Healthy & Delicious Holiday Sides

The holiday season is a time for indulging in delightful feasts with family and friends. Embrace healthier side dishes this year and embark on a culinary journey to explore some nutritious options. These nutrient-dense sides offer a delicious compromise, allowing you to indulge guilt-free.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Cranberries And Pecans

Brussels sprouts are low in calories but extremely nutritious and high in many vitamins and minerals, especially fiber, vitamin K and vitamin C. Brussels sprouts provide an irresistible crisp, mixed with the sweetness from cranberries and pecans, creating a plethora of flavors.


  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Trim the ends of the Brussels sprouts and cut them in half.
  • In a large bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts with olive oil until evenly coated.  Add the balsamic vinegar.
  • Spread onto a baking sheet and roast for about 20-25 minutes.
  • Add the fresh cranberries and chopped pecans to the pan and continue roasting until the Brussels spouts are tender on the inside.


Lemon Garlic Roasted Asparagus

These vegetable spears are full of important nutrients such as vitamin C, folate, and fiber that are both good for your gut and great at keeping you feeling full, longer. Asparagus also provides us with vitamin K, which is an important nutrient for blood clotting and keeping our bones healthy. Adding a lemon-garlic twist to this low-calorie side dish is the chef’s kiss!


  • 1 bunch asparagus, tough ends trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Trim the tough ends from the asparagus spears.
  • Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, minced garlic, lemon zest, and lemon juice and mix well.
  • Drizzle this mixture over the asparagus spears. 
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper as desired and roast for 12-15 minutes until crisp.


Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

Trade in traditional stuffing for this healthier alternative. Quinoa is packed with protein, fiber, and essential nutrients that pair perfectly inside roasted acorn squash halves. This healthier twist on stuffing replaces some of the simple carbs that can cause a spike in our blood sugar levels followed by a crash. 


  • 2 medium acorn squash, halved and seeds removed
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)


  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Cut the acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash halves, cut side down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 30-40 minutes.
  • While the squash is baking, rinse the quinoa under cold water. In a saucepan, combine the quinoa with vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until softened. Add minced garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper. Sauté for another 2-3 minutes. 
  • Add the cooked quinoa to the skillet with the onion and spice mixture. Combine well. 
  • Fill the squash halves with the quinoa mixture. Garnish if desired.


Kale And Pomegranate Salad

Serve a refreshing kale and pomegranate salad that is nutrient-packed and easy to make. Kale is high in folate, manganese, vitamins A, B6, C and K. Pomegranates contain protective plant compounds important for our heart health and immune systems. 

Simply wash some kale leaves and remove the tough stems. Chop into bite-sized pieces and put in a large bowl. Add in some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a pinch of salt, and massage the kale for a few minutes. Toss with some pomegranate seeds and for an additional crumble, add some feta cheese on top. 

Incorporating one or two of these healthier sides into your holiday spread can promote a healthier balance between indulgence and nutrition. Nourish your body this season without compromising taste!