Just like eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring….throwing a dinner party doesn’t have to mean unhealthy food and drinks! With the right recipes, you can truly invite good health to dinner, and host a memorable and delicious dinner party that leaves your guest feeling both satisfied and nourished.
Our Functional Dietitian, Dana Bosselmann, has curated a sample menu to help you create a tasty four-course meal that’s brimming with health benefits.
Often, dinner parties are associated with alcohol such as wine or cocktails. However, we all know that alcohol can be dangerous to our minds, our health, and even our relationships.
The negative effects of alcohol have become increasingly clear in recent years. This clarity has sparked a new generation of individuals who consider themselves "sober curious." This is a term coined for people who are interested in limiting or eventually eliminating their alcohol intake, for reasons of health and well-being. (This term does not apply to those who may have an alcohol addiction.)
So, what better way to promote good health at your dinner party than preparing some delicious mocktails?
Crisp & Cool Strawberry Kombucha (One Serving)
- 3 Strawberries
- 3 Mint Sprigs
- Juice of 1 Lime
- 1 tsp Honey (optional - try without first)
- Crushed ice
- Organic Ginger or Berry Kombucha
- Mint Sprig (garnish)
In a shaker, blender or or tall glass muddle together the first 4 ingredients - Strawberries, Mint Sprigs, Lime, and Honey.
Then top with crushed ice and organic ginger (or Berry Kombucha).
Add mint spring as garnish.
Rather than preparing the typical greasy appetizers that can leave us feeling sluggish and over-full such as nachos, chicken wings, or heavy dips, we’re going to prepare an equally tasty, protein-packed salad!
This chickpea and black bean jewel salad is extremely flavorful thanks to the onions, fresh mint, and cilantro, but also light enough to leave room for the main course.
“Incorporating foods that reduce markers of inflammation and protect against chronic inflammation such as the colorful veggies in this salad can greatly add nutritional value and goodness to the lives of your guests,” shared Dana Bosselmann, LifeScape’s Functional Dietitian.
ChickPea and Black Bean Jewel Salad (Two Servings)
- Water 2 cups
- Salt 1⁄2 tsp., plus more to taste
- Cilantro, fresh, minced 1⁄2 cup
- Mint, fresh, chopped 1⁄2 cup
- Green onions, whites, thinly sliced 1 cup (about 2 bunches)
- Green onions, greens, chopped 1⁄4 cup
- Black beans, cooked, or canned, 15 1⁄2 oz. drained and rinsed
- Chickpeas, cooked, or canned, 15 1⁄2 oz. drained and rinsed
- Red or yellow bell pepper, chopped 1 ea. into 1⁄2” squares
- Cherry tomatoes, quartered 3 cups
- Persian cucumber, chopped into 1⁄2” squares 1 ea.
- Nuts, toasted and roughly broken 1⁄2 cup
- Lemon juice 1⁄4 cup, plus additional as needed
- Cumin seeds, lightly toasted, ground 1⁄2 tsp., plus additional as needed
- Garam masala 1⁄4 tsp.
- Extra-virgin olive oil 6 Tbsp.
- Heat a medium-size heavy saucepan over medium-high heat and add freekeh. Toast in the dry pan, shaking or stirring, until freekeh becomes fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add 2 cups of water and salt and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, 20-25 minutes or until water has been absorbed.
- Turn off heat and uncover. Place a clean dish towel or paper towel over the pot and return the lid. Let sit for at least 10 minutes. Uncover and allow freekeh to cool for another 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine freekeh, with all other ingredients. Taste and add more lemon juice if desired.
- Serve right away or let sit for up to 1 hour before serving.
The Main Course
The main course is truly the star of the show when it comes to a dinner party. However, instead of choosing a dish that was meat-focused, or carb-heavy such as a roast, or pasta dish, we chose a meal that is still filling and satisfying but offers more health benefits.
Zucchini noodles with pesto and organic tempeh are not only vegan but also gluten and dairy-free so you can be certain any of your guests will be able to enjoy them.
Zucchini Noodles with Pesto & Organic Tempeh (Two Servings)
- 2 cups zucchini, spiral cut or julienned into noodles
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons ghee or unrefined coconut oil
- 1 medium to large sweet onion, diced
- 8 ounces organic tempeh, diced
- 2 tablespoons dairy-free pesto (ingredients & directions below)
(Makes 1 cup (approximately 8 servings; 1 serving = 2 tablespoons)
- ⅓ cup pine nuts
- 1½ cup packed basil leaves
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoons sea salt
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
To create our dairy-free pesto prior to the dish, follow these steps:
- Lightly toast the pine nuts in a skillet over low heat for 5 minutes.
Shake the pan from time to time to make sure the pine nuts don’t burn.
- Place all of the remaining ingredients except the oil in a small food
processor. Pulse a few times to chop the contents.
- With blender or food processor on low speed, slowly drizzle in the
olive oil until a paste has formed. Continue blending for 15 seconds
until the sauce has a smooth and creamy texture
Once those steps are complete, create the main dish following these directions:
- Place the zucchini in a strainer over a larger bowl or in the sink.
Sprinkle it with sea salt and toss to coat. Allow the zucchini to sit for
15-20 minutes to allow excess liquid to drain.
- Wrap zucchini in a few paper towels and squeeze gently to remove any
remaining moisture. Wrap again in fresh paper towels and set aside.
- In a large skillet, melt ghee or coconut oil. Add onion and sauté over medium
heat until translucent. Add tempeh and sauté for 3–5 more minutes.
- Add the zucchini noodles to the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring
occasionally, until the zucchini noodles are tender.
- Add pesto to the skillet. Toss to coat noodles and serve immediately
Tips: If you don’t own a spiralizer, you can find zucchini already prepared as “zoodles” in some grocery stores. Alternatively, zucchini can be sliced or julienne cut. If using ghee, select a brand made with organic butter from grass-fed cows.
No dinner party is complete without a sweet treat for dessert!
Since our focus is throwing a health-focused dinner party, we wanted to choose a dessert that was delicious without any of the unnecessary and unhealthy ingredients, like artificial sweeteners and colors that can leave us feeling unwell.
“Foods such as desserts containing artificial sugar, flavors or colors have all shown to be linked to increases in inflammation in our bodies,” Dana explains, “I recommend limiting or avoiding them completely when creating a dinner party menu.”
Our Carrot Cake Bliss Balls are the perfect compromise for a sweet treat that is still nourishing.
Carrot Cake Bliss Balls (Two Servings)
- 1 cup firmly packed grated carrot (1.5-2 carrots)
- 1 cup pecans
- 1 cup finely shredded coconut
- 2 tbs almond butter
- Zest from 1 orange
- 2 tbs maple syrup or honey
- 2 tbs coconut oil
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- Place all ingredients in a food processor and blitz until well combined.
- Take 1 tablespoon of mixture and roll it into balls. Set aside and continue until all of the mixture has been turned into balls.
- Refrigerate until firmer.
- Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for several days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Get Inspired With The Healthy Kitchen, Healthy You Club
If you enjoyed these healthy recipes and want more to add to your dinner party menus, join the Healthy Kitchen, Healthy You Club!
The HKHYC is a virtual community for those seeking to make real, whole, nourishing food at home - with joy and ease. It is a self-led program, guided by LifeScape’s Functional Dietitian and focused on blending the most recent scientific guidelines into the art of cooking.