How to: Holiday Recipes with your fresh herbs and vegetables
Although the holidays aren’t very tasteful this year, one thing should still be: your food. With recipes that include basil, rosemary, and kale from your own harvest, they are sure to explode with flavour. Plus, this is a great year to try out and perfect new recipes and traditions, so you will be more than ready with a go-to dish for the next holiday get together. Here is our list of 8 healthy recipes to get into the holiday spirit, using fresh ingredients from your Ava Byte.
Appetizer: Avocado-Feta Dip
Either to share with your household, or keep it all to yourself, this dip is an easy dish that even looks festive, all while using fresh cilantro from the Asian Herbs Pod Pack.
- ½ diced red onion
- 1 diced seeded jalapeno
- 1 diced avocado
- 1 cup fresh cilantro (Asian Herbs Pod Pack)
- ¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Cook red onion and jalapeno in olive oil, for approximately 6 minutes.
- Puree with avocado, cilantro, feta, lemon juice, and vegetable oil. Add salt to taste.
- Serve with toasted bread and/or veggie sticks.
Avocado dip: Food Network Kitchen. “Avocado-Feta Dip.” Food Network, Food Network, 12 Nov. 2015, www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/avocado-feta-dip-recipe-2105940.
Sides: Holiday Meatballs with Cranberry Aioli
Served as either an appetizer, main course, or both, these meatballs include the sweet flavour of cranberries, a delectable touch of fresh rosemary, and a creamy cranberry aioli that is a big step up from any gravy or jam. This recipe includes kale from the Mixed Salad Greens Pod Pack and rosemary from the Mediterranean Herbs Pod Pack.
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- ½ yellow onion peeled and diced
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 2 cups packed kale leaves, stems removed (Mixed Salad Greens Pod Pack)
- 1 ½ tablespoons fresh rosemary (Mediterranean Herbs Pod Pack)
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 egg (optional)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ cup prepared cranberry sauce or homemade cranberry sauce
- ¼ cup olive oil or avocado oil mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary (Mediterranean Herbs Pod Pack)
- juice half lemon
- Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the coconut oil.
- Add in the diced onion and sauté until start to soften.
- In a food processor add the fresh cranberries, kale, and rosemary.
- Pulse all of the ingredients together until they are finely chopped.
- Add the cranberry kale mixture to the onions and continue to sauté until the onions are translucent and the kale is softened, just a couple of minutes.
- While the mixture cools slightly, make the cranberry aioli.
- Add the cranberry sauce, mayo, lemon juice, and 2 tbsp rosemary to a bowl and mix until combined.
- Set the aioli in the fridge for the flavors to combined, make it the day before for even better flavor!
- Add the ground beef to a large bowl with the sautéed cranberry and kale mixture.
- To the same bowl add the egg, salt, and garlic powder.
- Mix well to combined but being careful not to over mix or you will get tough meatballs.
- Roll the mixture into 2-ounce balls using your hands or a scoop, you should get 12-14 balls.
- Place the meatballs on a rack lined baking sheet to get an evenly cooked meatball.
- Cooked in a 375-degree F oven for 15-20 minutes until cooked through.
- Allow the meatballs to rest for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a serving platter.
- Serve with the cranberry aioli.
Meatballs: Sara, and Alyssa. “Holiday Meatballs with Cranberry Aioli.” The Organic Dietitian, 10 Apr. 2020, www.theorganicdietitian.com/holiday-meatballs-cranberry-aioli/ .
Salad: Vegan Caesar Salad
A vegan take on a classic caesar, this salad is sure to satisfy everyone in the room. With a mix of kale and romaine from your Byte (Mixed Salad Greens Pod Pack), and roasted chickpea ‘croutons’ on top, this recipe can be used during the holidays or all year round.
Roasted Chickpea Croutons:
- 1 (14-ounce/398 mL) can chickpeas (or 1 1/2 cups cooked), drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
Caesar Dressing (makes 3/4-1 cup):
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) water
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) lemon juice
- 1/2 tablespoon (7.5 mL) Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 small garlic clove (you can add another if you like it super potent)
- 1/2 tablespoon (7.5 mL) vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons capers
- 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt and pepper, or to taste
Nut and Seed Parmesan Cheese:
- 1/3 cup raw cashews
- 2 tablespoons hulled hemp seeds
- 1 small garlic clove
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- fine grain sea salt, to taste
For the lettuce:
- 1 small/medium bunch kale, destemmed (Mixed Salad Greens Pod Pack)
- 2 small heads romaine lettuce (Mixed Salad Greens Pod Pack)
- Soak cashews in a bowl of water overnight, or for at least a few hours. Drain and rinse.
