Simple Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Are you still looking for some simple healthy Thanksgiving side dishes? I’ve got you covered…simple healthy thanksgiving side dishes

There are two types of Thanksgiving cooks. One type plans and plans and plans the menu and relishes in this planning. Then there’s the type who kind of wings it. Which type are you? I’m the planner… but I also end up winging a few recipes at the last minute because I almost always think of something else that will make the meal “just perfect”.

I’ve included recipes here for both types. Pick a few of these recipes that resonate with you. They are all simple and healthy and delicious. They are all crowd pleasers, and they all make for great leftovers.

Here Are The Best Simple Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Sesame Green Beans

sesame green beans

Sesame Green Beans are the perfect side dish. They are easy, can be made in advance, and are great at room temperature.

Raspberry Lavender Cranberry Sauce

This Raspberry Lavender Cranberry Sauce is traditional with a little twist. It can be made in advance, served at room temperature, and it’s great on sandwiches during the week following Thanksgiving.

Paleo Brussels Sprouts Gratin

paleo brussels sprouts gratinThis Paleo Brussels Sprouts Gratin is a comforting casserole. I make it Paleo friendly by using vegan cheese, but feel free to use whatever cheese you like.

Kale With Tomatoes And White Beans

kale with tomatoes and white beans

Kale and white beans are the perfect combination. Adding in tomatoes gives us this silky and comforting Kale With Tomatoes And White Beans. 

Roasted Carrots With Lime Zest

Roasted Carrots With Lime Zest

Roasted Carrots With Lime Zest is the easiest side dish. It has the great taste of traditional roasted carrots, but the lime zest gives it a little something special.

Crispy Smashed Potatoes With Pesto

crispy smashed potatoes with pesto

I like to put these Crispy Smashed Potatoes With Pesto in the oven when the turkey comes out. The pesto can be made a few days beforehand.

Creamy Broccoli And Mushroom Casserole

Creamy Broccoli And Mushroom Casserole

This Creamy Broccoli And Mushroom Casserole has no cream, but nobody will know it. It’s comforting, warming, and it can be prepared in advance.

Pomegranate Glazed Beets

pomegranate glazed beets

Sometimes I make a tray of roasted root vegetables and sometimes I make these Pomegranate Glazed Beets… yum!

Simple Roasted Butternut Squash

simple roasted butternut squash

And then there’s this Simple Roasted Butternut Squash. The name says it all.

Whatever you make, make it with love and remember all of the things you are grateful for. I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

boost your immune system

Now, we move on to the winter holidays… so please, do yourself a favor and download my free ebook to learn how to boost your immune system with food and herbs. 

simple healthy Thanksgiving side dishes

Simple Roasted Butternut Squash

Butternut squash can help reduce inflammation in the body… so if you are suffering from achy joints, here’s your excuse to eat more of this awesome fall wonder! Some of my best menopause-friendly recipes are made with butternut squash… it’s amazing!

simple roasted butternut squash

Fall is my favorite season! I’m one of those people who just loves the change of seasons, so I’ve probably said that other seasons are my fav, but this time I really mean it. The colors of the leaves, the smell of a fireplace, all the cute boots and sweaters, and of course, the food. One of my favorite things that screams autumn is simple roasted butternut squash.

You can’t get simpler than this recipe.

Or more delicious.

Or prettier.

Or more fall-friendly.

People get put off by butternut squash because roasting a whole squash can be intimidating. I get this. I remember once, after roasting a whole squash, when I went to cut it, it rolled off of my counter and onto the floor right next to my huge hairy beast of a dog.

I also remember trying to cut a whole squash before roasting it. This was just hard. Even with my good knives. And even though I like to think I have good muscle strength.

So now, I buy my butternut squash already peeled and cut into cubes. So many markets sell it this way now… how awesome.

