Easy Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Thanksgiving is just around the corner! Are you hosting a gathering or bringing food along to family or a friend’s place? Either way, you’re probably wondering what tasty dishes will tick all the boxes (flavor, health, and adaptability), without being too much hassle to cook. Maybe you’re wondering if it’s even possible to make healthy Thanksgiving sides?

Easy healthy Thanksgiving side dishes

Yes, Thanksgiving sides can be easy-to-make and healthy, too. We’ve got pancetta-flavored green beans topped with hazelnuts, a creamy herbed potato mash, a wholesome vegan stuffing, and a zesty cranberry sauce that’s so low in sugar no one will believe it! The dishes are perfect served on their own, or alongside a traditionally roasted turkey.

Green beans (serves 2)

green beans thanksgiving healthy

Ingredients:

  • 5 slices pancetta (≈2 oz, organic and no additive preferred)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 pack green beans (≈12 oz)
  • 10 hazelnuts

Directions:

  1. Chop and add the pancetta to a pan on a low-medium heat until the fat from the meat starts to seep out.
  2. Peel and chop the onion. Add to the pan and fry until translucent.
  3. Meanwhile, trim the green beans, halve them, and then add them to the pan along with 1-2 Tbsp of water. Let them cook for about 10-15 minutes or until soft.
  4. Peel and mince the garlic clove, then add it to the green beans while they’re cooking.
  5. Place the hazelnuts onto a chopping board, then crush them by covering them with a kitchen towel and bashing into small pieces with a jar or tenderizer.
  6. Heat a small saucepan to a medium temperature and toast the hazelnuts until browned.
    Once the green beans are cooked, serve them in a dish and sprinkle with the hazelnuts on top.

Herbed mashed potatoes (serves 2)

healthy thanksgiving side

Ingredients:

  • 4 large potatoes
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp chives
  • salt & pepper to taste
Recipe adaptation:
If you enjoy eating dairy, then you can also swap the non-dairy milk for dairy milk and the olive oil for butter.

Directions:

  1. Peel the potatoes and garlic, then add them to a large saucepan with a pinch of salt and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil.
  2. Cover and reduce the heat. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  3. Drain and return the potatoes and garlic to the saucepan. Add the oil, non-dairy milk and chives. Using a masher or a fork, mash until smooth.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Wholesome vegan stuffing (serves 8)

healthy thanksgiving sides

Ingredients:

  • 1 large loaf whole grain bread
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 cup celery
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup canned green lentils
  • 1 flax egg
  • 1 tsp sage
Recipe adaptation:
If you are able to eat animal products, then you can swap the olive oil for butter and use chicken eggs instead of flax.

Directions:

  1. The night before, cube your bread and add it to a large bowl. Leave it out to dry overnight. It should have the texture of stale bread.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a baking dish with foil or non-stick spray.
  3. In a pan on low-medium heat, sauté the onion and celery in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until translucent.
  4. Meanwhile, add most of the vegetable broth to the bowl of bread, along with the cooked onion, celery, flax egg, lentils, and sage.
  5. Mix everything with a wooden spoon, and add more broth if it’s too dry. It should have the consistency of meatloaf.
  6. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for about 45 minutes.
  7. Then, remove the foil and increase the oven temperature to 400°F (200°C). Bake for another 10 minutes, or until the top is crisp.

Cranberry sauce (serves 4)

healthy thanksgiving side

Ingredients:

  • 24 oz fresh cranberries (≈4 ½ cups)
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 cups juice and zest of orange
  • 1-2 Tbsp honey or to taste (optional)

Directions:

  1. Put the cranberries, applesauce, and water into a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and stir constantly for about 10-15 minutes, until the cranberries start to burst.
  3. Reduce to a simmer and add the orange juice and zest to the saucepan.
  4. Simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes and remove from heat. Add the honey if you like.
  5. Let the mixture cool down completely and store in the fridge overnight, or for at least 4 hours before serving.

For even more healthy Thanksgiving sides you can make for the holidays or even Christmas, or for leftover turkey ideas, sign up to the 8fit Pro app. You’ll find our 8fit recipe book, which is bursting at the seams with over healthy 700 recipes for any occasion.