Let the Festivities Begin: 10 Blue Zones Approved Plant-Based Holiday Recipes

This month will be full of holiday cookie swaps, company parties, and family gatherings right through to the celebration of the New Year. Be sure there are always plant-based options on the table with these Blue Zones approved festive holiday dishes.

1. Roasted Beet Hummus from Blue Zones Recipes

This hummus is a colorful, creamy way to add a festive pop to the appetizer table. Serve it with an assortment of veggies or alongside some Ikarian-Style Sourdough Bread.

beethummus

Beets offer powerful antioxidants, anti-inflammatory benefits, and vascular-protective effects and have also been known to increase blood and oxygen flow through the brain, heart, and muscles for better endurance.

2. Kale Salad with Sautéed Apples from Brooklyn Supper 

Winter salads brighten up the grey days and dark winter nights with rich greens and light fruit. Sautéing the apples enhances the flavor and gets the juices flowing, warming up the dish and cutting the bitterness of the kale.

kaleapplesalad/brooklynsupper

If you’ve gone plant-based and reduced your dairy intake, you may be struggling to find high calcium foods. Kale is an excellent source of bio-available calcium, even higher than milk.

3. Cilantro-Walnut Pesto Spread from Blue Zones Recipes 

Set this fresh, nutty spread out with warm, fresh baked Blue Zones Ikarian-Style Sourdough Bread and you’ve got yourself an appetizer pairing for any holiday party. It’s a rich, festive shade of green, too!

Walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals, all of which offer potential benefits to brain health. Polyphenolic compounds in walnuts reduce inflammatory load on the brain and studies show they can contribute to heart health, prevent cancer, fight diabetes, improve cognitive function, and help with a better night’s sleep.

4. Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Squash with Dried Cranberries and Dijon Vinaigrette from Blogging Over Thyme

Zesty and crispy, these Brussels sprouts will help to lighten up a meal that may be heavy on filling root vegetables.

Brussels sprouts are high in vitamins C and A and glucosinolates. The glucosinolates found in Brussels sprouts help regulate the body’s inflammatory and anti-inflammatory system and prevent unwanted inflammation, which is at the root of many age-related diseases.

5. Pomegranate Sweet Potato Rice Bowls with Roasted Maple Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese from Inspiralized

Sweet potatoes are an Okinawan necessity for any gathering and this dish is topped off with a Sardinian favorite — goat cheese. This combination of sweet potatoes and squash has a hearty winter flavor and an added pop of festive color from the pomegranate arils.

sweetpotatopom/inspiralized

Pomegranate is high in antioxidants, valued protectors against a variety of free radicals including UV rays and air pollutants. The antioxidants attached to the pomegranate sugars are shown to be beneficial, even for diabetic patients.

6. Vegetarian Slow Cooker Lasagna from Blue Zones Recipes

This lasagna is a great holiday-hack main dish because you can prepare the ingredients in the slow cooker in advance, and when your guests arrive you can enjoy their company without worrying about tending the stove.

vegetarianlasagna

The addition of mushrooms to this classic meal stimulates immune function and provides an anticancer boost.

7. Maple Tempeh with Herbed Quinoa from Nutrition Stripped

Tempeh is a great source of plant-based protein that can add a heartier feel to a meatless meal. The combination of maple syrup, sweet cranberries, and crunchy walnuts makes for a cheerful winter entrée.

mapletempeh/nutritionstripped

Tempeh contains high amounts of protein, fiber, beneficial bacteria, healthy fats, and is rich in minerals. The fermented nature of tempeh allows for easier digestion of soy products and can promote healthy gut flora. Tempeh is less processed than tofu and contains more protein and fiber, making it a healthier choice.

8. Vegetable Wellington from Seasonal and Savory 

A warm vegetable Wellington is a good replacement for any main dish at your holiday dinner. A filling meal will keep you from over-doing it at the dessert table later on. This dish in particular is packed with nutrient-dense vegetables, nuts, and a Blue Zones favorite – beans!

Beans are the foundation of most Blue Zone diets and are versatile enough to eat at any meal. Although popular in the blue zones, beans are not as widely popular in the United States, and just look what we’re missing. In this dish, when mixed with the ground nuts, they hold the ingredients together for easy serving.

9. Raw Gingerbread Cookies from Ascension Kitchen

There’s nothing more reminiscent of the holidays than gingerbread cookies. Whip these up before the next cookie swap and you’ll impress your friends and sneak some nutritious treats into their lives. They’re so easy to make, no oven required!

gingerbreadcookies/ascensionkitchen

Ginger is an essential holiday flavor bringing warmth and spice to each bite. Okinawans often add ginger to sweet potato dishes and soups. Ginger’s ability to fight cancer, reduce inflammation, and decrease age-related stress markers make it a nutritional powerhouse ingredient worthy of any holiday delicacy. Flax seeds help hold the cookies together and are full of fiber, are high in omega-3 fatty acids, and are known to boost cardiovascular health.

10. Vegan Eggnog from Produce on Parade

This holiday classic doesn’t need eggs to pass for the real thing. It’s definitely an indulgence, so drink sparingly, but enjoy the holiday flavors and be sure to surround the table with your closest friends and family and raise a glass to good health and a year full of happiness.

Coconut milk is high in lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that is easily absorbed and used by the body for energy and has also been recognized for its antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal properties. Coconut milk can help you lower your cholesterol levels, improve blood pressure, and prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Bonus! Here’s one extra recipe to kick off a day of caroling, frolicking, and merry-making.

Sweet Potato Waffles from Running to the Kitchen

sweetpotatowaffle/runningtothekitchen

Whether you’re hosting brunch for your moai or making breakfast for your family on a snowy morning, they’ll never know you snuck a longevity superfood into their waffles.

 

As counterintuitive as it is to downshift at this time of year with the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping and running from cocktail hours to family dinners, it’s important to take a moment to revel in the magic of the season and look back at the year. Take a walk with your family and build a snowman, shovel your neighbor’s driveway, share a bottle of wine with your closest and dearest friends, dance the night away at the holiday party, or cozy up by the fireplace to unwind after a long day of work. Enjoy this holiday season and share these plant-based dishes with your family and friends to celebrate another great year together.

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