9 Ways to Detox from the Holidays

A new year: a fresh start. Gone are the roasts, the cookies, those glorious hallmarks of the holiday season. We're going healthy (at least for a little while), and we're loving it.

Here are 10 dishes we'll be making all year long -- dishes so good we'll be raising our glasses (of water) to give a hearty "cheers!" Brought to you from the spirited home cooks' community at FOOD52.

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Butternut Squash and Cider Soup

Butternut Squash and Cider Soup

This is a great soup to have in your everyday arsenal. It's sweet, purely flavored and can be made in a flash. The recipe came from Canyon Ranch, back when the Berkshires spa was little known but expensive. Now it is just the latter. I think it's the perfect thing to serve the week after Thanksgiving, when you still crave the flavors but need a break from the heft. The recipe called for a red Rome or Delicious apple, neither of which I found tart enough. I changed it to Honey Crisp or Granny Smith. - Amanda

Serves 4

1 shallot, sliced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
3 cups peeled, seeded and cubed butternut squash
1/2 cup chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
3/4 cup apple cider
1/4 cup light sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/2 unpeeled Honey Crisp or Granny Smith apple, cored and finely diced
Cracked black pepper

1. Heat a medium-size saucepan over low heat. Add the shallot, garlic and 1/4 cup water. Cook until the shallot and garlic are softened, being careful not to let them burn, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the squash and the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the squash is soft, about 20 minutes.

2. Carefully pour the mixture into a blender. Holding the top down with a towel, blend until smooth. Add the cider, sour cream and salt. Continue blending until well combined. The soup can be made ahead up to this point. Place in a clean saucepan over low heat until heated through. Season with additional salt if needed.

3. Ladle the soup among 4 bowls. Garnish with the diced red apple and cracked black pepper. Serve immediately.

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Paul Bertolli's Cauliflower Soup

Paul Bertolli's Cauliflower Soup

This soup might seem plain, but trust us. Paul Bertolli, who was at the helm of Chez Panisse and Oliveto for over 20 years, knows exactly how to make a vegetable become the best it can be. This recipe comes from Cooking by Hand, Bertolli's IACP award-winning book of recipes and essays, and makes for a soup that's delicate, sweet, and smooth as a flannel scarf. - Kristen

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Carrot Avocado Salad

Carrot Avocado Salad

This recipe is from Serious Eats' new cookbook, courtesy of ABC Kitchen in New York City. We loved the technique of roasting some of the citrus before adding it to the tart-sweet dressing, and the smattering of crunchy sunflower and sesame seeds against a backdrop of sweet, yielding carrot and silky avocado makes for a textural combination that keeps you coming back for another bite. - Merrill

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Mujaddara with Spiced Yogurt

Mujaddara with Spiced Yogurt

Rumor has it that Mujaddara is not only good, but good for you too (apparently, the combination of lentils, onions and yogurt wields near magical powers -- especially for women). Whatever its health properties, we love the varying textures and flavors: crisp, sweet onions tangle with fluffy jasmine rice and tiny, plump French lentils that burst happily in your mouth; the minted spiced yogurt adds zip and simultaneously ties everything together. Rivka's nuanced dish is a meal all its own, and its fragrance lingers long after you've taken the last bite. - Amanda & Merrill

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Radish and Pecan Grain Salad

Radish and Pecan Grain Salad

When you write about food, you always have your "foodar" on, as you search for new ideas to write about. So at a recent holiday party at our friends' Rachel and Morgan's, where I was supposedly watching after my two little ones, my foodar went "BE-EP! BE-EP!" when I tasted a grain salad that was served along with delicious roasted turkey.The salad was made with farro, wild rice, quinoa, and barley. The grains were threaded with pecans, raisins, and dried cranberries and the salad was brightened with bits of arugula, radishes, and a wash of sherry vinegar and walnut oil. It was the kind of salad that sounds like a starchy do-gooder, but it has grace and conviction, and you'll want to eat it every day for lunch. Andrew Burman and Matt Monahan, the chefs at Court Street Grocers, who were the caterers that evening, kindly shared the recipe with me. - Amanda

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Dr. Zhivago Borscht

Dr. Zhivago Borscht

We've never tasted borscht this pure and clean. Naked Beet's broth is supremely light, a clear essence of beet spiked with a healthy dose of lemon juice and perfumed with a large handful of dill. The carrots, potatoes and celery bob amongst the ruby shards of beet, so that each mouthful is substantial yet straightforward. We salted the soup towards the beginning so that the veggies would absorb some salinity, and we added plenty of lemon juice at the end. Don't skip a generous dollop of sour cream; when swirled gently into the soup, it lends just the right amount of richness. - Amanda & Merrill

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Kale Salad with Apples and Hazelnuts

Kale Salad with Apples and Hazelnuts

Kale is like one of those friends who you don't think about much, but when you do see him, you're always delighted and a little surprised by how much you like him. This was the case the other evening when I had dinner at Co. in Manhattan. Use any ratio of kale to mustard you like; or use just one kind of green if you can't be bothered buying both. Young greens are best because they're more tender and sweet. Pull the leaves from the stems, then tear the leaves into pieces.A hidden advantage of this salad is that it gets better with a little time to sit and relax. If you make it ahead, proceed through step 1 and let it sit for up to 30 minutes, then finish it up -- and feel both organized and virtuous. - Amanda

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Foil-Roasted Salmon with an Aromatic Jus

Foil Roasted Salmon

This is now my go-to method to cook salmon in the winter and spring, when the weather doesn't always allow us to get to our grill. There are many reasons I love it. First, it is a great method to cook whole salmon if you want to scale up for lots of guests. It is also forgiving - because of the 'jus', the meat stays tender and moist if you let it go a few extra minutes. The jus is flavorful, like a luscious seafood stock that you can dip crusty bread into. Finally, the ingredient list is adaptable. In the winter, it's easy to find leeks. In the spring, you can substitute spring onions and green garlic with their lovely long leaves. I suggest leaving citrus out of this, as it tends to make the jus too sour. - monkeymom

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Cocoa Pear Crisps

Cocoa Pear Crisps

These pear crisps aren't the most obvious "Open House Dish," until you taste them, and then all becomes clear: you don't want to be eating big baked dishes at an open house. You want somewhat light, intensely flavored food that can be eaten out of hand. The flavor of these delicious pears, which are seasoned with cocoa and spices, concentrates as they bake, and you end up with a chip that's warped and brown, like a fossilized pear. Don't bake them too long -- you want crisp edges and slightly chewy centers. Then pile them into a bowl, and make sure you tell your guests they're edible! They'll love you forever. - Amanda and Merrill

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