With Thanksgiving around the corner we wanted to share a few of our favorite healthy Thanksgiving sides. Some of these side dishes can be made in advance and reheated so you have more time to mingle or relax.

Before we started traveling full time, Thanksgivings were usually spent at mama Russo’s house where family, friends and acquaintances gathered for a scrumptious homemade feast.

We’ve had dinners with close to 30 people from immediate family to college roommates to out of town co-workers. Everyone and anyone is welcomed with open arms.

Our first year on the road, we spent Thanksgiving at an RV resort in Texas with new friends. It was a potluck style Thanksgiving dinner and our contribution was the roasted cauliflower dish below.

This year, we’re spending Thanksgiving in Los Angeles, California.

Thank You to our family, friends, readers, fans, followers and all the great people we’ve met on the road for your support, kindness and encouragement. Happy Thanksgiving!

Healthy Thanksgiving Sides

Kale Persimmon Salad

Kale and Persimmon Salad - healthy thanksgiving sides

Joe’s mom has already requested this healthy Thanksgiving side for her big bash. The kale persimmon salad is easy to make in advance, then all you have to do is pour on the dressing and toss the salad when it’s time to eat.

The sweet and crunchy persimmon combined with the creamy avocado really makes this salad stand out. It’s also loaded with vitamins A, B, C, E, K, potassium, manganese and omega-3 fatty acids. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups Organic baby kale or shredded kale
  • 1 firm fuyu persimmon, sliced
  • 1 ripe haas or fuerte avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or walnuts
  • Balsamic vinaigrette (recipe below)

Direction:

Add kale, persimmon, avocado and pine nuts to salad bowl. Dress accordingly based on amount of kale used. You can always place the dressing on the side for those who want more.

Mason Jar Balsamic Vinaigrette

This vinaigrette in a mason jar will save you time, add a little fun to the process and leave you with the perfect storage vessel. Don’t have a mason jar? No problem! Grab any food safe container with a lid to get the party started.

Yields 1 cup of balsamic vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • 1 mason jar (size: 16 oz)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grounded pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic

Directions:

Add all the ingredients into the mason jar and seal the lid tightly. Shake vigorously until ingredients have emulsified, about 10 seconds. Shake it to your favorite song, shake it over your head, shake it with both hands. It’s all about developing your own style.

Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic - healthy thanksgiving sides

This dish can be cooked in advance and reheated in the oven before it’s time to serve. Just don’t drizzle the balsamic vinegar on until it’s show time!

Deliciously crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, these sprouts are great as a side dish.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of brussels sprouts, trimmed (A note about the size of brussels sprouts – look for sprouts about one to two inches in diameter with tightly bound leaves. If you end up with a mix of large and small sprouts, cut the large ones in half or quarters to match the other sprouts to ensure even cooking.)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grounded pepper
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (alternative: fresh squeezed lemon juice or apple cider vinegar)

Directions:

Step One: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In an oven safe cooking sheet add brussels sprouts, oil, salt and pepper to the pan and mix by shaking the pan until sprouts are well coated. Make sure to use a pan large enough to fit the sprouts in a single layer.

Step Two: Place sprouts on the middle rack and roast for 35 to 40 minutes depending on size. Mix the sprouts after 15 to 20 minutes brown evenly.

Step Three: Remove sprouts from the oven and add to a serving bowl. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, toss, taste and serve. Joe love balsamic, so I always end up adding a little more to his bowl.

Garlic Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted cauliflower - healthy thanksgiving sides

This healthy Thanksgiving side dish is always a huge hit. Must be the toasted pine nuts and parmesan cheese that makes it a winner!

Ingredients:

  • 4 pounds of cauliflower florets
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 large gloves of garlic sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Step one: Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees F. In a baking sheet, add the cauliflower, oil, garlic, pepper flakes, salt and pepper and combine with your hands. Make sure all the cauliflower is evenly distributed in one layer. Use multiple pans if necessary.

Step two: Place pans filled with cauliflower in middle rack of the oven and roast for 30-40 minutes. After 15 minutes, pull pans out and flip cauliflower. Once cauliflower is tender and golden brown, remove from pan.

To serve immediately – place cauliflower in a serving dish and top with pine nuts and cheese.

To serve later – allow cauliflower to cool before placing in an oven safe dish. Heat at 300 degrees in the oven 20 minutes prior to serving.

Rye and Apple Cider Cocktail

Rye and apple cider cocktail

One of our favorite cocktails during the holidays is this simple three ingredient drink made with rye, sparkling apple cider and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

This cocktail is perfect for parties. It’s simple for you to make, but guests can also make their own. Place the ingredients by the bar with a bucket of ice and let people go to town.

I hope you give this festive cocktail a try at your Thanksgiving gathering.

Kait’s version
1 part Bulleit Rye
2 parts sparkling cider
1 dash of ground cinnamon

Joe’s version
1 part Bulleit Rye
1 part sparkling cider
1 dash of ground cinnamon
(sometime’s he skips the last two ingredients entirely)

Add an ice sphere to a whisky tumbler or fill it with ice cubes. Pour in the rye and cider, then add a sprinkle of ground cinnamon on top. Stir a few times with a spoon and enjoy!

What are some of your favorite healthy Thanksgiving sides?

#WTRFamily Members – check out Joe’s sweet potato mash up recipe.

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