The holiday season is absolutely filled with indulgences, but every time I’m invited to a potluck-style feast, I very nearly jump for joy because I know that there will be at least one healthy side dish there — the one that I bring.
You can always go with the tried and true veggie tray, but how many parties have you been to where it just sits there lonely as everyone passes by for a more delicious option? Luckily, there are gobs of healthy side dishes that are Paleo friendly, gluten free and delicious enough that party-goers will gobble up every last bite without even knowing they got in there vitamins and veggies at the same time!
These three recipes are some of my favorites. They are super fast, easy and tasty. You can thank me later, because now you too can be the queen or king of holiday side dishes at the next office or gym party.
Paleo and Gluten Free: Bacon Seared Brussels Sprouts
Bacon makes pretty much everything better, right? Right. This super fast and easy recipe transports well, warms up easily and that I’ve seen small children ask for seconds after trying it. Can’t beat that!
- 2 pounds brussels sprouts – washed, cleaned and halved
- 8 pieces of nitrate-free bacon (I like Applegate Uncured Sunday Bacon)
- 1 small onion, chopped
Cook bacon according to package in large pan. You’ll want it crispy for best results. Drain off most of the bacon grease, but leave enough for a thin coating in the pan. This will serve as your cooking oil. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring gently until the onions are translucent.
Add brussels sprouts. Stir to coat with bacon grease. Turn heat down to low and cover for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spouts should be soft when pierced with a fork. They should also begin to brown. Remove from heat and transfer to your dish. Finely chop the bacon and sprinkle on top. Then, bring it to the party, eat the noms and thank me later.
Gluten Free: Sweet Potato Bites
These tasty little devils are like the most decadent version of cheese and crackers that you could imagine. The trick is double checking your labels on all the ingredients to be sure that nothing was tossed in flour — especially the nuts or dried fruit — before packaging.
- 1 large sweet potato or yam (serves approx 8 bites per)
- 3 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 ounces of Brie cheese (double check the label for Gluten – 99% of Brie is GF)
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1/4 cup dried berries (cranberries, raspberries, your choice – but again, double check the label for GF)
- 3 tablespoons of raw honey
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the sweet potato/yam in slices of about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch of thickness. Coat with coconut oil and place on a baking sheet. Give them a pinch of salt. Bake for between 30-40 minutes, until the bottoms are brown and the sweet potatoes are soft. Remove from heat and top with about 1 teaspoon of cheese, one to two walnuts (or a sprinkle if they’re chopped), and one to two dried berries. Drizzle honey over them to finish. Serve and watch them disappear. Just as a tip, I usually make a triple batch of these as no one eats just one!
Vegetarian and Paleo: Baby Quiche Poppers
The beautiful thing about this recipe is that you can fill these delicious babies with any combination of veggies and meat that you like. The instructions below are for a mushroom, spinach, and bacon variety, but you can add ingredients like peppers, onions, sausage and more to create tasty combinations.
- 3 ounces nitrate-free bacon (again, I like Applegate Uncured Sunday Bacon)
- 10 ounces of chopped white mushrooms
- 2 cups of baby spinach
- 4 large eggs
- 4 egg whites
- 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup skim milk (optional- this will just make the quiche a bit fluffier)
- salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with a bit of non-stick spray or coconut oil. Cook the bacon according to package instructions. Once complete, drain and let it cool and then coarsely chop it. Set aside. In the same skillet you cooked the bacon, add the shallot and mushrooms. Cook until tender and shallot is translucent. Remove from heat and stir in baby spinach. It will begin to wilt and soften. Once this happens set the mixture aside to cool.
Whisk together eggs, egg whites, milk and salt and pepper to taste. Divide the mixture evenly into the muffin tin, filling each compartment about half way. Add a scoop of the mushroom and spinach mixture in each tin, then top with bacon. Bake 20-25 minutes. The quiches will rise, turn golden brown and be solid all the way through when they are done. Let the pan cool for about 5 minutes before you pop them out to serve them.
For other Paleo and clean eating recipes from FitnessHQ, click here.