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!
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.
Happy #tacotuesday! Tacos are not the most unhealthy indulgence, but it’s the shell and certain fatty add ins like sour cream that break the meal and your diet. The good news is the dish is welcoming towards different veggies, so load ’em up!
Ingredients: 16 oz lean ground beef (makes about 5 burritos), 1-2 bell peppers (any color), 1 white onion, 2 avocados, ), 1/2 of tomato, cheddar cheese (if desired), 2-3 stalks of romaine lettuce
Directions: Slice peppers and about a 1/4 of the onion. Place meat in a large bowl and season with cumin, garlic powder, various peppers (chipotle, cayenne and black were used here), cilantro, lime juice and salt. A dash of balsamic vinegar was also thrown in. In a greased pan, sautée peppers and onions until browned. Add meat and dice with spatula. Cook for about 15 mins.
Pick de gallo: Dice about half of the tomato and half of the onion like shown above. Season with cilantro, chipotle and salt. Mix thoroughly.
For lettuce wraps, we have found that it’s best to double up the romaine leaves for support. Plus, it adds to your veggie intake. We have layered the wet ingredients first, followed by the meat and some leftover quinoa, a bit of shredded cheese and finally the diced avocado.
Try to secure an additional romaine leaf on top of the wrap to give it a burrito feel. The final product is hearty and requires two hands. It will make you forget all about Chipotle or Moe’s!
Regardless if keeping a healthy diet or not, we all like a good bar. But the purpose of the handheld treat differs greatly: A snickers bar to appease a sweet tooth, a protein bar post workout, or a breakfast bar when running out the door in the morning. Most bars, however, are pumped full of artificial sweeteners and other harmful additives that sacrifice nutritional value for convenience. That’s why it’s always best to make your own!
Ingredients: 2 cups rolled oats, 2 tablespoons of flax seeds, 2 tablespoons of chia seeds, handful of strawberries, handful of blueberries, 1 scoop of vegan protein powder, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Add honey/agave to taste.
Directions: Soak flax seeds in 4 1/2 tablespoons of water for 5 minutes. Mix oats, protein powder, chia seeds, coconut oil, and flax mixture. Cut strawberries and blueberries in half. Add to mixture. Make sure to mix thoroughly so protein powder is fully dissolved.
Once mixed, form bars onto greased tin foil on pan (recipe makes 6). Bake for 15 mins. Let cool for at least 5 minutes.
You can see that we chose our berries with America in mind. Happy (belated) Independence Day to all our American followers!
While the honey or agave will give it additional sweetness, the berries and protein give plenty of natural sugar so it’s not necessary. These are great in the morning, post workout, or when you just need something sweet. Hey, looks like we fulfilled all three!
We all can agree that we miss fried food. The savory flavor, the crunchy shell it’s encased in, and the lack of silverware needed to consume it all make up the magic that is fried food. But the carbs and oil needed to make that magic happen come with a catch (kinda like a Disney movie). So getting creative is necessary when plain old grilled chicken has gotten old (which it will. After about the first week).
Ingredients: chicken tenderloins, 1 bag of almonds, clove of garlic, 2 eggs
Directions: Process the full bag of almonds and the clove of garlic. Add whatever spices desired (just pepper and salt were used here). Crack eggs in separate bowl and mix thoroughly.
Dip each chicken in the egg and then mix rigorously in the almond mix until completely covered. Place on baking sheet. Once all chicken has been coated, bake on 350 for about 20-25 minutes. Broil for 5 minutes for added crunch.
These were served with sweet potato wedges (recipe below) and salad. Thinking about pitching this to McDonald’s to replace the Happy Meal. Or maybe an Adult Happy Meal. The Amicable Meal :).
Sweet Potato Wedges: Cut the sweet potatoes into wedge shapes. Toss with olive oil, rosemary, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Bake for 30 mins on 350.
Pizza is the end all cheat meal. It’s carbs, dairy, grease, and fat all rolled into a delicious, handheld treat. While many feel like it’s the hardest thing to give up while maintaining a healthy lifestyle, there’s variations that deliver the taste without the trash.
Ingredients: Portobello mushrooms, tomato paste (preferably organic), chicken tenderloins, low fat shredded mozzarella cheese, peppers, onion, kale to garnish
Directions: Scoop out inside of portobello caps (a melon baller was used here), saving the extracted mushroom. Make sure to be CAREFUL while still insuring that a large amount of the inside has been removed. No one wants a holey pizza! Lightly sprinkle with salt to absorb moisture. Bake on 350 for about 15 mins.
