Healthy Thanksgiving Side Ideas

While we know the turkey is the star of the show, the sides are what make Thanksgiving the great culinary production that it is! Yes, the carby dishes like mashed potatoes and stuffing are what everyone goes for, but don’t be afraid to get creative with your veggies so they get the proper attention they deserve. 

Below are a few sides that will actually get people coming back for seconds:

Parmesan Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Oil

Butternut Squash Fries

Pumpkin Spiced Fall Medley

Sweet Potato Wedges

 Happy Thanksgiving! We are certainly thankful for this community of healthy foodies! 

Shepherd’s Pie with Parmesan Brussel Sprouts

Normally, comfort food does not involve kale or carrots but carbs, cream, sugar, and all things that leave us bloated and slightly disappointed with ourselves. But, one of the best ways to keep your diet on track is to put a healthy spin on that comfort food you crave. 

For this shepherd’s pie, we’ve upped the veggies and replaced the white potato for its orange cousin. It certainly is a great, warm recipe for the cool weather and will fill you up without the enhanced belly. 


Ingredients: Bunch of diced carrots, sliced mushrooms, kale, Brussel sprouts, half of white onion, half of bag of frozen peas, 1 1/2 lbs lean beef, 2 large sweet potatoes


Meat and Veggies: Heat a large skillet with olive oil on low. Add onions, mushrooms and carrots first and cover for about 15 minutes. Add kale, diced carrots, and peas.

Season beef as you like (we added garlic powder, salt, pepper, cumin, soy sauce and balsamic vinegar). Gradually add meat to the skillet. Raise heat. 


Sweet Potatoes: Peel sweet potatoes and slice. Bring a medium size pot of water to boil and add potatoes. Once soft, strain and let cool. In a large bowl, add butter or coconut oil and salt. Smash with a masher until smooth.

 

Pie: In a casserole dish, spread out veggie meat mixture. Top with mashed sweet potatoes. Bake for 20 minutes. Broil for 5.  


Brussel Sprouts: Cut Brussel Spouts vertically. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Dip in olive oil. Spread out on an a cooking sheet and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake on 350 for 20 minutes. Broil for 5. 

It’s best if served with a spatula. The smooth sweet potatoes and savory beef compliment each other amazingly that you forget all about those regular, old white potatoes.

Butternut Squash Fries

French Fries are EVERYONE’s Achilles heel. Seriously, who turns down that savory, greasy, delicious side that every restaurant buys in massive bulk? Unfortunately, the fries are usually the tipping point from making your meal borderline healthy to the reason those jeans don’t fit anymore. Even the healthier sweet potato fries still contain a decent amount of carbs (albeit good ones). But we have a solution that cuts the carb count in half while still giving you a nice finger food side. 


Ingredients: 1 medium size butternut squash (makes about 3 servings), olive oil, salt & pepper (other spices if desired).


Directions: Cut the top stem, half squash vertically, and seed. Slice the top half away from the bulb of the squash. Cut fri-like strips out of the top portion. The bulb will produce a more “C” like shape but the final product will all taste the same.


Toss with olive oil and spices. Bake on 350 for about 40 mins. They live up to their name with a great buttery taste that you will definitely make room for on your Thanksgiving table. 

Pumpkin Spiced Fall Medley

There’s certainly a lot of debates going on these days. Yeah, there’s that whole whose going to run the US come November, but the only one this blog feels comfortable taking a stance on is whether you love or hate Pumpkin Spice! 

It’s always great to integrate what vegetation is in season into your diet. It allows you to try new things while possibly introducing some new nutrients into your body. So, we are more than on board with adding some pumpkin into our meals this Fall! That is, if it’s the actual squash and not some chemical that a certain huge chain coffeehouse concoctes.😜

Pumpkin itself is not the greatest on it’s own. It doesn’t contain much natural sugar like sweet potatoes do so you get a very Earthy taste. That’s why it’s frequently paired with signature Fall spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and clove. 

Ingredients: 3 medium size sweet potatoes, 1 smaller size butternut squash, 2 Granny Smith apples, 1 can of pumpkin,  1 can coconut cream, nutmeg, ground cinnamon, clove, allspice, 2 tablespoons of raw sugar, pinch of flour

Directions: Peel and cut butternut squash  in half. Seed and cube. Wash and cut apples and sweet potatoes. Spray a baking sheet and add your fruits/veggies. Bake on 350 for about 25 minutes. You may want to bake apples separately for a shorter time as they can get a bit mushy. 

