News and opinion

12 Seasonal and Sustainable Holiday Meals

November 30, 2021

Every year we hear of new easy and creative ways to celebrate the holidays more sustainably– from recycling trees, to using no-waste wrapping paper, to more conscious and ethical gift giving– it’s clear that we’re doing our best to be more mindful than ever of our planetary impact during this time of year. And festive feasts should be no exception. 

While seafood can often make special guest appearances during the holidays, it's time to move beyond the traditional shrimp rings or smoked salmon and smear bagels – and instead, reimagine seafood as the star of the season. Seafood is a lighter, healthier, and less carbon-intense protein that works wonders as a holiday highlight when indulgence is all too common. In fact, fish and shellfish dishes are considered an integral part of some cultural traditions. 

And making the right choice for the planet and your party is easier than you think when it comes to seafood. Checking for the MSC blue fish label when you shop is a simple way to ensure that you’re choosing a wild, certified sustainable product.  

The recipes below, provided by local North American chefs, feature 12 must-try seafood recipes for your holiday gatherings that will help you cover brunch, lunch, appetizers, and dinners all while using easy-to-find certified sustainable options.   


Easy Brunch Recipes

Smoked Salmon Brunch Salad

Image and Recipe Credit: Susan Keefe of @Rhubandcod

This dish, which is a bit of a hybrid between the go-to smoked salmon on a bagel breakfast and the classic salad Niçoise, is very quick and easy to whip up. By combining a few easy-to-find ingredients, you can make a brunch for you and a few guests to enjoy after a night of celebrations. 


tuna melt website image

Image and Recipe Credit: Chef Charlotte Langley @ChefCharlotteLangley

Start your day with these crisp and savory buttermilk waffles that serve as the perfect vessel to load up with wild tuna, sharp white cheddar cheese, and fresh herbs. Make this recipe as a decadent breakfast with a fried egg on top or keep it casual as a midday sandwich. Here’s a tip: this recipe is a perfect way to distract hungry kids and get them involved in meal prep. 

Lunch Recipe Ideas

Savory Sole, Artichoke, and Spinach Galette

Savory Sole, Artichoke & Spinach Galette

Image and Recipe Credit: Tamara & Elis of @TheRdCollective

This gourmet-looking puff pastry seafood dish is quick to assemble ahead of time and pop in the oven when family and friends start to feel peckish. Try cooking it with sole – a mild-flavored fish found in Northeast Atlantic and Northeast Pacific waters – or a different MSC certified option of your choice; cod, haddock, and salmon would also work well.  

 

The Ultimate  Tuna & Tomato Carpaccio OceanNaturals_AlbacoreTunaTomatoCarpaccio recipe

Image and Recipe Credit: Chef Dustin J Trani @DustinJTrani

Before you head out the door to purchase last-minute gifts, make this easy three-step salad that’s packed with flavor – and protein – to give you the energy you need to check everything off your list. Use sustainable tuna packed in olive oil to add extra flavor to the heirloom tomatoes. 


Appetizers for Parties

Garlic Kale Crab Stuffed MushroomsGarlic_Kale_Crab_Mushrooms_Recipe_1x1_website

Image and Recipe Credit: Allison Tannis of @DeliciouslyGeeky

These stuffed mushrooms are the perfect bite-sized hors d’oeuvres to pass around your holiday gathering. Fill your favorite mushrooms with kale, parmesan, cream cheese, and crab. If MSC certified crab is difficult to find in your area, try imitation crab – which is often made with whitefish, like Alaskan pollock, that has been flavored and colored to resemble crab meat.  

Fried Coconut Scallops

coconut fried scallops recipe

Image Credit: Joyce Leung, Recipe Credit: Matt Dean Pettit  @MattDeanPettit

We’ve all seen coconut shrimp on restaurant menus but swapping in sustainable scallops is a great way to really impress your guests. Use chickpea flour, gluten free breadcrumbs, and unsweetened shredded coconut for a more delicate coating that won’t leave your friends and family too full to enjoy the rest of the meal. 

 

Seasonal Soup Recipes

Squash Soup with Smoked Alaskan SableFish

squash soup with sablefish_1x1_website

Image and Recipe Credit: Daniela Klimsa @DanielaKlimsa

Nothing beats curling up with a warm cup of seasonal soup when the weather outside is frightful. To make a big splash, top this squash soup with a smoky white fish, like sablefish or cod, to complement the soup’s spicy ginger notes. 

 

Cod & Clam Chowder with Creamy Dashi, Bacon, and Jalapeno

Image and Recipe Credit: Chef Gregory Gourdet @GG30000

Each variety of clam – and there are dozens – has a unique flavor profile. MSC Ambassador Chef Gregory Gourdet recommends using MSC certified Manila or Littlenecks for this dish, and suggests you swap in coconut milk for cream to keep this traditionally heavy soup a bit lighter for a quick lunch or starter course. 


Fun Side Dish Ideas

Crispy Potato Cakes with Herb Marinated Cold-Water Shrimp

Image Credit: Joyce Leung, Recipe Credit: Chef Charlotte Langley @ChefCharlotteLangley

These potato latkes from MSC Ambassador Chef Charlotte Langley make a perfect side dish that guests can garnish to their preference. What is Chef’s go-to topper? Cold-water shrimp. “They may be tiny, but they pack a big punch of flavor with their firm texture and rich, sweet taste.” 


Lobster Double Stuffed Baked Potato

Double_Stuffed_Lobster_Baked_Potato_1x1_website 500

Image Credit: NXTL, Recipe Credit: Chef Charlotte Langley @ChefCharlotteLangley

A fun way to surprise family and friends at dinner is to break away from traditional food pairings and try something more unexpected. For instance, baked potatoes don’t always need to be accompanied by bacon – instead, try an unconventional seafood stuffing using lobster. This recipe works great as a side or a hearty lunch. 


Holiday Dinner Party Ideas

Lemony Sardine Bucatinisardine bucatini_1x1_website

Image and Recipe Credit: Peter Som @PeterSom

While sardines aren’t typically one of the fish featured in the Italian Christmas Eve tradition of the Feast of the Seven Fishes, we don’t think any of your guests will complain if they’re served this light butter, lemon, and sardine bucatini. Be sure to keep your nutcracker handy so you can top this delicious pasta dish with crushed, toasted walnuts. 

 

Poached Halibut with Tomato Coconut Curry

Image and Recipe Credit: Carrie Walder of @WalderWellness

For dinner guests who may be a bit tired of turkey, a rich and buttery fish fillet is the perfect substitute. Halibut works wonders in this recipe; its mild, sweet-tasting flavor pairs well with the bolder flavors found in the hearty tomato coconut curry, making it a great savory dish to serve family and friends.  


Bonus! Cocktail Recipe

Bar Harbor Clammy Mary / Caesar

Bar Harbor Clammy Mary_1x1_Website 2Image Credit: Anthony J Rayburn, Recipe Credit: Bar Harbor @BarHarborFoods

Bivalves in your beverage? You bet. This twist on what could arguably be the best brunch cocktail allows you to customize the level of briny deliciousness you want using MSC certified sustainable clam juice. It also swaps the traditional celery salt rim for seafood’s best friend – Old Bay seasoning! Fun fact for Canadians: the Caesar  is inspired by the hearty Italian dish, spaghetti vongole, which uses tomatoes, and clams, picked for the briny juices that are released from their shell when cooked. 

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Whichever holiday you’re celebrating this season, and whatever fish or seafood dish is on your list, by taking a few extra minutes to look for MSC certified options you can help the planet be a little healthier and happier. Discover how delicious sustainable can be. Bon appetit! 


 

 

 

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