How to have a ‘Berry’ Merry and Wholesome holiday dinner

(NAPS)—Good news for people contemplating all the comfort food the holidays tend to bring: Delicious meals don’t have to be unhealthy. Something as simple as adding blueberries to your menu can mean a little burst of flavor that’s mouthwatering and will keep you on track for a nutritious New Year.

To help, actress, author and fitness advocate Alison Sweeney shares her favorite healthy takes on classic holiday recipes for salad, pork tenderloin and berry baked apples:

Pork Tenderloin with

Blueberry Compote

serves 8


     3 Tbsp. olive oil

     3 Tbsp. shallots, minced

     1 cup onions, brunoise

    ½ cup celery, small dice

     1 Tbsp. garlic, minced

     1 bay leaf

     1 tsp. thyme leaves

    ½ cup white wine

     1 cup wild rice, cooked

     1 cup dried blueberries

    ½ cup Granny Smith apples, grated

     1 Tbsp. tarragon, minced

Pork Ingredients:

     2 ea. pork tenderloin

     1 Tbsp. fresh oregano

     1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

     1 tsp. Kosher salt

    ½ tsp. black pepper


     4 cups watercress, stemmed

     2 cups frisée, torn

     1 cup Fuji apple, julienned

        Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Apple Cider Vinaigrette:

    ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

    ¼ cup apple cider vinegar

     3 Tbsp. apple cider

     1 Tbsp. shallot, minced

        Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Balsamic glaze: for garnish

To make the stuffing: Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the shallots, onions, celery, garlic, bay leaf and thyme, and cook until soft over medium-low heat, about 15 minutes; you want a deep caramelization of the vegetables. Add the white wine, turning up the heat to medium, and cook until the pan is near dry and the wine has almost completely cooked off. Remove from heat and pour into a large bowl containing the cooked wild rice, dried blueberries, grated Granny Smith apple, and minced tarragon. Stir well. Chill and reserve. To stuff the pork tenderloin: Clean off any silver skin from the pork tenderloins and slit the pork lengthwise. Slit each side again so you are opening the tenderloins like a book. Season the pork with oregano, mustard, salt and pepper. Stuff each pork tenderloin gently with about 1 cup of the stuffing and tie like you would a roast. Season again and set aside in the refrigerator to marinate for 2 hours. To cook the pork: Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sear pork on all sides to create nice color. Remove from pan with tongs and place on a rack on a sheet pan. Bake at 400° F for 10 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160° F. Remove from the oven and let rest in a warm area for at least 8 minutes before slicing. For the salad: While the pork is cooking, combine the ingredients for the apple cider vinaigrette. Toss the salad ingredients and dress with vinaigrette. Slice pork and serve slices next to a small salad. Garnish with balsamic glaze.

Blueberry Farro Salad

serves 4

     1 cup freekeh

     2 cups chicken broth

     4 Tbsp. olive oil

     3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

     1 Tbsp. maple syrup

    ¼ tsp. salt

    ¼ tsp. pepper

    ½ cup dried blueberries

    ½ cup toasted shelled pistachios, chopped

     1 apple, cored, diced

    ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

     2 Tbsp. snipped chives

In a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat, toast freekeh 2 to 3 minutes, stirring until fragrant. Add broth and bring to a boil; reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer 20 to 25 minutes or until all liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. In the meantime, in a small bowl, combine oil, vinegar, maple syrup, salt and pepper; set aside. Transfer freekeh to a large bowl. Add dried blueberries, pistachios, apple, parsley and chives. Pour vinaigrette over the mixture, stirring until combined.

Berry Baked Apples

serves 4

     4 baking apples, such as Rome Beauty, Fuji or Northern Spy

    ½ cup dried blueberries

    ½ tsp. ground cinnamon

    ½ cup frozen or fresh blueberries

    ½ cup apple juice

With a paring knife or apple corer, remove cores from the apples with a knife, peel the top half of the apples. In a small bowl, toss dried fruit and cinnamon. Set aside. In four microwavable bowls (each large enough to hold one apple) or a glass pie plate or square baking pan large enough to hold 4 apples, place 2 tablespoons blueberries and 2 tablespoons apple juice. Place prepared apples on top of blueberries and evenly divide dried fruit mixture into the cavities and around the apples. Loosely cover each apple with plastic wrap or waxed paper. Microwave until apples are tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. Allow to cool. Cover and refrigerate, if desired. Serve warm or cold for breakfast, snack or dessert

Eating more blueberries is a little change that can lead to big rewards. With 80 calories per cup, virtually no fat and low sodium, blueberries offer many nutritional benefits.

Versatile blueberries taste great in both sweet treats and savory entrées and can be a great ingredient when you’re entertaining and sharing with family and friends.

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For more blueberry recipes and nutritional info, visit