Open can of pumpkin and coconut cream (I’ve only seen this at Trader Joe’s). Mixture together in food processor (use about 3/4 of can of cream). Add spices, sugar and flour. If too thin, add more flour (same with sweetness). 

Once completed, drizzle pumpkin sauce over fruit/veggies. We made this with unseasoned chicken and added the pumpkin mixture to it as well. 


This combination will definitely get you into the Fall spirit. It’s a nice break from broccoli and Brussel sprouts while still getting your veggie intake. 

Roasted Chickpea Coleslaw

Coleslaw can easily tow the line between healthy and unhealthy. It all depends on how you dress it. We all know mayo gives it the full flavor, but also the full fat content. But this blog’s purpose is to find ways around the bad ingredients without sacrificing flavor. Plus, this recipe adds something unique in the form of roasted chickpeas for added protein and crunch. 


Ingredients: 1 can of chickpeas, 1 12 oz pack of broccoli (or cabbage) slaw, 1/4 chopped onion, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, 2 tablespoons of yellow mustards, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of agave nectar 

Directions: Drain and rinse the can of chickpeas. Toss with any desired spices (black pepper, garlic powder, sea salt and nutritional yeast were used here). Bake on 350 for 20 minutes. Broil for 5. They should have a nice crunchy yet moist consistency. 

Toss slaw mix with onion and chia seeds. Add wet ingredients and mix thoroughly. You can add the chickpeas before the dressing or on top of you prefer. 


You’ll find that the mustard and vinegar provide a great tangy flavor, balanced with the sweetness of the agave. Plus the chia seeds give additional moisture once they gel. Makes a great BBQ side or a vegan meal all on its own. 

Grilled Romaine Salad

Now this one had us a bit skeptical. It sounds a little pretentious and something someone attempting to be on top of food culture would serve. Plus, throwing a green on the grill seems like a watery, wilted mess. But, turns out, it’s almost like a new veggie to throw in a sautée. And its size provides a nice base for a warm, wedge salad. 


Ingredients: romaine stalks, 1/4 onion (red used here, any will work), 1/2 red pepper, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 lemon slice, 1/2 avocado. Any protein will work: 2 pieces of bacon, 1 hard boiled egg and 2 slices of ham were used here. 

Directions: Mix the vinegar, oil and juice of the lemon wedge. Cut the romaine stalks in half. Season with black pepper and salt. Lightly distribute the dressing over the half of romaine. 


Once prepared, place romaine on grill. We have used a stove top griller but it will work the same on a normal outdoor grill. The only advantage here is allowing the onions and peppers to cook with the risk of them falling through. 


It’s best to cut piece by piece. It definitely beats a normal salad and serves as a good healthy option for summer grilling. 

Coconut Shrimp with Mango Salsa

If you can’t afford to take a trip to a tropical island this summer, bring the tropical island to your plate! This is sweet, spicy and just the type of meal to fill you up without sacrificing your summer body.


Ingredients: 24 ounces of shrimp (bought cooked, makes about 7-8 servings), 1/2 cup of coconut flour, 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes, 1 tablespoon of organic sugar, 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds (optional), lemon slice, S&P 

Salsa: 1 mango, 1/2 red onion, 1/2 red pepper, 1 bunch of cilantro, cayenne pepper

Directions: Crack both eggs in small bowl and scramble. Add chia seeds and let sit so they gel. We found that these make a great additional adhesive. 


Mix coconut flour, flakes, and sugar together in separate bowl.

Lightly season shrimp with salt, pepper, the juice of the lemon and a bit of organic sugar. Dip each shrimp in egg/chia and roll thoroughly in coconut mix. Place on baking sheet. Once all are prepared, cover and let sit in refrigerator for at least an hour. 


For the salsa, chop and mix all ingredients thoroughly like shown above. Season cayenne pepper and salt to taste. 


After refrigerating shrimp for at least an hour, bake for 20 mins on 350. Broil for an additional 5 minutes. 

The salsa really made this dish and compliment the coconut well. It’s a tropical mix of flavors while still being light. Unless your pairing it with a rum runner or pina colada. That will rack up your calories a bit more 😜