Are you already pulling out your elastic waistband pants in preparation for Thanksgiving next week? Before you go overboard we wanted to share some tips on transforming your favorite side dishes from food-coma inducing nightmares into guilt-free and even energizing options!
Green Bean Casserole: Traditionally made with high-sodium cream of mushroom soup, frozen or even canned green beans and topped with deep-fried "we're not even sure they are actually onions" onions, this Thanksgiving staple will leave you bloated and sleepy. Instead try this:
- Use fresh green beans, canned and frozen veggies lose a lot of their nutritional benefits in the preservation and packaging process. In a large sauce pan melt coconut oil on medium heat and cook your fresh green beans for 5-7 min. until they soften.
- Add additional veggies; mushrooms, onions and leeks are all great options that will not only increase your veggie intake but will add to the overall flavor of your dish without losing the true essence of green bean casserole.
- Change the crunchy topping, we personally recommend making your own baked crispy onion topping but if you're short on time try using chopped almonds. .
- Make your own gravy, the best part of the green bean casserole, in my opinion is the creamy gravy that brings everything together. Instead of using canned, condensed soup opt for making your own this year. Combining water, full-fat coconut milk and broth together (like in our veggie pot pie) this gravy comes together in seconds and tastes amazing!
Stuffing/Dressing: Bread on bread on butter, what's not to love? This year break from tradition and try a non-bread based stuffing. I'm loving this recipe for Bulgur Stuffing with Dried Cranberries & Hazelnuts. But if that's to risky, try these tips to make your traditional stuffing a bit healthier:
- Use less bread, sounds crazy right? Choose a whole grain bread over processed white bread and then cut back on how much you add. Replace the bread in your recipe with more veggies (onions, carrots, celery and garlic) or even add fruits like apples or cranberries.
- Reduce how much butter you use, instead of adding flavor via butter try using low sodium bone or veggie broth to moisten your dish. People even use applesauce for a little flavor/moisture boost!
Mashed Potatoes: I used to love mixing mashed tates with my green beans and even turkey (back when I ate meat) but those days are behind me. From adding heavy cream and sour cream to loads of cheese and smothered in gravy, mashed potatoes can go south quickly.
- Try the Cauliflower Millet mash that we created in the Thanksgiving E-book.
- Use coconut milk or better yet just add bone or veggie broth to help with the creaminess, instead of loads of butter or heavy cream.
- Add other veggies to your mashed potatoes, cauliflower works wonders, just do half and half, you're guests will never know the difference.
Sweet Potatoes: Sweet or Savory, that is the real question. Sweet potatoes are packed with awesome nutrients like vitamin D, iron and potassium but prepared the wrong way you'll transform these veggies into a candied mess!
- Healthy Sweeteners: Bake your sweet potatoes and instead of topping with butter and brown sugar drizzle raw honey over the top, sprinkle with cinnamon. Then finish it off with whipped coconut cream with a hint of vanilla or real maple syrup. (click for recipe).
- Simple and Savory: Sweet potatoes are insanely versatile, just roast them up in coconut oil, garlic and salt and pepper and put them on top of your salad. If you're not afraid of a little flavor add some curry powder and garam masala spice to them prior to roasting.