Every recipe you need to host a healthy holiday meal this year.
The holidays can be pretty stressful. There’s hosting out-of-town family and seeing relatives we haven’t seen in a while, but it goes way beyond that. The thing that stresses me out the most is the expectation of eating my weight in cookies or carb-heavy side dishes! It’s almost impossible to use the, “I’m on a diet,” excuse when the holidays come around. Not only that, but I’d have a hard time sticking to it even if I tried. There are just too many bad choices within arms length! So, this year, we decided to do something different. We collected the best recipes for the holiday season that are flavorful enough to satisfy the whole family without making anyone feel too guilty.
Our Best Recipes for the Holiday Season
Our list of the best recipes for the holiday season includes breakfast, appetizer and snacks, main dishes, side dishes, our best cookie recipes, and healthy dessert options. We included several vegan, plant-based, gluten-free, and dairy-free options in the list so there’s something for everyone. The best part: Every recipe is designed to satisfy the entire family, regardless of their dietary preferences. So, what are you waiting for? Get ready to create the best holiday menu that everyone will be talking about all year long.
Easy Breakfast Recipes
If you’re hosting family this year, you’ll need to feed them something for breakfast. These are our best breakfast recipes of the holiday season, and they’re designed to be easy to pull off and feed a crowd, too.
If you’re looking for an easy make-ahead breakfast, these Gingerbread Scones are the way to go. They taste like dessert, but they’re made with whole-wheat flour and each scone clocks in at only 259 calories. If you make extras, you can enjoy them as a holiday snack, too.
Casserole breakfasts keep things easy, which is especially necessary during the hectic holiday season. We made this classic restaurant favorite healthier by using Greek yogurt and skim milk, keeping the calories to only 100 per serving. Don’t worry; it tastes so great, no one in the family will be able to tell this recipe is healthy and naturally gluten-free!
For a vegan breakfast that everyone in the family will love, look to these Spicy Breakfast Tacos. The firm tofu, combined with garbanzo beans, mimics the texture of scrambled eggs. They provide a ton of protein and fiber, too, to keep you full all morning long. If you use corn tortillas, this recipe is gluten-free as well.
This French toast recipe is rich, decadent, and unbelievably easy to make. Just layer the bread and sweet apple filling in a slow cooker, add the French toast batter, and let it cook. It’ll be ready in about two hours on the high setting or four hours on low.
Overnight oats are the lifesaver of busy weekdays, and they’ll save you a ton of stress when feeding a crowd during the holidays. The combination of peanut butter and bananas is unforgettable, especially when combined with heart-healthy oats and warming cinnamon. We used almond milk and all plant-based ingredients in our recipe to keep the recipe vegan-friendly.
If the family is begging for pancakes, give them what they ask for. They’ll never know you made life easier by making them with only three ingredients! You only need coconut oil, a ripe banana, and two large eggs to pull off this guilt-free pancake recipe. Gluten-free, dairy-free, low-carb, and absolutely delicious!
Migas are a classic Mexican breakfast made with fried tortilla strips, scrambled eggs, and cheese. Using corn tortillas in our recipe not only makes the dish gluten-free, but it also keeps the carbs low — only 7 grams per serving. You’ll love the way the textures and flavors come together, and you’ll understand why it’s one of our best recipes of the holiday season!
Sometimes, you need a grab-and-go style breakfast during the holiday season. Look no further than our easy Energy-Boosting Granola recipe. It’s made with gluten-free oats, sesame seeds, pepitas, honey, and melted coconut oil. For a vegan version, use maple syrup instead of honey.
Avocado toast gets all the love these days, but we can’t stop thinking about this Cinnamon Apple Peanut Butter Toast. It’s like a grown-up version of PB&J, and it just happens to be made with all plant-based ingredients.
Frittatas are a fantastic way to easily feed a crowd on a busy holiday morning. This recipe makes six servings, and each contains only 139 calories and 4 grams of carbohydrates. Look no further if you’re searching for a low-calorie, low-carb breakfast recipe.
Appetizers & Snacks
A hungry group leads to a hangry group, and no one wants to deal with that! This collection represents the best recipes of the holiday season for appetizers and snacks that will keep your group going in between meals.
This easy appetizer tastes incredible, and looks gorgeous, too. We start with our No-Yeast Flatbread recipe, which only takes about ten minutes to make. After baking these fluffy, light flatbreads, top them with your favorite toppings, like ricotta cheese, roasted root vegetables, and fresh herbs. To make this recipe vegan-friendly, skip the cheese or use vegan cheese alternatives like this plant-based cheese spread.
Spinach dip is a classic addition to any holiday appetizer table, but it’s generally made with fat-filled mayonnaise or sour cream. We made a vegan-friendly version using all plant-based ingredients, including cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and spices. No one will notice it’s not the original: It tastes that good!
These herb-roasted nuts are an easy vegan snack for the holiday season. We use a half-cup of just about every nut we could find, roasting them with herbs and spices to create a rich-flavored dish with multiple textures. You won’t be able to stop yourself from digging in for bite after bite!
