The Ultimate Underrated Anti-inflammatory Diet Foods List You Need to Know
December 8, 2021
top 10 inflammatory foods to avoid
Top 10 Inflammatory Foods to Avoid (Some May Surprise You)
January 21, 2022

Our Top 15 Favourite Vegan and Gluten Free Holiday Recipes

vegan-gluten-free-holiday-recipes

We combed through our social media posts to bring you our list of top favourite healthier vegan and gluten free holiday recipes!

All of these holiday recipes are gluten-free, most are vegan, and some are grain-free or nut-free, so they will be sure to please everyone regardless of allergies or dietary restrictions.

1. Vegan Gluten-Free Gingerbread Men

These gluten free holiday cookies from the Minimalist Baker, are probably the number one Christmas cookie. Decorating gingerbread men is a fun activity for kids over the holidays. Instead of candy you can use dairy free chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and other dried fruits. Dried coconut flakes are perfect for snow!

Ingredients:

  • 1batch flax egg (1 Tbsp (7 g) flaxseed meal + 2 ½ Tbsp (37 ml) water as original recipe is written) or 1 large organic egg
  • 1/2cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4cup almond butter
  • 3Tbsp molasses
  • 1/4cup vegan butter or grass-fed butter -softened
  • 3/4tsp ginger
  • 1/2tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 – 1 3/4cups gluten-free baking flour

Directions:

  1. In a separate bowl make the flax egg by mixing ground flax seeds with water set aside to gel.
  2. Using a stand mixer or eggbeater, mix together coconut sugar, almond butter, softened butter, baking soda, molasses, salt and spices. Add flax egg or organic egg and continue to beat on low.
  3. Add flour and mix together with a spoon to form a dough
  4. Once the dough is formed, chill for at least an hour but preferably overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F.
  6. Sprinkle gluten free flour between two sheets of parchment paper and roll out your dough to about 1/8” or slightly thicker.
  7. To prevent sticking dip your cookie cutter into flour before pressing it into the dough.
  8. Place the dough in the freezer for about 5 minutes to help transfer the cookies onto the parchment lined baking sheet.
  9. Bake for 8-12 minutes until they are slightly browned around the edges.
  10. The cookies will firm up as they cool.

 

2. 3-Ingredient Lemon Almond Cookies

Almond cookies or amaretti are an Italian favourite and often found on a cookie platter served during the holidays. These holiday cookies are super simple to make, and they are gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free.


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond flour -fine
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup maple syrup

 Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees F
  2. Juice and zest the lemon
  3. Mix almond flour, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla and maple syrup in a bowl
  4. Wrap the dough and place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  5. Using a teaspoons, drop spoonsfuls of dough onto parchment lined baking sheet
  6. Press down lightly with a fork in a criss cross
  7. Bake for 9-12 minutes until they are lightly brown on the bottom.
  8. Cookies will be quite soft but they will firm up as they cool

 

3. Thumbprint Amaretti Cookies

If you want to up your Amaretti game, try Eileen’s jam thumbprint almond cookies.  The jam in the middles makes them next level! Sure, to become a favourite for the holidays or anytime.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups almond meal/flour
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar, or coconut palm sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup aquafaba (chickpea water in a can of organic chickpeas)
  • 3-4 tbsp unsweetened strawberry jam

 Directions:

  1. Grease cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. Mix all the dry ingredients together.
  4. Add chickpea water to the dry mixture and mix until you have a homogeneous, using a heavy spoon. The final mixture will be slightly sticky.
  5. Roll mixture between palms of hands into balls (3/4 inch or 2 cm). Yes, it is normal that the mixture will stick to your hands; just wash your hands and continue.
  6. Bake for 7 minutes and remove semi-firm cookies from the oven. Using your thumb, make small dents in each cookie and return cookie sheet to the oven for the balance of 6-8 minutes. Upon removal from the oven, immediately fill the thumbprints with a ½ tsp jam in each cookie.
  7. Transfer to cooling rack and cool completely before storing in an airtight container for up to one week.

Yields 24 cookies

 

4. Vegan Cheesecake Bites

Cheesecake, a rich and decadent dessert saved for only special occasions.  This vegan cheesecake is just as rich and decadent without the dairy and refined sugar. The best part is it is versatile. If you really want to impress your guests pour the cheesecake filling into multiple moulds and add different toppings or flavours into each. Blueberry, cherry, strawberry, chocolate, strawberry chocolate, the options are endless!

