For those of you looking forward to hosting a holiday gathering with people you love or even if you're just looking for some seasonal recipes to make this Christmas, you're in luck because I've rounded up some DEE-licious winter recipes for you and your loved ones to enjoy this holiday season. AND I've divided them into 5 categories: Appetizers, Entrees, Sides, and Sweets. Whether you're looking to "wow" your guests with fancy and festive appetizers and unique desserts or you just want to make something new and different for dinner, I have 15 delicious options to choose choose from.
A Quick Note from Hope
I have such a love for hosting, cooking, and sharing meals with friends, loved ones, and even strangers during the holiday season. I know not everyone is in the same boat as me when it comes to cooking and/or baking for other people. It can be intimidating and a little stressful, but I find so much joy and fulfillment in it. It's a way that my God-given passions for creating and building authentic relationships with people align to produce something - an experience really - that's delicious and beautiful and meaningful and maybe a little cheesy (figuratively and literally!). It's my hope that this post and the winter recipes I share inspire you to create in the kitchen and encourage meaningful interactions over meals this season.
Appetizers are one of my favorite things to make for gatherings because I don't make them on a regular basis and they feel kinda fancy. Try one of these delicious homemade appetizers for your next party!
Sweet and savory mini cheese balls made with a blend of goat cheese and cream cheese, fresh herbs, pistachios, and pomegranate arils - aka THE most festive and delicious appetizer you can make this holiday season (in my opinion). Make sure to double the recipe! TRUST me.
With a base of ricotta cheese, cream cheese, plain Greek yogurt, and honey this sweet and salty, decadent dessert dip is uber creamy and delicious. It's simple to make, but feels kinda fancy. Serve it at your next gathering with pretzels, sliced pears, and/or sliced sourdough bread.
This hummus dip is the creamiest and most delicious homemade hummus recipe I've ever had! It's a pretty basic recipe made from chickpeas, tahini, fresh garlic, olive oil, and variety of spices. Turmeric, which has anti-inflammatory components, gives this hummus its bright yellow hue. Skip store bought hummus and try this
These toasted walnuts (or pecans if you prefer) sweetened with honey and spiced with a touch of cayenne pepper can be enjoyed in so many ways – as a snack, tossed on salads, added to a fruit and yogurt parfait, or paired with dried fruit and cheese like these Pomegranate and Pistachio Mini Goat Cheese Balls as part of a charcuterie board. They also make a great Christmas gift!
All of the entrees included in this section are meals all by themselves. Feel free to add seasonal sides if you wish, but you don't have to! I particularly love the Autumn Chicken Taco Soup with Greek yogurt, shredded cheese, fresh cilantro, and tortilla chips.
This two serving chicken pot pie (that can totally be doubled or tripled to serve a larger group) is the ultimate comfy cozy weeknight meal, AND it has a healthy dose of vegetables.
Spicy, flavorful, smooth, nourishing, and comforting are the 5 words that just about sum up this seasonal soup. The addition of pumpkin purée gives this southwestern inspired soup a smooth texture as well as a nutrient boost. If you're planning to have a chili night anytime soon, try this recipe instead to switch things up!
This hearty soup with bacon, winter squash, kale, and chickpeas is perfect for chilly winter evenings, work week lunches, or cozy gatherings with loved ones. I love it with grated parmesan cheese and fresh sourdough bread.
Sides are one of my favorite types of recipes to make. They may not be the "star" of most meals, but they add so much flavor and contrast to a complete a meal! These veggie heavy side dishes do just that and are an easy way to get in one much needed fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
When it comes to brussel sprouts, you can't go wrong with balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, dijon mustard, and hint of spicy cayenne pepper. These sprouts are a great and healthy side dish for nearly any meal.
With seasonal ingredients like dinosaur kale (also known as tuscan kale), delicata squash, apples, and dried cranberries, this salad is sweet, savory, hearty, comforting, nutrient dense, and all around delicious. Not to mention, the homemade Maple Dijon Dressing that you’ll want to drizzle over everything else this season!
This unique cauliflower recipe is based on an appetizer from the restaurant True Food. It's basically roasted cauliflower dressed up with a maple tahini sauce, chopped dates, and fresh dill. DO NOT knock it until you try it. The variety of flavors and textures in this allergen-friendly recipe just works!
This seasonal vegetable and fruit salad recipe starts with a layer of roasted beets and sliced oranges dressed with extra virgin olive oil and is topped with crumbled goat cheese, fresh dill, and roasted pistachios. It’s sweet, it’s savory, it’s acidic, it’s beautiful, it’s delicious, and it’s super good for you. It’s a great, seasonal side dish to serve at your table this winter.
I may be a dietitian, but I enjoy sweet recipes on a regular basis. In this section I've included several regular sweets as well as better for you desserts (like my Cranberry Apple Crumble with Fresh Ginger). I've even got several gluten free and dairy free options for the people in your life with dietary restrictions.
Zesty, nutty, sweet, and spicy are some of the words I use to describe this delicious crumble recipe. Cranberries and apples just go together, and the addition of fresh ginger and fresh lemon zest gives the fruity filling that extra "umph." It's great for breakfast with Greek yogurt or dessert with vanilla ice cream.
This recipe is like no other I've ever seen while searching the World Wide Web. It's a cross between a traditional gingerbread cookie and a chewy oatmeal cookie but with the addition of white chocolate and orange zest. YUM right?!
This foolproof, chocolatey dessert recipe is gluten free, and contains hidden vegetables (and you'd never know it!). If you love the combination of chocolate and peppermint - aka the flavors of Christmas - it is a must try!
If you're a sweet breakfast person, this seasonal oat bake made with pears, dried fruit, oats, honey, and nut butter is for you! It's a great make ahead breakfast for any morning (maybe Christmas morning this year?!) drizzled with honey.
This cookie recipe is for the peanut butter lover in your life. Made with chickpea flour in place of regular flour, this recipe is naturally gluten free, super peanut buttery, and the easiest recipe to make! When you make this cookie recipe, have your guests guess what the "secret ingredient" is. They'll never guess it's chickpea flour!
Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. When you make one (or all!) of these winter recipes or any Hope For Balance recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram and/or Facebook at @hope.for.balance and use the hashtag #hopeforbalance for a chance to be featured in my stories. It brings me so much joy to see your creations!