10 Healthy Thanksgiving Sides That Won't Make You Miss Stuffing (Maybe)

Updated 11/21/18

Looking back, it seems as though Thanksgiving lasted approximately five minutes, so the fact that tomorrow is Thanksgiving feels a bit like a time warp. And unless you've never celebrating Thanksgiving before, you know one of the hallmarks of the holiday is indulging in, how to put it, all the food. And you know what? There's nothing wrong with that.

But there's also nothing wrong with wanting to partake in a healthier Thanksgiving meal. Enter: These healthy Thanksgiving sides, tried-and-tested by nutritionist. They're a delicious way to serve up the flavors of Thanksgiving—without the potentially bloat-inducing, butter- and cream-soaked ingredients typically found in Thanksgiving sides. "A great way to provide healthy alternatives to traditional Thanksgiving sides is to replace inflammatory ingredients and nutrient-poor ingredients in the traditional side dishes," Jennie Miremadi, MS, CNS, LDN of Jennifer Miremadi Nutrition, says. These recipes do just that, without sacrificing flavor. Check them out below.

Bone Broth Mashed Potatoes

Bone broth mashed potatoes
Bonafide Provisions

This dairy-free mashed potato recipe from Sharon Brown, certified clinical nutritionist, nutritional therapy practitioner, and GAPS practitioner and founder of Bonafide Provisions, manages to taste just as creamy as traditional mashed potatoes, without the addition of heavy cream.

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:

2 pounds yukon gold potatoes, washed and peeled

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 tablespoon grassfed butter or ghee

1/2 large yellow onion, diced

3 tablespoons chicken bone broth

1 tablespoon avocado oil

8 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup coconut cream

3 tablespoons grassfed butter or ghee

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Chopped chives for garnish

Directions:

Place potatoes in a large saucepan or pot and cover with one inch of water over their tops. Bring to a light boil over medium-high heat and add two teaspoons of sea salt. Cover and cook potatoes for 25 minutes until very fork tender. Drain and set aside to slightly cool and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

In a large pan over high heat, melt one tablespoon of butter. Add in diced onion and lower the heat to medium-low. Cook for 4-5 minutes until soft. Add in bone broth and continue cooking for 4-5 minutes until the liquid begins to thicken up a bit. Stir frequently. When ready, transfer the onions to the bowl of potatoes.

Add oil to pan and sauté garlic cloves on low heat for three minutes, stirring frequently. Transfer to the mixing bowl.

Mash your potatoes using a potato masher.

Add in coconut cream, butter, garlic, salt, and black pepper and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Green Beans with Crispy Onions and Sherry Shallots

Green Beans with Crispy Onion and Shallots
Jennie Miremadi

Miremadi created this recipe that swaps potentially inflammatory ingredients like gluten and dairy for alternatives like brown rice flour and a flavorful vinaigrette.

Sherry shallot vinaigrette ingredients:

5 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1 shallot

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Himalayan pink salt and ground, black pepper to taste

Directions:

Add vinegar, shallot, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to food processor and combine until emulsified.

Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Set aside until ready to use with green beans.   

Crispy onions and shallots ingredients:

2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced using a mandolin or food processor

1 cup shallots, thinly sliced by hand or using a food processor

2 tablespoons brown rice flour

2 tablespoons olive oil plus more to coat aluminum foil-lined baking sheet

Himalayan pink salt and ground, black pepper to taste

Crispy onion and shallots directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Add onions, shallots, brown rice flour, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and salt and pepper to a mixing bowl and toss to coat onions and shallots.

Add onion-shallot mixture to an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet that has been prepared with olive oil and place in the oven. Bake onions and shallots for about 45 minutes, or until crispy and golden, tossing occasionally while baking.

Remove onion-shallot mixture from oven and adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Caramelized Carrots

Caramelized carrots
Photo by Dana DeVolk on Unsplash

Just a small amount of brown sugar is used to caramelize the carrots in this recipe from lana Muhlstein, MS, RDN and co-creator of the 2B Mindset. She recommends picking up tri-colored carrots for a "pretty twist."

