Vegetarian Meal Plan for the Holidays
In Celebration of the Holiday Season, I wanted to share some of my favorite recipe combinations that make for the perfect Holiday meals. To all my vegetarian friends, here is a special Holiday meal plan that will impress even your carnivorous friends and family! For starter’s begin with a light Wild Greens Salad, cook up a cozy mushroom risotto with a side of delicious baked sweet potatoes. Finish the meal off with a special guilt-free dessert, Apple Hazelnut Tart.
All of these recipes can easily be modified for vegans too!
Wild Greens Salad
Incorporate chickweed into your wild greens and it’s good for the liver! Chickweed is also astringent and is useful for any type of itching. It can be added to bathwater to relieve inflammation, typically specific to joints. Decoctions (teas) are used to improve circulation and juice from the plant. To make an infusion of the leaves and flowers, steep 2-3 ounces of the fresh plant in two cups of just-boiled water for 10 minutes. Drink one-half cup up to three times daily.
- 1 head leaf lettuce
- 1 bunch dandelion greens
- 1 bunch chickweed —greens
- 1 bunch lamb’s quarters
- 1 bunch wood sorrel
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts
- Wash all greens.
- Chop or tear greens to your preferred size.
- Coarsely chop hazelnuts.
- Toss all ingredients with cranberry dressing (see recipe) or lemon and olive oil or flaxseed oil.
Alternative Sources: Another way of using chickweed is in extract form, available through Herb Pharm. The standard dosage for this extract is 30 to 40 drops taken in water 2 to 5 times daily.
Living Long with Baked Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are rich in anti-depressant vitamins like Vitamins A, B6, and Niacin. Since they are naturally sweet, they are nourishing when overcoming an addiction to sugar, wheat/grains, alcohol, or drugs. They can be eaten hot or cold, mashed, fluffed, or sliced cold into salads. I bake a half dozen in advance and then can grab one for an on-the-go snack as needed. They are useful for addressing low blood sugar, and they make an ideal snack for children instead of sweets.
Tip: Don’t forget to top with plenty of raw butter and salt; the Vitamin A and raw butter work together for better absorption.
- Sweet potatoes (as many as desired)
- Olive oil (as needed)
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF
- Rinse sweet potatoes and pierce them several times with a fork.
- Rub a light coating of olive oil over the skin and bake for 60 minutes or until soft.
I love all risotto recipes because they require patience. Making risotto becomes a meditation to gather and prepare everything. Then the stirring; the gentle, rhythmic, mindful stirring is in itself relaxing. Risotto-making is meant to be shared. Then the treat is sitting down to eat the comforting richness of a smooth risotto that warms the heart and belly. Enjoy a meal made with love.
Note: If alcohol is contraindicated, just leave it out.
- 5–6 cups chicken stock 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups of shiitake and oyster mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and cut into half-inch to inch pieces
- 1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion
- 13⁄4 cups arborio rice
- 2/3 cup brandy or dry white wine
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Bring stock to a simmer in a saucepan.
- Melt the butter in a deep, heavy, medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Add
mushrooms and onions and sauté about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to combine.
- Add brandy or wine, bring to a boil, and reduce liquid by half, about 3–4 minutes. Add simmering
stock, 1⁄2 cup at a time, stirring enough to keep the rice from sticking to the edges of the pan. Stir the rice almost constantly—stirring sloughs off the starch from the rice, making the creamy sauce you are looking for in a risotto. Wait until the stock is almost completely absorbed before adding the next 1⁄2 cup. This process will take about 25 minutes. The rice should be just cooked and slightly chewy.
- Stir in the Parmesan cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley or chives.
Gluten-free Apple Hazelnut Tart
Servings: 8; Preparation time: 1 hour
Often we get the desire for a sweet dessert or pastry at breakfast time, but we know better than to eat sugary foods. This tart will fill the bill as it satisfies your sweet tooth. The combination of apples and nuts will provide stable energy and you can eat to your heart’s content.
- 2 cups hazelnuts
- 2 cups almond flour or rice flour, plus ¼ cup almond or rice flour
- 2 eggs (duck or chicken)
- 1 tablespoon water
- Butter for greasing the pan
- 1 cup dried peas or beans (to weigh down crust)
- 2 apples, sliced into thin wedges
- ½ tablespoon pure fruit spread (huckleberry, raspberry, strawberry, or blueberry)
- ½ cup huckleberry juice or apple juice
- 1 tablespoon oat flour
- ¼ cup hazelnuts, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grind hazelnuts into a fine flour and combine with the 2 cups of almond or rice flour in a bowl.
- Mix the eggs with the water and add this to the flour, mixing until a moist dough is formed.
- Place the remaining ¼ cup of flour onto a wooden cutting board. Form the dough into a ball and place on the board, kneading the dough lightly to integrate until you have a silky dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for about 20 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the fridge. Rub a pie plate or tart plate with a thin layer of butter to grease it.
- Flatten the dough a little and put it in the greased pie plate, pressing it to the edges of the pie plate. You may need to use some flour on your fingers so they don’t get stuck. Press the dough up the walls until it’s about 1/8-inch thick on the base. It’s okay to have extra flour in the dough. Carefully press the dough into the corners of the pan
- Place a round parchment paper (see NOTE) on top of the dough. Spread the dried peas over the parchment (this keeps the crust from bubbling up while it’s cooking and it remains flat).
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until dried out. Remove the peas and the parchment.
- Place the sliced apples in the baking dish, fanning the apple slices around the edges of the pie crust, working from the edge to the center in a circular design.
- Carefully spread the jam over the apples.
- Mix together the huckleberry juice and oat flour and place in a small saucepan. Heat gently over low heat to integrate, but do not boil. Pour this over the apples.
- Sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts over the tart and bake in the oven at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes until the apples are tender.
Note: To make a rounded parchment paper, fold a square piece of parchment paper into a series of triangles until you have a thin, long triangle. Holding the point of the triangle at the center of the pie plate, and the base of the triangle at the rim of the pie plate, and cut off any excess paper that extends beyond the rim. Unfold the paper and you end up with a round parchment paper.
I always love feedback, so let me know what you think of these recipes. These have been selected from a variety of my cookbooks including Preventing and Treating Diabetes Type 2 Naturally: Your comprehensive Guide to Food, Herbs, Supplements, Recipes, Energy Medicine, Massage, and Exercise, and Eat Right Feel Right: 50 Recipes and Tips to Improve Mood, Sleep, Attention, and Focu