5 Holiday Meal Prep Ideas that are Actually BOMB (Vegetarian)

How ironic is it that I know nutrition, but if you put a spatula in my hand, the entire house might burn down?

I thought I would spice it up for Day 1 of Fitmas and try out 5 healthy holiday recipes that you can use for 1) weekly meal prep or 2) to bring to holiday parties. I chose my favorite recipes based on overall caloric intake, quality macros, micronutrient-base, difficulty level (it’s easier than making a grilled cheese—its an inside joke; watch the video), and of course they had to be vegetarian for me.

*The recipe below is what I used personally to make the meal fit my standards above, but the source of the original was Maddie Lymburner

2 acorn squash
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
¼ of an onion
1 cup quinoa
1.5 cups vegetable broth
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup pecans
Sprinkle of pepper

I. Preheat oven to 450 F
II. Mix maple syrup and apple cider vinegar to baste the squash
III. Sprinkle with pepper and put it in the oven, flesh side down on a lined baking sheet (oh, yeah, I definitely didn’t do that second part)
IV. Bake for 20-30 minutes.
V. While that’s a’bakin’ find a large pan and cook your onions until translucent on medium-high.
VI. Add your cinnamon and quinoa, stir well
VII. Add vegetable broth and bring to a simmer.
VIII. Once there, turn the heat on low, cover, and wait until the liquid is absorbed.
IX. Add cranberries, pecans, and the rest of your maple & apple cider vinegar mixture
X. Fill your squash with the quinoa

*The recipe below is what I used personally to make the meal fit my standards above, but the source of the original was Mind Over Munch

2 large sweet potatoes, cubed
3 tbsp maple syrup
1.5 tsp cinnamon (ok I used way more than this because cinnamon is my homeboy)
2 tbsp coconut oil

I. Preheat oven to 400 F
II. Cube the sweet potatoes
III. Mix maple syrup, coconut oil, and cinnamon
IV. Toss sweet potato cubes in mixture
V. Bake for 15 minutes in glass dish, covered with foil
VI. Stir and continue baking for 30-35 minutes.

*The recipe below is what I used personally to make the meal fit my standards above, but the source of the original was Food Network

1 cauliflower head
3 chili peppers, sliced
5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Sprinkle of pepper

I. Preheat oven to 400 F
II. Core the cauliflower and cut into florets
III. Toss the florets with 3 tbsp olive oil and pepper
VI. Bake for 30 minutes
V. Cook chile peppers with 2 tbsp olive oil until reduced by half, then add pepper
VI. Mix chile peppers with cauliflower & its ready to go

*The recipe below is what I used personally to make the meal fit my standards above, but the source of the original was Maddie Lymburner
3 cups brown rice
1/2 cup vegetable broth
¼ of an onion, diced
1 butternut squash
½ cup parmesan cheese
Sprinkle of pepper

I.Cook rice according to package.
II. Add onions and butternut squash to a pan on medium-high heat. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until squash is soft. Add water to keep from burning.
III. Transfer ¾ of the vegetables into the blender. Add parmesan cheese, pepper, and vegetable broth. Blend until smooth and creamy.
IV. Add mixture back to the pan and include the rice. Stir together on low heat for 5 minutes.
V. Top it with the rest of your unblended butternut squash mixture.

*The recipe below is what I used personally to make the meal fit my standards above, but the source of the original was Mind over Munch

3 carrot stocks, chopped
3 celery stocks, chopped
3 tbsp garlic paste
4 cups mushrooms, chopped
½ of an onion, chopped
6 cups vegetable broth
1 cup brown rice
Sprinkle of pepper

I. Add garlic paste and onions in pan over medium heat until translucent.
II.Add carrots and celery for about a minute.
III. Add mushrooms and let cook for 10 minutes
IV. Add uncooked rice, pepper, and vegetable broth. Bring this to a boil.
V. Once there, lower the heat and let simmer for 45 minutes or until the rice is cooked.

Here are my ratings of all these recipes. I personally loved all of these recipes, but I’m not used to all of the flavor; I eat all of my normal meal prep foods bland so this was all a treat for me!

Stuffed acorn squash | 4 stars
*I thought this would be my favorite because I have a passion for eating stuffed squash meals. The only reason this didn’t get a 4 star was because after trying the pumpkin squash risotto, it completely stole my heart. This recipe is still bomb.

Maple roasted sweet potatoes | 3 stars
*Sweet potato is my favorite healthy dessert, but I found, after trying this again, that although this is delicious, I prefer my normal baked sweet potato with just cinnamon and stevia and being good to go! This rocks as a holiday side dish for the parties though!

Roasted chile cauliflower | 5 stars
*This one was one of my favorites. It was baked just right. Despite the 5 stars, the only thing I would change is taking out the peppers depending on what style of meal I’m craving that day. I definitely see myself using this as a daily snack even as a replacement for some of my current favorites. This takes the lead as far as current favorite snacks and sides go.

Pumpkin squash risotto | 5 stars
*This was my personal favorite. I’m going to incorporate this into my daily meal plans for awhile now. I think I found my new addiction.

Wild rice and mushroom soup | 3.5 stars
*This recipe is easy to make and tastes delicious. This was the more “bland” recipes of the 5, which I’m used to already with my current meal prep. I could eat this regularly during the winter, but flavor in comparison to the risotto, just doesn’t win for me.

This was so much fun trying out these different holiday recipes! Let me know in the comments which recipes you’re looking forward to trying!


What is Fitmas? Fitmas are daily fitness posts that lead up to Christmas, most relating around the holidays. Expect handfuls of high-calorie workouts and low-calorie meal prep recipes! Subscribe for the daily posts.

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Lexes O'Hara

Lexes O'Hara is a personal trainer and nutrition coach. Her work philosophy is to teach her clients to, "train, eat, and live like a bad ass." Certifications include NASM CPT and FNS.