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • ½ cup almond flour
  • ½ cup gluten free oats
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

For the Filling:

  • 3 cups cashews soaked overnight or for 30 minutes in hot water
  • 2/3 cups lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 1/3 cup full fat coconut cream

Directions:

  1. In a food processor mix together almond flour, oats, dates and salt until dough forms
  2. Press cheesecake crust into the bottom of one springform pan for one cheesecake or smaller silicon molds.
  3. Place crust(s) in the freezer
  4. In a high speed blender add all the ingredients for the filling starting with the liquid for easier mixing.
  5. Blend until smooth. Taste the filling for correct flavour and texture (sweet, creamy with a hint of lemon)
  6. Pour filling over crust(s) and place in the freezer.
  7. Add topping of choices
  8. Allow to thaw on the counter 5-10 minutes prior to serving or 1-2 hours in the fridge.

 

5. Coconut Flour Sugar Cookies

Another super simple, throw together at the last-minute cookie recipe! These coconut flour cookies from @theconsciousplantkitchen are not only gluten free, vegan and refined sugar free but also grain free. They are best served with a chocolate drizzle or dip. It’s just very important to measure coconut flour precisely.

Ingredients:

  • 200 g coconut flour
  • 4 fl oz. coconut oil
  • 4 fl oz. maple syrup
  • Dark chocolate for dipping or drizzling

Directions:

  • Measure out flour, coconut oil and maple syrup, mix together
  • Wait 5 minutes to allow flour to absorb the oil
  • If your dough is still too dry (as it may be during winter months) add a bit more oil
  • Roll out dough between two pieces of parchment paper
  • Cut with cookies cutters of choices. The dough can be a bit finicky, so I don’t recommend a large or finely detailed cookie cutter.
  • Carefully place cookies onto parchment lined sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 12 minutes.
  • Allow to cool.
  • Melt vegan dark chocolate in a double boiler, such as enjoy life chocolate chips.
  • Drizzle chocolate over cookie or dip half the cookie into chocolate.
  • Allow chocolate to cool

 

6. Gluten Free Gingerbread House

Why make a gluten free gingerbread house from scratch? Because Gluten free Gingerbread people need somewhere to live of course!

Decorating a gingerbread house is a fun Christmas activity for children however, if your kids have dietary restrictions there are not a lot of options. This recipe for cardamon gingerbread is sturdy enough to stand on its own but it’s also gluten free.

All you need is a gingerbread house cookie cutter, melted organic cane sugar to glue the pieces together and some time. A gingerbread house can still look festive without candy. Almond slivers make great shingles, green pumpkin seeds for bricks and dried gogi berries for lights on the house and again dried coconut flakes for the snow!

For the Gingerbread House:

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup cooked lentils
  • water as needed
  • ½ cup cashew butter
  • ⅓ cup granulated coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ⅔ cups gluten free all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

Directions:

  1. Puree lentils in a food processor or high speed blender, use water as needed 1 tbsp at a time
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine pureed lentils, cashew butter, sugar, and vanilla
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together spices and flour
  4. Combine dry and wet ingredients to form a dough
  5. Chill dough in the refrigerator for 10 minutes
  6. Roll to 1/3” thickness.
  7. Use a gingerbread house cookie cutter into components of the house
  8. Bake at 350 Degrees F for about 10-12 minutes
  9. Let cool completely before trying to assemble
To Assemble:

Ingredients:

  • Organic cane sugar

Directions:

  1. Slowly melt organic cane sugar in sauce pot in the stove
  2. Stir constantly so it does not stick to the bottom or burn
  3. Once sugar has completely liquified, very carefully spread sugar on the edges of the cookie house pieces
  4. You will need to hold the cookies in place as the sugar hardens (takes about 30 seconds)
  5. Be very careful as the sugar is extremely hot!
To Decorate:

Vegan Royal Icing:

  • 4 cups organic icing sugar
  • 9 tbsp acqua faba (brine from organic canned chickpeas)

Directions:

  • Using a stand mixer or egg beater beat together icing sugar and brine. Slowly adding the icing sugar so it does not fly everywhere.
  • Place royal icing in a piping bag

Decoration ideas:

  • Slivered almonds
  • Gogi berries
  • Dried cranberries
  • Dried blueberries
  • Chocolate chips
  • Coconut flakes
  • Green Pumpkin seeds

 

7. Vegan Nanaimo Bars

A Canadian Classic dessert, especially around the holidays. This vegan no-bake version works for a dessert tray or as an edible gift.

