By the time we're done with Thanksgiving leftovers, we wake up and it's December: the season of cheese balls and bottomless cookie jars. Weekends are filled with rich cocktails and endless eggnogs. Forget season's greetings — it feels like all of December is season's eatings. And sometimes we just need a little bit of a break; something refreshing, resetting, and that makes us feel like we're steeled for the giant tub of caramel corn that just arrived in the office kitchen.
Here are a few of my favorite recipes to make me feel a bit better between bites of boozy truffles and roast beef.
1. Puréed Cauliflower Soup with Za'atar and Parsley from Mango & Tomato
While everyone else is trying to turn their cauliflower into rice, D.C. blogger Mango and Tomato steamed a whole head of cauliflower and blended it up into a super-simple soup. Six ingredients and almost as few minutes to make, it takes on big flavors from the herby toppings.
2. Charred Savoy Cabbage with Shrimp, Scallops, and Spicy Cashew Dressing from Tried & True
Add a little luxury to your feel-good meal by using fresh seafood and dressing it up. The roasted cabbage and mushrooms bring big, satisfying flavors, while the cashew dressing takes a creamy hint from vegan tradition and weaves it in with the seafood.
3. Herby Zucchini Chickpea Salad from Chandra Ram
Writer Chandra Ram recently came out with The Complete Indian Instant Pot Cookbook, but she's also pushed out a few great recipes on her website, including this earthy chickpea salad served over lime-spiked yogurt sauce. The dish gives a stew-level of comfort, but without any of the weightiness.
4. Fall Farro Salad with Halloumi and Pomegranates from Love & Lemons
Is this the most beautiful salad on earth? Quite possibly. It's also just the kind of giant pile of vegetables that our bodies need to keep moving and grooving through the darkest months of the year. It calls for a ton of ingredients, but honestly the best part about dishes like this is that they're easy to customize with what you have (and what you actually like).
5. Vietnamese Chicken Salad from White on Rice Couple
Light, bright, crunchy, and fresh: Vietnamese salads of all stripes make for great breaks from the heaviness of holiday foods. This version weaves boneless, skinless chicken into shredded cabbages and herbs, and tosses it with a fish sauce dressing and plenty of little crunchy things (a key to great salads).