The Healthier Side of Family Get-Togethers – Amla Green
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The Healthier Side of Family Get-Togethers

The holidays are just around the corner, meaning your schedule is packed with holiday gatherings and events.

Trying to eat healthy can feel extra difficult during this time of year, especially when you want to do plant-based eating without losing the “festive” feel of the season.

You have probably been wondering what to make for your family or bring to holiday parties this year. Well, spend no more of your precious time and mental energy trying to figure this out.
We decided to take the task of finding delicious and healthy holiday recipes off of your plate!

Plant-Based Starters for Any Meal

Squash, Sweet Potato, and Corn Chowder

The subtle sweetness of squash, corn, and sweet potatoes give this savory soup extra depth of flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1 large white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 8 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 sweet potatoes, chopped
  • 3-4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 3 ears of corn (fresh or frozen)

Instructions:

  1. Partially prebake the squash to make the cutting and peeling easier. Bake at 375 degrees F for 40 minutes, or until you can pierce through the narrow end with minimal resistance.
  2. Heat 1 Tbsp water in a soup pot. Add the onion, celery, and garlic to the pot and sauté over medium heat, adding water 1 Tbsp at a time as necessary to keep the onion and celery from burning. Continue sautéing until the onion is translucent and begins to turn golden.
  3. Add the chopped sweet potato and the vegetable stock. Bring to a slow boil, then add the bay leaves, cumin, cloves, and crushed red pepper. Lower the heat and simmer gently, covered, for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the squash from the oven after 40 minutes. Once the squash is cool enough to handle, cut in half lengthwise, and remove seeds and fibers. Cut into 3/4‐inch slices, peel, and then dice.
  5. Add the squash dice and corn kernels. Simmer on low heat until all the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
  6. With a slotted spoon, scoop out 2 cups of the solid ingredients, mash well, and stir back into the soup.

Carrot Ginger Soup

This easy to make one-pot soup is one of our favorites to prepare at any time of the year. The creaminess of the potato paired with the brightness of the citrus makes for a deliciously refreshing soup and can be served hot or cold.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup yellow onion
  • 3 cups fresh carrot
  • 3 cups golden potatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup lite coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp shredded lime zest
  • 4 tsp fresh chives

Instructions:

  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat.
  2. While the pot warms up, roughly chop the onion, carrots, potatoes, garlic, and ginger.
  3. Put a small amount of vegetable broth into the instant pot and then add the onion, garlic, and ginger. Sauté until the onions become translucent and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the rest of the vegetable broth, carrots, and potatoes into the pot.
  5. Bring the soup to a simmer and cover.
  6. Cook the soup for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender.
  7. Add in coconut milk, lime juice, and lime zest.
  8. Blend the soup in a blender until smooth.
  9. Garnish with chives and enjoy!

Delicious Main Dishes which Are Low-Sodium and Non-Dairy

Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad

This dish is delicious served both warm or chilled. It is made with simple ingredients but is quite flavorful due to the fresh herbs.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 large butternut squash, diced small
  • 1/4 cup white onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 shallot, diced
  • 1/3 tsp fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 1/3 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • Juice of 1 small lemon (about 3–4 tbsp)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened dried cranberries

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to Bake at 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the butternut squash on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes, or until soft.
  3. While squash is roasting, in a medium pot cook the onions, garlic and shallot with water or vegetable broth until soft and translucent.
  4. Rinse quinoa in a fine sieve until water runs clear. Drain, transfer to the pot with the remaining ingredients up to the vegetable broth.
  5. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer until water is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat for 5 minutes *covered*, then uncover and fluff with a fork.
  7. Add in the spinach, squash, cranberries, lemon juice and salt & pepper to taste and stir until combined. Adjust seasonings to taste as needed.

Mushroom Pot Pie

This rich pot pie is filled with carrots, celery, peas and four types of mushroom. To top this pie, you have a variety of options depending on your taste or try them all.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium white potato, peeled & diced
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup shallot, sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 oyster mushrooms, shredded
  • 3 cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 large portobello mushroom gills removed, and chopped
  • 1/2 oz dried shitake mushrooms, rehydrated
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp sage
  • to taste black pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 small potato, sliced very thin

Instructions:

  1. Rehydrate the dried shiitake mushrooms according to the package.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  3. In a large pot sauté the onion, shallot, celery, carrots, and garlic in a small amount of water or broth for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Stir in the diced potato and let cook for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the 4 cups of vegetable broth, and then turn heat down to medium heat. Add the peas, herbs and all the mushrooms in the pot and continue cooking on medium-low heat for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Divide mixture into oven-proof bowls. Top the mixture with your chosen topping. (see note). Here we are using the potato that is thinly sliced. Place the thin slices on top of the vegetable mixture. Cook in the oven for 15 minutes.

