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Try These Holiday Recipes! (Meatballs, Carrots, Fruit Salad)

Nov 29, 2021


The holidays definitely make it harder to stay on track with healthy eating. For those looking to add some healthy recipes to their repertoire this holiday season, here is one entree, one side dish, and one dessert!

North African Meatballs

Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger are spices that have become synonymous with the end of year holidays in America. Coincidentally, these flavor profiles are also commonly found in traditional dishes in northern Africa. These meatballs could be perfect invoking that holiday feeling while also being a chance to try something new!


for 4-6 servings (about 36 meatballs)

  • 1 lb ground beef or alternative ground meat
  • 1 egg
  • 1.5 cups bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ⅛ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped scallion
  • Olive oil or vegetable oil


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the beef, a beaten egg, the seasoning (leave 1/3 of the green onion, parsley, and cilantro on the side), and bread crumbs. The breadcrumbs can be bought in most supermarkets but are much better when made either in a food processor or by soaking the bread in a little milk and tearing it by hand. High quality 2-3 day old bread will produce the best breadcrumbs.
  2. Knead the mixture in the bowl until it is thoroughly combined.
  3. Form the mixture into meatballs about the size of a quarter and set them aside until they are all formed.
  4. Add a neutral oil with a high smoke point (I recommend avocado oil) to a medium-large saucepan and place it over medium-high heat.
  5. Add some of the meatballs to the saucepan, being careful not to overcrowd the pan, and cook them until a deep brown color forms on all sides. From there, they can be finished in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven until desired doneness or simmered in the below tomato sauce!
  6. For a more hands off approach, cook your meatballs completely in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for around 20-25 minutes, flipping them halfway.
  7. Garnish your meatballs with the remaining freshly chopped green onions, parsley, and cilantro!

Spiced Tomato Sauce


  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 finely diced onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 inch piece cinnamon stick or ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • Large pinch saffron or 1 tsp turmeric
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water


  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a wide, heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the diced onion and cook until it is soft and translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add the minced garlic and cook for roughly an additional 30 seconds.
  3. Add tomato paste, cinnamon and saffron, and stir well to incorporate. If you do not have saffron, turmeric is a close substitute as they both add a floral aromatic component to the sauce. Season generously with salt and pepper, and allow to sizzle for 1 minute more.
  4. Add broth and simmer gently for 5 minutes. If you prefer to cook out the strong tomato flavor, simply cover with a lid and allow to simmer for longer.

Inspiration/Resource: NY Times North African Meatballs

Roasted Seasoned Carrots

If done properly, roasted/sautéed carrots are delicious enough to stand on their own! In this simple side dish, we utilize time and technique to transform this humble root vegetable into something special.


for 4 servings

  • 5 carrots

  • 2 tablespoons oil

  • ¼ cup Chopped fresh parsley

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1 teaspoon coriander

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon pepper


  1. Peel the carrots, then slice on the diagonal into ½ inch thick coins. If you’re looking for a more unique shape, try using the Rangiri cutting technique.

  2. Place the chopped carrots into a large saucepan with a neutral oil that has a high smoke point (I recommend avocado oil). Cook over medium-high heat, tossing regularly, until they have a dark caramelized outside and reach your desired doneness.

  3. If you're looking for a more hands-off approach, toss the carrots in oil and transfer them to a baking sheet, then bake at 400 F for 20-25 minutes or until the carrots are tender.

  4. In both cases, incorporate the herbs and spices near the end so that they don't burn. Paprika adds a smoky flavor, parsley adds a bit of earthiness, and coriander complements the sweetness of the carrots.

  5. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Inspiration/Resource: Tasty's Paprika Herb Roasted Carrots

Winter Fruit Salad

The holidays come with their fair share of unhealthy sweet treats. This winter fruit salad can stand toe to toe with any of them!


for 4 servings

  • 1 pomegranate

  • 1 red apple, cored and chopped

  • 1 green apple, cored and chopped

  • 2 pears, cored and chopped

  • 3 clementines, peeled

  • 3 kiwis, peeled and sliced

  • 3 tablespoons lime juice

  • 2 tablespoons honey


  1. Slice the pomegranate into quarters. I find that holding the pomegranate underwater in a bowl helps to remove the seeds easily. As you gently pull apart the seeds, they will sink to the bottom of the water while the fleshy parts float to the top, easily separating the two. Toss the flesh and drain the seeds and add them to a large mixing bowl

  2. Add the chopped apples, pears, and kiwis, as well as clementines to the bowl.

  3. In a separate small bowl or measuring cup, combine the lime juice and honey and stir until incorporated.

  4. Drizzle the dressing over fruit and gently toss until well coated.

  5. Serve chilled.

Inspiration/Resource: Tasty's Winter Fruit Salad


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