For the Chocolate Coconut Crust:

  • 1 cup packed, soft pitted dates (220 g)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (25 g)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened fine shredded coconut (50 g)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or walnut pieces (60 g)

For the Filling:

  • 1 cup raw cashews (140 g)
  • 1/4 cup + 3 tbsp thick and creamy full-fat coconut milk (105 g)
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil (45 g, measured solid)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (85 g)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the Ganache:

  • ½ cup dairy free chocolate chip
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter (optional but prevents chocolate cracking when sliced)

Directions:

  1. Soak cashews overnight or for 30 minutes in hot water
  2. Prepare a standard sized loaf pan with parchment paper. Ensure flaps are sticking out over the sides
  3. In a food processor, process all crust ingredients until crumbs form.
  4. Press crumbs, into pan. Place in the freezer
  5. In a highspeed blender, blend the filling ingredients until smooth and then pour over frozen crust.
  6. Place in the freezer once again for 1-2 hours until set.
  7. Once filling has set, then melt chocolate over a double boiler
  8. Stir in vegan butter if using
  9. Pour chocolate over the filling and spread evenly
  10. Allow chocolate to cool in the fridge for 20-25 minutes
  11. Using a knife gently separate bar from the pan and then use the flaps of parchment to gently pull it out.
  12. Place on a cutting board and carefully cut into squares
  13. Store in the fridge or freezer. If frozen they will be need to thawed for 10 minutes prior to serving.

 

8. Homemade Vegan Turtles

Mmm…I love turtles! Clever advertising has made this chocolate a holiday classic. However, you can also easily make a healthier version of turtles at home by following this easy vegan turtles recipe.

vegan-turtles

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup packed, soft pitted dates
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free chocolate chips or finely chopped dark chocolate
  • 2/3 cup raw pecans halves (48 halves)

Directions:

  1. Add the dates and sea salt to a food processor and blend until it forms a dough ball. Add warm water if needed.
  2. Roll date caramel into 16 balls and lay on a sheet of parchment, flatten slightly
  3. Press 3 pecan halves in date balls with the ends sticking out
  4. Melt chocolate in a double boiler
  5. Pour melted chocolate over dates and pecan leaving a bit of the pecan ends uncovered.
  6. Place in the fridge (or freezer, if impatient like me) and allow to cool

 

9. Santa Hat Cupcakes

Here’s a simple holiday recipe by Beaming Baker, to add some festivity to your baked goods without a lot of red icing. A fresh strawberry with some coconut whipped cream on top of your favourite mini cupcake recipe. This recipe is also free of all top allergens so it’s great for class parties.


Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups gluten free oat flour. Use only oats for an allergy free version.
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder – not dutch processed
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 cup non-dairy milk oat milk for a nut free option.
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Sift dry ingredients together
  2. Melt coconut oil on the stove
  3. Add remaining wet ingredients
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients
  5. Fill muffin papers 3/4 of the way
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 16-20 minutes.
  7. Once cupcakes haven cooled. Top with some coconut whip cream and strawberries.

 

10. Gingerbread Cake

We’re not done with gingerbread yet! Here is a gingerbread cake holiday recipe with candied oranges and cranberries and a coconut cream icing.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups gluten-free oats
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 6 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 2/3 cups unsweetened almond milk or any other plant-based milk of choice
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp smooth almond butter

Directions:

  1. Process oats in a food processor to make a flour
  2. Add coconut sugar and remaining dry ingredients
  3. Whisk wet ingredients in a separate bowl
  4. Slowly add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix.
  5. Fill 2 8” pans and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes

 

11. Easy Pumpkin Pie Squares

If you haven’t noticed a theme yet, it’s warming spices such as ginger, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice all found in a pumpkin pie. While pumpkin pie is usually favoured more during Thanksgiving it is also sometimes enjoyed during the winter Holidays. These are Eileen’s pumpkin pie squares perfect for easy sharing!

Ingredients: Crust

  • 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 5 – 6 Tbsp melted coconut oil

Ingredients: Filling

  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup organic coconut sugar • 3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions: Crust

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and line an 8×8-inch baking dish with parchment
  2. Add oats, almonds, sea salt and coconut sugar to a high-speed blender and mix/pulse on high until a fine meal is achieved.
  3. Remove lid and add melted coconut oil, starting with 5 Tbsp and adding more if it’s too dry. Pulse/mix on low until a loose dough is formed, scraping down sides as needed. You should be able to squeeze the mixture between two fingers and form a dough instead of it crumbling. If too dry, add a bit more melted coconut oil.
  4. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish and spread evenly to distribute. Then place parchment paper on top and use a flat-bottomed object, such as a drinking glass, to press down firmly until it’s evenly distributed and well packed on the bottom and up the sides.
  5. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and there is some browning on the surface. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Directions: Filling

  1. While the crust bakes, place the pumpkin, brown sugar, white sugar, coconut milk, cornstarch, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Use an electric mixer to beat the mixture until fully blended, smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  3. When the crust has finished baking, pour the pumpkin mixture into it and smooth out the top with a spatula.
  4. Place the pie into the oven and bake until set approx. 50 minutes.
  5. Let cool and enjoy.

 

12. Ginger Molasses Cookies

The fresh ginger and blackstrap molasses give these cookies a bold flavour. Perfect if you love ginger and other warming spices.

