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Healthier Holiday Roast Chicken Dinner

Looking for a small, but festive meal to enjoy with family or friends around the holidays? This simple roast chicken dinner is easy to prepare and is also kid-friendly with variations to suit different flavor preferences. Made with organic or sustainably-produced, whole food ingredients, It’s also healthier than most holiday fare!

Menu:

  • Roasted Whole Blood Orange-Ginger or Rosemary Chicken
  • Mashed Fingerling Potatoes
  • Roasted Turnips and Parsnips
  • Sautéed or Lightly Steamed Green Beans
  • Blood Orange-Cranberry Relish

We made this small holiday feast for two adults and two children, and with the orange ginger chicken variation which brought a festive citrusy zing to the meal. Below we also offer a classic rosemary roast chicken variation for those who want a more traditional herby flavor. For larger groups, adapt recipe portions accordingly.

We season all the dishes in this meal with Vervana Salt and Pepper Blends instead of table salt and pepper, which lends nuanced aromas and flavors to the dishes without adding synthetic agents to them (you can learn more about such agents in our Natural Salt vs. Table Salt blog).

Savory Salt Blend is a multi-hued, all-natural mixture of pink Himalayan salt, California sea salt, and French sel gris (gray salt) crystals. Pepper & Juniper Blend combines whole black and white peppercorns with juniper berries for spicy pepper flavor with a hint of citrus pine. Both come with attached grinder for the freshest possible flavors. Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil complements the Salt and Pepper Blends in many of the dishes.

Roast Blood Orange-Ginger Chicken Recipe:

Holiday Roast Chicken Essentials – Blood Orange or Rosemary Olive Oil and Salt and Pepper Blends.

Ingredients:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare the marinade: peel and mince the ginger root, then slice orange into round wheels. In a small bowl, mix about 2 Tbsp of Blood Orange Olive Oil with 1 Tbsp minced ginger root. (For convenience, you may want to prepare the orange for the Blood Orange Cranberry Relish around the same time – see recipe below.)

Drizzle about 1/2 Tbsp of Blood Orange Olive Oil into a shallow glass or metal roasting pan, and evenly spread the oil along the surface to prevent sticking.

Remove the giblets from the chicken*, then rinse the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels. Place the chicken in the pan breast side down. Place an orange slice inside the body cavity with about 1/2 to 1 Tbsp of orange-ginger marinade. Spoon the rest of the orange-ginger marinade over the chicken, spreading it evenly over the entire surface. Freshly grind the Salt and Pepper Blends over the chicken, then layer it with orange slices.

To cook the chicken, place the pan in the oven and roast for 35 minutes, then flip the chicken over and roast for another 35-40 minutes. Time needed will vary depending on the weight of your chicken – ultimately you want to roast the chicken until a meat thermometer inserted in the breast reads 160 degrees F or 165-170 degrees F inserted in the thigh. If you have additional time, you can turn down the temperature and cook for longer, which should result in more tender and juicy meat.

*While the chicken is roasting, you can simmer the giblets in a small saucepan filled with filtered water for about 20-30 minutes to make a stock-base for gravy, then remove the giblets before adding other gravy ingredients. If you have a furry friend with you, they might love to eat those nutrient-rich giblets!

Rosemary Roast Chicken Variation

Ingredients:

Prepare the chicken the same was as above, except use Rosemary Flavored Olive Oil instead of Blood Orange Olive Oil. Simply spread Rosemary Olive Oil in the pan and all over the chicken, then add freshly ground Salt and Pepper Blends. For added flavor, place desired amount of optional crushed garlic and/or onions or leeks into the body cavity prior. Roast at 375 degrees F (or lower), flipping the chicken every 20 minutes, until temperature reads 160 degrees F in a breast and 165-170 in a thigh.

Mashed Fingerling Potatoes Recipe

There’s nothing inherently unhealthy about mashed potatoes, unless you eat them in excess (they are, after all, a higher-carb dish). While we usually like to make mashed potatoes with Garlic Flavored Olive Oil instead of butter, we went the traditional route in this recipe to best compliment the blood orange-ginger flavor of the chicken.

Ingredients:

Fill 3/4 of a medium saucepan with filtered water and bring to a boil. Wash and slice the potatoes into 1″ pieces. You can peel them if you like, but skins-on makes for more nutritious (and easier-to-prepare) mashed potatoes. When the water reaches a rolling boil, carefully add the potatoes to the pan and boil for about 15 minutes. When you can easily mash the potatoes with a fork, drain the water and return them to the stove. Add a few tablespoons of butter and milk or half-and-half to the pan, reserving some to add later, if necessary. Using potato masher or a fork, repeatedly press the cooked potatoes down into a smooth mash. Add more butter and/or milk until you reach desired consistency. Season with freshly ground Savory Salt and Pepper Blends, to taste.

Roast chicken holiday dinner spread made with Vervana crushed blood orange flavored olive oil, Savory Natural Salt Blend, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Pepper & Juniper Blend
From left: mashed potatoes, roasted turnips and parsnips, roast blood orange ginger chicken, blood orange cranberry relish and green beans.

Delectably Simple Green Beans

A green veggie side doesn’t get much easier than this!

Ingredients:

Place beans in a saucepan with about 1″ filtered water and place covered pan over medium-high heat for a few minutes until the water simmers. Steam the beans until al dente (to where they are tender, yet firm, to bite through) and remove from the heat. Drain the water, and place cooked beans on a plate or in a bowl, then toss with a few tablespoons of organic EVOO. Sprinkle with freshly ground Salt Blend and Pepper & Juniper Blend, to taste. Garnish with optional slivered almonds.

Alternately, you can sauté the beans in a Tbsp EVOO over medium heat, stirring constantly until you reach al dente consistency, then season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Roasted Turnips and Parsnips

parsnips
A peeled and sliced parsnip

Why make a side dish of bread “stuffing” when you can fill up on nutritious, hearty root veggies? For this dish, we chose parsnips and turnips, though you could easily add or substitute carrots, radishes, or even beets (which go especially well with blood orange olive oil, as in roasted beet salad). Because turnip and parsnip skins are on the tough side, we opted for peels-off in this recipe.

Ingredients:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Toss all the sliced root veggies in a shallow glass or metal pan with 1-2 Tbsp of EVOO. Grind Salt and Pepper blends over the veggie mixture, to taste, then bake for about 40 minutes, until the veggies are tender, stirring once or twice to ensure even cooking.

Blood Orange Cranberry Relish

Fresh cranberries are packed with antioxidants, making them a powerful health-boosting ingredient for any meal. The problem with most cranberry sauces enjoyed during holiday meals is that they are heavily processed and contain so much sugar, any health benefits offered by the cranberries are cancelled out.

But not this deliciously tart and citrusy cranberry relish…virtually unprocessed and sweetened with a minimal amount of raw honey, it is bursting with fresh flavor and texture. Once you try it, you’ll never go back to sugar-laden cranberry flavored jelly again!