Healthy Holiday Side Dishes + Appetizers
I’ve got food on the brain, what can I say? Fall produce is really taking over the markets and I’m loving it all. The squash. The beets. The green beans and the brussel sprouts. And all the fresh cranberries for the buying!! When citrus season really hits, I’ll be one happy camper. Since sharing my tips for healthy holidays a few weeks ago, I’ve been thinking of all the delicious recipes that are perfect for the season and will still have us looking great in January! So, without any further ado (mostly because I wrote a lot more below), here are 13 healthy holiday side dishes and appetizers to enjoy this month and next at home, at cocktail hour, and at your holiday party. Save room for dessert or drinks and get your veggies on!
This is one of our favorite side dishes come beet season. The earthiness of the beets is delectable with the drizzle of honey, the baseness of the goat cheese, and, of course, the salted pistachios. I’m not exactly sure why this combination is so delectable, but I don’t need to argue with science! If you’re short on time, you can get steamed beets at a variety of stores, including Trader Joe’s. You just need to slice them and add the toppings. If you’re cooking raw beets for this dish but hate having stains on your hands, wear a glove on the hand that handles the beets and save yourself!
Sweet potatoes are quite possibly my favorite thing. Their flavor can be sweet or savory with just a few flavorful additions. This lemony, sweet potato hummus is a great recipe to use up baked sweet potatoes. It doesn’t have tahini either, so chances are high that you already have all the ingredients on hand!
Brussel sprouts were the last vegetable I learned to like. Every time I made them, they were bitter and hard to palate – until I learned how to remove that bitter flavor! It’s hard to beat roasted brussel sprouts in flavor and deliciousness. Topped with herbed goat cheese and salted pistachios (noticing a theme?), they’re scrumptious. Make extras of this healthy holiday side dish. You won’t regret it!!
I just want to go on record and say that I was a cauliflower addict before it became cool. I roast it for dinner almost every week. Because it has a mellow flavor profile, it goes to the next level with just a little olive oil and some basic seasonings! Puree it up with some beans and it’s a phenomenal hummus. You can serve it with veggies or crackers. I personally love it with raisin + rosemary crackers (homemade or bought at Trader Joe’s)!
I love how long beet season is (practically year round now), but when orange season really arrives (long after I’m ready by the way!), the combination of the winter produce is untoppable (I guess that isn’t a word, but let’s make it one)! To balance the sweetness, drizzle good extra virgin olive oil. And for the beets? Honey. If you haven’t tried honey with beets yet, go do it right now! If you’re struggling to get into beets, this is the way to do it!!
This is one of the first salad recipes I created for Luci’s Morsels and it’s still one of my favorites. I don’t make it nearly enough, but every time I do, I’m reminded just how much I like it. Everything can be made ahead of time – then just mix it all together in a bowl before serving!!
I first created this make-ahead veggies situation for summer get-togethers, but now it’s become a year round favorite for us. Veggies can be hard to get at holiday parties partly because of flavor but mostly because they can be tricky to eat. Short of a raw vegetable tray (blah), there aren’t many options that are still healthy. These make-ahead grilled veggies are bursting with flavor and easy to eat with your fingers. Use the same seasoning on all of the veggies or mix it up. You can also serve it with a dipping sauce (see one below), but they’re tasty on their own as well!!
If you make no other healthy holiday side dish this year, make these almond green beans. They come together quickly and they’re delicious. Even the not-so-vegetable-loving members of our families love this dish. And though I always encourage fresh over frozen or canned produce, you could make this with canned green beans!
This isn’t technically a side dish, but let’s go with it anyway. Since lean proteins, whole grains, and roasted vegetables are on constant rotation in our house, I always like to add in a delicious sauce or topping to switch things up. This romesco sauce is by far and away our favorite. It goes so well with everything. It’ll be great with turkey at the holiday table and on any leftover sandwiches!!
My mom invented this delectable recipe (a microwave version) years ago and we continue to get compliments on it. The parmesan cheese on top is the perfect addition to the roasted vegetables. This is one of the easiest healthy holiday sides dishes and will surely be a hit!