Healthy Thanksgiving Sides and Dessert Recipes

Wow everyone at Thanksgiving dinner by bringing a healthy, flavorful side dish or dessert to share with friends or family. These nutrient-rich salads, side dishes and desserts are delicious twists on the rich, heavy choices traditionally offered. High-impact flavors like fresh herbs, prosciutto, ginger and seasonal fruit eliminate the need for gobs of butter, cream and salt. With these healthy recipes you can eat well and enjoy all of the wonderful flavors of Thanksgiving.

 

Meringue-Topped Sweet Potato

Casserole

 

This lightened-up take on the classic Thanksgiving sweet potato casserole is spiked with crushed pineapple and toasted pecans. We top it with an airy, slightly sweet meringue. You can pipe the meringue to make it look fancy or simply spread it neatly with a rubber spatula.

 

Recipe

10 servings, about 1/2 cup each

Active Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 1/4 hours

SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE
2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 medium), peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup low-fat evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 8-ounce can of crushed pineapple, undrained
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted (see Tip)
MERINGUE TOPPING
4 teaspoons dried egg whites (see Note), reconstituted according to package directions, or 2 large pasteurized egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar

PREPARATION
Place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain well and transfer to a food processor. Process until smooth.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch-square (or similar 2-quart) broiler-safe baking dish (see Tip) with cooking spray.
Whisk whole eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, oil, evaporated milk, vanilla and salt in a large bowl until smooth. Add the sweet potato; whisk until smooth. Stir in pineapple and its juice. Spread the mixture in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with pecans.
Bake the casserole until heated through and the edges are bubbling, 35 to 45 minutes. Set aside while you make the topping.
To prepare meringue topping: Position rack in top third of oven; preheat broiler. Beat egg whites in a medium bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until soft peaks form (see Tip). Beat in granulated sugar in a slow, steady stream. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.
Spoon the meringue into a gallon-size sealable bag. Seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Cut a 1/2-inch hole in one corner. Pipe the meringue onto the casserole, making marshmallow-size dots. (Alternatively, use a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch tip or spread the meringue over the casserole as if you were frosting a cake.) Broil until lightly browned, watching carefully to prevent burning, 30 to 90 seconds.
TIPS & NOTES
Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 4; cool, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Reheat, covered, in the microwave on High, before finishing with Steps 5-6.
Tips: To toast chopped nuts, place in a small dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes
A broiler-safe baking dish is one made of metal or earthenware. Glass baking dishes, such as Pyrex, may shatter under the broiler.
To make soft peaks, beat egg whites with an electric hand mixer until they are stiff, but still soft enough to curl over when beaters are turned upside down.
Note: Pasteurized dried egg whites are a wise choice in recipes that call for uncooked egg whites. Look for brands like Just Whites in the baking section of most supermarkets.
NUTRITION
Per serving: 196 calories; 7 g fat ( 1 g sat , 3 g mono ); 46 mg cholesterol; 29 g carbohydrates; 10 g added sugars; 5 g protein; 3 g fiber; 194 mg sodium; 361 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (281% daily value), Vitamin C (23% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 2

Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 other carbohydrate, 1 fat

 

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts

With Bacon & Onions

 

 

Fresh herbs, onion and bacon pair beautifully with Brussels sprouts. This vegetable loves the cool weather of fall and early winter. If you can find them still attached to the stalk, don’t be intimidated—buy them, as they’re likely more fresh. All you need to do is slice off each sprout with a paring knife. However you find them at the market, this is a delicious way to prepare them. (Recipe adapted from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters.)

Recipe
10 servings, about 3/4 cup each

Active Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

2 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed
4 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 sprigs thyme or savory, plus 2 teaspoons leaves, divided
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 teaspoons lemon juice (optional)
PREPARATION
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. If sprouts are very small, cut in half; otherwise cut into quarters. Cook the sprouts until barely tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring, until brown but not crisp, 3 to 6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on a paper towel. Pour out all but about 1 tablespoon bacon fat from the pan.
Add oil to the pan and heat over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until soft but not browned, reducing the heat if necessary, about 4 minutes. Stir in thyme (or savory) sprigs, salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high, add the Brussels sprouts, and cook, tossing or stirring occasionally, until tender and warmed through, about 3 minutes. Remove the herb sprigs. Add the bacon, thyme (or savory) leaves and lemon juice, if using, and toss.
TIPS & NOTES
Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 1, rinse with cold water; store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. Finish with Steps 2-3, 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
NUTRITION 81 calories; 3 g fat ( 1 g sat , 2 g mono ); 4 mg cholesterol; 10 g carbohydrates; 5 g protein; 3 g fiber; 333 mg sodium; 432 mg potassium.
Carbohydrate Servings: 1/2

Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 1 fat

Nutrition Note: Vitamin C (130% daily value), Folate & Vitamin A (19% dv).

 

 

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