Healthy Holiday Menu from Chef Lindsey Becker of ABC’s The Taste
As Lindsey Becker learned on ABC’s The Taste, everything is about balance. She may be the contestant most recently voted off the reality show, but this graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education — who currently owns her own personal health chef business and works as a private chef and menu planner for families in New York’s Upper East Side— was a fan and foodie favorite for her creative dishes that featured equal parts flavor and nutrition. “Each dish needs to have a variety of components to make it really wow,” she says. She strongly believes in utilizing whole ingredients and local and organic foods in a plant-rich, nutrient-dense diet. But while those judges were tasting only a solitary bite, you and your guests can delight in an entire healthy holiday menu! Because according to Becker, “The holidays are all about bringing loved ones together over some delectable cuisine that they don’t even realize is good for them.” She’s agreed to share with WomensHealth.com some nutritious dishes she’s planning to prepare to impress her own holiday crowd. “These are still friendly on the waistline and ready in a flash, leaving me plenty of time to enjoy the company of my guests… Try making the dessert the night before for a low-stress holiday!”
Here’s her gluten-free — and paleo! — menu plan (feeds 4) along with easy-to-replicate recipes that will feed your friends and family this holiday season:
- Almond flour biscuits
- Salad of delicata squash, pomegranates, apple, toasted walnuts, arugula and endive with maple-balsamic vinaigrette
- Pistachio, parsley and coriander encrusted rack of lamb with charred blood orange reduction
- Decadent chocolate cake with chocolate coconut ganache
*Becker’s Tip: Almond flour is gluten-free, high in protein, low in carbohydrates and low in sugars. Coconut oil, a super food, contains a unique combination of fatty acids that can increase energy expenditure, reduce your hunger, reduce cholesterol and boost brain function. Almond Flour Biscuits Ingredients:
- 2 ½ cups almond flour
- 1 tsp. salt¾ tsp. baking powder
- 2 Tbsp. grass-fed butter (cut into small pieces)
- 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 2 eggs, whisked
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl. With a pastry cutter or your hands, work in the butter and coconut oil until you have a crumbly mixture with the butter and oil evenly spread throughout. Stir in the eggs until incorporated.
- Form into 2 inch balls and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-22 minutes until golden brown.
Roasted Delicata Squash Salad: *Delicata squash is rich in vitamin A and compounds in chili powder can actually boost your metabolism. Ingredients:
- 1 medium delicata squash, rinse
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- ½ Tbsp. chili powder
- 3 cups arugula
- 3 heads endive, core removed, diced
- 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
- 1 small honey crisp apple, diced into ½” pieces
- 1/4 cup toasted walnuts
- 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 Tbsp. real maple syrup
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds.
- Whisk dressing ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper.
- Combine the arugula, endive, pomegranate, apple, walnuts, and squash in a serving bowl. Slice the squash into ½-inch thick half moons. Drizzle the squash with olive oil, chili powder and a generous pinch of salt and toss to coat. Roast 25-30 minutes. Let cool.
- Toss with enough dressing to lightly coat the leaves. Serve immediately.
Pistachio, Parsley and Coriander Encrusted Rack of Lamb with Charred Blood Orange Reduction: *Grass-fed lamb is a significant source of omega-3 fatty acids, associated with decreased risk of inflammation and heart disease. Ingredients: Lamb:
- 2 racks of New Zealand or Australian Grass-Fed lamb, cleaned, French trimmed, and patted dry
- 2 Tbsp. ground coriander
- 1 cup pistachios
- 2 cloves garlic
- Zest of 1 blood orange (or ½ orange)
- 1 cup fresh parsley
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Directions: *Note: Begin step 1 of the blood orange reduction first then come back to the lamb.
- Preheat oven to 400ºF.
- Place coriander, pistachios, garlic, orange zest, and parsley into a food processor. Pulse until breadcrumb-like. Add the lemon juice and olive oil and mix to form a paste. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Season the lamb with salt and pepper. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil until shimmering. Add the lamb fat side down, and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned all over, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Pour out the oil from the pan.
- Pack the pistachio paste onto the top side of the lamb racks. Place back into the pan with the pistachio-crusted side up. Wrap the exposed ribs in a little foil so that they don’t burn.
- Roast for 15 minutes, for medium rare, an internal temperature of 125 degrees F.
- Remove the rack from the oven and rest on a chopping board for 5-10.
- Prepare the blood orange reduction.
Blood Orange Reduction:
- 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 6 blood oranges, halved
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme
- 1 Tbsp. grass-fed butter, cold
- Salt and pepper
- Broil blood orange halves until slightly charred, about 3-5 minutes. Let cool.
- Bring the same pan from cooking the lamb to medium heat and add the minced garlic and thyme. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until garlic is golden. Squeeze the juice from the roasted blood oranges into the pan. Cook another 5-10 minutes until the sauce is reduced and coats the back of a spoon. Strain and whisk in cold butter. Season with salt and pepper.
Guilt-Free Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Coconut Ganache (Gluten-Free): *Cacao beans are rich in antioxidants that can help decrease inflammation and prevent some forms of cancer. Ingredients: Cake:
- 3 cups almond flour
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- ¾ cup raw cacao powder
- ½ cup coconut palm sugar
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 cup coconut milk, full fat
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp. raw honey
Middle Layer Chocolate Ganache:
- 1 can full fat coconut milk, only the thick part at the top of the can
- 1 ½ Tbsp. raw honey
- 4 Tbsp. raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 tablespoons coconut milk, full fat
- ¾ cup Enjoy Life Mega Chocolate Chunks (or dark chocolate chips)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom and sides of two 8″ cake pans with coconut oil.
- Mix together the almond flour, coconut flour, raw cacao powder, coconut palm sugar, baking soda and salt
- In a separate bowl whisk together the coconut oil, coconut milk, eggs, vanilla and honey
- Gently mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients to form a batter. Pour into pans and bake approximately 35-40 minutes. Let cool.
- Spread the chocolate ganache (below) over the bottom half of the cake and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Top with other half of cake, then spread the chocolate frosting over the top and sides of the cake.
Middle Layer Chocolate Ganache:
- Combine all ingredients and stir until smooth. Refrigerate.
- Melt the chocolate chips in a bowl over simmering water. Mix coconut milk with melted chocolate until all is combined and smooth
- Let cool for 5 minutes before icing the cake
Enjoy in good health!