Trying to get the family to eat more vegetables? They won’t be able to resist these cute vegetable skewer cocktail cups. The sauce at the bottom of the glass is made by pureeing cottage cheese, celery, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper until it’s smooth. It almost tastes like a ranch dressing dip, but it’s so much healthier!
This gluten-free, vegetarian appetizer is just as satisfying as a meaty meatball, but they’re 100 percent vegetarian. It’s easy to turn them into a vegan recipe, too, by using flax eggs and skipping the Parmesan cheese.
We take regular baby Bella mushrooms and transform them into something incredible with this Easy Stuffed Mushrooms recipe. They’re tasty warm or cold, so make a batch for the appetizer table and store some away in the fridge as a quick-and-easy snack.
Instead of grabbing bagged chips from the grocery store this year, make your own snacks instead. Our Baked Sweet Potato Chips turn out super crunchy. Because they contain minimal ingredients — only sweet potatoes, olive oil, salt, and fresh rosemary — they’re vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free.
Soups & Salads
Start dinner off right with these soups and salads. They’re some of our best recipes of the holiday season! We love how they’re not your typical soup and salad options. Instead, they’re hearty while still being healthy.
Instead of serving a cold salad this holiday dinner, try switching things up with a hot salad. This is one of the best recipes of the holiday season! You’ll love the flavors in this Garlic Braised Greens and Chickpea Salad recipe, which is also made with all plant-based ingredients.
This vegan salad is a winner for anyone who loves roasted beets. The beets and lentils can be cooked ahead of time, and the orange vinaigrette is good in the fridge for three to four days.
For a more classic fall salad, look no further than this Apple and Endive Salad. The flavor of the tart apples and bitter greens pair perfectly with the sweet-and-tangy apple cider vinaigrette. Add in nutty walnuts and salty feta, and you have a winner!
If you have any Brussels sprouts haters in the family, you might change their minds with this stunning salad. The kale and Brussels sprouts are shredded like coleslaw, so your guests might not know they’re eating sprouts until they take a few bites. Everyone will love the smooth creamy Dijon dressing, which smooths out the earthy flavor of the kale.
This soup makes a perfect starter course for any holiday meal. It contains all the flavors you love about loaded baked potatoes, but comes in a healthier package. By the time you puree the cooked cauliflower, no one will even know it’s not potatoes.
If you’re serving a smaller holiday meal, this soup is the perfect addition. It’s packed full of bold flavors, and the barley makes it quite filling. The turkey sausage makes it festive and well-timed for a holiday meal, too.
This vegan pumpkin soup couldn’t be easier to make. You can roast pumpkin or butternut squash, or feel free to use canned pumpkin puree as a shortcut. The coconut milk gives it a creamy flavor without adding any dairy, and the toasted pepitas on top create a nice textural contrast.
Main Dish Recipes
These recipes are probably what you were looking for when you searched for the best recipes of the holiday season! They’re filling and delicious, and the meat-eaters in the group will also love the vegan options.
The perfect holiday dinner usually requires the perfect turkey. We detail how to brine the turkey using a classic brine or a dry brine. Then, we start the turkey in a high-temperature oven to crisp up the skin before turning down the oven temp to help the bird cook evenly. You’ll end up with a perfectly juicy, moist turkey that everyone will love.
If a whole turkey isn’t in the cards this holiday season, you can still be festive with a smaller turkey breast. This recipe roasts the turkey in the oven to create a herb-rubbed, crispy turkey breast that’s absolutely irresistible.
Simplify your holiday dinner this year by cooking it in the slow cooker! A large, four-pound turkey breast will cook in seven to eight hours on low, or you can turn the temperature to high to get it done in three to four hours. That leaves the oven freed-up for more of our best recipes for the holiday season that require oven space.
Skip the turkey this year and make a glazed ham instead. That doesn’t mean you have to buy an expensive ham, either: We have a super simple recipe! Simply combine honey, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, and a little apple cider vinegar to pull it off.
If you’re looking for a vegan main dish, look no further than this Vegan Mushroom Wellington. It’s as easy as picking up a package of vegan-friendly puff pastry, cooking the tasty mushroom filling, and baking the loaf to perfection.
These vegan-friendly stuffed acorn squash would make a great side dish for any holiday dinner, but they’re also a great choice for a vegan main dish. They look gorgeous, and they’re surprisingly filling. Between the chickpeas and the winter squash, this dish packs in 7 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein.
We took the classic Shepherd’s pie and made it vegan-friendly with our Gardener’s Pie recipe. It contains all the warming flavors of the original, but we fill it with tofu and mushrooms instead of ground meat.
Side Dish Recipes
No holiday dinner is complete without a few well-placed side dishes. These are definitely the best recipes of the holiday season because they take unhealthy classics and turn them into nutrient-dense dishes.
Turkey just isn’t the same without stuffing, but most recipes aren’t very healthy. We change all that with this healthier cast-iron stuffing! Instead of white bread, we use Ezekiel bread, which is more nutrient-dense because it’s made with sprouted grains. Our recipe contains turkey sausage and chicken broth, but it can easily be adapted for vegetarian diners.
