Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations are centered on delicious festive feasts enjoyed by family and friends. Including superfoods in your holiday meals is a tasty – and easy – way to celebrate the season as well as the health and well-being of your loved ones and guests. Though some superfoods may not be traditional, many are commonly served on the holiday table. Dig in to these superfood holiday recipes and celebrate super health.
Spinach Salad with Persimmons and Spiced Pecans
Makes 4 servings
Packed with folate, beta carotene, vitamin C, potassium and healthy fats, this scintillating salad will add gorgeous color and abundant nutritional benefits to your holiday meal. You can find this superfood recipe – as well as many others – in Ani Phyo’s cookbook Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen, which was awarded “Best Vegetarian Cookbook USA 2007.”
12 cups spinach leaves, torn into bite-sized pieces
3 Fuyu persimmons, sliced thinly into little discs
1-1/4 cup Sweet Spiced Pecans*
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch ground black pepper
1. Place spinach and persimmon discs in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together shallots, lemon juice and vinegar. Slowly whisk in olive oil in a small stream until well-blended. Season with salt and pepper.
2. To serve, toss spinach and persimmons with dressing, top with spiced pecans and serve immediately. Salad mix will keep for one day and dressing will keep for four days in the refrigerator.
*Sweet Spiced Pecans: In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup agave or honey, 1/4 teaspoon each of salt, cayenne, and cardamom, a pinch of nutmeg, and 1 cup pecan halves, tossing to coat.
Wild Rice Stuffing
Rich in complex carbohydrates and fiber, wild rice is also a good source of B vitamins, manganese, selenium, magnesium and trytophan. Dried cherries and pomegranate seeds are superstars in this holiday side-dish, providing a healthy dose of disease-fighting antioxidants and phytonutrients with anti-inflammatory properties.
1 cup wild rice
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup dried cherries
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 cup finely diced celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
Juice of half a lemon
Black pepper to taste
1. In a large pot, bring rice and broth to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until rice is tender and broth is absorbed. Transfer rice to a large bowl and add cherries, sage and thyme. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook onions and celery, stirring often, until vegetables are soft and golden. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
3. Add onion mixture, pomegranate seeds, lemon juice and black pepper to rice and toss to combine. Serve warm.
Note: If you stuff and cook your turkey – as opposed to cooking stuffing and turkey separately – omit the pomegranate seeds while turkey cooks and use them as garnish when dinner is served – pomegranate seeds tend to lose their beautiful color when exposed to heat. For more information on the superfood benefits of pomegranates, visit PomWonderful.com.
Goldenberry and Mulberry Chutney
Makes about 2 cups
A savory and sweet superfood alternative to canned cranberry sauce, courtesy of Navitas Naturals, this Indian-inspired accompaniment is ripe with flavor and the perfect side for your Thanksgiving turkey. Look for mulberries and goldenberries at your local Whole Foods or natural foods store, or order online at NavitasNatuals.com.
1 cup dried mulberries*
1 cup dried goldenberries*
1 cup water
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 to 1 teaspoon minced jalapeno
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon cumin seeds
Soak mulberries and goldenberries in water for at least 3 hours to rehydrate. Place soaked berries, ginger and garlic in a food processor and pulse into small pieces. Add remaining ingredients and pulse to mix well. Serve at room temperature.
*Mulberries are a good source of iron, vitamin C and resveratrol (a powerful antioxidant that promotes heart health). Goldenberries contain carotene, bioflavonoids, vitamin A, fiber and protein.
Traditional Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin is one of nature’s most nutrient-packed fruits (yes, it’s a fruit). Low in calories and high in vitamins C and E, potassium, magnesium, and cancer-fighting carotenoids, pumpkin most often makes its holiday appearance in pies but can also be transformed into creamy soups, a light and airy mousse, or seamlessly used to replace part of the fat in baked goods.
1 (15-ounce) can 100 percent pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (9-inch) pie crust fitted in a pie plate
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix pumpkin, eggs and milk until well-combined. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt.
2. Add sugar mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well. Pour into pie shell and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. and bake for 40 to 45 more minutes or until firm.
Note: Cinnamon is considered to be a superspice because of its antioxidant content – one teaspoon has the same antioxidant level as a half-cup of blueberries. To make this pumpkin pie even more nutritious, decorate the top with walnut halves before serving – walnuts are chockfull of healthy fats and add a delectable crunch.
More superfood tips
Better sleep with cherries?
Healthy holiday pumpkin recipes
New research on the health benefits of cranberries
Pomegranates are a winter jewel
Persimmon facts and recipes
Seven super spices for super health