I’m more ready than ever to gather with friends and family and enjoy the holidays this year. Last year, my holiday festivities were much smaller than usual, which gave me the opportunity to test some new recipes and flavors that we will be repeating this year! How many years of repetition makes a tradition? Well, our new 2nd-year traditions include bright and bold flavors, lots of crunch, and tons of fruits and veggies from start to finish.
Most of us don’t cook a large meal every day, so it can be hard to nail the timing. Special occasion meals in my house almost always make it to the table late, but I like to prepare a veggie snack ahead of time to keep hungry guests from becoming hangry guests.
- A simple veggie platter is easy to put together and a variety of veggies will satisfy most palates without being too filling. Salad dressing or dip is always a hit, but try mixing things up this year with a seasonal Pumpkin White Bean Chipotle Dip or a zippy Harissa Yogurt Dip with roasted veggies for a new take on the traditional platter.
- Elegant endive spears are a crunchy and bright contrast to the meal. Check out this article for Endive Appetizers, 3 Ways or try these artichoke stuffed endive spears.
While gravy, mashed potatoes, and mac n’ cheese are delicious, I like to include something bright and bracing to add variety to the table.
- Radicchio is one of my favorite chicories, it adds a unique and delicious bitter note to recipes. This Tangy Cherry Brussels Sprouts Slaw is a great way to add radicchio to the table and save some oven real estate!
- Everyone loves Butter Lettuce. This simple Pear and Celery Salad is a refreshing welcome addition to my holiday table.
After a heavy meal, I don’t always crave dessert. This year, I think I’ll include something lighter and something savory along with the traditional dessert spread.
- Bring some fruit to the party! These luxurious Apricot Almond Brie Bites or a Pear and Walnut Flatbread are both seasonal choices with a savory twist.
- Luxurious, elegant, and most importantly, easy, these Poached Pears would be a lovely way to cap off dinner.
- Or skip the dessert and go straight for cocktails with this bright and refreshing Fall Apple Sangria!
Year-round Holiday Cheer
Pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and cranberries are all foods that we tend to associate with the holidays, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Enjoy these flavors all year with canned, frozen, or long-keeping foods like squash.
- Enjoy a Curried Pumpkin Soup. Pumpkin Poblano Chili, or Pumpkin Ricotta Stuffed Shells on any weeknight. Both items freeze well, so put your leftover pumpkin to good use and meal prep at the same time!
- Leftover fresh cranberries can be frozen to use later or used in a salad like Arugula Salad with Kale Sage Pesto.
- Sweet Potato Tacos make a great weeknight meal for the whole family, and this Silky Sweet Potato Mash is easy enough to serve up with any meal!
I hope your holidays this year are filled with lots of friends, family, delicious food, and traditions new and old!