Notes: Toppings can include puff pastry, pie pastry, thinly sliced white potatoes, thinly sliced sweet potatoes, thinly sliced carrots and even brussel sprout leaves (steam individual leaves first before layering on top of pie).

Sweet Potatoes Loaded with Lentil Stew

Lentil stew has the comfort of warm soup, made extra hearty and filling by the lentil base.

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup green or brown lentils, dry
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 4-6 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup fresh rosemary
  • 2-3 Swiss chard, chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to Bake at 350 degrees F. Poke sweet potatoes and bake for 1 hour or until soft.
  2. In a pot, combine lentils, onion, celery, carrots, and garlic with 4 cups  of water. Bring to a boil then simmer for approx. 30 minutes.
  3. Add mushrooms, tomatoes, and spices, and simmer for another 7-10 minutes.
  4. Check to be sure that lentils are soft. Remove from heat. Stir in swiss chard and lemon juice.
  5. Slice open sweet potato and spoon lentil stew into the crevice.

Stupendous Side Dishes That Are Sure to Satisfy

White Roasted Vegetables with Spinach and Sweet Potato

This hearty dish is a great way to welcome the start of fall and, hopefully, some cooler weather. Parsnips add a unique flavor to the nutrient rich dish. You can even sub out the sweet potatoes for white potatoes if you really want to play up the white colors in this dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 medium cauliflower, cut into 1" pieces
  • 3 parsnips, chopped in a similar size to the cauliflower
  • 1 medium onion, chopped into wedges
  • 1 medium sweet potato, chopped into 1" cubes
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to Bake at 425 degrees F.
  • Combine all the ingredients together and place in a large casserole dish. Add the vegetable broth.
  • Roast for 20 minutes, then mix the vegetables
  • Add the spinach on top and cook for another 10 minutes or until vegetables or tender and spinach is wilted.

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower Bites

These spicy roasted cauliflower bites are a surefire crowd-pleaser! They are the perfect snack or side dish to satisfy those crunchy cravings.

Ingredients:

  • 10 stalks celery (about 400g)
  • 5 red bell pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 10 medium carrots (about 600g)
  • 1/2 jalapeño
  • 1 1/4 green onion, chopped
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 3 cauliflower heads

Instructions:

  1. Place all ingredients in the blender (except the cauliflower). Blend until smooth.
  2. Break up the cauliflower and put it into a bowl.
  3. Pour the sauce on top of cauliflower and mix well.
  4. Place the sauce covered cauliflower into the dehydrator at 115 degrees F for 8 hours, or into the oven at 450 degrees F for approx. 30 mins or until crispy.

Don’t Forget the Decadent but Still Healthy Desserts

Making a serious dessert spread is a must for holiday gatherings. Just because you are going the healthier route, it doesn’t mean that you can’t serve up some whole food, plant-based sweet treats!

Banana Cinnamon Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup bananas (2 medium ripe (spotted), peeled and mashed)
  • 1/4 cup Medjool dates (3 pitted and softened in hot water, if necessary)
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 scoop Amla Green

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to Bake at 350 degrees F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. In a food processor or large mixing bowl, combine the chopped bananas, pitted (and softened) dates, ground flaxseed, amla green, and cinnamon. Blend or stir until the mixture is smooth and wet.
  3. If using a food processor, transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl. Add the rolled oats to the wet ingredients, and stir until they’re thoroughly mixed.
  4. Divide the batter into 8 equal portions, and place them on your prepared baking sheet, evenly spaced. Each portion will be roughly 2 heaping tablespoons.
  5. The cookies will not change shape in the oven, so flatten them out and gently shape them into cookies before baking.
  6. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the cookies’ edges begin to brown slightly.
  7. Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes.
  8. Transfer the slightly cooled cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.