Cooking, eating with friends and family and being grateful for the abundance in our lives is what The Holidays are all about. Enter my 20 Thanksgiving & holiday recipes to excite your tastebuds and help make the experience fun! As you well know, there is quite a bit of planning and preparation that goes into making this all happen, and this can be a source of stress and anxiety for some.
Whether you are the host or joining a gathering- chances are that you might be cookin’, and you should be! Preparing food for yourself and loved ones is one of the most gratifying experiences (once we get rid of any energetic or logistical roadblocks we might have) and The Naked Bite is here to help.
As a professional chef you can imagine how often I have prepared holiday meals, for loved ones and for work purposes. I have also taught several holiday cooking classes that are always packed with peeps wanting some fresh and inspired material. Since I cannot be there in person to teach you all- I wanted to virtually share with you my classic go-to recipes for your contemporary holiday feast as well as some organization and time-saving tips to help you enjoy the process and reduce some stress.
These recipes are plant-centric, gluten-free, and can even be made vegan. We have kept the classic flavors and added a unique approach. You can use them all on their own, as a group or in addition to some of your family favorites and even alongside some turkey. We have included some suggestions for your customize for your palate or dietary needs and several make-ahead tips to ensure success, yay!
This Vanilla Cashew Milk recipe is a revelation for me. Some of you know of my “milk conundrum”. That is, my long time battle with what kind of milk to take in my coffee. I used to use fat free organic dairy milk. If you don’t know what that was a bad choice read this post.
I switched to store bought organic almond milk. I follow the rule of not using anything with ingredients that I cannot pronounce…almond milk was my only exception. Why not make my own my own you ask? Because it’s grainy and separates in my coffee and I refuse to be annoyed before 7am. So then I went to grass-fed whole milk. This didn’t quite sit right either, as I try to lessen my environmental impact and eat vegan much of the time.
I went back and fourth for a long time. Then the “ahhhhh ha” moment came. Cashew milk was the answer! Creamy, rich, vegan, easy to make, no straining and it doesn’t separate in my coffee…victory! You can make it plain for universal applications or put vanilla or other fun stuff in it.
Creamy Vanilla Cashew Milk
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water to cover for at least 4 hours
1-1/2 cups filtered water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder* or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (more…)
During my trip to Idaho over the last month I experimented a lot with coconut flour. I LOVE it! It’s high in fiber, gluten free and has a delicious nutty flavor. The trick is that because of the high fiber it is quite drying so use 1/3 cup for every 1 cup of regular flour required. My clients are huge fans of sweet breads, and warm in the morning (frankly who isn’t?). This recipe I concocted is one of my faves so far. Experiment and enjoy!
Grain Free Banana Blueberry Coconut Muffins
Ingredients: 3 large pasture raised eggs 1/4 cup coconut oil
2 medium-large ripe bananas
4 medjool dates, pitted
2 Tablespoons coconut sugar or 10 drops of stevia
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped, plus more for the top
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Shaved coconut flakes or more nuts for the top
Makes 6-8 muffins
Directions: Place eggs, oil, bananas, dates and desired sweetener in a blender and blend on medium speed until well combined.
Add in coconut flour, salt and baking soda and blend on low until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and fold in walnuts and blueberries.
Scoop batter into a muffin pan lined with muffin papers (optional) and top with more walnuts if desired. If you like the “muffin top” the fill the cups up to the top. If you want them a little smaller fill 3/4 of the way. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes until the top springs back to the touch. Serve!
Tips & Notes~
Use any kind of nut or any kind of berry.
Add some powdered ginger or cinnamon for a little spice.
Light, refreshing and perfect for summer, this quick sorbet is simple and delicious. It also doesn’t have any of the weird ingredients or stabilizers that many of the store-bought brands have. Its also a great project to do with your kids and keep them busy for a an hour or so (much needed this time of year I bet). So drag out that ice cream machine that has been collecting dust and get going. Please not that you may have the type of machine that requires that the container be frozen is advance (typically at least 12 hours- plan ahead).
