A person is holding a fork and salad in a bowl.

Thanksgiving with a Healthy Twist

Look to these nutritious, updated sides, salads and apps to keep turkey day delicious.

Tasked with bringing a beautiful side to Thanksgiving dinner? Or cooking the whole shebang yourself? We’ve got you covered with festive colorful dishes to sub in for (or to offset) the usual heavy, carb- and fat-loaded favorites.

Spiced Chickpea, Kale and Squash Salad
Modified from Amelia Freer
Gluten free, dairy free
Serves 3-4

This salad stands on its own. It’s do-able, delicious and big on flavor. It’s also a little bit unexpected, colorful and crunchy – definitely an update for your veggie pick.

2 cups butternut squash, roughly, sliced or cubed
coconut oil
1-13 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ chili powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp raw honey
1- bag of kale, large stalks removed, center ribs removed, slivered
juice of one lemon
1 clove garlic, crushed
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Parsnip fries
1 large parsnip, cut into very thin strips
coconut oil or olive oil for frying

Tahini dressing
2 tbsp tahini
juice of one lemon
2-3 tbsp water

Pre-heat oven to 400 F. Toss squash in oil and roast for 25-30 minutes, until soft and caramelized. In the meantime, mix the garbanzo beans and spices, salt and honey and spread them onto a cookie sheet. Cook for 20 minutes until crisp. Combine lemon, garlic and olive oil and massage into kale with your hands until kale is soft and shrinks in volume. In a saucepan, melt coconut oil and fry up the parsnips until crispy. Last, mix the tahini and lemon juice and water until the tahini thins to sauce. Build the salad: squash and kale mixture first, then parsnips, then drizzle tahini sauce over the top.

Shaved Brussels Sprout & Apple Salad
Modified from The Minimalist Baker
Vegan, gluten free
Serves 6

Big on fall flavor, this salad uses raw Brussels, which is quite mod for the green side.

4 Tbsp olive oil
2 ½ Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp finely chopped shallot

6 cups thinly sliced Brussels sprouts
1 cup chopped apple
4 pitted medjool dates, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped roasted hazelnuts

Roast whole hazelnuts on a bare baking sheet at 350 F for 12-15 minutes or until fragrant. Prepare dressing by adding olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, salt and shallot to a small jar with a lid and shaking to combine. Or, add to a bowl and whisk. Set aside.

Trim Brussels sprouts, halve them lengthwise, and slice very thinly with a knife or the slicing disc on a food processor. Add the Brussels sprouts to a large mixing / serving bowl, shake or whisk the dressing again, and add about half of it. Then massage with clean hands for 1-2 minutes to infuse the Brussels sprouts with the dressing and make them easier to chew and digest. This is a really important step–makes all the difference and WAY more enjoyable to eat.

Add remaining salad ingredients (apples, dates, and roasted hazelnuts) and the remaining dressing. Toss to coat.

Cranberry Salsa
A Hutchinson Family Favorite
Serve with almond crackers

I can’t help myself. I have to add this to the list. I’ve spoken many times about this fall salsa–simply put, it’s the best!

1 1/2 cups of fresh cranberries
2 green onions chopped
1/2 to 1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/4 cup of raw sugar
2 tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Add the above ingredients into food processor and pulse 3-5 times, until you have a small rough chop. Stir and cover in refrigerator for 1-3 hours. Serve with crackers.

Coconut Cranberry Pecan Balls
From Clean Food

Easy, no bake, throw together and worthy of dessert or just a pick-me-up over the next several weeks.

¼ cup shredded dried unsweetened coconut
1 ½ cups toasted pecans
1 cup dried cranberries
½ cup almond butter
½ cup maple syrup

Place coconut in small bowl and set aside. In food processor, combine remaining ingredients and process to form a stiff paste or meal. Form into tablespoon–size balls and roll in coconut to coat. Serve immediately or store in airtight container for up to 4 days. Makes 12-15 balls.

Apple Chutney
From Clean Food

An understated add to the Thanksgiving or fall table, apple chutney pairs so well with the rest of the meal.

1 cup apple cider or juice
2 cinnamon sticks
5 cloves
8 large firm and tart apples (granny smith or macoun, gala)
1 cup golden raisins
½ maple syrup
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 large onion, diced
1 fennel bulb, halved, cored and diced
sea salt
zest of 1 lemon

Place apple cider, cinnamon sticks and cloves in a small pot over medium heat and simmer 15 minutes. Turn off heat, remove cinnamon sticks and cloves and set aside. Meanwhile, peel and dice apples.

In a 2-quart pot, combine apples, raisins, maple syrup, ginger, onion, fennel and salt. Place over medium-high heat, add apple cider. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes until thick. Remove from heat, fold in zest. Serve warm or cold. Super light, but totally gets the dessert job done in a really elegant way!

Maple Poached Pears
From Clean Food

With SOO many pies, this dessert is a welcomed change. It’s nice and light and non-regretable.

4-6 ripe but firm pears
1 cup water
1 cup maple syrup
zest of 1 lemon or orange
4-5 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 one-inch piece of ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced

In a large stockpot over medium heat, combine all ingredients except the pears and bring to simmer. Cut pears in half, remove core and place in the simmering syrup. Cook 20 minutes then remove from heat, let cool slightly and serve.

For more info on feeling your best through smarter food choices,contact our holistic nutritionists. It’s a personal puzzle, but we can assist in figuring out what’s best for your body. Book afree 20-minute consultationwith Healthy Nest Nutrition owner Robin Hutchinson to see if our programs are right for you.