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:

6 cups peeled carrots

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a steamer, steam carrots for 5-6 minutes until slightly softened.

In a small bowl, mix salt, cinnamon, and brown sugar. 

Place carrots on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or tin foil and sprinkle with the brown sugar blend.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until caramelized and fork-tender.

Garnish with a sprinkle of chives or a sprig of parsley.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet potato casserole
Tone It Up

Sweet potato casserole is one of the more delicious and, unfortunately, unhealthy sides of Thanksgiving. Tone It Up founders Karina Dawn and Katrina Scott shared this recipe that's healthy but still tastes indulgent.

Ingredients:

3 sweet potatoes

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup egg whites

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/3 cup finely chopped pecans

Coconut oil spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Wrap each sweet potato in tin foil and poke a few holes with fork.  Bake 60-90 minutes, depending on the size of your sweet potato. Remove from oven and let cool.  

Scoop the inside of the sweet potato out into a large bowl.  With a fork, mash until smooth. Add maple syrup, egg whites, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger and salt.  Stir to combine.

In a casserole dish greased with coconut oil spray, add sweet potato mixture.  In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and finely-chopped pecans. Toss to combine then sprinkle over the top of the sweet potato dish.

Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Serve warm.

Mushroom and Herb Stuffing

Mushroom and herb stuffing
Bonafide Provisions

Stuffing gets an extra dose of nutrients—and flavor—when made with chicken bone broth in this recipe from Brown.  

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:

1 baked loaf of focaccia bread (made from 1 package of Simple Mills Focaccia & Sandwich bread mix)

2 teaspoons Herbs De Provence

1.5 cups diced celery

10 ounces assorted mushrooms (cremini, porcini, shiitake) sliced

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

1 small shallot, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

Pinch of Celtic Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

2 tablespoon butter or ghee

2.5 cups of Bonafide Provisions Chicken Bone Broth

3 tablespoons bone broth set aside for vegetable mixture

Directions:

Bake the focaccia bread the night before according to the directions provided on the back of Simple Mills Artisan Bread Mix Box. Cover and allow to rest on the countertop overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cut the loaf of Simple Mills bread into small one-inch cubes. Spread cubes on a large baking sheet in a single layer and toast in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. This will draw out all of the moisture. (1 loaf of bread will yield approx 5 cups of bread cubes)

While the bread is toasting, heat a large sauce pan over medium heat and melt butter or ghee. Add onions, celery, garlic, shallots, mushrooms, salt, pepper, and herbs de Provence and mix well to combine. Sauté over low-medium heat until vegetables are tender and beginning to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Add in three tablespoons of broth and scrape up any brown bits in the pan, mixing well. Add additional salt for flavor if needed. Remove from heat and set aside. 

After 25 minutes, remove bread cubes from oven and transfer to a large glass bowl. Pour mushroom, onion and celery mixture over the bread and mix well. Once well combined, pour 2.5 cups of bone broth over entire mixture again, stirring again to combine all ingredients.

In a glass baking pan, use a very small amount of olive oil or butter to grease the pan to prevent sticking. Pour entire mixture, including excess liquid, into glass baking pan.

Bake for 40 minutes. Stuffing should look browned and crispy on top. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Cauliflower Puree

Califlower purée
Jennie Miremadi

Cauliflower is the chameleon of the vegetable world—it can be anything, including a low-carb, nutrient-dense substitute for mashed potatoes in this recipe from Miremadi.

Ingredients:

1 large cauliflower head, cut into florets, about 1-inch in size

1 cup organic, full-fat coconut milk (canned, BPA-free, gum-free)  

1 leek, cleaned and chopped (white and light green parts only)

1 teaspoon fresh chives, minced plus extra for garnish

1 tablespoon olive oil

Himalayan pink salt and ground, black pepper to taste

Directions:

Add olive oil to a sauté pan and cook chopped leeks over medium heat until tender and golden. Set leeks aside. 

Next, add cauliflower to a steamer, cover, and steam over a pot of boiling water until tender.  

Once tender, remove cauliflower from heat and add to food processor with coconut milk, leeks, one teaspoon chives, salt and pepper, and process until creamy and smooth.

Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer to serving dish and garnish with remaining chives.

 

Sweet and Savory Pumpkin Soup

Sweet and savory pumpkin soup
Tone It Up

This creamy soup from the Tone It Up creators is packed with veggies and healthy fats—and it's incredibly easy to make. Seriously, you just pop everything in a slow cooker.

Ingredients:

2 cups of pumpkin purée

1/4 cup coconut milk, unsweetened

1/2 cup vegetable stock

2 sweet potatoes, peeled & diced (optional) 

1 cup carrots, chopped

2 tablespoons honey or 2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of sea salt

Pinch allspice

Pinch of nutmeg

1 whole clove of garlic

Optional: Add tempeh, ground turkey or chicken

Directions:

Add all ingredients to your slow cooker (including chicken or turkey, if using). Set it on low to medium heat for 4-6 hours.

When ready, you’ll have a warm, comforting pumpkin soup waiting for you. If using tempeh, warm up and add immediately before serving. Serve with 5 pecans on top.

Baby Kale, Pomegranate, and Delicata Squash Salad

BABY KALE, POMEGRANATE, AND DELICATA SQUASH SALAD
Jennie Miremadi

"I also recommend incorporating roasted root vegetables, roasted Brussels sprouts and delicious fall salads into your meal," Miremadi says. This is her recipe for a Thanksgiving salad that's packed with good-for-you veggies and uses a homemade dressing.

Dijon balsamic vinaigrette Ingredients:

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Himalayan pink salt and ground, black pepper to taste

Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette Directions

Add vinegar, mustard, extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to food processor and combine until emulsified.

Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Set aside for use in salad.

Roasted delicata squash ingredients:

1 nine-inch delicata squash

1 tablespoon olive oil

Himalayan pink salt and ground, black pepper to taste

Roasted delicata squash directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Then, slice squash crosswise into 1/4 inch slices.

Toss squash slices with olive oil, salt and pepper on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet, making sure to coat all of the squash pieces.

Place baking sheet in the center of the oven and roast squash, tossing occasionally, until cooked through and lightly golden, about 20-25 minutes.

Remove squash from oven and adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Set aside one cup of squash for use in salad and enjoy the rest!

Baby kale salad ingredients:

4 cups baby kale

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

1 cup roasted delicata squash

Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette

Baby kale salad directions:

In a large salad bowl, combine baby kale, pomegranate seeds, and roasted delicata squash.

Toss salad with enough dijon balsamic vinaigrette to coat.

Serve and enjoy!

 

Toasted Green Beans and Slivered Almonds

Green beans and almonds
Photo by Jonathan Mast on Unsplash

Green beans are as canonical to Thanksgiving as turkey—but often times, they're made with heavy cream and deep fried onions. Muhlstein gave them a healthy makeover with this wok-fried version.

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon coconut or grape seed oil

2 pounds trimmed green beans

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce or tamari

2 teaspoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons slivered almonds

Heat coconut or grape seed oil in a nonstick wok or large sauté pan over medium heat. Add trimmed green beans for 3-5 minutes or until tender with crispy edges.

Add minced garlic, reduced-sodium soy sauce or tamari and sesame oil.

Sprinkle with slivered almonds.

Maple Balsamic Brussel Sprouts

Brussels sprouts
Tone It Up

Sautéed Brussels sprouts are far better than other sautéed veggies. They're high in fiber and antioxidants, and in this recipe from Tone It Up are given extra flavor with a touch of balsamic and maple syrup.

Ingredients:

4 cups brussels sprouts

2 tablespoons grape seed oil

4 tablespoons pure maple syrup

2 shallots, minced

4 tablespoons slivered almonds

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Directions:

Cut off the ends of the Brussels sprouts and cut in half lengthwise. Steam Brussels sprouts for 5-8 minutes or until tender.

Next, heat up oil in a pan over medium heat, add shallots, Brussels and almonds. Add balsamic vinegar about 4 minutes in. Sauté Brussels sprouts on medium heat for 5-6 minutes.

Add in maple syrup right after removing the pan from heat. Enjoy!

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