There are many variations that you can do like changing out the fruit for something else that is ripe and fantastically in season. You can event get a little wild and use basil instead of mint or even exchange a bit of the puree for some coconut milk to make a vegan sherbet. I would recommend increasing the simple syrup by 1/4 so it stays smooth as it freezes. The sweet content is partially what keeps the consistency for being too icy so don’t try and substitute the simple syrup for stevia- it will fail. You can perhaps try some maple syrup but you will have to tinker with the ratio as it is a strong flavor. The other component that makes the consistency smooth is the rate at which the minute freezes- but the fast machines have freon built in and cost hundreds to thousand of bucks. Unless you are a serious ice cream or sorbet maker- the simple ones will probably do!
Strawberry Mint Sorbet
2 pints fresh strawberries (1-1/2 pounds), tops removed
1-1/4 cup simple syrup (recipe follows)
1/2 packed cup fresh mint leaves
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Makes 1 quart
Purée the strawberries in a blender with the simple syrup until very smooth. Add the mint and lemon juice and pulse until the mint is broken down into tiny flecks. Transfer to an ice-cream machine and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons organic cane sugar
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons filtered water
Makes 1-1/4 cup
Combine in a sauce pan and gently warm until all the sugar has been dissolved.
Tips & Notes~
If you would like to remove the strawberry seeds you can strain the mixture before blending in the mint.
This recipe works well with raspberries or blackberries also but you will certainly want to strain!
SUPER easy, vegan, gluten & grain free and YUMMY, what could be better? Get creative and change it up a bit with some other shredded veggies, the sky’s the limit!
Zucchini Cakes with Spicy Lemon Coconut Sauce
3 medium Zucchini, grated
About 1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup Chickpea Flour
1 Tablespoon Za’atar (optional)*
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
2-3 large green onions, sliced
Freshly cracked pepper
Coconut oil or olive oil for the pan
Makes 10 medium cakes
Place the grated zucchini in a bowl and toss with a good pinch of salt. Allow to sit for 15-20 minutes to let the moisture of the zucchini release. Add the remaining ingredients except the oil and mix well. The moisture that comes from the zucchini should be enough to turn this into a batter. If not, add a few tablespoons of water but be sure it is not runny, the mixture should be thick like pancake batter.
Heat a large sauté pan on medium heat and add about a couple teaspoons of oil. Using an ice cream scoop or a large spoon, scoop the mixture to the pan forming 5 small pancakes, spreading them with the back of the scoop. Brown on one side for about 5-6 minutes, flip and cook until golden brown on the other side, about 5 minutes. Repeat with the remaining batter, tenting the cooked cakes with foil to keep warm. Serve immediately with the spicy coconut sauce (recipe follows).
Tips & Notes~
*Za’atar is generally prepared using ground dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, mixed with toastedsesame seeds, salt and ground sumac. Available in middle eastern markets. If you cannot find you can add a few pinches of dries herbs and a squeeze of lemon.
Grated carrot or sweet potato also makes a nice substitution for some of the zucchini but you will need to add a touch of water to make up for the liquid in the zucchini.
Spicy Lemon Coconut Sauce
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup raw almonds, soaked in water for 4+ hours and drained
1/2-1 medium jalapeño or serrano chile, cut in half (amount depends on level of spice desired)
2 medium green onions, bottoms removed and rough chopped
1/4-1/3 cup coconut milk (full fat)
1-2 Tablespoons lemon juice
A good pinch of salt
About 2 Tablespoons+ fresh dill or cilantro
Makes about 3/4 cup
Place all ingredients except for the dill into the blender and blend on high speed until smooth. Add the dill and pulse a few times to break it up. Taste and adjust salt and lemon if necessary. If you want a thinner sauce use 3/4 cup of coconut milk.
This is the perfect summer drink, especially with a little “kick” added to it. It is versatile and can be done with many different kinds of fruit. Accidentally add some silver tequila or vodka and voila, you’ve got a party in a glass!
Minted Watermelon Cooler
3 cups cubed watermelon
1 cup water or coconut water, chilled
3-4 Tablespoons honey or maple syrup or stevia to taste
Zest of 1/2 a lime
Juice of 2 limes
6-8 large mint leaves
Makes 4 servings
Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth but still slushy. If you have a vitamin you will want to use the tamper to help it along, not then stop the machine once or twice to give the slush a stir. Taste and adjust lime or sweetener if desired.
Tips & Notes~
You can use unfrozen fruit and add ice but the consistency will not be as slushy.
Add some chilled vodka or silver tequila in place of some of the liquid.
Swap out some or all of the watermelon for some frozen mango or berries.