2 Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

We all know the classic Thanksgiving staples that are irreplaceable when it comes to making healthy choices. Don’t worry; we’re not telling you to give up your beloved mac’n’cheese or cranberry sauce, but by adding these two fall sides to your plate, you’ll fill up on the healthy stuff so you don’t go overboard on the indulgences. #Balance.

Fall Root & Kale Salad

A colorful and hearty green salad is often left out of the usual thanksgiving meals as we focus on our traditional starchy favorites. But here’s a nourishing salad you can whip up with just a few ingredients that will “wow” everyone.

Salad

  • 2 large bundles of kale (rinsed and dried)
  • 2 cups of diced mixed squash (recommend butternut and delicata)
  • 1 medium/small raw beet (peeled)
  • 1 medium carrot (peeled)
  • 2 medium celery stalks (diced)
  • ⅓ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup pitted and chopped dates 
  • ¼ cup goat cheese * (optional) 
  • 2-3 tbsp of fresh chopped herbs such as rosemary,  parsley , or dill

Dressing 

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard 
  • Salt and pepper 

Before making the salad, drizzle the squash in olive oil and salt. Bake on a baking dish in the oven at 400°F for about 20-30 minutes or until squash is tender. Set aside and allow them to cook. To make the salad, massage the kale with your hands until it is tender, breaking up any large pieces into bite sized portions and set aside. Whisk together the salad ingredients except the olive oil into a small bowl. Slowly drizzle the olive oil in last while continuously mixing. Once the dressing is made, pour over the kale. Then add all of the ingredients except the beet and carrot. Take the beet and carrot and shave small pieces off each with a vegetable peeler over the salad. Lastly, toss all ingredients together. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. 

Gluten Free Wild Quinoa Stuffing

For those craving a filling side dish with less gluten to add on  their Thanksgiving plate, this whole grain mixture hits the spot! By swapping bread for whole grains, you’ll still get all the warm fall flavors with half the carbs. 

  • 1 cup wild rice
  • ½ cup quinoa 
  • 3 cups of vegetable broth or stock 
  • 1 yellow onion (chopped)
  • 3 medium carrots (peeled and chopped)
  • 3 celery stalks (chopped)
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli 
  • 1 shallot (minced)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp each of salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf 

Pour olive oil into a large pot and heat to medium low. Add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic, shallot, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Saute for about 3-4 minutes until the veggies are soft and onions are translucent. Add the rice, quinoa , and broccoli and stir for 1 minute before adding the veggie broth. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce to a simmer and add the bay leaf. Once simmering, cover the pot and cook for about 15-20 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Serve warm and enjoy. 

Lindsey Gass

Lindsey Gass, RD, LD/N is a registered dietitian in Miami, FL. With a bachelor’s degree from Florida International University, Lindsey has years of experience in clinical, sports, long term care, and community nutrition. Lindsey currently works in critical care at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where she provides nutrition support and participates in trauma research. Outside of her career, Lindsey is an avid runner and Nike run club pacer working towards qualifying for a Boston marathon. Follow Lindsey on Instagram at @lin.health for nutrition tips and tricks. Learn more about Youfit’s Registered Dietician