Healthy Make-Ahead Christmas Recipes

Planning a holiday meal is no easy feat, but make head recipes makes it a whole lot easier. From make ahead Christmas appetizers to make ahead desserts, these recipes are everything you need so you can get your holiday meal on the table with ease.

Staff Picks

Peppermint-Chocolate Greek Yogurt Bark

Rating: 5 stars
4
This eye-catching frozen peppermint-chocolate bark was inspired by Williams Sonoma's Original Peppermint Bark--our loose interpretation of the treat is frozen and made with Greek yogurt, chocolate and crushed candy canes. For the creamiest bark, be sure to use full-fat yogurt, as fat-free yogurt can get icy when frozen. Serve this healthy dessert when you want all those festive holiday flavors in a lightened-up--and totally delicious--package. Just don't stuff your Christmas stockings with this bark because it melts quickly.

Vegan Green Bean Casserole

Rating: 5 stars
1
Now everyone can enjoy classic Thanksgiving favorites, like this dairy-free green bean casserole. We make a homemade vegan cream of mushroom soup using almond milk for the creamy base that's combined with fresh green beans. Top it off with classic french-fried onions (we have a vegan recipe for that, too!) for a side dish everyone will devour.

No-Sugar-Added Cranberry Sauce

Rating: 5 stars
1
Most cranberry sauce recipes add tons of sugar to mask the tart taste of the cranberries. In this simple cranberry sauce, we lighten things up by skipping the sugar and opting for a healthier combination of dates and apple cider which adds just enough sweetness without overpowering the cranberry flavor.

Vegan Scalloped Potatoes

Rating: 5 stars
1
These scalloped potatoes are surprisingly rich and creamy even though they're made with no dairy (milk, butter or cheese)--vegan comfort food at its best. We use almond milk, herbs and spices to make a flavorful sauce and finish the dish with a crunchy almond topping. This makes a satisfying side dish if you're cooking for dairy-free or vegan diets.

Quinoa & Chia Oatmeal Mix

Rating: 4.67 stars
5
Make your own hot cereal mix with this healthy recipe. Keep it on hand and just cook up the amount you need when you're ready for a hot breakfast. One serving of the warm cereal contains 6 grams of fiber--almost a quarter of your daily quota-which helps stave off hunger throughout the morning.

Orange-Pistachio Cookies

Rating: 5 stars
1
For this slice-and-bake cookie recipe, we've knocked back the sugar a bit and used white whole-wheat flour for more flavor, fiber and nutrients. Keep a roll of the dough in the freezer so you can quickly bake a batch if company stops by.

Citrus-Kissed Honey Buttons

Rating: 4.83 stars
4
These citrus-flavored sugar cookies are a lovely addition to any holiday cookie platter.

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Rating: 4.27 stars
4
Here's a simple recipe for low-fat vanilla ice cream. Our version has all the richness you'll need but about 90 fewer calories than store-bought premium ice cream and a whopping 15 grams less total fat and 10 grams less saturated fat per serving.

Lemon-Garlic Marinated Shrimp

Rating: 4.88 stars
3
Marinating precooked shrimp in garlic- and lemon-infused oil is a simple yet elegant appetizer.

Turkish Spice Mix

Make a big batch of this Turkish spice mix to have on hand when you need to whip up a quick vegetable dip or flavorful, easy salad dressing. Or try it as a rub for grilled or roasted meat or vegetables. The spice mix is also perfect to give as a hostess gift along with a recipe card for turning it into a dip or vinaigrette (see Tips, below). For the freshest, most economical spices, head to a store that has a large, well-stocked bulk spice department.

Maple-Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Rating: 4.86 stars
12
In this easy vegetable side dish recipe, sweet potatoes are tossed with maple syrup, butter and lemon juice and are roasted until tender and golden brown. The delicious glaze that forms on these maple-roasted sweet potatoes transform this ultra-simple dish into something sublime.

Chocolate Nut Bark

Rating: 4.91 stars
5
Use your favorite combination of nuts to make this quick and easy chocolate nut bark.
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Inspiration and Ideas

A Traditional Christmas Dinner Menu

Sticking to Christmas tradition, this classic dinner menu features holiday favorites. Many of these recipes can be made ahead of time, so you can spend your evening with family and friends.

Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes with Spinach

Classic scalloped potatoes get a burst of color, heartier texture and a healthy update with the addition of chopped spinach.

"Use a Spoon" Chopped Salad

Rating: 4.57 stars
6

When Paul Newman and Michel Nischan opened their Westport, Connecticut, restaurant Dressing Room, Paul's request was that the menu always include a chopped salad that you could eat with a spoon. This chopped salad recipe is full of great flavors, colors and textures, featuring celery, carrots, red pepper, apple, cucumber, greens, cabbage, goat cheese and almonds. This is great for any holiday meal: you can let it stand and it stays crisp.