Healthy Living

Healthful recipes for your next potluck

Sweet Potato & Pear Crostinis — Photo by Lilly Allen-Duenas

In the season of potlucks and holiday parties, you can only eat so many sugar cookies and potato casseroles before you start to feel blah. Try these easy, healthy recipes and spice up your next work or family function — or just keep them for yourself.

Sweet Potato & Pear Crostinis

Vegetarian, Gluten Free

10 minutes prep, 30 minutes bake time

Finally, a marvelous appetizer that only takes minutes of prep time, and isn’t a bowl of chips. These easy, breezy crostinis are healthy and well-balanced with fiber, fruits and nuts. Feel free to leave the parmesan out for a vegan option.

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 2-4 tbsp olive oil
  • thyme
  • pear
  • walnuts
  • dried cranberries
  • parmesan

Peel two sweet potatoes and cut them into quarter-inch disks. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and brush olive oil onto it, then place the sweet potato disks down in a single layer on the tray. Brush olive oil on top of the disks. If you don’t have a brush, your fingers work just fine! This will keep the sweet potatoes from drying out so it’s important to have them well covered. Place the tray in the oven at 440 degrees for 15 minutes before pulling the tray out and using a fork to flip over every disk so the other side can get toasted for another 15 minutes.

Slice the pear into thin pieces and place on top of the sweet potato rounds.

Sprinkle thyme, parmesan, walnuts and dried cranberries on top. Serve warm.

Feel free to use different colored sweet potatoes, such as white and orange, for added flair.

Guilt- & Gluten-Free Holiday Muffins

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegetarian

Yield: 12 muffins

15 minutes prep, 20 minutes bake time

When you’re craving a piece of pie for breakfast, these are the muffins for you. They’re packed with vitamins and protein, and won’t leave you feeling guilty. They’re also pretty much foolproof so they’d be fun to make with the kids. If you don’t feel like getting out the mixer again, a blender works like a charm.

  • ¾ cup of sweet potato (approximately 1 medium sweet potato)
  • 2 medium bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅔ cup almond butter
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 ½ tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • dash of cloves
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • Optional: coconut oil or butter to grease the muffin tray

Toss a sweet potato, stabbed a few times with a fork and wrapped in a wet paper towel, in the microwave for 5-7 minutes, dependent on the size. You want the sweet potato to be nice and soft so I usually err on the side of longer than shorter. Allow the sweet potato to cool before scooping out its beautifully orange insides into a ¾ measuring cup. I’m not usually one for precision, but this measurement matters as the texture of the muffin changes with varying amounts of sweet potato.

Put the sweet potato in the mixer and whip that puppy on up! Toss in the two bananas next and mix until smooth. Then everything except the baking powder can go right on in; mix for three minutes on medium speed. Lastly, add the baking powder and mix slowly for another minute.

Grease a muffin tray with coconut oil or butter or use those handy little muffin cups, and pour the batter in. Place the muffin tin in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Note: Peanut butter can be substituted, but this does change the flavor pretty drastically. I’d highly recommend using almond butter, but in a pinch or with picky kids peanut butter will do!

Balsamic Green Beans and Parsnips

Vegan, Gluten-Free

20 minutes prep, 30 minutes bake time

I like to think of green bean casserole as the naughtiest of holiday dishes. It’s the sneaky culprit of fat and lots of problems for those with dietary restrictions. This recipe gives a complete facelift to a tired casserole. The parsnips add a surprise crunch and some sweetness to this dish. Not a parsnips fan? Feel free to substitute fresh mushrooms.

  • 1 lb fresh green beans
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 parsnips
  • salt and pepper to taste

Trim and halve the green beans, then peel and slice the parsnips into quarter-to-half-inch disks. As the parsnip gets thicker near the top, feel free to halve or quarter them so they’re not too big. Then put the parsnips and green beans into a big bowl.

Finely chop eight garlic cloves. Does it seem like a lot to you? It’s not, trust me. After chopping the cloves, slide them on top of the parsnips and green beans in the bowl. Pour the balsamic vinegar and olive oil in, sprinkle hearty dashes of salt and pepper and then mix everything together until well coated. Pour into a baking dish (feel free to use a brownie pan), but line with tinfoil first to keep things easy for clean up. Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes and stir two times during the roasting cycle, once around the 10-minute mark and again around the 20-minute mark. Serve hot and fresh.

This article was originally published in YogaIowa’s Fall 2017 issue.


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