IIN Staff Picks: Thanksgiving Side Dishes

November 13, 2019

Image via Shutterstock

Samvida Patel, IIN Content Editor, Class of February 2015

IIN Staff Picks is back – this time featuring a few of our favorite Thanksgiving side dishes! From savory to sweet and healthy to slightly indulgent, we’ve got you covered with eight tried-and-tested recipes to bring to your Friendsgiving potluck/Thanksgiving dinner!

Anne Greco

Dish: Cabernet Cranberry Blueberry Sauce – a creative twist on cranberry sauce!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1.5 cups frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup cabernet sauvignon
  • 1/2–1 cup coconut sugar (or 1/2 cup maple syrup)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in large stockpot on high heat. Bring to rolling boil.
  2. Once boiling, reduce heat, cover, and cook for 20–30 minutes, or until berries have popped and the sauce thickens.
  3. Serve immediately or transfer to mason jars and freeze.

What do you love about it?

It's SO easy, quick, and insanely delicious. It tastes like a specialty dish at a fancy restaurant. And let's be honest, traditional cranberry sauce can often be pretty gross. This adds a full-bodied flavor that tastes good on top of all your favorite Thanksgiving dishes!

 

Jamie Wolff

Dish: Balsamic-Glazed Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Turkey Bacon

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds Brussels sprouts
  • 4 medium shallots (or 2 cloves garlic and 1 small onion)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Spices of your choice to taste (ideas: rosemary, parsley, sage, red pepper flakes, or cayenne pepper)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2–3 slices turkey bacon
  • Pecans or other nuts (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Trim bottom ends of Brussels sprouts and cut in half.
  3. Slice shallots very thinly.
  4. Mix brussels sprouts, olive oil, and spices in a large bowl. 
  5. Arrange mixture in one layer on baking tray.
  6. Roast until Brussels sprouts are deeply charred and fully tender, about 20–25 minutes. Stir a few times throughout.
  7. While Brussels sprouts cook, sauté shallots in coconut oil. Reduce heat and add balsamic vinegar. Stir to combine.
  8. Coat pan with thin layer of coconut oil (using a paper towel or wax paper). Chop turkey bacon and cook in a pan over medium heat.
  9. Drizzle balsamic mixture over cooked Brussels sprouts, add turkey bacon and nuts, and toss to combine.

What do you love about it?

It’s delicious, nourishing, AND fun. It’s packed with different flavors!

 

Miyoung Kim

Dish: Vegan Mac and Cheese with Kale

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces brown rice pasta spirals
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 bunch chopped kale, stems removed
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon miso paste 
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup plant-based milk
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • Gluten-free panko crumbs (if desired)
  • White truffle oil (if desired)

Instructions:

  1. Boil pasta in saucepan. While that’s going, boil cashews and carrot for 15 minutes.
  2. Sauté kale in pan with a little bit of water, until it shrinks and wilts (about 2 minutes). Set aside.
  3. Sauté onions until soft and translucent.
  4. Transfer boiled cashews and carrots into blender with miso paste, flaxseed, milk, garlic powder, salt, and nutritional yeast. Puree until it becomes a nice creamy texture.
  5. Pour over cooked pasta and mix in kale. When all is mixed in and coated nicely, spread evenly on a baking sheet. Add bread crumbs.
  6. Cook at 450°F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle with truffle oil, if desired.

What do you love about it?

Nutritious, delicious, gluten-free, and vegan.

 

Roxi Ocasio

Dish: Harvest Stuffing!

