Healthy Holiday Recipes

"Thanksgiving dishes are not around for just one meal—we make so much food that we tend to be eating leftovers for several days,” says Molly Fallon Dixon, MSD, RDN Community Wellness Coordinator at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center’s Rev. Dr. Ronald B. Christian Community Health and Wellness Center. That’s one good reason to consider healthier alternatives to traditional side dishes. Other good reasons: These recipes are packed with vitamins and fiber, and use ingredients that are easy to find in winter.

Fallon Dixon and the team at the Rev. Dr. Ronald B. Christian Community Health and Wellness Center off er recipes like the ones below in their annual Healthy & Happy Holidays cooking class. “People tell us that they make these healthy recipes once, and then the dishes turn into holiday staples for their table,” she says. This year, the holiday cooking class will take place on Nov. 22 from 1 to 3 p.m. and teach participants how to make a delicious, healthy three-course Thanksgiving meal. To register, call 973.926.7371.

Raw Brussels sprouts salad

Serves 6 (1 cup per serving)

Brussels sprouts can be used in more ways than just roasting and sauteing. This salad is sure to be a healthy favorite this winter, and is full of fiber and vitamins K and C. Pomegranate seeds and pears naturally sweeten the salad without added sugars.

• 1 cup dry bulgur
• 8 ounces Brussels sprouts
• 1 pomegranate
• 1 pear, diced
• ¼ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
• 1 medium shallot, minced
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon pepper

• In a small saucepan, combine 2 cups of cold water and dry bulgur. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Simmer bulgur for 12–15 minutes or until tender. Drain excess liquid and set aside to cool.

• Remove any tough or dried-out leaves from the Brussels sprouts and cut off the stems. Slice Brussels sprouts in half from top to bottom where the stem had been. Lay the Brussels sprouts cut-side-down and begin to shred them by thinly slicing from top to bottom. Gently toss the Brussels sprouts in a large bowl so the layers break apart. Set aside.

• Seed the pomegranate: Keeping the stem intact, score the pomegranate all the way around as you would a peach or avocado, without cutting all the way through. Once scored, twist the pomegranate so it splits into two halves and gently peel back the skin to loosen the seeds. Hold the cut side facing down over a bowl and hit the back of the pomegranate with a wooden spoon until all the seeds come free.

• Add pomegranate seeds, walnuts and pears to the Brussels sprouts and combine. Fluff bulgur with a fork and add to salad.

• In a separate small bowl, whisk together the shallot, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour over the salad and toss to combine.

Cranberry sauce

Serves 12 (1/2 cup per serving)

This homemade cranberry sauce is plenty sweet without all the high-fructose corn syrup of the canned variety.

• 1 package fresh cranberries
• 1 orange
• ¾ cup sugar
• 1½ cups water
• 5 dried fi gs
• ½ cup dried cranberries
• ½ cup raisins

• Rinse cranberries and remove stems. Place in saucepot.

• Wash and zest orange. After zesting, cut in half and squeeze out juice. Add zest and juice to saucepot.

• Place saucepot on low heat. Add sugar, water and dried fi gs. Heat until cranberries begin to burst; add additional water if necessary.

• Add dried cranberries and raisins. Turn off heat and let sit until fruit is plumped.

Healthy & Happy Holidays and other Healthy Living classes are offered at the Rev. Dr. Ronald B. Christian Community healthy and Wellness Center, 208 Lyons Ave. To learn more call: 973.926.7371 or visit: