What type of New Year’s Eve persona are you? Some of us are the partygoers, intent on making the most of the final few hours of the year. Others, like myself, look forward to curling up in my coziest pajamas with a friend, good book, cuddly pet—or preferably, all three!—for company. There are others still who find themselves somewhere in between, either booking a table for two at a favorite restaurant or hosting a small group of friends at home. Whichever describes your NYE plans best, there’s a common ground we can all agree on. While indulging is par for the course when it comes to celebrating the year to come, I doubt any of us want to wake up to either a sugar or alcohol-induced headache. To help us fend off bad 2022 vibes, I rounded up my favorite (and soon to be yours) healthy New Year’s Eve recipes. 

Remember: restriction is not the goal. My hope is to help you fill your plate with all the delicious and nutritious foods that’ll let you celebrate the holiday in whatever way you please while waking up ready to get after your resolutions. I found everything from mocktails to satisfying mains to small bites bursting with flavor. Get ready for gluten-free goodness (crunchy homemade crackers!), vegan deliciousness (cheesecake!), and veggie-packed apps. 

Something I love about setting the intention to incorporate healthier foods into my diet is the creativity it inspires. When you’re focusing on bringing color and feel-good ingredients to every meal, the foods you create and consume are inevitably more satisfying. You might be surprised to discover how much closer and more connected you are to what you eat. And honestly, that feeling alone is far more gratifying than stressing about calorie counts.

So with abundance on our minds and an excitement to try all the healthy food and flavor combos, let’s dive in. Get ready to wrap up 2021 on a high note and ring in the new year to come.

feature image by Ashleigh Amoroso

Healthy Cocktails

Minty Pomegranate Punch

Why We Love It: Pomegranates are the ever-elusive ingredient that I’m desperate to make the most of when they’re in season. Muddling the pomegranate arils with blueberry and mint balances the sweet and tart flavors beautifully. Trust me when I say this will be the best take on a non-boozy mojito you’ve ever had.

Hero Ingredient: I love the cool and sweet flavor that mint can bring to just about anything.

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Ginger Basil Grapefruit Spritzer from Joylicious

Why We Love It: It goes without saying that New Year’s Eve celebrations have a reputation for being heavy on the booze—but that doesn’t mean your evening has to be. Lighten things up with an alcohol-free sipper that’s all about flavor. The basil simple syrup plays beautifully with grapefruit and ginger. It’s refreshing and hydrating, and you can sip on it knowing you won’t wake up with a hangover in the morning.

Hero Ingredient: When winter hits, I want all of my beverages to involve some element of citrus. The grapefruit juice adds a little acidity and bitterness to give your glass a little bite.

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Healthy Meals & Snacks

Avocado Tartare With Roasted Beets, Basil and Dukkah from The First Mess

Why We Love It: When I’m traveling alone or treating myself to a solo dinner out, without fail, I always order myself steak tartare. Nothing feels more elegant than a minimalist presentation of raw meat plus a raw egg yolk on top. Of course, that’s not something I can or would eat every evening. So when I’m craving a little decadence and know it’s been more than a minute since I’ve eaten something green, enter: this avocado tartare. It just makes sense. The avocado’s high concentration of healthy fats gets punched up with the capers, dijon, and red onion, creating a dish that’s indulgent without feeling heavy. 

Hero Ingredient: The tiniest splash of tamari gives your tartare all the saltiness it needs.

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Easy Gluten-Free Crackers from Dish by Dish

Why We Love It: Sure, it’s just about the easiest thing in the world to buy any old box of crackers and fan them out on your NYE cheese board. But if you’re up for putting in the most minimal amount of effort, you have to make these wonderfully crispy, you-won’t-believe-they’re-gluten-free crackers. Four ingredients. 30 minutes. I’m not lying—make these, stat.

Hero Ingredient: While you’re welcome to use any salt you have on hand in this recipe, opting for herb-flavored salt supplies these crispy, crunchy crackers with amazing flavor. 

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Everything White Bean Hummus from How Sweet Eats

Why We Love It: It’s basically a rule: When hummus is on the table, the party has started. But as we’ve all reached the conclusion that there isn’t anything that can’t benefit from the addition of everything bagel seasoning, the celebrations can’t really begin until you serve this.

Hero Ingredient: While most hummus recipes use chickpeas as their base, this version swaps in cannellini beans instead. Of course, the creamy texture is delicious, but the nuttier, earthy flavor of the white beans is a beautiful match for all the spices packed into the everything seasoning.

