Treat your family and friends to these holiday side dishes, without overindulging. These delicious, better-for-you recipes make it easy!
Curried Sweet Potato Puree
4 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 3/4 pounds)
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
4 thin slices peeled fresh ginger
Toasted sliced almonds, for garnish
Chopped cilantro, for garnish, optional
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Wrap each sweet potato in foil, put on a baking sheet and bake until soft, 1 hour. Let cool slightly.
Combine the almond milk, curry powder and ginger in a small saucepan.
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture is reduced by a third, about 5 minutes. Discard the ginger.
Pour any sugary juices from the sweet potato foil wrappers into a food processor. Peel the sweet potatoes and add the flesh to the food processor. Add the almond milk mixture and 1/2 teaspoon salt and puree until smooth.
Transfer to a serving bowl and squeeze the lime over the finished puree. Garnish with almonds and cilantro if desired and serve warm.
Vegan Saffron Risotto
1 large leek
1 small bulb fennel
1 cup dry white wine
2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed
Three 3-inch strips of peel from 1 orange
4 sprigs parsley
2 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
5 whole black peppercorns
Large pinch saffron
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Pinch cayenne pepper
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
One 14.5-ounce can whole peeled plum tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, chopped
4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Separate the white and green (light and dark) portions of the leek and cut each in half lengthwise; rinse well to remove any soil. Roughly chop the green top and set aside for the stock. Thinly slice the white portion into half circles and set aside for the risotto. Cut the tops off the fennel, and roughly chop for the stock. Finely chop the fennel bulb and set aside for the risotto.
For the stock: Put the wine, leek greens, fennel tops, carrots, celery, garlic, orange peel, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, 1 teaspoon salt and peppercorns in a large pot. Bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the wine has evaporated, 6 to 7 minutes. Add 10 cups of water and bring to a boil; reduce to a gentle simmer and cook until the stock has reduced by about one third (7 to 8 cups), about 30 minutes. Strain, then use the back of a ladle to squeeze out any excess liquid from the vegetables; discard the vegetables and keep the stock warm (or cool the stock and refrigerate for up to 3 days).
For the risotto: Add a splash of water to the saffron in a small bowl and set aside to bloom. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the sliced leeks, chopped fennel and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until soft, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the tomato paste, soy sauce, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and cayenne, and stir for 1 minute. Add the rice and stir until coated. Add the wine, and simmer, stirring constantly, until it is absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 3 cups of the warm stock, the saffron and the blooming water to the rice. Bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring constantly, until most of the liquid is absorbed, 7 to 8 minutes. Add 3 more cups of stock, bring back to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until the rice is tender but slightly toothsome, 10 to 12 minutes more. In the last few minutes of cooking, add the tomatoes.
Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in half the parsley and 3 tablespoons of the nutritional yeast, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Adjust the consistency of the risotto by adding more of the stock as necessary. Pour into a serving dish, and sprinkle with the remaining parsley and 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast.
Eggplant Ricotta Bites
1 medium eggplant
All-purpose flour, for dredging
2 large eggs
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
2 large plum tomatoes, diced
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 cup ricotta cheese
Shredded fresh basil, for topping
Thinly slice the eggplant into rounds and season with salt. Pour some flour into a shallow dish. Beat the eggs in another dish. In a third dish, mix the breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Dredge the eggplant in the flour, then dip in the eggs and coat with the breadcrumb mixture.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, cook the eggplant until golden, about 2 minutes per side, adding more oil between batches, if necessary. Drain on paper towels and season with salt.
Toss the tomatoes with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil and the vinegar in a small bowl. Spoon some ricotta onto each eggplant slice. Top with the tomato mixture and basil.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate and Hazelnuts
1 1/4 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
Seeds from 1 pomegranate
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts
Finely grated zest of 1 lime
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Put the Brussels sprouts in a medium roasting pan; toss with the canola oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until light golden brown and a knife inserted into the centers goes in without any resistance, about 45 minutes.
Transfer the sprouts to a large bowl and add the pomegranate molasses, pomegranate seeds, hazelnuts, and lime and orange zests. Season with salt as needed.
Light Scalloped Potatoes with Roasted Chiles
1 medium poblano chile pepper, halved and seeded
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Preheat the broiler. Put the poblano cut-side down on a baking sheet and broil until the skin is browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool 5 minutes. Peel the skin off the poblano under cold running water, then chop into small pieces.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly butter a 2-quart baking dish. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and thyme and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, chicken broth, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and pepper to taste and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring gently, until the potatoes are tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
Arrange half of the potato-broth mixture in the prepared baking dish in an even layer. Sprinkle with half each of the roasted poblano and parmesan. Repeat with the remaining potato-broth mixture, poblano and parmesan. Bake until bubbly and slightly golden, about 35 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Thin some crema or sour cream with water and serve alongside for topping.