The holiday season can be a real challenge for those who are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes eating nutritious foods to maintain your body at optimum levels. While we may not get away with substituting the main course with a healthier choice (tofu turkey comes to mind), there are plenty of healthy side dishes that you can prepare for your Thanksgiving feast. Because we know how busy life can get, so we put the extra effort into finding recipes that are fairly simple and easy to make.
Honey and Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes
4 peeled sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
¼ cup olive oil, extra virgin
¼ cup honey
2 teaspoons cinnamon
- Set the oven to 375 degrees.
- In a single layer, layout the sweet potatoes in a cooking tray. Drizzle oil, honey, cinnamon, and lightly sprinkle salt and pepper over the potatoes. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes until tender .
- Transfer potatoes to a serving platter and drizzle with more olive oil.
2 pounds carrots
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ½ tablespoons chopped dill
- Peel the carrots and cut them diagonally into ¼-inch slices. Place the carrots, ⅓ cup water in a large saute pan. Add salt, and pepper and bring to a boil.
- Cover pan and cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 8 minutes until the carrots are cooked through. Add butter and saute until the water evaporates and carrots are coated.
- Remove from heat, toss with dill, and serve.
Orange-Scented Green Beans
Peel from 1 orange
2 pounds trimmed green beans
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons fresh chives
- Bring a pan filled with 2 inches of water to a boil.
- Add orange peel and beans.
- Cook for 5 to 6 minutes. The beans should keep their snap.
- Drain beans and return to the pan.
- Remove peel.
- Toss with butter, salt, and chives then transfer to a serving dish.
Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
1 pound Brussels sprouts
½ cup toasted walnuts
2 Tablespoons grated Romano cheese
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
- Using an adjustable blade slicer, thinly slice leaves of Brussels sprouts into a medium bowl.
- Add walnuts and cheese.
- Finely grate lemon rind into the bowl; cut the lemon in half and squeeze so that the juice is added to the bowl.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper, then drizzle with olive oil and toss to combine.
Arugula and Wild Rice Salad with Lemon Dressing
1 cup wild rice
½ cup sliced almonds
1 teaspoon of olive oil
5 ounces arugula
½ cup coarsely chopped basil
½ cup dried tart cherries or cranberries, chopped
½ cup crumbled feta or goat cheese
¼ cup of olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1 medium clove garlic, pressed or minced
¼ teaspoon salt
- Cook wild rice until the rice is tender but still offers a light resistance to the bite. Cover and let cooked rice rest for 10 minutes, then remove lids and let the rice cool.
- Toast the almonds by warming up one teaspoon olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add the almonds and pinch of salt and cook until they’re turning lightly golden and fragrant.
- Blend together dressing ingredients in a separate bowl.
- Transfer the cooled rice to a large bowl. Add arugula, chopped basil, almonds, sour cherries, and feta.
- Pour in the dressing, toss well, and season to taste. Set aside for 10 minutes before serving to give the rice time to soak up some of the dressing.
Cranberry Maple Skillet Cornbread
1 stick unsalted butter
1 ½ cups medium grind cornmeal
1 ½ cups white or regular whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
dash of cinnamon
1 ½ cups buttermilk (room temperature)
½ cup maple syrup
1 ½ cup fresh cranberries
- Set the oven at 375 degrees and place a rack in the middle. In a 10 to 12 inch cast iron skillet, place a stick of butter and place in the oven to melt.
- Blend cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon together in a separate bowl.
- Blend together milk, eggs, and syrup in a separate bowl until smooth.
- Add wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
- Remove the skillet when the butter is melted and swirl to coat the skillet. Pour the melted butter into the batter, add the cranberries and stir until incorporated.
- Pour batter mixture into the skillet. Place the skillet back in the oven and bake for about 25 to 35 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean.
Healthy Potato Gratin with Herbs
1 ½ tablespoon (plus a little more for the pan) extra-virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
1 ½ teaspoons chopped thyme
½ teaspoon chopped rosemary
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 pounds medium red potatoes, very thinly sliced
- Set the oven at 400 degrees and oil an 8-inch round cake pan. Place parchment paper in the bottom of the pan and oil the paper.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil. Add the shallots and cook at medium heat for about 3 minutes. Sprinkle in rosemary and thyme and cook for an additional minute. Pour in the chicken broth and leave on heat until the mixture begins to a boil. Cook about 10 minutes until the broth is reduced to ¾ cup .
- Arrange an overlapping layer of potato slices in the cake pan. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and spoon a small amount of reduced broth on top. Repeat the layering with the remaining potatoes. Once you have finished layering, pour any remaining broth on top.
- Cover the pan with a sheet of oiled parchment paper and then a sheet of foil. Bake the gratin until potatoes are very tender (right around an hour). Remove the foil and paper and bake for another 10 minutes.
- Turn the broiler on. Remove the gratin from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Invert the gratin onto a heatproof plate. Carefully remove the parchment round. Broil the gratin 6 inches from the heat until the surface is lightly browned (about 2 minutes).
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