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Spicy Edamame from A Couple Cooks

Why We Love It: Edamame has been a longtime favorite in my family. Growing up, my sisters and I loved popping the soybeans straight from the pod into our mouths. (Looking back, it was a pretty savvy way for my parents to work veggies into our regular rotation.) Because edamame is so easy to eat a million of before you realize you’ve made it to the bottom of your bowl, I love that this spicy take helps me slow down and mindfully enjoy every little bean. This recipe also requires a total of only five ingredients. Easy apps for the win.

Hero Ingredient: Garlic chili sauce is a condiment popular in many Asian cuisines. While it’s similar to sriracha, it’s a bit more bright and pungent thanks to the garlic. In this recipe, it’ll give your edamame just the right amount of spice without being overwhelming.

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Sweet Potato Crostini

Why We Love It: Because I can eat sweet potatoes for just about every single meal, I’m always looking for new ways to eat my favorite starchy root vegetable. Well, leave it up to the always-brilliant Camille to invent this low-carb take on everyone’s go-to party appetizer. Thinly-sliced rounds of sweet potato create crispy little toasts that are perfect for any seasonal topping combination you can think of.

Hero Ingredient: It has to be the sweet potatoes. Trust Camille when she says you won’t be missing the bread.

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Tangy Beets With Fennel, Walnuts, and Chevre from Flourishing Foodie

Why We Love It: Beets are one of my favorite foods of the winter season. While they’re not for everyone, I find them to be sweet and earthy. I love that this recipe plays up its flavor with cloves, cinnamon, and a little punch from the red wine vinegar. If you’re looking for a side to serve at your NYE dinner, make it this.

Hero Ingredient: The licorice-y, anise flavor of the fennel bulbs cuts the sweet beets for a winning flavor combination.

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Savory Gluten-Free Galette With Tomatoes and Greens from Holistic Foodie

Why We Love It: If your New Year’s Eve gathering is more of a sit-down celebration than a finger food fête, this galette is the main to make. Galettes are always my go-to when I’m wanting to impress without worrying whether or not my dish will actually turn out. Intentionally rustic, galettes are inherently and beautifully imperfect. It’s basically a close cousin of pizza and one that feels special enough to welcome the new year with.

Hero Ingredient: The vegan, nut-based ricotta gets its distinctly cheesy flavor from everyone’s favorite plant-based source of protein, nutritional yeast.

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Gluten-Free Pumpkin Feta Penne Pasta from The Roasted Root

Why We Love It: While it might not seem special enough to bring to your New Year’s Eve gathering, this isn’t just any old pasta. This dish is creamy, comforting, and cheesy, but more than that, it’s full of nuanced flavor thanks to the addition of caramelized onions and garlic. You heard it here first—pumpkin’s not just for pie, folks.

Hero Ingredient: Speaking of pumpkin. The pumpkin purée makes this the ultimate sweet and savory pasta.

Get the recipe.

Healthy Desserts

Chai Spiced Poached Pears With Mascarpone

Why We Love It: I was at a dinner party the other night where someone served spicy and sweet poached pears. While the presentation was humble, the flavor and all-around impact of the dessert were beyond words. A total of seven ingredients (one being water) makes this just about the simplest after-dinner sweet. And because when you’re working with something as wonderfully delicious as pears, there’s not much that can be improved upon.

Hero Ingredient: Except… mascarpone makes everything better.

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Vegan Gingerbread Cake from Hello Glow

Why We Love It: Think you can’t enjoy gingerbread past December 25th? Think again, my friends. While the blend of nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves gives off distinctively cozy Christmas vibes, you have my permission to bake this cake all winter long. It’s spicy, soft, fluffy, and of course moist (as all the best cakes are). Plus, it’s totally dairy-free, so there’s nothing stopping you from having another slice.

Hero Ingredient: It’s not gingerbread without a little molasses. It’s warm, sweet, and even a little bit smoky, so you might even get away with doubling up on this cake for breakfast the next morning.

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Vegan and Gluten-Free Chocolate Cheesecake from Minimalist Baker

Why We Love It: Surprised to see cheesecake on a roundup of healthy recipes? I don’t blame you. While the dessert usually calls to mind the towering wedges served up at The Cheesecake Factory, this recipe couldn’t be farther from that. The cheesecake-like chocolate filling is made by blending up raw cashews and coconut cream. It’s a vegan twist that’s nonetheless chocolatey, decadent, and totally a dream.

Hero Ingredient: While the recipe calls the raspberry sauce optional, New Year’s Eve only comes around once a year. It’s time to pull out all the stops—this sauce included.

Get the recipe.

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