Halloween is over and we all know what that means: the kick-off to the holiday season. Thanksgiving is right around the corner, so it is the perfect time to start planning those delicious dishes for your family or Friendsgiving meal. To help with meal planning we wanted to share not one but two tasty and healthy recipes that your dinner guests will be grateful to “gobble up.”
The first recipe is our juicy, tart, sweet, and decadent roasted apples. The spiced custardy filling is full of fiber and protein and is free of refined sugar. While roasting, the aroma of the holiday spices will fill your home with a truly appetizing fragrance, preparing everyone’s taste buds for the meal to come. The second recipe is our take on cranberry sauce. We replace the refined sugar with pears and maple syrup to add a lovely balance of sweetness to the vibrant tart cranberries. This delectable dish brings forth a depth of delicious flavors accented with ginger, orange, and cinnamon.
Both recipes are not only great additions to your holiday feast but are also packed full of anticancer, immune-supporting and digestion-boosting properties.
Serves: 6 (if serving a full apple per person) or 12 (serving ½ apple per person)
- 6 apples
- Apples that work well in this recipe include: Fuji, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Granny Smith, or Gala.
- 5 soaked dates + 2 tablespoons soaking water (soak in hot water for 5 minutes)
- 2 tablespoons molasses (op
- ¼ cup ground flaxseed or chia seeds
- 1/3 cup milk of choice (hazelnut milk works well)
- 3 tablespoons tapioca or cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ cups chopped nuts or seeds of choice (pecans or walnuts work the best)
- ½ cup old fashioned rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon oil or melted butter
- ¼ cup chopped nut or seed of choice (you can use the same one from the filling)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Core each apple making a large well in the center and arrange apples on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Place all the filling ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Then by hand mix in the chopped nuts. Divide between the 6 prepared apples.
- Mix oats, oil, nuts, and cinnamon together in a bowl; Spoon 1/4 of the oat mixture on top of each apple.
- Bake in the oven until the apples are tender, topping is golden brown, and filling is set, about 30-45 minutes. Apples are done if they are very soft to the touch.
You can roast the apples ahead of time and keep in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. They can be served cold, room temperature, or reheated in a 325 oven for 15 minutes.
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Serves: 10 (¼ cup servings)
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries (fresh or thawed and strained if frozen)
- 2 medium ripe pears, peeled and small dice (use Comice, Bartlett or Anjou pears)
- Zest of 1 orange
- Juice of ½ orange
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (you can add 1-2 extra tablespoons for sweetness preference)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Place the pears, zest, juice, maple syrup, and water in a saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil.
- Add the cranberries, chia seeds, ginger, and salt. Low heat to medium and cook until most of the cranberries have popped about 15 minutes. Make sure to stir occasionally to ensure even cooking. You may need to help mash some of the cranberries while cooking.
- Once cooked taste and adjust sweetness, you can also always add more ginger if you prefer. Remove from heat and stir in cinnamon.
- Transfer to a serving bowl, cool to room temp, and stir occasionally for even cooling. Will thicken as it cools. Then cover and chill until ready to serve.
Apples & Pears: Both are high in nutrients and low in calories, making them nutrient-dense. Also packed full of fiber to feed the good gut bacteria, boost our immune system and help us feel fuller longer. Apples rank second to berries in the number of antioxidants adding a cancer-fighting component.
Cranberries: Good source of vitamin C, protective benefits against bacteria that cause urinary tract infections. High in anticancer properties to help protect cells from free radicals.
Walnuts: Great source of plant-based protein, fiber, and healthy fats, which can reduce your risk of heart disease and improve overall health.
Citrus juice and zest: Packed full of a multitude of nutrients such as vitamin C, flavonoids, and fiber, which aid in vascular protection, reduced inflammation, improved gastrointestinal function and health, and can play a role in preventing diabetes, cancer, and neurological disease. Can help improve blood circulation and reduce inflammation.
Oats: Full of soluble fiber (beta-glucan), which has been shown to slow digestion, increase satiety, and bind to cholesterol to excrete it out of the body. Oats also have plant chemicals that act as antioxidants to reduce damaging effects of chronic inflammation.
Chia & Flax Seeds: Excellent source of fiber (10g in just 2 Tbs!). Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. When you soak chia in a liquid (i.e. milk or water), it takes on a gel-like texture due to the high fiber content. This gel coats the gut and helps slow digestion to make you feel satisfied. It also helps bulk up stool and feed the friendly bacteria in your gut. It is also high in calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, which can help protect bone health and fight off osteoporosis.
Maple Syrup: A sweetener that is an unexpected source of essential minerals for bone health, metabolism and brain functioning. with more nutrient value than regular table sugar. This means that it will raise blood sugar slower than regular sugar. Also contains polyphenols to reduce inflammation and support a healthy immune system. The darker the maple syrup the more antioxidants levels it has. Note: Be sure to carefully read the food label when shopping for maple syrup. Many stores sell “maple-flavored” syrups, which are higher in refined sugars and high-fructose corn syrup.
Nutmeg: Shown to boost our mood by increasing levels of serotonin and dopamine, nutmeg has also been shown to help relieve pain and relax blood vessels to lower blood pressure.
Dates: A healthier substitute for refined sugar, dates contain minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc for bone health and support a healthy nervous system. They are very high in fiber that will assist in blood sugar control and aid in a healthy digestion. Very potent with antioxidants such as flavonoids, carotenoids and phenolic acid to help reduce inflammation, promote heart health and reduce the risk of diabetes, Alzheimer’s diseases and provide anticancer effects.
Cinnamon: It has been shown to enhance motor function and normalize neurotransmitter levels. It can help improve insulin sensitivity and maintain stable blood sugar by interfering with numerous digestive enzymes that slow the breakdown of carbohydrates in the GI tract.
Ginger: Shown to be heart-healthy and assists with blood sugar control by lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Ginger also improves various heart disease risk factors. Ginger supports gut health and is highly effective in promoting digestive health and chronic indigestion. Powerful anti-inflammatory properties and can ease joint pain and stiffness. It is also antimicrobial and can lower the risk of infections and boost the immune system.