Healthy, Unique Holiday Recipes

Hosting a healthy allergy friendly holiday is a true modern day challenge. Finding ways to serve allergen guests safely, accommodate lifestyle requests, and enjoy yourself can seem like an impossible task. While attending can bring entirely new conundrums to the dilemma, like: how to be honest but courteous about your restrictions, how to set yourself up for an equally tasty holiday, and how to come with pot-luck crowd appealing dishes. The most pleasant solution to both of these problems is as basic as: “have what you like, when you like.” For the host this means sticking to the menu that you envisioned. So enlist the help of your guests to clarify what can and cannot be accommodated while encouraging them to bring sides that they love. An accepting host could also allow for guests to bring special meal components just for themselves (ex., an arriving pescatarian bringing her own prepared salmon filet). As an attending guest follow the same mantra: speak with your host and ask to bring a few beloved options that meet their menu needs, this ensures both your safety/enjoyment and lightens the load of the host.

Below are three unique show stopping dishes than can act like sides for those who can partake in your entire menu or amazing main courses for those who can’t. And each recipe requires minimal cook time and can (mostly) be made ahead of time.

Harvest kale salad

Harvest Kale Squash Salad by The Year In Food

The salad below is a showstopper, when complete it’s a beautiful wholly allergen friendly salad for an entire thanksgiving party. And as a bonus it’s equally delicious as leftovers. An aside: a combination of acorn and butternut squash would do well if delicata is unavailable. It is written to include crumbled cotija cheese, it’s been eliminated here to be free of the top allergens, but crumbled goat cheese would be a wonderful substitute. By making the dressing and squash ahead of time it will allow for minimal day-of preparation. It will serve 6-8 as a side dish.


For the squash

  • 1 delicata squash
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chipotle powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

For the salad

  • 1/2 cup red quinoa
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 bunch curly kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup shelled pepitas
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

For the dressing

  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho powder
  • 2 small garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • Sea salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  1. Slice the delicate squash in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and reserve. (Roast the seeds, tossed in salt, at 300 degrees in a toaster oven until crisped and golden.)
  1. Slice the squash halves into crescents. In a large mixing bowl, combine the 3 tablespoons of olive oil with the paprika, chipotle powder, and sea salt. Toss the squash with the oil mix.
  1. Arrange the squash in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast until browned and tender, turning once, about 15 minutes. Set aside.
  1. In a small pot with a lid, add the quinoa, water, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, covered, then reduce heat to low and simmer until the water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool
  1. While the squash roasts, prepare the dressing. Whisk together the lime juice and zest, 5 tablespoons olive oil, maple syrup, cumin, ancho chile powder, garlic cloves and a pinch of sea salt. In a large mixing bowl, toss the dressing with the kale, working it into the leaves with your fingers. Set aside.
  1. Toast the pepitas in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they begin to brown and pop, about 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  1. To make the salad, combine the quinoa and pepitas with the dressed kale.
  1. Top with the delicata squash and cranberries. Serve at room temperature.

Roasted squash

Roasted Acorn Squash and Caramelized Shallots with Parsley Oil by With Food and Love

This is an incredibly easy day-before dish that tastes like much more effort than it is. It will serve 6-8 as a side dish.


  • 2 large acorn squash
  • 6 – 8 large shallots
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup olive oil + some for drizzling
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt + some for finishing
  • Dash ground pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  1. Half the squash and use a big spoon to scoop out the seed pockets. Follow the ridges of the squash to create 8 total slices per squash.
  1. Trim off the ends of the shallots and peel off the thin outermost layer. You can peel them more or leave them whole. Arrange the squash and shallots on the tray and paint with a bit of olive oil and sea salt.
  1. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until the edges of the squash are golden brown. Flip the squash and shallots and continue roasting for another 15-20 minutes. The shallots should be dark brown (not black) at parts and the squash should be universally golden and soft to the touch.
  1. While roasting prepare the parsley oil. In a small bowl mix the parsley, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, and pepper.
  1. Rub the finished vegetables with the parsley oil on coated. Serve warm.

Sautéed and Herbed Green Beans and Mushrooms

This is by far and away the easiest recipe listed; it takes about 20 minutes from start finish and has only a handful of ingredients. It will serve 4-6 as a side dish.


  • 1 minced shallot
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 2 cups halved green beans
  • ½ cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/8 cup chopped parsley
  • 2-4 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 2-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Dash of sea salt and ground pepper


  1. In a medium frying pan heat about half the oil on medium low heat, after a few minutes add the minced garlic and shallot. Allowing it to simmer until the garlic has toasted (turned light brown).
  1. Add in the green beans and mushrooms and the remaining oil, tossing with a large spoon until roughly covered with the garlic and shallot, turn the heat up to medium letting the vegetables sauté for about 5 minutes tossing regularly (you should see some slight crisping and browning on the beans).
  1. Sprinkle on the herbs, tossing again, and continue to sauté for a few more minutes until the majority of the beans have a slight crisped exterior, then remove from heat. Serve warm.