9 Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Healthy Recipes

19 November 2015

Sweet potato mash and roasted artichokes on a white plate

Lately, times have been troubling with everything going on in the world (cough cough ISIS). It’s hard not to let the violence getcha down, or feel scared and uncertain for the future. However I also feel incredibly grateful for everything I DO have (freedom, security, knowing my loved ones are safe, a bed to sleep in at night…etc.) and feel that this is a fitting time to reflect and give thanks per the upcoming holiday.

That being said, I’m also looking forward to the holiday because FOOD (duh). You might be wondering- “Lauren how do you enjoy Thanksgiving when you can’t even eat anything- certainly not the turkey, or dinner rolls, or pie.” Well my friends I have two things to say to that:

  1. I never liked turkey to begin with (it’s for the birds ;))
  2. Let’s be honest- the stars of the show are really the side dishes. And most of those are veggie focused. Which are becoming all the rage (when DON’T you see caramelized brussels sprouts on the menu, or order them for that matter :))?

So whether you’re hosting or bringing a dish to a Thanksgiving feast, a surefire way to impress everyone (including yourself) is to bring a side dish loaded with veggies and flavors so on fleek nobody will guess it’s actually good for you. But you’ll know the truth. And you (and your friends’) guts will thank you for it.

Thus I’ve rounded up a few of my tried and true side dish recipes (Meat-lovin’ hubby (MLH) has given two very enthusiastic thumbs up on everything below) plus some that aren’t mine but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed making (and eating). They are of course gluten-free and vegan-friendly, chockful of good for you fiber, protein and antioxidants, which means they’ll help fill you up so you don’t overeat too much of all the other stuff.

Quick Sidenote- I don’t want to discourage anyone from indulging in the dishes they love and look forward to every year. However I’d love to encourage you to just add a little bit more good for you stuff on your plate, or try experimenting on dishes by making simple swaps (olive oil for butter, sweet potatoes for regular potatoes, homemade cranberry sauce vs. canned, pumpkin pie with coconut whipped cream instead of coolwhip… get the idea). It’s amazing what a big difference some small changes like this can make, especially when it involves subbing REAL food for the fake stuff.

Oh and one more very important thing- please know I’m so thankful for you- dear readers! Happy Thanksgiving! 

  1. Crispy Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Maple-Soy-Sriracha Glaze

Crispy roasted Brussels sprouts with maple-soy-sriracha glaze on a plate

Yes- these are as good as they sound. Nuff said.

2. Vegan Whipped Coconut Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potato mash garnished with greens

This easy, six-ingredient whipped sweet potato dish tastes so creamy and decadent thanks to the addition of coconut milk and earth balance that no-one will even know it’s vegan. Plus it pairs exceptionally well with the brussels sprouts (see above).

3. Creamy Acorn Squash Soup

Creamy acorn squash soup in a light blue bowl

This is one of MLH’s very favorite meals. It’d also be awesome as an appy that will help fill everyone up with loads of fiber which could help prevent overeating and signal that full feeling sooner.

4. Roasted Cauliflower Crack

Roasted Cauliflower and Caesar Salad on a light blue plate

The name for this one says it all. So good it’s addictive. But if you’re gonna get addicted to anything, there are far worse choices than cauliflower :). This dish will turn any veggie-hater into a believer. Toss in some golden raises for a hint of sweetness.

5. Oh She Glows Saweet Potato Casserole

Sweet Potato Casserole with Crunchy Granola

I made this last Thanksgiving and got rave reviews from the fam. Scatter some vegan marshmallows on top for that additional wow factor.

6. Baked Chipotle Chedda Mac N Cheese

Macaroni and cheese and roasted Brussels sprouts on a plate

If you have any other guests with gluten or dietary restrictions, they would be in HEAVEN if you made this dish. It’s insanely creamy, decadent and also pairs well with the brussels sprouts (what doesn’t)?!

7. Kale Salad with Miso Dressing

Kale Salad with Miso Lemon Vinaigrette

This salad is super bright, filling and packs a flavorful punch thanks to the miso dressing. It would go well with pretty much any Thanksgiving dish. I like to add marcona almonds and golden raisins for a bit of crunch and sweetness.

8. Maple Roasted Delicata Squash Boats with Kale, Quinoa and Cranberry Pilaf

Stuffed delicata squash boats with quinoa, kale and cranberry pilaf

This guy. Serious crowd-pleaser and seriously easy to make. Don’t believe me? I impressed 10 meat-lovin’ women with this dish here. 

9. Minimalist Baker’s Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake

Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake on a wooden cutting board

Okay so it’s not exactly a side-dish, but the dessert is still pretty clutch. And you can’t go wrong with this insane pumpkin cheesecake which get’s it’s creaminess from cashews, coconut milk and maple syrup. Nom nom nom.