- Roast chickpea croutons: Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Drain and rinse chickpeas. Place chickpeas in a tea towel and rub dry (it's okay if some skins fall off). Place onto large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle on oil and roll around to coat. Sprinkle on the garlic powder, salt, and optional cayenne. Toss to coat. Roast for 20 minutes at 400°F (200°C), then gently roll the chickpeas around in the baking sheet. Roast for another 10 to 20 minutes, until lightly golden. They will firm up as they cool.
- Prepare the dressing: Add the cashews and all other dressing ingredients (except salt) into a high-speed blender, and blend on high until the dressing is super smooth. You can add a splash of water if necessary to get it blending. Add salt to taste and adjust other seasonings, if desired. Set aside.
- Prepare the Parmesan cheese: Add cashews and garlic into a mini food processor and process until finely chopped. Now add in the rest of the ingredients and pulse until the mixture is combined. Salt to taste.
- Prepare the lettuce: Destem the kale and then finely chop the leaves. Wash and dry in a salad spinner. Place into extra large bowl. Chop up the romaine into bite-sized pieces. Rinse and then spin dry. Place into bowl along with kale. You should have roughly 5 cups chopped kale and 10 cups chopped romaine.
- Assemble: Add dressing onto lettuce and toss until fully coated. Season with a pinch of salt and mix again. Now sprinkle on the roasted chickpeas and the Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
Caesar salad: Liddon, Angela. “Crowd-Pleasing Vegan Caesar Salad.” Oh She Glows RSS, Oh She Glows, 24 Nov. 2014, www.ohsheglows.com/2014/11/24/crowd-pleasing-vegan-caesar-salad/.
Salad: Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad
This salad is jam packed with lots of winter flavour and pops of colour, including bright butternut squash, juicy pomegranate, an assortment of toasted nuts, and fresh kale form the Mixed Salad Greens Pod Pack.
- 1 bunch kale, chopped (Mixed Salad Greens Pod Pack)
- 10-12 brussels sprouts, thinly shredded
- 2 cups red cabbage, shredded
- ½ butternut squash, peeled and cut in thin slices
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup pomegranate arils
- 1 navel orange, peeled and segmented
- ½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
- ¼ cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons orange juice
- Add all dressing ingredients to a blender or jar and mix together well.
- Destem kale, and then very thinly slice. Add to a salad bowl.
- Use a mandolin or food processor to very thinly slice brussels sprouts and add to the kale.
- Pour dressing over kale and sprouts, and massage in to completely coat, and then cover the salad and allow to soak for 4-5 hours, or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Peel butternut squash cut into quarters lengthwise, and then thinly slice squash. Add to a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and lightly season with sea salt and black pepper.
- Roast squash for 25 minutes.
- Prepare pomegranate by removing arils.
- Prepare the orange by slicing the skin and pith off around the orange, then cutting out the segments.
- Thinly slice red cabbage.
- When ready to serve the salad, toss the red cabbage into the kale mixture, then top the salad with warm squash, pomegranate, oranges, and nuts.
Kale brussels sprouts salad: Miller, Michelle. “Vibrant Winter Kale Brussels Sprout Salad.” Sunkissed Kitchen, 13 Sept. 2019, www.sunkissedkitchen.com/vibrant-winter-kale-brussels-sprout-salad/.
Main: Goat Cheese, Lentil and Brown Rice Rolls
Covered with a cheesy tomato-basil sauce you can either buy, or make with ingredients from your Byte, these brown rice rolls are and easy and perfect for a cold winter night. This recipe includes fresh mint from the Cocktail Mix Pod Pack.
- Butter, for greasing the baking dish
- 6 large Swiss chard leaves (about 1 1/4 pounds)
- 2 cups cooked short grain brown rice
- 1 packed cup baby arugula leaves, chopped (Grow Your Own Pod Pack)
- 1 cup goat cheese, at room temperature (8 ounces)
- 1 cup cooked green lentils
- ½ cup chopped fresh mint leaves (Cocktail Mix Pod Pack)
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- One 26-ounce jar marinara or homemade tomato-basil sauce
- ½ cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, or unsalted butter diced into ¼ -inch pieces
- Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish. Set aside.
- Remove the thick stem from the center of each chard leaf. Cut each leaf in half lengthwise. Trim the ends from the leaves to make each leaf-half about 7 inches long and 5 inches wide. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the chard leaves and cook for 10 seconds. Remove the leaves and rinse with cold water. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
- For the filling: In a medium bowl, mix together the brown rice, arugula, goat cheese, lentils, mint, olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and garlic. Season with additional salt and pepper.
