Every year we make huge Thanksgiving meals with great but not so healthy side dishes and desserts. This year, let’s take those Thanksgiving side dishes and give them a healthy makeover.
Here are 3 favourite side dishes that you’ll be pleased to serve this holiday season.
Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole
Everyone loves sweet potato casserole which often acts as more of a dessert than a side dish. All the added sugar and marshmallow topping can make it super sweet and unhealthy for those that need to watch their sugar intake though. By nature, sweet potatoes are, well, sweet. They don’t even really need the added sugar, but some spices can certainly give them a taste boost.
So let’s start with a healthy version that has no added sugar and still tastes scrumptious!
Bake your sweet potatoes until tender. Let cool and remove the skins. You can mash them by hand with a masher for an old-time rustic texture or toss it in your food processor for a smoother texture.
Add a little unsweetened applesauce to keep them moist. How much you add is up to you for taste and texture. Add a few tablespoons of melted coconut oil, butter or ghee along with ground cinnamon, nutmeg and a smidge of salt, to taste.
Transfer to a greased baking dish and top with chopped pecans (optional for those of us with nut allergies). Bake at 375 for approximately 30 minutes until the sweet potatoes begin to bubble slightly and the pecans are lightly browned.
You can make the sweet potato mixture ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to bake. If you do this, don’t add the pecans until you’re ready to slide it into the oven.
Sheet Pan Roasted Parmesan And Garlic Green Beans
Skip the green bean casserole with cream of mushroom soup and crispy onion topping this year and try this healthy version instead.
Line a large sheet pan with foil or parchment paper and set aside. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
To a large mixing bowl, add 1/2 cup of softened unsalted butter, 6 cloves of chopped or minced garlic, 3/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning and a dash of freshly ground pepper. Mix with a large spoon to combine.
Add your washed and trimmed fresh green beans to the bowl and stir to coat with the buttery mixture.
Spread the coated beans on the prepared sheet pan and bake for approximately 20 minutes. About halfway through, stir the beans on the sheet pan so that all sides evenly roast. When done, serve immediately.
For a more tender bean, you can parboil the beans for a few minutes. Drain well, cool and let dry before adding to the butter mixture.
Healthy Cornbread Dressing
There’s no sausage in this dressing which will keep it vegan. You can also make this gluten-free; just use gluten-free cornbread and bread. If you love it super garlicky and highly seasoned, just add more of those ingredients. Taste as you go!
Make your cornbread the day before so that it has a chance to dry out a bit. You want it to be able to absorb all the awesome spices and liquid that you’ll be adding to it. Cube your bread and set aside overnight to dry out, as well.
Lightly oil a 9 x 13 baking dish and set aside. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Chop a large onion, 5 stalks of celery and 5 garlic cloves. Optionally, chop up some mushrooms.
Sauté the onions, garlic, celery and mushrooms until softened. Season with ground sage, salt and dried thyme. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl add the cubed bread. Crumble your cornbread into the bowl and add the sautéd veggies. Add 2-3 cups of vegetable broth, a cup at a time and gently mix to combine. If you like your dressing to be super moist after it bakes, add more broth to the mixture. If you tend to like it on the drier side, don’t add as much broth – totally up to you and how you like the texture.
Make sure to taste your dressing and see if you need to add more sage, salt or other spices.
Spread out the mixture into your prepared baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for approximately 30 minutes and then remove the foil. Continue baking for another 30 minutes or until lightly browned on top and hot in the center.