If you think you can’t have decadent mashed potatoes just because you’re watching what you eat, think again. We skip the calorie-dense sour cream and heavy cream in lieu of lighter buttermilk. The potatoes taste just as good, but with significantly less guilt!
For a vegan alternative to classic stuffing, try making this Cauliflower Holiday Stuffing. Skipping the bread also makes this dish gluten-free and low-carb — only 4 grams of carbohydrates per serving! That definitely makes this one of the best recipes of the holiday season.
Many holiday sweet potato dishes ruin the nutritious content of sweet potatoes by covering them with marshmallows. We keep things healthy (and vegan) by cooking our sweet potatoes with maple syrup, orange juice, and fresh rosemary instead.
Try making this Butternut Squash and Cranberry Quinoa Salad for a different take on a sweet side dish. It’s delightfully flavorful and nutty, thanks to the addition of quinoa. The protein content of quinoa makes this a great dish to have on the table for vegan or vegetarian eaters, too.
This side dish combines everything we love about mashed potatoes and loaded baked potatoes, all rolled into one dish. We make it in the slow cooker, keeping it low-maintenance while also freeing up the oven to roast your turkey or make the other side dishes.
This dish has it all going on: It looks gorgeous, it tastes amazing, and it’s made with all plant-based ingredients. The Cajun seasoning adds a spicy edge to these vegetables, making them stand out from the other side dishes on the table.
If you grew up with mac and cheese on the table during the holidays, you absolutely must make this 5-Ingredient Instant Pot Mac and Cheese. The macaroni cooks in only five minutes in the Instant Pot, and the pressure should release naturally in another ten minutes. Then, stir in the low-fat milk, cheese, and some mustard to create a healthier mac and cheese that still tastes fantastic.
These easy stuffed peppers are a great way to get the kids at the table to eat more vegetables. The stuffing contains quinoa and ground turkey seasoned with salsa. Add in some cheese and roast the peppers until they’re tender. The result is soft and cheesy, so your kids might not even realize they’re eating a vegetable.
Everyone loves scalloped potatoes, so why not try doing the same dish with low-carb zucchini? Each serving has only 112 calories, 9 grams of carbohydrates, and a whopping 14 grams of protein, thanks to the addition of low-fat cottage cheese.
Best Cookie Recipes
Cookies and the holiday season go hand-in-hand, so they seem impossible to avoid. Keep on track with your diet or wellness plan by making healthy cookies instead! These cookie recipes are absolutely some of our best recipes of the holiday season.
The best part about these oatmeal cookies is they use ingredients you probably already have on hand: oats, bananas, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and a few optional add-ins.
Yes, you can have your cookie and eat it, too. These dairy-free, gluten-free cookies are rich and decadent, and they’re almost guaranteed to satisfy your chocolate cravings. Each cookie has about 250 calories, but they’re so fudgy that you won’t want more than one.
Peanut butter and bananas were made for each other, but we use bananas for a different function in these cookies. The banana takes the place of sugar in this cookie recipe, keeping the added sugars to a minimum without sacrificing flavor.
Vegan cookies are tough to find. Most cookie recipes use butter and eggs, neither of which is an approved plant-based ingredient. So we were thrilled when a cookie recipe made with applesauce and coconut milk turned out as good as a regular cookie! Your guests will love them, too.
Okay, you’re probably not going to believe us when we say these ooey, gooey, absolutely delicious Chocolate-Covered Cookie Dough Bars are vegan-friendly. Then, we’re going to tell you they’re no-bake and only need to be refrigerated to let the dough set. Have we all died and gone to cookie heaven? (Yes, I think so.)
It’s hard to deny that a good holiday meal ends with the perfect dessert. Choose from the best recipes of the holiday season in the dessert category. (Psst: Every one of these recipes happens to be vegan-friendly!)
Pumpkin pie is pretty easy to make: Combine a few eggs with a can of pumpkin puree and sweetened condensed milk (or a can of pumpkin pie mix and evaporated milk). But is there a better way? We thought so and created this Dairy-Free Pumpkin Pie with Coconut Milk. You can also make a gluten-free version of this vegan pie by using flourless pie crust.
This Clean-Eating Apple Pecan Crumble is another vegan version of a classic favorite. We skip the pie crust to create a delectable, gluten-free dessert casserole that the whole family will love.
Want to have some fun this holiday season? Make these vegan Fried Apple Pies. They’re basically sweet quesadillas made with applesauce and cinnamon sugar. They’re unique and easy to make, and they’ll definitely be a crowd-pleaser!
These Slow Cooker Spiced Poached Pears really capture the flavors of autumn. They’re a healthy alternative to sugar-laden desserts, and they’re vegan and allergen-free. Of course, if dairy isn’t an issue, they taste great with whipped cream or a chocolate sauce drizzle!
If you’re looking to impress your guests, serve them these plant-based Cranberry Nut Stuffed Baked Apples. They’re made in the slow cooker, so this dessert is practically hands-off. When dessert time rolls around, take the lid off the Crock-Pot and watch the smiles break out as the aroma reaches the dinner table.
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