I highly recommend buying your squash for this simple roasted butternut squash recipe, already cut up. And, this is not because I’m lazy, but I’m all for saving energy for other things whenever possible (ok, maybe that’s a little lazy…). But just in case you can’t, or you are a purist, feel free to roast it and then cut it — it’s really not too hard. All you do is poke a bunch of fork holes in it, put it on a tray, roast it until done, then cut it in half when it’s softened. Scoop out the seeds and cut it up.

If you love butternut squash, you should also try my Sausage & Butternut Squash Frittata.

simple roasted butternut squash

simple roasted butternut squash

Usually, this is where I list all of the awesome ingredients and tell you why they are good for you. This recipe is so simple that all I’ve got is the one:

Butternut squash is more than just a delicious vegetable; it’s really good for you. It’s a good fever reducer, it can lessen stomach pain and it can be a comfort during pregnancy when the baby feels like she’s doing acrobatics. It’s also rich in carotenoids and Vitamin B6. This means it’s good for your heart and can help lower bad cholesterol. And, because butternut squash can help reduce inflammation in the body, it benefits almost everyone.

simple roasted butternut squash

Simple Roasted Butternut Squash
Recipe type: vegetable, side dish, Thanksgiving
Cuisine: paleo, whole30, vegan, vegetarian
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Once you make this recipe the first time, you will find yourself making it again and again. It is that good. And that easy. And that healthy...
  • butternut squash cubes (I buy mine already cut into cubes) (use as much as you like)
  • extra-virgin olive oil (enough to drizzle onto the squash)
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  1. Heat your oven to 400°F.
  2. Place the squash cubes onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle the oil over (not too much).
  4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Roast for about 25 minutes, then stir or flip the cubes.
  6. Roast about 15 minutes more, or until the edges are getting a deep brown color and squash is tender.
  7. Serve with everything.
  8. Enjoy!

simple roasted butternut squash

Raspberry Lavender Cranberry Sauce

This raspberry lavender cranberry sauce is a great everyday condiment — it’s not just for Thanksgiving!

Cranberry Sauce With Raspberry And Lavender-9611

I was deciding which Thanksgiving recipe to post today, when all of a sudden I was famished. Really hungry. So hungry that I had to stop thinking about food (which I am always doing…) and eat something. So, I opened the fridge, took out some leftover soup, grabbed my just-made cranberry sauce, put a big scoop of it right in the center of my soup and I ate. And I smiled. The cranberry sauce made my delicious soup even better. Cranberry sauce post it is!

Cranberry sauce is an awesome condiment. It’s so much better than ketchup or mustard or mayonnaise on a sandwich. And, I’m not just talking about serving it at Thanksgiving or on those delicious leftover turkey sandwiches. You can put a dollop of a great cranberry sauce on top of your salad. You can’t do that with ketchup. You can stir it into soups — try a big scoop in your next bowl of butternut squash soup…

So many people just make cranberry sauce for holidays. Well, I’m here to tell you to respect the berry. It deserves to be seen all throughout the year. Start by making a bigger bowl than you’ll need for the Thanksgiving table, save the rest in the fridge, and put it on everything all week long. You’ll become a berry-believer, I’m sure of it.

Now, this particular version of cranberry sauce is really special. It’s got the usual amount of traditional tart beautiful cranberries, but it’s also filled with sweet tender raspberries. Then there’s the fresh lemon zest; the tart fresh lemony taste mingles with the sweet raspberries… OMG. But wait, we are not done yet, because we haven’t yet added the lavender. And, the lavender just takes this bowl of berry bliss to the next level.

Rasperry Lavender Cranberry Sauce (pot)-9546

Cranberry sauce is one of the easiest things to make. You just stir all the ingredient in a pot and cook. And all of a sudden, like magic, you go from the above picture to the finished product. Yum.

This cranberry sauce, aside from being mouthwateringly delicious, is really good for you.

Cranberries are known to most people as being good for the urinary tract and the bladder. They are also good at preventing kidney stones and can be eaten to increase fertility.

