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Recipes for a Healthy Thanksgiving feast - modifications to your favorite Holiday side dishes.

Thanksgiving meals don't have to impede your health goals, whether they are to maintain a healthy weight or to eat more nutritious foods. Just get creative this year and modify each dish into a healthier version.

The turkey is a given, so here are some updated favorites - modern and healthy with tons of veggies - they are a feast for your eyes as well as your taste buds.

Green beans with crispy shallots and mushrooms

The traditional fat and sodium laden casserole gets a fresh farmers market taste upgraded with fresh green beans and mushrooms, rich in vitamins and minerals. Crispy shallots add satisfying crunch while parsley, lemon and Parmesan bring a pop of flavor.

Cauliflower - Potato purée

Swapping half the potatoes for cauliflower gives this mash a lighter texture while slashing the calories and carbs. Whole milk yogurt ensures it's silky smooth and adds a bright flavor hit too.

You may also wish to try Wild rice dressing, (recipe below)

Wild rice (is actually a seed) and has a deeper flavor, as well as more protein, fiber and antioxidants than traditional rice. With grassy, smoky notes, it plays well with fall flavors like leeks, celery, dried cherries (full of potassium and beta carotene) and roasted pecans.

Brussel sprouts with apples and honey mustard vinaigrette

Deliciously earthy, nutty and chewy, roasted brussels sprouts have anti-cancer compounds as well as fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. In this colorful side they are balanced by crispy sweet tart apples with a vinaigrette that ties it all together. Recipe below.

Don’t let the temptation of holiday foods ruin your heart healthy diet. Get creative this year and try these modifications for a healthier Thanksgiving feast.

Wild Rice Dressing

  • 2 ¼ cup water

  • 1 14.5 ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 cup wild rice

  • 1 cup long grain white rice

  • ¾ cup dried cherries

  • 2 tablespoon port or cranberry juice

  • ¼ cup butter

  • ¾ cup chopped celery

  • ¾ cup chopped leeks

  • ½ cup chopped carrot (1 medium)

  • ¼ cup snipped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh thyme

  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh sage

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • ½ cup roasted pecans


1. In a large saucepan combine the water and broth. Bring to boiling. Stir in uncooked wild rice. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 25 minutes. Stir in uncooked white rice. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 20 minutes more or until tender. Drain off any excess liquid. Cool to room temperature.

2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine dried cherries and port. Let stand, covered, for 20 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Add celery, leeks, and carrot; cook and stir about 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in parsley, thyme, sage, salt, and pepper; cook and stir for 1 minute more.

4. Lightly grease a 2-quart casserole; set aside. In a large bowl combine cooked rice, cherry mixture, vegetable mixture, and almonds. Transfer to the prepared casserole.

5. Bake, covered, for 35 to 40 minutes or until heated through, stirring once or twice.

To Make Ahead

Prepare as directed through Step 4. Cover and chill for up to 24 hours. To serve, preheat oven to 350°F. If desired, drizzle dressing with 1/4 cup additional reduced-sodium chicken broth to moisten. Bake as directed.

Roasted brussels sprouts with apples and honey mustard dressing

2 lbs fresh brussels sprouts

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 tsp Kosher salt

2 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp honey

2 medium Honeycrisp apples (sliced)

Preheat oven 450°F - line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Place the halved brussels sprouts on the baking sheet and drizzle with some olive oil, season with salt & pepper tossing together until coated.

Roast for 20 minutes flipping them halfway through the cooking time.

While the brussels sprouts are roasting, whisk dressing together in bowl using remaining olive oil, vinegar, mustard & honey, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place the roasted brussels sprouts into a serving bowl, along with the diced apples, pour the dressing over them, stir to combine and serve.

Recipes by Anna Theoktisto, photos by Greg DuPree


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