Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Quinoa salad with chickpeas and cranberries in a a butternut squash hallowed out and a bowl on a dark wooden table

If you have wanted to experiment with healthy side dishes to balance out your Thanksgiving meal, this is a great year to get started! Since this year calls for Thanksgiving to be celebrated with just those in your immediate household, you don’t have to worry about everyone in your extended family’s meal preferences. We have found some great recipes for you to try to make in your Glenwood kitchen! Keep reading to find out more.

Creamed spinach with a wooden spoon in a black bowl

Vegan Creamed Spinach

Creamed spinach is one of my most favorite fall and winter side dishes! But, I know it is far from healthy, so this year I have found a great recipe from Bon Appétit that is vegan and I won’t feel as guilty going for that second serving! This recipe will serve approx. 4 people.

Ingredients:

  • 11 4oz packages silken tofu, drained
  • ¼ cup grapeseed, vegetable, or other neutral oil
  • 8 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 13″ piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
  • 1 chile (such as serrano or Fresno), thinly sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 bunches mature spinach (about 2 lb.), trimmed, torn into large pieces, pinch of Kosher salt

Directions:

Step 1:

Purée tofu in a blender until smooth and the consistency of heavy cream. Transfer to a small bowl.

Step 2:

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Cook scallions, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add ginger, chile, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is softened and mixture is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Working in batches, add handfuls of spinach, letting it wilt slightly before adding more and stirring occasionally, until all the spinach is in the pan. Cover and cook until spinach is wilted and bright green, about 3 minutes. Uncover and reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in tofu mixture and cook until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Taste and season with salt.

Quinoa Salad With Sweet Potato and Kale

A beautiful, richly colored salad that has a fall flavor spectrum is a perfect side dish for your Thanksgiving meal. This recipe from Cookie and Kate is as delicious as it is healthy.

Ingredients:
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (about ¾ pound total), peeled and diced into ½-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 ¾ cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups stemmed and finely chopped curly kale
  • ½ cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds*
  • ⅓ cup thinly sliced fresh basil
Pesto dressing (yields about 1 ½ cups, so you’ll have extra leftover)
  • ½ cup firmly packed fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup firmly packed fresh parsley leaves
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup or agave nectar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Pepper, to taste
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
  2. To prepare the sweet potatoes, transfer them to the prepared baking sheet and toss them with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and arrange in a single layer. Bake for 10 minutes, then toss and bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer, until tender and browning. Set the pan aside to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the rinsed quinoa and broth in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and cook until the quinoa has absorbed all the liquid, about 20 minutes. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and set aside to cool.
  4. To make the vinaigrette, combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until mostly smooth, but with small pieces of herbs still visible.
  5. Transfer the chopped kale to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with a dash of salt and then use your hands to “massage” the kale, grabbing big handfuls at a time and gently squeezing them in your fist until the kale is darker in color and more fragrant, about 15 seconds.
  6. Add the sweet potatoes, quinoa, kale, sunflower seeds and sliced basil to the bowl. Drizzle with about ⅓ cup dressing and gently toss until all of the ingredients are evenly coated. Taste and mix in more dressing if desired.
  7. Serve the salad at room temperature or cold. Leftovers will keep well in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 2 days.

I made this dish and loved it! I added some pomegranate and chickpeas because my husband loves them and served it inside a roasted squash!

Deviled eggs on a wooden board

Devilish Eggs

Deviled eggs are a great appetizer to put out for your family while you finish preparing your Thanksgiving meal! This deviled egg recipe by Ellie Krieger found on the Food Network has the same great flavor, but is in fact healthier!

Ingredients:

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 2/3 cup silken tofu, drained
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, plus more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika

Directions:

  1. Place the eggs in a large saucepan and cover with water. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 9 minutes. Remove the eggs from water and run under cold water for about 1 minute or until cool enough to touch. Peel eggs under cold running water.
  2. Slice the eggs in half lengthwise. Scoop out the yolks and discard 6 of them or save for another use. Set aside the whites.
  3. Place the remaining yolks in a medium bowl and mash with the tofu, mayonnaise, mustard, hot sauce, horseradish and chives. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the corner of a plastic bag and snip off the end. Pipe the yolk mixture into the egg whites. Arrange on a platter and sprinkle with paprika.

Beet salad and apple salad in a concrete bowl on a red placemat

Beet And Apple Salad

This recipe from Food & Wine by George Mendes blends fall flavor and color into a light, healthy salad perfect for your Thanksgiving table!

Ingredients
  • 4 large beets (2 1/2 pounds) 
  • 5 thyme sprigs 
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil (plus more for drizzling) 
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper 
  • ¼ cup apple-cider vinegar 
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 
  • 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish 
  • ⅓ cup salted pistachios (chopped) 
  • 1 green apple (thinly sliced) 
Directions

Step 1:

Preheat the oven to 375°. In a baking dish, lightly drizzle the beets and thyme with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and roast until the beets are tender, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Let cool, then peel the beets and cut them into 3/4-inch dice.

Step 2:

In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar with the mustard. Whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup of oil until emulsified. Add the horseradish and season with salt and pepper; toss with the beets and pistachios. Transfer the beets to a platter, top with the apple and serve.

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