Raspberries are an anti-aging fruit. They are great for men who are experiencing frequent urination and for men and women with vision issues. They have anti-cancer and anti-inflammation properties. In Chinese medicine, raspberries are an herb called Fu Pen Zi that’s prescribed for impotence, premature ejaculation, poor vision, and frequent urination. Raspberries are great for you, but if you are experiencing difficulty urinating, that’s when this berry should be avoided.

Rasperry Lavender Cranberry Sauce (lemon)-9537
Rasperry Lavender Cranberry Sauce (hand-lavender)-9516

Lavender and lemon are an amazing combination. They just taste great together. The floral taste of the lavender flowers plays perfectly with the tartness of the lemon zest in this cranberry sauce.

Lavender adds iron, calcium, and vitamin A to your diet.  It’s good for eye-health and digestion. I absolutely love the taste of lavender — there’s something so clean and fresh about it.

Lemon peels contain calcium, potassium and vitamin C. Lemons are good for your stomach, they help detoxify your body, they balance your pH and they act as an antibacterial. If you have a sore throat or a cough, go for lemons to make things better. I zest them in lots of foods to brighten the flavors…

Raspberry Lavender Cranberry Sauce
Recipe type: condiment, side dish
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: about 2 cups
This recipe takes gorgeous traditional cranberries and pairs them with sweet raspberries, tart lemon zest, and flowery lavender. It's one you won't want to miss.
  • 1 lb fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup dark cherry juice (here's a concentrate I sometimes use)
  • 6 oz fresh raspberries
  • zest of one lemon
  • ½- to 1- tsp lavender flowers (you can get them here)(start with a little and add more if you like your sauce very lavender-like)
  • 1 Tbs coconut sugar (I like this one)
  • 1 Tbs pure maple syrup (here's one)
  1. Put all ingredients in a medium pot. Stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring often, about 40 minutes, or until the cranberries have burst and the mixture is the consistency you like. It will thicken up more when it cools. Enjoy it on everything!


Butternut Squash And Apple Soup With Beets And Kale

I make this butternut squash and apple soup with beets and kale so often — you’ve got to try it!

butternut squash soup w kale overhead (less clarity)-1

Yay, it’s full-blown soup season! I eat soup all year round but now that Thanksgiving’s almost here, I feel better posting my soups because who doesn’t love soup when the weather gets all crisp and chilly?  I know when I post soups in the summer, some people wonder what could possibly be going on in my head… This is the soup I’m going to serve for Thanksgiving. The base of it is an amazingly warming butternut squash and apple soup but it’s kicked up with fresh turmeric. Turmeric makes it so good for you and it gives it a little spice and just look at the gorgeous color!  And the toppings (because you have to have toppings, right?) are shredded beets and garlicky kale… OMG, it’s so good…

This year, we are having Thanksgiving for the first time in our new apartment. I’m used to cooking in a big kitchen, so there are some challenges, but it will be so much fun. I’ve been testing out recipes that are great to make in advance because of working with less stove and oven  space and this one is a big winner — you should try it too. I will make it Tuesday or Wednesday and hide it in the back of the fridge til Thursday.

I make a soup every year for Thanksgiving. I don’t serve it with the meal though. I like to keep it in a pot on the stove all day for those who get hungry before the meal. I keep the soup on the burner and the toppings next to it on the counter with a stack of bowls and people just help themselves. It works out so much better than making separate appetizers and it’s really really delicious.  And, it’s really easy to hold a bowl  or mug of soup (just not those shallow bowls) in your hands while you are screaming at the TV while watching football.

This year, the soup toppings will include shredded raw beets and thinly sliced warmed garlicky kale…
kale and tongs-1

OK, now I have to tell you why this soup is a must; why it is SOOOOOO good for you.

