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10 New Healthy Holiday Side Dishes

by
author image Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN
Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN, is a chef, nutritionist, recipe developer, media personality and award-winning cookbook author. She’s a culinary instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education and frequent contributor to Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine. Her newest book is the second edition of "The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook."

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10 New Healthy Holiday Side Dishes
Jackie Newgent

It’s that time of year! There’s sure to be plenty of good food to be shared with family and friends this holiday season. Celebrate by beginning a new tradition: Fill your holiday gatherings with plant-based goodness. It’s a gift of health to those that you love -- and it can be downright delicious! The easiest way to do this is to serve eye-catching vegetable-, fruit- and grain-based side dishes, like these 10 new recipes. Serve several on your next festive table alongside turkey, ham or any vegetarian entree you choose. Healthy holidays!

1. Citrus and Arugula Salad With Cranberry Dressing
Jackie Newgent

1 CITRUS AND ARUGULA SALAD WITH CRANBERRY DRESSING

A salad is sometimes an afterthought at a holiday meal -- but not if you serve this! It’s festive, for sure. This salad is loaded with amazing appeal, including peppery baby arugula, refreshing orange rounds, fruity cranberry dressing, fragrant mint leaves and crunchy almond slices. Its taste is wow-worthy; its vitamin C content is noteworthy. CALORIES: 120

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in LIVESTRONG.COM’s Calorie Tracker

2. Pomegranate Kale Saute
Jackie Newgent

2 POMEGRANATE KALE SAUTE

A green veggie dish on a holiday table is pretty common. But there’s nothing common about this pretty dish. It’s a super fun way to add greens to your meal -- and super fast. Plus, it’s a double dose of superfoods. Kale is rich in anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anticancer nutrients. Pomegranate arils (seeds) are high in phytonutrients that may play a role in cancer prevention, heart health and weight management. CALORIES: 93

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in LIVESTRONG.COM’s Calorie Tracker

3. Herbed Freekeh and Butternut Squash Pilaf
Jackie Newgent

3 HERBED FREEKEH AND BUTTERNUT SQUASH PILAF

Freekeh is the new quinoa! What is freekeh? It’s roasted, dried, young, soft green wheat. Use it just like other grains. Cracked freekeh takes just 20 minutes to cook. It’s also a nutritional winner -- richer in both protein and fiber than brown rice. Freekeh is also a source of gut-friendly prebiotics. You’ll love it as a seasonal pilaf, or even serve it as a cool salad! CALORIES: 187

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in LIVESTRONG.COM’s Calorie Tracker

4. Roasted Green Beans, Mushrooms and Onion
Jackie Newgent

4 ROASTED GREEN BEANS, MUSHROOMS AND ONION

A classic holiday staple is green bean casserole. It’s often made with canned green beans, canned condensed cream of mushroom soup and french-fried onions from a canister. That doesn’t sound so lovely. So here’s a fresh, preservative-free take on this quintessential casserole. Fresh green beans, baby bellas and red onions are roasted with olive oil to rich-tasting perfection. A sprinkling of blue cheese provides a comforting finish. CALORIES: 125

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in LIVESTRONG.COM’s Calorie Tracker

5. Roasted Carrots With Pumpkin Seeds and Mint
Jackie Newgent

5 ROASTED CARROTS WITH PUMPKIN SEEDS AND MINT

Baby carrots are popular. But jumbo whole carrots are more festive on your holiday table, especially when roasted until well caramelized to bring out their full sweet and savory notes. To top that, you’ll season these big babies with sea salt, cinnamon, lemon and mint, then top with pumpkin seeds, coconut nectar and more mint. They’re practically decadent -- and nutritionally dense. You’ll get a beta carotene burst from just one carrot! CALORIES: 115

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in LIVESTRONG.COM’s Calorie Tracker

6. Gruyere Whipped Celery Root
Jackie Newgent

6 GRUYERE WHIPPED CELERY ROOT

Everyone knows potatoes. But celery root (aka celeriac) isn’t even on the radar for most folks. In fact, many haven’t tried this big, knobby root vegetable. Here’s your chance! To make this potassium-packed root seem familiar, here it’s prepared somewhat like mashed potatoes, but pureed for a nice texture. You’ll notice less starchiness, more freshness and a celery-like flavor. It pairs quite well with your staple holiday favorites like roasted turkey, ham and even Tofurky! CALORIES: 330

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in LIVESTRONG.COM’s Calorie Tracker

7. Maple-Glazed Sweet Potato Steak Frites With Pecans
Jackie Newgent

7 MAPLE-GLAZED SWEET POTATO STEAK FRITES WITH PECANS

There’s definitely no need for separate adults’ and kids’ dishes on a holiday menu – not if you’ve got this recipe! These are like sweet potato fries, but bigger and better. They’re roasted with a just-right amount of olive oil. They’re seasoned with a sweet-spicy-salty combination of cinnamon, cayenne and sea salt, respectively. And they’re then drizzled with pure maple syrup and sprinkled with pecans. Eat ’em with a fork! CALORIES: 297

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in LIVESTRONG.COM’s Calorie Tracker

8. Creamy Vegan Spinach
Jackie Newgent

8 CREAMY VEGAN SPINACH

Comfort and health come together magically in this glammed-up spinach side dish. There’s creaminess, but absolutely zero cream. Rather, velvetiness is from unsweetened coconut milk beverage and a touch of whole-wheat pastry flour. You’ll get plenty of flavor from garlic, lemon and the right amount of seasonings. And extra-virgin olive oil provides richness while boosting absorption of many key nutrients in spinach! CALORIES: 41

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in LIVESTRONG.COM’s Calorie Tracker

9. Sweet-Tart Cranberry Sauce
Jackie Newgent

9 SWEET-TART CRANBERRY SAUCE

Cranberry sauce is one of the most common holiday dishes in America! Unfortunately, it can be loaded with added sugar. So make this sweet-tart version instead. You’ll simply add a bag of fresh whole cranberries to a saucepan with some lemon and orange zest, coconut sugar and water, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. That’s it! By the way, due to its potentially lower glycemic index, coconut sugar can be a better bet than table sugar for people with diabetes or prediabetes. CALORIES: 55

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in LIVESTRONG.COM’s Calorie Tracker

10. Neuchâtel Cheesecake With Cranberry Sauce
Jackie Newgent

10 NEUCHâTEL CHEESECAKE WITH CRANBERRY SAUCE

When can cheesecake possibly help to prevent urinary tract infections and gum disease? When it’s laden with cranberry sauce! Cranberries contain compounds that are considered to be bacteria-blockers. But you won’t need to tout the potential health benefits of this dessert to get anyone to eat it. It’s cheesecake, after all! Though, if you prefer, consider it a sweet side dish! Use of Neufchâtel instead of regular cream cheese keeps it light, yet luscious. CALORIES: 309

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in LIVESTRONG.COM’s Calorie Tracker

What Do YOU Think?
Jackie Newgent

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Do you try to make or eat healthful dishes at holiday meals, or do you toss out all nutrition rules for special occasions? Why or why not? Have you ever enjoyed a vegetarian or vegan holiday meal? What’s your favorite or most requested holiday dish? Please leave a comment below and let us know.

Related: 10 Ways to Reduce Your Use of Plastic

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