By Lisa Elaine Held
You’re invited to a last-minute yoga buddy’s vegan potluck, and your boyfriend declares he’s gone Paleo (there goes the risotto you’ve been planning). Before you dive head-first into a stress-fueled candy cane binge, read on; we’re here to help.
We asked four top healthy food experts to assemble a simple yet creative menu that will be sure to please even the pickiest eaters. These sweet and savory recipes for nutritious last-minute dishes will bring all of your loved ones—whether they’re vegan, Paleo, gluten-free, sugar-free or some combination thereof—comfort and joy.
A Delicious Menu For Every Diet
Appetizer: A handful of ingredients is all it takes to whip up the vegan Sweet and Earthy Roasted Squash Dip (recipe below) from the British Helmsley sisters. Straight from their latest cookbook, Good And Simple, this addictive squash-hummus mashup takes it cue from roasted butternut squash, tahini, garlic and lemon juice.
Entree: Fed & Fit‘s Cassy Joy Garcia offers as a Paleo-friendly main dish Pork-Stuffed Mushrooms with Avocado Mayo. Organic ground pork (chicken or turkey are good substitutes) is combined with apple cider vinegar and cilantro, stuffed into portabello mushrooms, then topped with a creamy avocado mayo and a piquant squeeze of lime.
Side Dish: Against All Grain blogger Danielle Walker serves up a new take on the traditionally unhealthy dish with her Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Shallots. Cashews, creminis and ghee lighten and enrich this versatile side that goes with just about any holiday entree, or is a meal in itself.
Dessert: Chocolate-Beet Allspice Truffles (pictured above) pack five supercharged ingredients into one little bite. Sarah Wilson of the I Quit Sugar Cookbook dreamed up this combo of beets, coconut milk, dark chocolate and allspice, which are then rolled into raw dark cacao powder. Your guests will never guess they are scarfing up a power-packed dessert.
Sweet and Earthy Roasted Squash Dip
- 12 oz roasted butternut squash
- 3 Tbsp tahini
- 4 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 5 Tbsp water
- Sea salt and black pepper (to taste)
- Cumin, paprika or olive oil to taste
- To cook squash, roast it whole at 400 degrees Farenheit for 30–40 minutes until a knife slides in easily, then scoop out the flesh (discarding the seeds).
- Place the roasted squash in a food processor or mash in a bowl for a chunkier version. Add all the remaining ingredients, and blend until thick in the machine or by hand.
- Add more water if you want a smoother, lighter dip. Sprinkle with ½ tsp smoked paprika and/or ground cumin if desired, and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil to serve. Serve with crudité, bread, or crackers.