7 Healthy Thanksgiving Sides

7 Healthy Thanksgiving Sides

Cranberry Sauce_ThxSides

By Alexandra Orlan, Guest Blogger

As the holiday season quickly approaches, many people are worried about packing on the pounds. However, with these 7 delicious sides you can indulge without worrying about the calories.

Skinny Spinach and Artichoke Dip with Homemade Pita Chips
Recipe and photo by Andrea Ovard, RD of The Baking Dietitian

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Servings: 4-6


For the dip
4 cups spinach, chopped
12-15 marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
1-1/3 cups plain Greek yogurt
Dash of garlic salt
1/4 cup low-fat feta cheese

For the pita chips
4 whole wheat tortillas (I used flat out wraps)
Olive oil cookie spray (or just olive oil)
Sprinkle of garlic powder
Sprinkle of dried rosemary

1. Chop spinach and artichoke hearts and mix together.
2. Add Greek yogurt and garlic salt and combine with spinach and artichokes.
3. Sprinkle with feta cheese.
4. Place in the oven and cook for 12-15 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Once you’ve put the dip in the oven slice a tortilla into triangle shapes to make “chips.”
6. Place “chips” on a baking sheet sprayed with olive oil spray.
7.  Spray tortilla pieces (on the other side – side facing up with olive oil spray or dust with olive oil.
8. Sprinkle garlic powder and dried rosemary on “chips”
9. Place “chips” in the oven with dip and bake for 4-5 minutes, then flip them over with a spatula
10. Bake them for another 2-3 minutes, until slightly browned and crispy (be careful not to over-bake, they can burn quickly!)
11. Take out your chips and dip and let them cool. Enjoy!

Naturally Sweetened Cranberry Sauce (Pictured above)
Recipe and photo by Kara Lydon RD of The Foodie Dietitian

Makes: 2¼ cups

1 (12-oz) bag cranberries (approx. 4 cups)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup agave syrup
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1. Add cranberries, juice, applesauce, and agave to a medium saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to simmer and add nutmeg.
3. Let simmer for approximately 10-15 minutes until most of the cranberries have burst.
4. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Toasted Pecans
Recipe and photo by Kristina LaRue RD, CSSD of Love and Zest

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Servings: 6

32 ounces Brussels sprouts (about 8 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup chopped pecans
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F; line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Trim and slice Brussels sprouts in half; discarding loose leaves.
3. Toss in olive oil and arrange on baking sheets.
4. Bake for 30 minutes and stir in cranberries and pecans.
5. Continue baking for an additional 8 minutes until pecans are toasted and sprouts are slightly crispy on the edges.
6. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition Information (per serving):
Calories: 130 Fat: 6g Saturated fat: 0.5gCarbohydrates: 18g Sodium: 120mg Fiber: 6g Protein: 6g

Kale, Caramelized Onion and Apple Stuffing
Recipe and photo by Rachael Hartley RD, LD, CDE of Avocado A Day Nutrition


Servings: 8-10

1 lb. 100% whole grain, bakery bread (I used the whole wheat Tuscan pane at Trader Joe’s)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil plus 2 tablespoons
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
⅔ cup chopped pecans, toasted
2 medium apples
10 ounces chopped kale (or 1 bunch, stemmed and chopped)
2½ cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 egg

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cut the bread into large cubes. Toss with ¼ cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper then spread evenly on a large baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes until golden and toasted.
3. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add onion, garlic, fennel, red pepper and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring every so often, until very tender and lightly caramelized, about 10-15 minutes. Add kale, a couple tablespoons of water, and cover. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir every so often and add a few tablespoons of water if it starts to look dry. Cook until very tender, about 30 minutes.
4. In a large bowl, combine kale and bread cubes. Chop apples and add to the mixture along with the pecans. Season with salt and pepper. Spread evenly in a large baking dish. Whisk egg and vegetable broth together. Pour evenly over dressing. Cover with foil or a cover and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake an additional 25-30 minutes until bread is golden and crisped on top.

