5 Healthy Holiday Recipes

Parsnip Spice Cake with Caramel Icing
Polish Independence 10K (729×90)

With the holidays approaching temptations will be running high to eat unhealthy.  But that doesn’t have to be the case. It is possible to eat healthy during the holiday.  But it doesn’t mean only fruits and vegetables!  You can indulge in a healthy way! Here are five healthy holiday recipes – one for each course – that you can make and share with family and friends.


Scallops with Grapefruit-Onion Salad
Jarred pickled onions are usually only used to garnish cocktails, but this simple recipe combines them with scallops and ruby red grapefruit to create a deviously complex-tasting appetizer found at foodandwine.com.


4 small ruby red grapefruits (about 2 pounds total)
3 tablespoons pickled cocktail onions
2 tablespoons packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
Freshly ground pepper
24 sea scallops (about 2 pounds)
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

How to Make It

Peel the grapefruits removing all of the bitter white pith. Cut the grapefruit into sections and place into a bowl. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of grapefruit juice from the bowl. Stir in the pickled onions and parsley and season with pepper.

Pat the scallops dry and season them with salt. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cook the scallops over medium heat, turning once, until they are browned and just cooked through, about 4 minutes total. Spoon the pickled-onion-and-grapefruit salad onto small plates and arrange the scallops around the salad. Drizzle with olive oil and serve

Cheesy Cauliflower Latkes

Hanukkah celebrations are not complete without latkes.  Try this healthy variation with cauliflower found on cookininglight.com.


3 cups shredded peeled baking potatoes
1 cup grated white onion
12 ounces cauliflower florets
1 bunch green onions
6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup grated Gruyère cheese
1 large egg
1 large egg white
5 tablespoons canola oil, divided
Light sour cream

How to Make It

Preheat oven to 250°F. Combine potatoes and onion in a colander; drain 15 minutes, pressing mixture occasionally with a spoon to extract liquid. Place mixture in a clean kitchen towel; squeeze out excess liquid. Place drained mixture in a bowl. Place cauliflower florets in a food processor; pulse until finely ground. Add cauliflower to potato mixture in bowl. Chop green parts from 1 bunch green onions; add to potato mixture (reserve white parts of green onions for another use). Add cheese, flour, salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper to potato mixture, stirring to combine, and then add egg and egg white.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high and heat oil in pan. Spoon potato mixture loosely into a ¼ cup dry measuring cup, filling about two-thirds full. Add mixture to pan, and flatten slightly. Repeat procedure 4 times to form 5 latkes. Cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Place latkes on a baking sheet; keep warm in oven at 250°F. Repeat procedure until all mixture is gone. Serve with sour cream.


Wild Rice Dressing
Instead of “carb loaded” stuffing, try it with rice instead.  This unique recipe was found on realsimple.com.


1 32-ounce container low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup wild rice
1 ¼ cup brown rice
1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh sage, finely chopped
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1 cup dried apricots or cranberries, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

How to Make It

Heat oven to 350° F. In a pot, over medium-high heat, bring the broth and 2 cups water to a boil. Add the wild rice and brown rice, reduce heat to low, and cover. Simmer until tender, about 45 minutes. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until tender. Add the cooked rice, parsley, sage, pecans, apricots or cranberries, salt, and pepper and toss. Transfer to a buttered casserole. Cover and bake for 25 minutes.

(If making in advance: Assemble the dressing but do not bake it. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Bake for 35 minutes.)


Hibiscus and Blood Orange Punch

The deep garnet color from the hibiscus tea and oranges adds lots of drama to this drink. The tea base keeps the sugar down – and you can choose to go alcoholic or not. It’s great either way! Recipe from cookinglight.com.


2 ½ cups water
6 hibiscus or hibiscus-orange tea bags
1 cup fresh blood orange or navel orange juice
3 Tablespoons honey
1 (750-ml) bottle sparkling wine or sparkling cider
1 blood or navel orange, halved lengthwise and cut into 10 slices

How to Make It

Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan; add tea bags. Remove pan from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Remove tea bags, squeezing over saucepan to release liquid. Discard tea bags. Add juice and honey to tea, stirring until honey dissolves. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. Divide tea mixture evenly among 8 ice-filled glasses. Top evenly with sparkling wine or cider. Garnish glasses with orange slices.


Parsnip Spice Cake with Caramel Icing

One of the favorite recipes on cookinglight.com is the parsnip layer cake from 2003.  They updated the recipe with less sugar, more whole grains, and more flavor. They now roast the parsnip to bring out the sweetness; switched to whole-wheat pastry flour, and simplified the format to a sheet cake. The cake is now a moist, tender, lightly spiced cake that you’ll love.  What’s even better is that it’s topped with a caramel-flavored cream cheese icing.


CAKE 1 pound parsnips, peeled
Canola oil
¼ cup water
2 ½ cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon kosher salt
3/8 teaspoon dried ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¾ cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
¾ cup fat-free buttermilk
Cooking spray

¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
¾ cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup chopped pecans, toasted

How to Make It

Preheat oven to 350°F. To prepare cake, cut thin ends of parsnips into 3/4-inch pieces. Cut wide ends of parsnips lengthwise into quarters. Cut out and discard core from each piece; cut pieces into 3/4-inch pieces. Place parsnips on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with oil; toss to coat. Bake at 350°F until tender. (Leave oven on.) Place parsnips in a mini food processor with 1/4 cup water; process until smooth. Cool slightly.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger and nutmeg. Place 7 tablespoons oil, brown sugar, vanilla, and eggs in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well combined. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Add parsnips; beat just until combined. Spread batter into a 13- x 9-inch light-colored metal baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan.

To prepare icing, place butter and cream cheese in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add powdered sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt; beat just until combined. Spread icing over cake; sprinkle with pecans.

Remember – mind over matter!  It’s okay to indulge a little bit during the holidays, but just don’t go overboard.  If you’d like some more ideas on healthy eating, more healthy holiday recipes and tips on how to stay on track with your triathlon training, contact me today.


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