Butternut squash is more than just a delicious vegetable; it’s really good for you. It’s a good fever reducer, it can lessen stomach pain and it can be a comfort during pregnancy when the baby feels like she’s doing acrobatics. It’s also rich in carotenoids and Vitamin B6. This means it’s good for your heart and can help lower bad cholesterol. And, because butternut squash can help reduce inflammation in the body, it benefits almost everyone.

Turmeric is actually a Chinese herb (Jiang Huang). It is great for reducing inflammation throughout the body. If you suffer from aches and pains in your joints, try turmeric. It can help relieve menstrual pain and some other abdominal pains but, if you are pregnant, ask your doctor before you eat too much turmeric. When you combine turmeric with cinnamon (yup, another Chinese herb — Rou Gui) the pain relief can be amazing.

It really is true that an apple a day is a good thing. Apples help to strengthen your heart. They are also good for your digestion and they can help eliminate mucus when you have a cold. So, the combination of apples and cinnamon and turmeric together are great for this time of year when everyone seems to be getting sick.

Kale is everywhere these days. It is extremely nutritious, and because it to so popular you can find it already washed and prepared in lots of markets. My cheat for this recipe was that I bought this kale already shredded and washed at the market. If you are using a whole bunch of kale, make sure you clean the leaves thoroughly and remove the center thick stems if they bother you (me… I don’t really mind them if the kale is cooked). This dark leafy green is a great source of fiber and calcium. It’s also rich in many minerals, including magnesium, iron and potassium. One serving contains 200% of the daily requirements of Vitamin C and 180% of Vitamin A.

Beets are SO good for you. I try to find ways to fit them into my meals as much as possible. Really… many times a week. Beets nourish blood and tonify the heart. Athletes are starting to drink beet juice as a form of endurance therapy. They are anti-carcinogenic, good for anemia, and relieve constipation. I also think it’s a great idea to eat them raw sometimes because their amazing goodness is even more pumped up this way.

butternut squash soup side-1

Butternut Squash And Apple Soup With Beets And Kale
Recipe type: soup
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Butternut squash combines with apples and turmeric for the most amazing and healthful soup ever. And, as if that wasn't enough... the toppings are garlicky kale and shredded beets!
  • For soup:
  • 1 Tbs ghee or grassfed butter
  • 1-1/2 lb butternut squash chunks
  • 1 med onion, roughly chopped
  • 1-inch piece of fresh turmeric root, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 large apple, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1-1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 large sage leaves, chopped
  • For kale:
  • 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic gloves, sliced
  • 2 cups finely shredded lacinto (black) kale leaves
  • shredded raw beets (for topping)
  • extra sage leaves, chopped (for topping)
  1. In a large soup pot, over medium-high heat, melt the ghee. Add the squash, onion, cinnamon stick, apple, and curry powder. Season with salt.
  2. Season with salt and stir for about 5 minutes, until the veggies start to soften a bit and everything is coated well.
  3. Pour in the broth. Stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and let cook about 30 minutes, or until the squash is soft.
  4. Meanwhile, make the kale: In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat, and saute the garlic until it is just starting to brown (but don't burn it!).
  5. Add the kale to the skillet, Raise the heat to high and with your tongs, toss the kale continuously until it's all coated with the garlicky oil. Then turn off the heat. This should only take about 1 minute. Season with salt.
  6. When the soup is done cooking, discard the cinnamon stick and transfer the soup to a blender (my Vitamix made this soup like velvet). I did this in 2 batches so as not to overfill the blender with hot soup. Cover the blender tightly with a clean dish cloth and whiz it up until it's velvety smooth. Use a dish towel instead of the blender cover, so the steam can escape.
  7. Transfer the cooked soup back into the pot.
  8. Ladle the soup into bowls or mugs.
  9. Put the kale and beets in separate bowls.
  10. Put a big dollop of beets in the center of each bowl and sprinkle with extra sage.
  11. Serve the kale alongside and let people choose whether to put in in their soup or eat it on the side.
  12. Enjoy!