Holiday festivities often mean pulling out recipes we only eat once a year. But seasonal dishes don’t have to be complicated – or lacking nutrition. In this post we have three seasonal dishes that can help elevate your holiday gathering. These recipes make use of antioxidant-rich ingredients prepared in festive, unique ways, using minimal ingredients and relying on whole foods.
Holiday appetizer spreads and charcuterie boards can often lean heavily on processed foods, like salamis and summer sausages. Our caprese wreaths offer a fresh alternative bite and can be used as an appetizer or salad along with the main course. The best part is, they only take three main ingredients and can quickly be arranged into a showstopping plate.
Peak season for Brussels sprouts is September to mid-February, making them a perfect option for your holiday table. Brussels sprouts are high in fiber, rich with antioxidants, and packed with nutrients like vitamin K, vitamin C, and folate. These crispy Brussels “chips” also are a great appetizer or fun surprise during dinner.
You won’t want to skip dessert with these dark chocolate-covered filled dates on the menu. These mouth-watering treats can be prepared in advance and frozen, making them an easy addition to any holiday spread.
Check out these three seasonal holiday recipes:
Crispy Brussels Sprouts “Chips” with Thyme Honey Mustard Sauce
This crispy Brussels Sprouts and healthier honey mustard duo is bound to be a holiday crowd-pleaser. Panko breadcrumbs are combined with olive oil, honey, and spices to form a crisp coating for the Brussels sprouts. Finally, incorporating thyme into the honey mustard gives this dish a touch of holiday cheer.
For the Brussels “Chips”
- 1 lb. Brussels sprouts
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp. honey
- ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Steam Brussels sprouts in a microwave-safe dish. Add ¼ cup of water. Cover with a wet paper towel and microwave for 4 minutes.
- On a plate lined with a paper towel, place Brussels sprouts and press down on with a cup or a glass until they are flat. Allow the paper towel to soak up excess water.
- Place Brussels on a lined baking sheet. In a small bowl, thoroughly mix olive oil, spices, and honey. Brush the mixture onto the Brussels and gently dust with panko breadcrumbs.
- On a lined baking sheet, place Brussels sprouts. Bake for ~25 minutes or until golden and crispy, flipping halfway through.
For the Thyme Honey Mustard Dressing
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup Dijon mustard
- 3 tbsp. honey
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a bowl, whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Serve with crispy Brussels sprouts.
This holiday wreath is made from three healthy and basic ingredients: tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella. It offers a display of holiday colors along with a powerful antioxidant punch.
Ingredients: (adjust based on desired wreath size)
- 2 cups grape tomatoes
- 8 oz mozzarella pearls
- ½ cup basil leaves
- ¼ cup balsamic reduction
- Prepare a large plate or serving platter.
- Cut 2 slits longways on a grape tomato, not cutting all the way through. Cut a mozzarella pearl in half and place each in the slits of the tomato. Repeat and place the two sets of tomatoes with mozzarella back-to-back to a ring. Repeat, making the rings form a wreath. Place basil leaves on the outside where you see fit. Serve with balsamic reduction in a small bowl.
Dark Chocolate-covered Filled Dates
This frozen combination of minimally processed ingredients mimics the flavor and texture of popular candy bars. Hazelnuts and cashew butter provide healthy fats, while dark chocolate brings a slew of antioxidants to the table.
- 12 oz Medjool dates, pitted
- 1/3 cup cashew butter
- 1/3 cup 60% dark chocolate chips
- ¼ cup hazelnuts, finely chopped
- Place ~1 teaspoon cashew butter inside of the date where the pit generally is, gently closing the date over the cashew butter.
- Warm dark chocolate chips in microwave until runny or use stovetop method to melt the chocolate.
- Dip the filled date in the dark chocolate, or drizzle if preferred. Immediately sprinkle ~1/2 tsp hazelnuts on top before chocolate hardens.
- Freeze for at least 2 hours before consuming for best texture. Lasts 1-2 months in the freezer in a freezer-safe container.
Shanthi Appelö is a registered dietitian and health and wellness spokesperson for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan based in Detroit. Passionate about the science of nutrition and behavior, Shanthi has experience working in clinical nutrition, public health and teaching in the university setting. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, exploring the outdoors, working on art and spending time with family. For more recipes and health information, visit ahealthiermichigan.org.
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