Sweet and Savory Butternut Squash Risotto
Recipe and photo by Ashley Galloway MS, RD of The Fresh Beet


Servings: 4

1-1/2 cups butternut squash puree/mash (with a dash of cinnamon & clove)
1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic gloves, chopped
1-1/4 cups Arborio rice
4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste


To roast your squash
1. Thinly slice the ends off your squash and cut in half lengthwise. If you have a larger squash or are having difficulty cutting it, cut it in half width-wise so that you’re left with two knobs, then cut each knob in half lengthwise.
2. Remove the seeds and place squash on a lined baking sheet.
3. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over each piece and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 350 for about 25-30 minutes.
4. Let cool (or don’t) and remove peel with fingers or knife. Mash up squash in bowl or puree using a blender, food processor or wand.
5. To re-hydrate dried porchini mushrooms, place mushrooms in a bowl and pour boiling water over. Cover with lid or foil and let sit for 15 minutes.

For the risotto
6. Heat oil and butter in large sauté pan, and sauté onion until translucent (about 5-8 minutes). Lightly season with salt and pepper.
7. Add the minced garlic and the Arborio rice, stirring to coat each grain with oil. Sauté Arborio for about 3 minutes.
8. Add 1 cup of your stock and constantly stir so rice does not stick to the pan. The rice will eventually soak up all the liquid; when this happens, add a bit more stock and stir. Repeat until the Arborio is al dente. Add your porcini mushrooms and the fresh thyme with one of your stock additions.
9. Before adding the last round of stock, add in your butternut squash puree/mash and cook until done. Salt to taste.
10. Serve with sliced scallion and a dollop of Greek yogurt.

Lemon-Rosemary Quinoa Pilaf
Recipe and photo by NYC-based culinary nutritionist Jackie Topol, MS, RD, CSO, CDN

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Servings: 6

1 cup quinoa
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup grated carrots
Zest and juice of 1 lemon, separated
¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds

1. Rinse the quinoa using a fine mesh strainer and then transfer to a medium sized pot.  Toast quinoa for 2-3 minutes until you smell a nutty aroma.  Next add about broth, cover pot with a lid, and bring to a boil.  Once the quinoa has been brought to a rolling boil, lower the heat.  Cook the quinoa about 15 minutes, until just soft but slightly tender.  Transfer the cooked quinoa to a bowl.
2. In a medium sized non-stick skillet, warm the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and salt and cook for 5 minutes.  Then add the rosemary, grated carrot and lemon zest, and cook for 3 more minutes.
3. Incorporate the vegetable mixture with the quinoa.  Add lemon juice and more salt to taste if desired.  Gently mix and set aside.
4. Using a paper towel, wipe out the skillet, then heat on a medium-high flame.  Place the pumpkin seeds in the pan and dry toast until they start to pop, making sure to stir often. Top the quinoa with the toasted pumpkin seeds once they are just lightly browned.

White Bean, Garlic and Almond Dip
Recipe and photo by Amy K. Fischer MS, RD, CDN

Almond Dip_ThxSides

Serves: 6-8

¼ cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves sliced
1 (15 oz) can white beans (or 2 cups cooked)
¾ cup crushed and toasted almonds
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
About 1/4 to 1/2 cup hot water

1. In small saucepan, combine olive oil and garlic and over low heat.  Warm for approximately 2-3 minutes until the garlic just about starts to sizzle.  Remove from heat and set aside for approximately 10 minutes, then discard garlic slices.
2. Place beans, 2/3 cup almonds, lemon juice, cumin, salt, pepper in blender or food processor and pulse until well blended.  Add water until smooth but chunky & thick or desired texture.  If you prefer a thinner consistency add more water.  Add more salt or pepper to taste.  Serve with crudité or coconut oil roasted veggies.

Alexandra Orlan will be a junior dietetics major this fall at the University of Delaware.  She hopes to become a registered dietitian and use her passion for food and health to better others’ lives.

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