Parties! Gatherings! Homecomings! It’s that electric time of the year again with joyful songs, colorful lights, and cheerful spirits abound! Yet while this season is a top fave for most, it can also be a highly stressful one — especially for those who are tasked to prepare the holiday meal. Creating a balance of traditional and healthy options can be challenging, but not impossible. For starters, take note of foods that are rich in vitamins and fiber, which assist digestion (your guests will thank you later!). These include whole grains and leafy greens. Also consider using ingredients with antioxidants and methionine, which help the liver process sugar, additives, and toxins that are commonly found in many holiday offerings. For example — fish, legumes, brussel sprouts, beets, and fruits such as blueberries and Goji berries have high antioxidant levels, and therefore may help prevent liver damage.
Celebrate the holidays with liver-friendly options (photo credit: Clara Don)
In the spirit of giving, ADRLF shares these delectable and healthy recipes for a stress-free and liver-friendly holiday feast. We promise with these offerings on your table, you’ll be the toast of the town!
Sweet Potato Latkes with Tomatillo Salsa
If you’re feeling a bit more health-conscious and adventurous this year, try this healthier latke recipe from Men’s Fitness. Sweet potatoes (instead of the traditional potatoes) are low in sodium and high in multivitamins, such beta-carotene, vitamins B5 and B6, and niacin. Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A, which is a natural antioxidant that aids liver cleansing.
Ingredients for Latkes:
1 lb. sweet potatoes or yams
2 large eggs (beaten)
2 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. sugar
½ tsp. kosher salt
Black pepper to taste
½ cup to ¾ cup olive oil
Low-fat sour cream (optional)
Ingredients for Tomatillo Salsa:
1 lb. tomatillos (green tomatoes)
1 head garlic, peeled
10-15 habanero peppers (dependent on desired spice factor)
Handful of cilantro
Salt and pepper
Instructions for Latkes:
- Peel sweet potatoes and/or yams and coarsely grate by hand (or use a food processor).
- Drain potatoes/yams of any access liquid with paper towel or clean dishcloth.
- Place sweet potatoes/yams in bowl and mix with beaten eggs, flour, cinnamon, sugar, salt and pepper. Coupons
- In a 12-inch or slightly larger non-stick pan, begin to heat up olive oil.
- Pat potato mixture into 3-inch round patties, making sure they are well condensed and sticking together nicely.
- Place 4 latkes in pan at a time and fry on each side until brown and crispy. Each family likes their latkes at different consistencies from slightly browned to almost black and very crispy. Note that sugar burns quickly and turns things black faster, so flip the latkes often.
- Remove latkes from oil and place on platter layered with paper towels to absorb extra oil.
- Repeat steps 6 and 7 until all latkes are made.
Instructions for Tomatillo Salsa:
- Place tomatillos in boiling hot water until they are soft.
- Cook garlic in oven at 350 degrees with a little olive oil until it turns brown.
- Mix all ingredients (tomatillos, pinch of salt and pepper, habanero chiles, cilantro) in a blender and puree.
Instructions for Serving:
- Drizzle the tomatillo salsa over the sweet latkes or place it next to latkes.
- Drizzle with sour cream or serve it on the side. (optional)
Quinoa Salad with Oranges, Beets & Pomegranate
Quinoa tops the list of the healthiest foods, with its high-fiber and high-protein content. It also features flavonoids — plant anti-oxidants with anti-inflammatory qualities that have various health benefits. This recipe from Eating Well definitely adds a delicious twist to your holiday menu.
Ingredients for Salad
3 medium beets (about 1¼ pounds)
2 cups vegetable broth
1½ cups water
2 cups red quinoa
½ teaspoon salt
3 medium oranges
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, divided
½ cup chopped pitted dates1 whole pomegranate, seeded
- Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F.
- Trim the root end of the beets and remove any greens (reserving for another use); rinse and pat dry. Wrap individually in foil. Roast until tender, 1 to 1¼ hours, depending on size. (Alternatively, place beets in a microwave-safe dish, add ¼ cup water, cover loosely and microwave on High until the beets are tender, about 10 minutes, depending on size.)
- Bring broth, water, quinoa and salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a large serving bowl.
- Zest and juice 1 orange. Place the juice in a medium bowl. Working over another bowl, cut the remaining 2 oranges into segments (see Tips) and set aside. Measure the juice from the first orange—if it isn’t quite ⅓ cup, squeeze the juice from the membranes until you get ⅓ cup. Add the zest, vinegar (or lemon juice), salt and pepper to the juice; gradually whisk in oil in a thin stream until well combined. Stir in ¼ cup parsley.
- Peel and dice roasted beets when they are cool enough to handle. Add to the quinoa along with dates and gently combine. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss to coat. Serve garnished with the reserved orange segments, pomegranate seeds and the remaining 2 tablespoons parsley.
The holiday season would not be complete without traditional items like eggnog. Skip the alcohol (if you’re inclined), and add some liver-friendly goodness by using coconut milk as your base. Coconuts have large amounts of MCT, making it a liver “superfood.” MCT is a fatty acid that helps the liver detoxify. Here’s a useful guide in buying coconuts. For an easy or a traditional method, we love this recipe from Wellness Mama.
Ingredients for Eggnog:
6 cups of coconut milk (about 3 cans)
6 egg yolks
1 tablespoon of vanilla
¼ cup honey or cane sugar or a few drops of stevia extract (optional)
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
¼ cup (or more) spiced rum or brandy (optional)
- Put all ingredients except alcohol in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth.
- SLOWLY bring up to low heat in a medium saucepan, being careful not to let it boil. When it is warmed and barely starting to thicken, it is ready.
- Chill in fridge for a few hours or overnight and whisk alcohol in just before serving.
- Heat coconut milk and vanilla until warm in medium saucepan.
- Whisk or blend the egg yolks, sugar and spices in a blender.
- Slowly add in about half of the coconut mixture to the egg yolks to warm it and then add the whole mixture back into the saucepan.
- Bring up to low heat and whisk until barely starting to thicken.
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Do let us know how it all turned out at @ADRLFoundation! We’d love a few tasty words from you, or better yet, a picture!
The Al D. Rodriguez Liver Foundation wishes you and yours the HAPPIEST & HEALTHIEST OF HOLIDAYS!