3 Healthy Holiday Recipes from Around the World & Around My Family


Tired of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and stuffing? Lamb with mint jelly not your thing? Same. That's why I'm so grateful for my family's hodgepodge of Scandinavian (tack Mama!) and Belgian (merci Papa!) dishes that make holidays at our house feel both festive and a little exotic. And don't worry, it's not yet another spin on Brussels sprouts (even if they are one of my favorite side dishes of all time.)

These recipes are a healthier spin on my family's traditions, and as always; simple to recreate. Here are 3 ideas to add a little global flare to your holiday fare this year!



24 meatballs / 8 servings

Swedish meatballs are traditionally pretty rich thanks to a creamy mushroom gravy and are often served over egg noodles. To lighten things up, this recipe swaps out sour cream for Greek yogurt and you can use whatever meat you prefer.



  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 2 pounds lean ground chicken, turkey, pork or grass-fed beef. Or a blend of your favorites!
  • 1/2 cup coarsely ground gluten-free breadcrumbs , or make your own 
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  • 1/4 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour 
  • 4 cups beef, chicken, or turkey stock
  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt


  1. Sautee onion in a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, until onions become softened and slightly translucent.
  2. Mix ground meat with cooked onion, breadcrumbs, eggs, spices, and salt and pepper in a large bowl to combine.
  3. Form about 24 1 inch meatballs.
  4. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan over medium heat until oil is hot and shimmering. Add meatballs about 6 to 8 at a time, so the sides are not touching and the pan is not crowded, and allow them to brown on all sides, flipping to get even browning. After about 5 minutes, remove and place on a plate.
  5. For the gravy, 1/4 cup of olive oil to the pan, over medium heat. Add in the GF flour, whisking constantly, until a golden paste has formed, for about 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the stock in a thin stream, whisking constantly, until the stock has thickened, for about two minutes. Stir in Greek yogurt and a little salt and pepper. 
  6. Stir in all of the meatballs carefully, to coat with sauce. Cook for 10 minutes, or until meatballs are heated through.


8 Servings


Rutabagas aka Swedish turnips aka "swedes" are a part of the brassica family (like swiss chard and brussels sprouts) and taste a little sweeter, and less bitter than turnips. They're LOADED with vitamin C and fiber, plus potassium, beta-carotene and other antioxidants. They're low sugar and also a natural anti-fungal so they're amazing at fighting Candida overgrowth.  


  • 3 1/2 - 4 pounds rutabagas (two small or one large vegetable) // peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons refined coconut oil (or butter)
  • 4 garlic cloves // peeled roughly chopped
  • 1 cup coconut milk (or whole milk)
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Himalayan pink or kosher salt to taste
  • 2 more tablespoons of coconut oil or butter


  1. Heat the coconut oil or butter in a large pan or 4-quart pot, on medium heat.
  2. When the coconut oil has melted, stir in the chopped rutabaga and the garlic. Stir to coat the vegetables, then sprinkle them with salt.
  3. Pour in the coconut milk and bring to a simmer, then turn the heat to low and cover the pot. Cook for 30 minutes, or until the rutabaga is very tender and can be easily pierced with a fork.
  4. Let the vegetables cool with the lid off for about 5 minutes before using a hand blender to whip into a mashed consistency.
  5. Add paprika, additional oil/butter and a little more salt and pepper to taste.


6 Servings // 1 cup of sauce

Although the dill might make this one sound like a Scandy dish (there's a reason I chose it to compliment the others above) this cauliflower dish is a Papa Decleve special...aka my Belgian side. His true recipe involves flour, butter and heavy cream. He also steams the whole head of cauliflower until it's basically falling apart. It's melt-in-your mouth texture but necessitates a good dousing of sauce for flavor, and also removes most of the nutritional value of the cauliflower. To My Natty-fied version is a little less labor intensive, and more nutritious. 


Dill Sauce

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine or chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan pink or other good sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground white pepper


  • 1 large head of cauliflower, broken up into flourets and lightly coated in olive oil
  • A sprinkle of sea salt


  1. Oven roast cauliflower at 375 for 35-40 minutes or until tender, flipping once. 
  2. While cauliflower is roasting, add garlic, wine or chicken stock, lemon juice, and dill to a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and boil for about 2 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat and whisk in mustard and heavy cream. Continue to cook until it thickens, making sure to whisk the entire time.
  4. Remove from heat and whisk in butter pieces one at a time.
  5. Add cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.
  6. Put cauliflower in a serving dish, and drizzle sauce over top. Sprinkle with a few sprigs of dill for garnish