The holiday season can be a challenging time of year for foodies who like to eat to maintain their health. Many holiday gatherings include loads of packaged foods, unhealthy oils, refined sugars and a glut of preservatives and artificial colours that can damage our health. But it doesn’t have to be that way – as we tell our students every year, it is possible to create a healthy holiday dinner without compromising on flavour or visual appeal and the best part is you’ll feel great afterwards! For some holiday inspiration, today we’re sharing our 30 best healthy holiday recipes. We’ve got an array of main dishes and sides that will make your mouth water, plus gluten-free, grain-free, vegan, dairy-free and plant-based options to choose from.
And if you’re looking for more holiday recipes, check out these posts:
- Guide to a Healthy Holiday Dinner
- 20 Best Healthy Holiday Mocktails
- 20 Amazing Healthy Holiday Desserts
- How to Celebrate ACN-Approved Holidays
30 Best Healthy Holiday Recipes
Pressure Cooker Easy Mashed Sweet Potatoes
These easy mashed potatoes take only 8 minutes in the pressure cooker. That leaves you with more time for holiday singalongs!
Chickpea Puree with Creamy Mushrooms
Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto
Cut down on your food waste by saving those carrot tops to make pesto! Rainbow-coloured carrots are especially pretty in this dish, but you can use any type and this will still be a delicious healthy holiday recipe!
Vibrant Winter Kale Brussels Sprouts Salad
With its mix of textures, flavours and bright colours, this hearty winter salad will brighten up any holiday table. If you’ve got vegans in the crowd, make extra so they can have this as a main!
30 Minute Gluten-Free Tempeh Stuffing
We love this bread-free tempeh stuffing because it comes together quickly and allows us to take advantage of fermented foods – which we absolutely love.
Go grain-free with this Paleo cauliflower stuffing. It makes a satisfying and tasty side dish and is even safe for those on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.
Bright and luscious cranberries are so festive – use ’em in this sweet and tangy chicken recipe that only needs one pan and 30 minutes. Sold!
Balsamic Olive Oil Braised Green Beans
This quick and easy healthy holiday recipe has a Mediterranean flair to it, and is packed with briny olives for a wallop of anti-inflammatory and brain-boosting fats. ‘Cause we know we’ll need our wits about us when we’re negotiating for the last spoonful.
Vegan Festive Lentil Potato Nut Roast
This beautiful vegan ‘roast’ is packed with protein and won’t fall apart when sliced. Your vegan guests will love this!
Roasted Butternut Squash Falafel Bites
These adorable vegan and gluten-free falafel bites make a wonderful healthy holiday appetizer. And there are so many things you can dip them in!
Dairy-Free Parsnip Cumin Soup
Dairy-Free Parsnip Cumin Soup by Jessica Mitton (*Culinary Nutrition Expert)
This creamy is soup is absolutely delicious, and will help you support your immune system during cold and flu season. That’s the best holiday gift you can someone, isn’t it?
Simple Roasted Zucchini Noodles
A low-carb and Paleo side dish with a caramelized flavour that everyone will want to devour.
Garlic Rosemary Roasted Cabbage Steaks
Move over, cauliflower steaks. There’s a new game in town and it’s delicious.
Skillet Honey and Pomegranate Chicken Thighs
This healthy holiday recipe looks super fancy, but it’s really simple and easy to make. Impress your guests and take all the credit!
Roasted Habanero Carrot Salsa
Take your salsa game to the next level with this spicy roasted carrot dip. This will really make your chip ‘n dip platter pop!
Roasted Sweet Potato and Brussels Sprouts Salad with Maple Tahini Drizzle
Roasted Sweet Potato and Brussels Sprouts Salad with Maple Tahini Drizzle by Abigail Hopkins (*Culinary Nutrition Expert)
There is so much to love about this hearty winter salad – the roasted veg, the satiating protein, the crispy Brussels sprouts and of course the luxurious tahini dressing. Make this!
Stuffed Sage Lentil Loaf with Wild Rice Cranberry Pumpkin Stuffing
This vegan entree wraps up all of the traditional holiday flavours in one tasty package. And there’s a handy prep schedule included in the post to help you ensure you get everything done on time!
Paleo Sweet Potato Cranberry Stuffing
This definitely isn’t a traditional stuffing recipe, but you will become a convert VERY quickly. Trust.
Whole Roasted Spiced Cauliflower
This is one of those healthy holiday recipes that will elicit plenty of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhhs’ from everyone at the table. Just smile and accept the praise.
Crowd-Pleasing Vegan Caesar Salad
With its crunchy chickpea croutons, creamy vegan dressing and nut ‘parmesan’, this is one salad that definitely lives up to its name.
Gluten-Free Baked Salmon Cakes with Dairy-Free Dill Sauce
Gluten-Free Baked Salmon Cakes with Dairy-Free Dill Sauce by Meghan Telpner (*ACN Founder + Director)
Looking to do some holiday prep in advance? Make these salmon cakes, which freeze amazingly well so you can just pull them out when you’re ready to cook your holiday dinner.
Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Breadcrumbs
The warm and toasty gluten-free breadcrumbs that top this dish makes it seem like stuffing, except with more veg!
Maple Roasted Beets and Carrots
This side dish is basically a work of art, is it not? Add some sweetness to your holiday table with roasted carrots and beets. In this recipe, we like to sub in coconut oil or ghee as well for extra health benefits.
Pumpkin, Kale and Millet Salad with Balsamic Reduction
If you’ve been curious to experiment with gluten-free grains like millet, this is your chance! We love this hearty salad’s mix of textures and the balsamic dressing pulls everything together beautifully (and makes the salad look beautiful!).
Holiday Meatballs with Cranberry Aioli
Want to sneak some extra kale into your holiday dinner? Try these Paleo meatballs, which are packed with sautéed kale but are so delicious that no one will notice.
Buckwheat with Kabocha Squash and Porcini Mushrooms
This nutty buckwheat risotto recipe is for a single serving, so you want to quadruple this at the very least so everyone can have a little taste!
Jump on the jackfruit trend by making these easy pakoras – they’re dipped in gluten-free chickpea flour and are super tasty!
Paleo Shepherd’s Pie
This is the type of recipe that will satisfy everyone’s tastes, and it easy to adapt with beans and legumes to make it vegan or vegetarian.
Lentil Loaf with Classic Brown Onion Gravy
This vegan lentil loaf gets some major flavour oomph by simmering the lentils with herbs before incorporating the rest of the ingredients. You can pair this one with classic holiday sides like mashed potatoes and veg for a satisfying vegan meal!
Coconut Ginger Carrot Rice
We love our Paleo cauliflower rice, but it’s nice to switch it up with different veggies. This carrot rice is a lovely sweet alternative, topped tangy balsamic and creamy cashews. Yum!