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion
  • Parsley, rosemary, and thyme (or other herbs of your choice) to taste
  • 1/2 cup celery
  • 1–2 organic Gala apples
  • 1/4 cup raw sprouted pecans
  • 1–2 apple chicken sausage
  • 5 tablespoons organic butter, divided
  • Dried cranberries to taste
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 2 packages stuffing mix of your choice
  • 1–2 tablespoons organic turkey broth (so it doesn't dry out)

Instructions:

  1. Chop onion, herbs, celery, apples, pecans, and sausage.
  2. Cook 1 tablespoon butter in saucepan over medium heat and add chopped ingredients and cranberries. Sauté until onions are translucent and sausage is heated well.
  3. Bring water and 4 tablespoons butter to boil in separate medium-size saucepan. Stir in stuffing mix; cover. Be sure to check periodically so it doesn't dry out!
  4. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork.
  5. Mix stuffing with the remaining ingredients so everything is evenly heated and serve!

What do you love about it?

Eating it!

  

Melissa Koller

Dish: Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash, skinned, seeded, and chopped into small chunks
  • 5 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup raw maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Place squash and Brussels sprouts on separate baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil and toss with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast 30 to 35 minutes, or until browned.
  4. While veggies are roasting, chop walnuts and set aside.
  5. Place roasted veggies in a serving dish. Drizzle with maple syrup and balsamic vinegar.
  6. Add chopped walnuts and cranberries. Toss and serve immediately.

What do you love about it?

It’s a side dish that is colorful, highlights some of the best veggies of the season, and is easy to make.

Laura Borinsky

Dish: Crispy Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients:

  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon high-quality sea salt or pink salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions:

  1. Peel sweet potatoes if preferred. (The skin has tons of nutrients and is a great source of fiber. If you keep the skin on, just make sure to wash the potatoes well with a brush.)
  2. Cut sweet potatoes into thin slices. Let potatoes soak in bowl of cold water for at least an hour before cutting them. This step is totally optional, but it helps draw out excess starch and will make the potatoes extra crispy.
  3. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  4. Toss sweet potatoes with coconut oil and spices until evenly coated. Spread them out on baking sheets.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, flip, and bake for another 10–15 minutes.

What do you love about it?

I love this dish because it’s easy, healthy, and adds a nice new texture to the Thanksgiving meal!

 

Janet Verney

Dish: The Other Stuffing

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian herbs
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into bite-size chunks

Instructions:

  1. Gently heat olive oil and spices in a sauté pan on medium-low. Add onion and celery and simmer.
  2. Stir in chopped cauliflower and toss on medium-high heat until slightly brown and tender. You may need to add a small amount of water to help steam the cauliflower. Check for taste and add more seasoning as desired.
  3. Transfer cauliflower to an ovenproof dish greased with olive oil.
  4. Cool, cover, and place in fridge until ready to serve.
  5. When ready to serve, leave at room temp for 1 hour, then bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.

What do you love about it?

Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, which is known for its cancer-fighting properties. It is a terrific anti-inflammatory and is full of antioxidants. It is rich in vitamins, supports digestion, and is a natural detoxifier to the body! This recipe is a superfood dish that won’t spike your blood sugar and yet tastes like an old-fashioned favorite.

 

Miyoung Kim

Dish: Apple Pie

Ingredients:

  • 4 Granny Smith apples
  • 1/2 cup xylitol sweetener
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • Wholly Wholesome 9” pie dough

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F for 5 minutes.
  2. Peel and slice apples.
  3. Combine apples, sweetener, arrowroot powder, lemon juice, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
  4. Roll out one sheet of premade dough in a 9” pie dish.
  5. Pour apple filling inside prepared pie dish.
  6. Roll out second pie dough over filling. Use a fork to seal crust edges. Cut slits in middle of pie to allow steam to escape. Cover the edges of the crust with parchment paper or a silicone pie crust shield.
  7. Heat in oven for about 40 minutes or until pie crust is golden brown.
  8. Wait for pie to cool and serve!

What do you love about it?

It's a simple recipe using xylitol. Xylitol is a low glycemic (doesn't spike blood sugar or insulin) all-natural sweetener, which is also good for your teeth because it starves harmful bacteria in the mouth to prevent plaque buildup and tooth decay. It has 40% fewer calories than refined sugars – but consume in moderation. Great fall time dessert for the whole family.

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