taste
Combine carrots, eggs, flour, and salt and mix until well combined.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat with 2 tablespoons oil. Add 1/2 cup carrot mixture and flatten into a 1/2-inch thick patty and repeat until pan is full. Flip patties when the underside is golden brown. When both sides are golden brown, transfer to a paper towel to drain.
Add 1/2 cup carrot mixture and flatten into a 1/2-inch thick patty and repeat until pan is full. Flip patties when the underside is golden brown. When both sides are golden brown, transfer to a paper towel to drain.
Repeat step 3 until all carrot mixture is used, adding more oil to the pan as needed.
These lentil patties are a fun and flavorful snack or appetizer and can be paired with a tasty dip such as lemon tahini sauce.
1 1/2 cup dried red lentils
1/2 yellow onion
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon turmeric
Rinse and sort lentils. Soak in plenty of cold water overnight or for at least 8 hours. Lentils will end up about double in size.
Heat a skillet to medium high and add 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add onion and cook until it becomes caramelized and translucent. Add garlic, turmeric and cumin and cook for 30 seconds, stirring often. Remove from heat.
Drain lentils and place in a food processor. Add remaining ingredients except for cooked onion mixture. Puree until fairly smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Add cooked onion mixture and pulse until just combined.
Heat skillet over medium high and add 1 Tbsp olive oil. Form lentil mixture into flattened balls, about the size of golf balls, then place into pan. Turn over when the bottom is golden brown and cook other side until golden brown. Place onto plate lined with a paper towel. Repeat with remaining oil and lentil mixture. Serve with lemon tahini sauce or other dipping sauce.
To make optional lemon tahini sauce: Mix together tahini and lemon juice to taste, then thin with water to reach desired consistency. Add salt to taste. Optional: add minced garlic and parsley.
This healthy layered dip is a perfect appetizer for a party or potluck, and happens to be entirely plant-based.
2 cups hummus
1 cup roasted eggplant (chopped)
1 cup cucumber (diced)
1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes (julienned)
1/4 cup olives (any kind) (sliced)
1/4 cup red onion (minced)
1-2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons pine nuts (toasted)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley (minced)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Layer all ingredients in a shallow dish, starting with the hummus, then roasted eggplant. The other ingredients except olive oil and pine nuts can be layered in any order, but the order listed is recommended. Drizzle the olive oil on top when finished layering. Any ingredients can be omitted to suit personal preference. Add pine nuts just prior to serving.
Refrigerate until ready to serve. Add pine nuts. Serve with raw veggies such as bell pepper strips, halved and seeded mini sweet peppers, or cucumber slices, or whole grain baked pita chips.
It’s like applesauce, but with pears! No added sugar necessary, especially if you use ripe to overly ripe pears. The ground ginger gives this recipe a little kick. You can mash/puree the pears using a variety of tools, including a whisk, potato masher, blender, food processor, or immersion blender. I used a whisk to make the chunky sauce pictured.