How to Make Veggies the Star of Your Holiday Table

Holiday meals aren’t exactly known for their health value, but what if there was a way to still celebrate the big food holidays with those you love without totally wrecking all the good work you’ve done on your health and fitness journey?! You’re in luck! It’s totally possible to sit down with your friends and family this Easter or any upcoming celebration to a delicious, nutritious, and festive meal.

Late winter is a particularly good time to turn your focus to veggie-based side dishes. The weather is starting to warm up in colder climates and cool-weather veggies like peas, asparagus, spinach, and carrots are starting to show up in early farmer’s markets. And there’s so much room to be creative! Here are two veggie-tastic and enticing side dishes that will be perfect for your gatherings.

Parmesan Asparagus Risotto

asparagus risottoMakes 6 Servings

Ingredients

  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/3 cup white wine (can sub in more veggie broth)
  • 1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Fill a saucepan with the vegetable broth and set to warm over low heat.
  2. In a second saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in the onion and rice, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is fragrant and tender (about 3 minutes).
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add in the wine. Return the pan back to the heat and stir until the wine is mostly absorbed. Then add in a 1/2 cup of the warmed vegetable broth. Stir until the broth is mostly absorbed, then repeat with another 1/2 cup.
  4. Continue adding the broth in, 1/2 cup at a time, until the rice is tender and creamy (you might not use all the broth). It should take you about 20 minutes. With just a few additions of broth left, add in the asparagus to the rice.
  5. Remove from heat, stir in the butter and Parmesan. Then season to taste. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Per Serving

253 calories, 8.5g fat, 30.7g carbs, 11.7g protein


Orange Honey Glazed Carrots

orange honey glazed carrotsMakes 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 pound small carrots, peel and tops trimmed
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Fill a large pot with the salt and water. Bring to a boil, and then add the carrots. Cook until the carrots are just fork tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the carrots to a plate, then discard the cooking water.
  2. Place the pot back over medium-high heat. Add in the butter, honey, and lemon juice and zest. Once butter is melted, add in the cooked carrots, and gently toss until well-coated. Season to taste. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Per Serving

129 calories, 5.8g fat, 19.8g carbs, 1g protein

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Cassie Johnston is an award-winning food writer and recipe developer living and working in Southern Indiana. Her work has been feature in national publications such as Gourmet Magazine and The Huffington Post. Cassie’s a big fan of strenuous hikes, cheese, watching sports, Brussels sprouts, and craft beer, and she’ll talk your ear off about her love of local food and seasonal eating. She’s obsessed with social media and loves connecting with new friends!