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! 

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. 

Lettuce Wrapped Burrito

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!

ground beef
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. 

pico de gallo
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. 

romaine leaves
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. 

Lettuce Burrito
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!

All American Granola Bars (V)

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!

strawberries and blueberries
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. 

granola mixture
Once mixed, form bars onto greased tin foil on pan (recipe makes 6). Bake for 15 mins. Let cool for at least 5 minutes.

Granola Bars preoven
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!

Almond Crusted Chicken Tenders

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). 

Almond mix
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. 

egg and almond
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. 

Almond Chicken  oven
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

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.

Portobello Pizza

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. 
portobello caps
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. 

saute chicken and veggies
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. 

cheese portobellos

Bake for about 10 mins and broil for 2-5 minutes. Watch carefully!

Portobello Pizzas
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! 

Cucumber Wrapped Salmon Sushi Rolls

Cucumber Wrapped Sushi with Caulirice
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. 

peeled cucumber
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. 

Baked Salmon
Salmon: Season with garlic powder, onion powder, sesame oil, pepper, and salt. Bake at 350 for 30 mins. 

Sushi roll
To form rolls, layer veggies and salmon. Roll forward. If cucumbers unravel, use avocado as adhesive.

Cucumber Sushi Rolls
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? 😛