The piece “Healthy Holidays: Plant-Based Spins on Holiday Classics” first appeared in the Colorado Springs Gazette Holiday Guide 2016 on November 24, 2016.
Happy healthy holidays are easier than ever. Make a few simple substitutions to traditionally high calorie and high fat ingredients without sacrificing flavor – and get a jump start on any health-related New Year resolutions!
Mashed potatoes still rule at a healthy holiday table! Boil or steam potatoes as usual but mash them with a dairy-free butter (Earth Balance, Melt, or Miyoko’s Creamery) and a plant-based milk (almond, cashew, or almond). Use sweet potatoes to bump up the nutrients.
Pair these spuds with a creamy, bean-based gravy.
Ginger-Cinnamon White Bean Gravy
Recipe by JL Fields
- 4 tablespoons vegan butter
- 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
- 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup (low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 15-ounce can white beans (navy or cannellini), rinsed and drained
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (flakes or powder)
Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the butter is melted, add the onion and garlic and sauté until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the ground ginger, cinnamon, and pepper and stir well. Stir in the broth and soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and add of the canned (or 1 1/2 cups cooked) beans.
Blend the gravy using either an immersion blender in the saucepan or transfer to a blender and pulse for 20 to 30 seconds. If using a blender, return the gravy back to the saucepan once blended.
Stir in the nutritional yeast, cover the saucepan, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened
Yield: Makes 3 to 4 cups gravy
Modified recipe from Vegan Pressure Cooking: Delicious Beans, Grains, and One-Pot Meals in Minutes by JL Fields, Fair Winds Press. Reprinted with permission.
THE MAIN EVENT
Brussels sprouts and cranberries are a colorful, warm dish. Roast trimmed Brussels sprouts in the oven on 400°F fo 20 to 30 minutes. Toss with dried cranberries and balsamic vinegar. You can then combine this delightful mix with a hearty cooked grain, such as quinoa or barley or serve alongside one of the many alternative roasts now in almost every grocery store in Colorado Springs: Celebration Roast by Field Roast, Holiday Roast by Gardein or the original Tofurky Roast.
Last but not least, let’s not forget the sweets! Serve a simple fruit platter for something uber-healthy or swap out vegan butter in your favorite baked goods.
And for a special challenge, take a family favorite dessert and health it up a notch. Like I did for my own family:
Uncle Wayne’s Cookies
Recipe by JL Fields
- 1 cup vegan butter
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1/3 cup powder sugar, sifted and packed
- 1 cup chopped (very fine) pecans
- Extra sifted powdered sugar
Heat oven to 350°F
Cream the butter.
Add vanilla and continue mixing.
Slowly add flour, and then powdered sugar, and mix well.
Mix in the pecans.
Bake for 15 minutes (sea level; at 6,000 feet I had to bake them for 22 minutes)
While warm, roll each cookie in powdered sugar and then let cool in a baking rack.
These cookies are great right out of the oven; they also freeze extremely well.
YIELD: 2 dozen cookies
JL Fields, VLCE is an author, newspaper writer, magazine columnist, speaker, culinary instructor, lifestyle coach, activist, and radio personality. She is the author of the forthcoming The Vegan Air Fryer: The Healthier Way to Enjoy Deep-Fried Flavors (June 2017) and co-author, with Victoria Moran, of the forthcoming The Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook: Over 100 Plant-Sourced Recipes Plus Practical Tips for the Healthiest, Most Compassionate You (December 2017). She is the author of Vegan Pressure Cooking: Delicious Beans, Grains and One-Pot Meals in Minutes and co-author of Vegan for Her: The Woman’s Guide to Being Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet. She is also a brands consultant for a variety of national companies. The blogger of JL Goes Vegan.com, JL is a Main Street Vegan Academy-certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator and a certified Food for Life instructor with Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). She writes and broadcasts from Colorado Springs, Colorado where she lives with her husband and triathlon coach Dave Burgess and their two cats, Ernie and Oliver. Follow JL on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.