Food Heaven Made Easy: Plant-Based Recipes for Your Holiday Table

We are thrilled to welcome Wendy + Jessica from Food Heaven Made Easy, two best friends passionate about wellness, self-care, and healthy cooking. Wendy and Jess, both registered dietitians, are dedicated to making this world a healthier place, one meal at a time. They are the hosts of The Food Heaven Podcast and the authors of 28-Day Plant-Powered CookbookToday they’re sharing 4 recipes for holiday entertaining: Cinnamon Nutmeg Spiced Nuts, Roasted Garlic Massaged Kale Salad, Lentil Meatballs w/ Garlic Butternut Squash Sauce, and Chickpea Stuffed Acorn Squash. Read on for their heavenly recipes…

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The holidays are stressful enough without having to think about what to serve. These recipes will come in handy for your Thanksgiving dinner, holiday party or potluck. Enjoy, and remember to share your holiday favorites with us #BodyBookDishes.

Appetizer / snack

Nuts can be an excellent snack between classes or when dinner is pushed back a little later. They are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein. They pack a lot of nutrition in a small package, which means they make for a perfect snack and make a great starter to your holiday gathering. (These Cinnamon Nutmeg Spiced Nuts double for a fantastic post-workout fuel when topped on a 1/4 cup of protein-packed Greek yogurt.)

CINNAMON NUTMEG SPICED NUTS

*Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup cashews
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 275F

In a bowl, mix the walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and cashews

Then add the rest of the ingredients into the bowl and mix together well with a spoon or your hands

Add the mix to a baking dish, and bake for 30 minutes, flipping twice with a spatula every 10 minutes

Allow to cool, and enjoy with 1/4 cup of plain Greek yogurt!

Note: If using unsalted nuts/seeds, add a pinch of salt at the end, to taste.

SIDE DISH
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This Roasted Garlic Massaged Kale Salad is the perfect addition to a delicious (and healthy) holiday dinner! The creamy combination of tahini and apple cider vinegar in the dressing helps to cut some of the natural bitter kale flavor. Raw kale can be a bit of a mouthful. The texture is tough and fibrous, and comes with a kick of bitterness. Massaging the dressing into the kale will soften the kale and decrease some of that bitterness.

ROASTED GARLIC MASSAGED KALE SALAD

*Serves 3

INGREDIENTS

3 cups tuscan kale, cut chiffonade style (learn how to chiffonade here)

Dressing //

1/4 cup tahini
1/3 cup water
1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon tamari
1 head of roasted garlic

Toppings //

1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
Salt and black pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

For the tuscan kale, we cut it finely chiffonade style, which you can learn how to do in the link within the post

Immerse the kale completely in a bowl of hot water. Don’t boil the water- just use the hottest water possible from the tap

Let it soak until the water has cooled, around 30-35 minutes

While that’s happening, blend all of the dressing ingredients into a thick, consistent dressing

Drain the water from the bowl the kale is in, and add the dressing onto the kale

With your hands, massage the dressing in well for 4-5 minutes (really get into it!) until all of the kale is coated

Add your toppings, and enjoy!

Notes:

To roast the garlic, preheat the oven to 400F. Chop about 1/4″ from the top of the garlic head, exposing the cloves. Add this to a sheet of aluminum paper and drizzle 1 teaspoon of olive oil over the exposed head. Cover with the aluminum and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the garlic is tender. Allow to cool, & remove the garlic cloves from their skins.

You can leave any leftovers covered in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The longer it sits, the softer the kale will get!

side dish

Acorn squash is a winter squash packed with Vitamin A, B6, C, and potassium. They pair well with salads (see above) and soups.

CHICKPEA STUFFED ACORN SQUASH

*Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1 medium acorn squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and black pepper, to taste

For Chickpea Stuffing //

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 onion, chopped
1/2 cup brussel sprouts, sliced
1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 cup chickpeas, cooked
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

INSTRUCTIONS

Pre-heat oven to 400F degrees

Wash squash and cut it in half

Scoop out seeds from the inside with a spoon

Make 5-10 slits on the inside of each half of squash with a knife

Rub 1 tablespoon of olive oil into each half, and sprinkle with salt

Place squash on a baking pan, pour 1/4 cup of water onto the bottom of the pan, and bake for 45 minutes at 400F or until soft

In the meantime, let’s make the stuffing. On a pan, heat the olive oil, and add the onions. Sauté for 1-2 minutes

Add the brussel sprouts and soy sauce, and sauté for 3-4 minutes

Then add the chickpeas, cumin, and garlic powder

Sauté for another 2-3 minutes and set aside

Once squash is finished cooking, remove from oven and mash the insides with a fork

Add the stuffing to each half, and top with black pepper, to taste. Enjoy!

MAIN COURSE

Lentil meatballs are an excellent way to keep your standard favorites with a plant-based spin. Lentils are fantastic source of protein with a perfect combination of carbohydrates and fiber. They are in the pulse family, which offer a number of benefits. Pulses are a great source of B vitamins, potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and calcium. Thanks to the complex carbohydrates, fiber, + protein, they help to keep your blood sugars regulated throughout the day.

Butternut squash is a whole other nutrient powerhouse. It’s a phenomenal source of vitamin A and vitamin C, which can help boost immune function- which is something we definitely want during these cooler months! Butternut squash is also a good source of other nutrients such as vitamin E, B6, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. It has a nutty, sweet flavor that makes for great sauces and dips (we’ve even had it in smoothies!)

LENTIL MEATBALLS W/ GARLIC BUTTERNUT SQUASH SAUCE

*Serves 3

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 onion, minced
1″ fresh ginger, minced
1 cup button mushrooms, finely chopped
1 3/4 cups cooked brown lentils
Salt & cayenne pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon ground flax
1 egg

For the Sauce //

2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 cup tomato sauce
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup water

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 340F

In a small pan, heat the olive oil and add the onion and ginger

Sauté for a couple of minutes over medium heat, and then add the mushrooms

Cook with the lid on for another couple of minutes. Set aside

In a blender or food processor, pulse 1/2 of lentils. Add the pulsed lentils and whole lentils to a bowl

Add salt & cayenne pepper to taste + the sautéed mushrooms, and then mix in the flax and egg well until everything is uniform

With your hands, form 7-8 lentil balls

Add them to a parchment paper lined baking sheet, and pop in the oven for 25 minutes

While that’s baking, boil the squash for 15 minutes or until tender

Add the cooked squash + rest of sauce ingredients to a blender

Blend until smooth and set aside

Once the lentil balls are done, add them to a serving dish and pour the sauce onto them

Serve over your favorite salad, pasta, or grain!


Thank you, Wendy and Jess! We can’t wait to dig in!

Connect with Wendy and Jess: Food Heaven Made Easy, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

Listen to their Podcast here and check out their book 28-Day Plant-Powered Cookbook

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