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Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Be thankful this holiday season for this healthy spin on Thanksgiving side dishes that everyone is sure to love!

plate with turkey, cranberry salad, whole grain stuffing and butternut squash casserole.

Before You Cook
  • Take a minute to read through the recipe before you start.
  • Wash all fresh produce.
  • Wash your hands at the beginning and throughout the cooking process.
  • Children should ask for permission before using appliances and sharp knives.

Butternut Squash and Kale Casserole with Parmesan Topping

Ingredients for Casserole Filling
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large (3 ½ pound) butternut squash peeled, seeded, and diced into ¾-inch cubes (about 9 ½ cups) — precut squash is a great time saver
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or rosemary,
  • 2 cloves minced garlic (about 2 tablespoons)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 12 ounces kale, tough stems removed and chopped or torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup low sodium vegetable stock or chicken stock
Ingredients for Topping
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs or ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼  teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 9×13-inch casserole dish or similar 3-quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Prepare filling in two batches. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add half of the butternut squash, ½ tablespoon of the rosemary, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Sauté until the squash is beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. The squash will still be too firm to eat.
  3. Next, add half of the kale, half of the onions, and half of the garlic. Cook until the kale and onions begin to soften, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add the ½ cup of the chicken stock, stir, and let cook 1 minute so that the stock reduces slightly.
  5. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and with a spoon, prod it into a relatively even layer.
  6. Heat the remaining tablespoon olive oil in the skillet, then repeat the above steps with the remaining half of each of the ingredients. Transfer the rest of the filling to the casserole dish. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the squash is soft when pierced with a sharp knife.
  7. While the squash bakes, prepare the topping: In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, sage, nutmeg, and salt. Pour the melted butter over the top. Stir to combine.
  8. Remove the casserole from the oven, remove the foil, then sprinkle the top evenly with the breadcrumb mixture.
  9. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F return the dish to the oven, then bake uncovered, until the bread crumbs are golden, about 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Whole Grain Stuffing

  • 1 loaf artisan whole grain bread or whole wheat sandwich bread, cubed (9 to 10 cups)
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 2 leeks
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut bread into cubes. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 to 25 minutes until browned and toasted, stirring and checking occasionally.
  2. While bread toasts, dice the onion and celery. Chop the sage and parsley.
  3. Prepare the leeks: Chop off the dark green stems and the root of the leeks, then slice them in half length-wise. Place each leek half cut-side down on the cutting board, then chop it into thin half-moon shapes. Rinse thoroughly in a colander to remove any dirt.
  4. In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add celery, onion and leeks with a few pinches kosher salt; cook 6 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender. Remove from the heat and stir in the herbs.
  5. Place the bread cubes and vegetables in a bowl, add 1 teaspoon kosher salt and a generous amount of fresh ground black pepper, and mix to combine.
  6. Pour the mixture into a 9×13 baking dish and add 3 cups vegetable broth. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover, and bake an additional 25 minutes, until browned.

Cranberry Salad

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (4 ounce) package of cranberry or strawberry jello
  • 1 bag cranberries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 stalks celery chopped
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 dash lemon juice
  1. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil.
  2. Remove from stove and add jello.
  3. Stir thoroughly until jello is dissolved. Set aside and allow to cool.
  4. Add sugar to chopped cranberries and all the sugar to dissolve.
  5. Add cranberries and remaining ingredients to jello mixture. Mix well.
  6. Refrigerate all to gel.