Healthy Holiday Favorites

In need of some last minute inspirations for your holiday meal dishes? Here are some of my favorite dishes to make for holiday gatherings. They all go well with Thanksgiving, Christmas or any holiday meal. Although I am not a vegetarian or vegan, I do enjoy incorporating ingredients that fit a vegan or gluten-free diet. This not only increases the healthiness of the ingredients, but it also makes guests with dietary restrictions feel at ease.

Friendly Reminder: Although the dessert recipes include healthier non-allergenic ingredients, that does not make the desserts “healthy.” They are still desserts with sugar and fat and everything that makes them taste delicious!

For vegan and gluten-free baking suggestions, see my article on Baking Gluten-Free and Vegan.


Kale Salad 

(Serves 8-10 people)


  • 5 bushels of Kale
  • 1/3 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 5 fresh Garlic Cloves
  • 2 Tbsp. Crushed Red Pepper
  • 0.5 tsp. each Salt & Pepper

Suggested Additional Toppings:


Quinoa Crispies or Bread Crumbs, diced Red Bell Pepper, grated Parmesan Cheese


  1. Chop Kale leaves into long skinny pieces. Crinkle and massage the chopped kales pieces in your hands until the kale begins to feel soft.
  2. Place garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper into a blender and blend until the garlic is finely chopped up. Then add the olive oil and crushed red pepper into the blender and briefly blend together.
  3. Add any additional ingredients you may like to the kale in a large salad bowl. Toss kale salad in the dressing and serve.

Scratch Pie Crust:

(Makes two 8- to 10-inch single-crust pies or one 8- to 10-inch double-crust pie)


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
  • 1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice

***Gluten-Free option: (Substitute for all purpose flour) 1.25 cups brown rice flour + 1.25 amaranth flour + 1 Tbsp. arrowroot flour is equivalent to 2.5 cups all-purpose flour.


1. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor, and process for a few seconds to combine. Add the coconut oil to the flour mixture, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. Add the ice water and lemon juice in a slow, steady stream, just until the dough holds together. Do not process for more than 30 seconds.

2. Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Divide into 2 equal pieces, and place on 2 separate sheets of plastic wrap. Flatten, and form 2 disks. Wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour before using.

Lemon Pie


  • 3 lemons
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 10-inch Pie Crust Dough
  • Flour, for work surface
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 7 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten


  1. Wash and cut 2 lemons crosswise into paper-thin slices. It is very important to slice the lemons as thin as possible; use a very sharp knife or a mandoline. Remove seeds and discard; transfer to a large bowl. Remove peel and pith of remaining lemon and discard. Slice lemon flesh crosswise into very thin slices. Remove seeds and discard; add to bowl with other lemon slices. Add sugar and toss well to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and let mixture stand overnight, stirring occasionally.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a lightly floured work surface, roll 1 pie crust into a 13-inch round. With a dry pastry brush, sweep off the excess flour; fit dough into a 10-inch pie plate, pressing it into the edges; refrigerate 15 minutes.
  3. Add salt and whole eggs to lemon mixture; stir until well combined. Pour into chilled pie crust.
  4. On a lightly floured work surface, roll remaining piece of pie crust into a 13-inch round. With a dry pastry brush, sweep off the excess flour. Cut 8-inch long slash in the center of the pie crust. Continue making slashes on both sides, descending in size, about 1-inch apart across the pie crust. Place over filling and crimp edges to seal. Brush top of crust with egg whites.
  5. Transfer pie to oven and bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and continue until crust is golden brown and shiny, about 30 minutes.

Pumpkin pie


  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp rice starch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh Pumpkin Puree, or canned
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten, plus 1 egg for glaze
  • 1 1/2 cups evaporated milk (I like to use evaporated goats milk)
  • 1 pie crust dough
  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a large bowl, combine sugar, ricestarch, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin puree, and 3 eggs. Beat well. Add evaporated milk, and combine. Set aside.
  2. Between two pieces of plastic wrap, roll pie dough into a 12-inch circle. Fit pastry into a 9-inch glass pie plate; trim dough evenly along edge, leaving about a 1/2-inch overhang. Pinch to form a decorative edge. If the dough begins to soften, chill for 15 minutes.
  3. Make the glaze: Beat the remaining egg, and combine with heavy cream. Brush glaze very lightly on edges of pie shell. Fill pie shell with pumpkin mixture. Transfer to prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 30 minutes more. Cool on a wire rack.