Slice peppers and onions. Slice chicken to fit size of portobello cap and lightly season with salt, pepper, and oregano. Sauté the removed mushrooms and sliced veggies first. Once browned, add chicken. Cook for about 10-15 mins.
Once portobello caps have cooked, remove from oven and let cool. Once cooled, spread a layer of the tomato paste on for your sauce. Then add chicken and cooked veggies. Finish with mozzarella.
Bake for about 10 mins and broil for 2-5 minutes. Watch carefully!
It’s important to remember that all bad food is based off of good, nutritional ingredients (like a bad movie derived from a good book)😜. Don’t think about what you’re giving up, but what you can spin into making healthy!
You either love sushi or you hate it. Some people can’t handle raw fish. Some can’t take the helping of rice, veggies, and fish all at one. Well, these are cooked, light and palatable so that even the pickiest of eaters will be lunging for the chop sticks.
Ingredients: .67 ounces of salmon (makes about 10 rolls), 1 cucumber, quarter chopped onion, bunch of grated carrots, whole avocado, grated ginger, soy sauce
Rolls: Cut edges off cucumber. Peel layers of cucumber. Each roll should be about 2-3 “sheets”. For a thicker product, make sure to apply pressure on peeler.
Salmon: Season with garlic powder, onion powder, sesame oil, pepper, and salt. Bake at 350 for 30 mins.
To form rolls, layer veggies and salmon. Roll forward. If cucumbers unravel, use avocado as adhesive.
We have paired it with leftover caulirice, but it will also go well over greens. For moisture, add a dash of soy sauce. The rolls are refreshing and filling. And they will keep you from throwing a dish at the wall out of frustration from keeping a stagnant diet. And who wouldn’t want to prevent that? 😛
Cauliflower is another vegetable that can be the answer to your carb cravings. If you can get passed its rather, uh, flatulent odor while it’s being prepared, cauliflower is able to be manipulated into a variety of forms that can serve as a base for any dish.
Ingredients: Medium size cauliflower head, 2 garlic cloves, one quarter white onion, bunch of carrot sticks, salt & pepper, Food processor
Ground chicken, orangic sweet and sour sauce, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
Caulirice: cut the cauliflower head into florets. Chop onion, garlic cloves, and carrots and add to cauliflower. The cauliflower is a bit bland without anything added to it, so the garlic and onion offer great flavor. Season with salt and pepper. A medium size head should be processed in two loads. Do NOT add any liquid. Mashed cauliflower is another conversation for another time 😜. Place in microwave safe dish. Cook for 8-10 mins.
Meatballs: combine all ingredients (using about 3 tablespoons of S&S sauce) in large bowl and mix. For the breadcrumbs, we used an end piece of Ezekiel bread to keep it safe. Shape into medium size balls. Bake for 30 mins at 350. Broil for 2 mins if desired. Serve with extra sauce on the side.
This dish is yet another example of a balanced meal that does not slack in the taste department. One you master it, Caulirice will be your go to fake starch.
We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The problem is, it’s also at the most hectic time of the day. Mornings tend to consume us rather than us consuming the necessary nutrients to have a productive day. And worse than that, McDonald’s breakfast makes the allure of the drive-through all the more appealing.
But, breakfast prep is possible! These bars (which we could even call “breakfast brownies” due to their mouth watering moisture) are filled with protein and good carbs from an unlikely source to successfully prepare you for the day.
Ingredients: 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and dried (yes, you read that right), 1/2 cup peanut butter, 2 tablespoons of agave nectar, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, 2 scoops of protein powder (vegan used here), 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, 3 apples (any kind), 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, pinch of sea salt
Directions: Dice apples. Sauté in pan for about 15 mins or until a bit browned while adding cinnamon. Let cool once completed.
Once cooled, process all ingredients together (chickpeas, peanut butter, agave, etc.). You should have a peanut butter cookie-like batter (but foodborne illness free!). Pour into greased cake pan (recipe caters to 8×8, but a 12×8 is all that we had available). Bake for 30 mins at 350°.
We cut the bars quite large to give a filling portion for the morning. If using as a dessert (which they are also excellent for), you may want to cut to more of a brownie size.
The bars are packed with protein (about 20 g per bar if you cut in 6’s) and are gluten free and vegan. They are sure to keep you full and fueled for your busy day.