Ingredients:

  • 200 g @only.oats flour (about 2 scant cups)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup black strap molasses
  • 1/2 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 pinch white pepper
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 2-3 tbsp coconut sugar for rolling in the dough

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Mix all dry ingredients together
  3. Add maple syrup, molasses and mix thoroughly.
  4. Roll dough in balls and dip into coconut sugar
  5. Place on to parchment lined baking sheet and slightly flatten.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes. Cookies will crisp up as they cool.

You can substitute for fancy molasses if you don’t like that strong molasses flavour. However blackstrap molasses is full of iron and other good minerals.

 

13. Dairy Free Instant Hot Chocolate

If you are out playing the snow or visiting a Christmas tree farm you may find yourself craving a hot chocolate when you come inside. My kids always love hot chocolate, but they hate waiting for it (they aren’t aware that hot chocolate comes in a package).

dairy-free-hot-chocolate

Here is a quick hot chocolate recipe by minimalist baker, perfect for impatient kids!

Hot Chocolate:

  • 2 Tbsp coconut milk powder
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (
  • 2-3 tsp Coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 – 1 ¼ cup hot water

Directions:

  1. Whisk dry ingredients together
  2. Add hot water and continue to whisk ensuring there are no lumps
  3. Add more cinnamon or sugar if needed
  4. Top wit coconut whip cream and grated chocolate if desired

 

14. Gluten Free Vegan Lemon Loaf 

Modified from @minimalistbaker.com, this is the perfect Christmas tea loaf! 

gluten-free-lemon-loaf

Cake Ingredients:  

  • 3-4 Tbsp lemon zest (~3 ½ large lemons)
  • 4 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil (or other neutral oil)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 3/4 cup potato starch (not potato flour)
  • 1/3 cup arrowroot starch
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt

 Glaze Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ tsp lemon zest (zest from ~1/2 a large lemon as original recipe is written)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 ¼ cup organic powdered sugar, sifted (to reduce clumps)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and line a standard-size loaf pan with parchment paper.
  2. To a large mixing bowl, add lemon zest, lemon juice, applesauce, avocado oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract and whisk to combine.
  3. Add almond flour, potato starch, arrowroot starch, baking powder, and sea salt and whisk again until well incorporated and no lumps remain. The texture should be thick.
  4. Scoop the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread it out evenly with a spatula. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Let the cake cool completely in the pan — about 1 hour.
  6. While the cake cools, make the glaze. Zest lemon and set aside. Whisk together vanilla extract and lemon juice, then begin adding sifted powdered sugar 1/4 cup (28 g) at a time, mixing until no lumps remain. Once all the powdered sugar is added, add zest and mix once more. Set aside.
  7. Once the cake is completely cooled, remove from the pan and gently remove parchment paper. Place on a serving plate and, starting near one end of the cake, slowly pour glaze over the cake, letting it drizzle down the edges slightly.
  8. Enjoy immediately. Store leftovers covered at room temperature for up to 2-3 days (best within the first 1-2 days). Cake can be frozen for up to 1 month, ideally without glaze. Let thaw before slicing.

 

15. Mini Carrot muffins, grain-free (and almost sugar-free!)

These mini carrot muffins are grain-free, which makes them gluten-free, and barely have any sugar; just 1/4 cup coconut palm sugar for the whole recipe. These muffins taste great and are suitable for anyone, but especially for those who cannot tolerate fiber, gluten, and need to have low-sugar sweets.

Ingredients:   

  • 3 large organic eggs
  • 1 cup cooked carrot puree
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ cup coconut palm sugar
  • 2 ¼ cup almond flour
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees
  2. Whisk together eggs, carrot puree, olive oil, sugar, spices and vanilla
  3. Slowly add almond flour and mix batter together until smooth
  4. Sprinkle baking soda over the batter and then add apple cider vinegar over top to create a chemical reaction. Fold evenly into batter
  5. Pour into mini muffin trays using muffin liners or a silicon muffin pan greased with coconut oil
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  7. The muffins will be slightly moist in the center but will firm up as it cools
  8. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

 

Healthier desserts made with whole ingredients means that blood sugar will remain stable. This means you can avoid the holiday crash.

Desserts that contain protein and healthy fats are more filling, meaning you will be satisfied with less. Further, the spices featured in many of these desserts have anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties. They aid with digestion and help to gently increase circulation, keeping you warm during these colder months.

Wishing you all Happy & Healthy Holidays!

***************

Certified Nutritionists, Eileen Fauster and Kirsten Colella, are always creating delicious healthy meals, including healthier vegan and gluten free holiday recipes! Follow our Instagram page for healthy recipes all year long: @essentialbalanceholistic

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Looking for a deal? Browse Current Specials.