Cook a Holiday Feast: 3 Recipes to Eat Local This Holiday Season

You can eat locally, lower your food’s carbon emissions and save money while serving up a festive holiday meal.


  • Classic Au Gratin Potatoes get a local makeover when you use homegrown potatoes and local cream and cheese.
    Photo By Joe Lavine
  • Rich, earthy Mushroom Bread Pudding is easy to make ahead of time but tastes gourmet.
    Photo By Joe Lavine
  • In most areas, it's easier to find local, free-range chicken than turkey. If you prefer tradition and there's a turkey farm in your area, you can adapt this recipe. Cook turkeys for 15 to 20 minutes per pound.
    Photo By Joe Lavine
  • The holidays are a time to give thanks and celebrate the harvest. Honor our relationship with the earth by fixing a feast that's light on the land.
    Photo By Joe Lavine

We put more carbon into the atmosphere by eating than we do by driving. That distressing news—based in part on how far food travels to reach our plates—has many cooks exploring “low-carbon” diets that call for eating less meat and dairy, and buying local whenever possible. When the holidays approach, it’s tempting to call off any type of diet in the spirit of the season, but you don’t have to. These delicious, low-carbon recipes—crowd favorites at A Spice of Life Catering in Boulder, Colorado—make a solid base for a delicious meal just like Grandma might have made.

Chicken Roasted with Thyme 

Chickens don’t emit huge amounts of methane (the gas cattle produce that contributes to global warming), and they require only 2 pounds of grain to produce a pound of meat, compared with about 6 pounds of grain for a feedlot cow and 3 pounds for a pig. Choose free-range chicken (it’s raised more humanely and is actually more nutritious) and local veggies and cream.

Au Gratin Potatoes 

These potatoes are simple to make and always please a crowd. 

Mushroom Bread Pudding



Finding a local source for mushrooms goes a long way toward lowering your holiday meal’s carbon footprint. 

Pieter Dijkstra is chef de cuisine for A Spice of Life, a green catering company in Boulder, Colorado. 



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