- Spoon 1/3 cup of the filling onto the end of each chard leaf and roll up like a jellyroll.
- Spoon 1 cup marinara sauce on the bottom of the prepared pan. Arrange the rolls, seam-side down, in a single layer on top of the sauce. Spoon the remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Drizzle with olive oil or dot the top with butter, if using, and bake until the cheese begins to brown and the rolls are heated through, about 25 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve.
Brown rice rolls: De Laurentiis, Giada. “Goat Cheese, Lentil and Brown Rice Rolls.” Food Network, www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/goat-cheese-lentil-and-brown-rice-rolls-recipe2-2125575.
Drink: Jingle Juice
Using fresh mint off your AVA Byte (Cocktail Mix Pod Pack), this cranberry concoction is sure to spritz up the holiday cheer and festivities.
- 4 cups Cran-Apple Juice
- 2 (750-ml.) bottles red Moscato
- 1 (750-ml.) bottle Prosecco
- ½ cup vodka
- 2 cups frozen cranberries
- 1/3 cup mint leaves (Cocktail Mix Pod Pack)
- ½ cup granulated sugar, for rimming glasses
- 2 limes, sliced into rounds
- Using a wedge of lime, wet rim of glasses. Dip in sugar until coated.
- Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl, stir together and serve.
Jingle juice: Abraham, Lena. “Christmas Jingle Juice.” Delish, Delish, 16 Sept. 2020, www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a56844/jingle-juice-recipe/.
Drink: Cranberry Mimosas
A holiday take on a mimosa, these cranberry and champagne drinks are garnished with your Byte’s fresh rosemary (Mediterranean Herbs Pod Pack), that pairs greatly with a cheese board.
- 1 lime, halved
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 1 cup sweetened cranberry juice
- 1 bottle champagne
- 12 fresh cranberries
- 4 small sprigs fresh rosemary (Mediterranean Herbs Pod Pack)
- Rime champagne flutes with lime and dip in sugar. Pour 1/4 cup cranberry juice into each glass and top with champagne.
- Use a toothpick to poke a hole through cranberries. Thread rosemary skewer through cranberries and garnish mimosas.
Cranberry mimosas: Funston, Lindsay. “Cranberry Mimosas.” Delish, Delish, 14 Dec. 2020, www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a50162/cranberry-mimosas-recipe/.
Dessert: Rosemary-Lemon Shortbread Cookies
A sophisticated twist on a holiday classic, these fresh rosemary-lemon cookies can be cut into shapes and decorated or drizzled with the tart lemony icing. This recipe uses fresh rosemary from the Mediterranean Herbs Pod Pack.
- 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary (Mediterranean Herbs Pod Pack)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- For the cookies: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides. Lightly butter the foil and sides of the pan.
- Pulse the sugar with the lemon zest and rosemary in a food processor until well combined. Remove 2 tablespoons of the sugar mixture and reserve.
- Add the butter, salt and vanilla to the food processor with the sugar and pulse until combined. Add the flour, about 1 cup at a time, pulsing to combine after each addition. (After the last addition, you may need to stir and scrape down the sides of the food processor to incorporate all of the flour.) Continue to pulse until a dough comes together.
- Turn the dough out onto the prepared baking pan and press it evenly into the pan. Poke the dough all over with a fork and sprinkle it with the reserved sugar.
- Bake until the edges are golden brown and the center is golden, about 25 minutes. As soon as it's out of the oven, use a bench scraper or knife to cut the shortbread into 1-by-3-inch cookies. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then carefully remove the cookies using the foil as handles. Cool completely on a rack.
- For the icing: Combine the confectioners' sugar, lemon zest and juice in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. Whisk in 1 tablespoon water or more for the desired thickness.
- Drizzle the icing over the cookies and allow to set or serve the icing alongside to dip or drizzle upon serving.
Rosemary-lemon shortbread cookies: Bertinelli, Valerie. “Rosemary-Lemon Shortbread Cookies.” Food Network, Food Network, 14 Nov. 2016, www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/valerie-bertinelli/rosemary-lemon-shortbread-cookies-3538906.
Using your AVA Byte, you can grow all the rosemary, basil, lettuce, and kale needed for these holiday dishes. You can also grow other herbs, fruits, and vegetables used in these recipes in the Byte using the “Grow Your Own” Pod Pack available in the Shop section of our website.