Cooking last minute? Yeah, me too. Here’s my last minute thanksgiving guide to side dishes. I love festive food, but I also love feeling good after I eat which is why I’m more intentional about my ingredients. This is what I’ll be making for thanksgiving – please enjoy the recipes step for step instructions or as inspiration.
A great gluten free, vegan and healthy substitute for gravy. Can be made in advance and heated before serving.
- 1 pound parsnips, peeled and chopped
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- Vegetable soup stock (try Pacific)
- 3 thyme sprigs with stems removed
- 1 rosemary sprig with stems removed
- sea salt
- cracked black pepper
Add parsnips, onion and garlic clove to a medium sized pot and just cover with soup stock. Once boiling, reduce heat to low-medium. Add thyme, rosemary, sea salt and pepper and allow mixture to simmer until parsnips are cooked through, about 30 minutes. Using a hand blender or high speed blender blend mixture until creamy and thick.
CRANBERRY – GINGER SAUCE
Whenever I see cranberry sauce in a can I get a little bit sad because things that live in cans are inherently sad. It’s so easy to make your own cranberry sauce from scratch and can be done in advance to avoid day-of scrambling. This recipe has sugar because the sweetness helps offset the cranberry’s natural bitterness. Watch your portions – two tablespoons is plenty.
- 1 pound fresh cranberries
- ½ c raw sugar
- ¼ c pure maple syrup
- 2 tbsp orange zest
- ½ c freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger
In a saucepan, add all of the ingredients. Bring to a boil and reduce a simmer until the sauce thickens and the cranberries begin to burst open (around 20 minutes).
GARLIC GREEN BEANS
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1 pound green beans, washed and trimmed
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 4-6 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
- ¼ tsp hot pepper flakes, to taste
- ¼ c sliced almonds (optional)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add sea salt. Blanch the green beans for about 2 minutes, checking every 30 seconds or so. When done drain immediately to prevent discoloration.
In a small pan heat the coconut oil and add the garlic cloves and hot pepper flakes for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Toss together the spicy garlic combo with the green beans and sliced almond (optional), and serve.
HONEY-DIJON BRUSSELS SPROUTS
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved or quartered
- 1.5 tbsp coconut oil
- sea salt
- cracked pepper
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tsbp raw honey
Heat oven to 375F. On a cookie sheet, toss the Brussels sprouts with coconut oil, sea salt and pepper. After 20 minutes, check on their progress and toss them around. Place them back in the oven until golden brown (about 30 – 35 minutes total cooking time).
In a separate bowl stir together the Dijon and honey. Toss mixture with golden Brussels sprouts and add salt and pepper to taste.
KALE - POMEGRANATE SALAD
This salad is a spin on my favorite salad from café petisco in nyc. I swapped the squash for carrots in order to lower the carbohydrate content and make this meal a little lighter.
- 1 bunch of lacinato kale, deveined, chopped
- 1 cup cumin – roasted carrots (see below for recipe)
- ½ fennel bulb, shaved with a manodline
- 3/4 cup pomegranate seeds
- ½ c walnuts, chopped
- sea salt, to taste
- cracked black pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
The cumin – carrots can be made ahead of time and later added to the kale salad to make preparation easier. To make the cumin roasted carrots, preheat the oven to 400F and toss one pound of carrots with 1 tbsp coconut oil, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp graham masala and 1 tsp turmeric. Toss after 20 minutes, but cook for a total of 45 minutes until you can easily poke a fork through.
Drizzle a tiny amount of EVOO on the kale and massage so that the kale becomes a bright green. Combine the cumin – carrots, shaved fennel, pomegranate seeds and walnuts. Season with salt, pepper and EVOO to taste.
SPICED POACHED PEARS
- ½ cup red wine
- 2 tbsp raw honey
- 1 tbsp ginger
- 1 tbsp nutmeg
- 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise. Scrape seeds and set aside
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 4 pears, peeled
In a saucepan, combine the wine and mix in the honey, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean and seeds. Bring to a simmer and stir occasionally. Add the pears and simmer for 20 minutes until they are tender. Remove and allow to cool.
Continue simmering the wine and spice mixture until it begins to thicken and discard the cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean.
Plate the pears and serve with a spoon of the wine – spice mixture. Serve immediately.
Haven't gotten into the healthy thanksgiving mindset yet? Don't be a victim - here's how to empower yourself this thanksgiving.