Create a crowd-pleasing holiday menu with these delicious recipes made with ingredients that will help keep you healthy from the inside out. And don’t forget Dr. Murad’s Pitcher of Health 80/20 rule: 80% of the time, commit to eating a healthy diet; the other 20% of the time it’s ok to splurge on your favorite comfort foods or desserts. Here we offer 6 healthy, holiday recipes: appetizer, soup, salad, veggie dish, main course, and dessert. Enjoy!
Warm Fig, Apple and Gorgonzola Flatbread Appetizer
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 8-inch round flatbreads
- 4 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
- 1 apple, cored and sliced very thinly
- 8 ripe figs, cut into 6 wedges each
- 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler
- 2 tablespoons honey
Brush olive oil on top of each flatbread, especially the edges. Assemble flatbreads with Gorgonzola, apples and figs. Grill flatbreads over direct heat for 3 minutes, until the bottoms are toasted and browned. Then move to indirect heat for 3 minutes to finish melting the cheese and warming the fruit.
If broiling, set your rack to the upper 1/3 position. Grill flatbreads without the toppings for 2 minutes to just get them nice and toasty. Then layer on the olive oil, Gorgonzola, apples and figs and return to the oven for 4 to 6 minutes, until cheese has melted and fruit is warmed through. Sprinkle shaved Parmesan and drizzle honey on top. Serves 4 to 6.
Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup
- 3 cups peeled, diced butternut squash (about 1 small squash)
- 2 cups thinly sliced carrots (4 medium)
- ¾ cup thinly sliced leek or chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
- 2 14.5-ounce cans of reduced-sodium chicken broth
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ cup half-and-half or light cream
In a large, covered saucepan, cook squash, carrots, and leek in hot butter over medium heat for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broth. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 25 to 35 minutes or until vegetables are very tender. Cool slightly.
Place one-third of the squash mixture in a food processor or blender. Cover and process or blend until almost smooth. Repeat with remaining squash mixture. Return all of the mixture to saucepan. Add white pepper and nutmeg; bring just to boiling. Add half-and-half; heat through. If desired, garnish each serving with crème fraiche, pumpkin seeds, and/or fresh tarragon. Serves 6.
Roasted Root Vegetable and Wilted Romaine Salad
- 2 medium, fresh beets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and ground pepper
- 1 ¾ pounds fresh carrots, turnips and/or parsnips
- 4 medium shallots, peeled and quartered
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons snipped, fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 8 cups torn romaine
- ½ cup chopped pecans, toasted
- ¼ cup chopped, fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash and peel beets; cut into 1-inch pieces. Place in a 2-quart baking dish. Toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the salt and pepper to taste. Cover dish tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, peel the carrots, turnips, and/or parsnips. Cut carrots and turnips into 1-inch pieces. Cut parsnips into 3/4-inch pieces. Place in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Add shallots. Toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper.
- Remove foil from dish with beets; stir gently. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees. Return beets to oven and place pan with shallot mixture alongside beets. Roast both pans, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes or until tender.
- Meanwhile, for dressing, in a screw-top jar, combine 6 tablespoons olive oil, the white wine vinegar, thyme, Dijon-style mustard, honey, garlic, and additional salt and pepper to taste; cover and shake well.
- In a large bowl, toss the romaine with the dressing to coat. Place on a platter. Top with the hot vegetables. Sprinkle pecans and parsley over all. Serve immediately. Makes 12 servings.
Balsamic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower
- 8 cups 1-inch-thick slices cauliflower florets (about 1 large head)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss cauliflower, oil, marjoram, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Spread on a large, rimmed baking sheet and roast until cauliflower starts to soften and brown on the bottom, 15 to 20 minutes. Toss the cauliflower with vinegar and sprinkle with cheese. Return to the oven and roast until the cheese is melted and any moisture has evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes more. Serves 4.
Pork Medallions with Pomegranate-Cherry Sauce
- 1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
- 3/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
- 1/3 cup dried sweet cherries
- 1/4 cup dry red wine
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon water
- 1 tablespoon butter
Cut pork crosswise into 12 (1-inch-thick) pieces. Sprinkle both sides of pork with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done. Remove pork from pan; keep warm.
Add juice, cherries, wine, and vinegar to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook 2 minutes. Combine cornstarch and 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl. Add cornstarch mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove pan from heat. Add butter, stirring until butter melts. Return pork to pan, turning to coat. Serves 4.
Just Beet It 5-Ingredient Red Velvet Fudge
- 1 medium beet, stem cut and thoroughly washed
- 1 cup coconut butter
- 3½ tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Quarter the beet and run it through a juicer. If you don’t have a juicer, you can blend it, place the pulp in cheese cloth or a nut milk bag, and squeeze out the juice. You need ¼ cup beet juice for the recipe.
Add the coconut butter, ¼ cup beet juice, pure maple syrup, raw cacao powder, and vanilla extract to a small saucepan over low heat. Stir continuously for 4 to 5 minutes or until the coconut butter has melted and the mixture is smooth and glossy.
Pour the mixture into a 3×5 container that has been greased with coconut oil. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours or until completely set. Pop the fudge out of the pan and slice it into squares. Store fudge in refrigerator. Makes 12 to 14 pieces.