Three Thanksgiving Sides You’ll Love!

Updated: November 23, 2020

side angle of thanksgiving side dishes

I’m always on the lookout for holiday recipes that are easy to prepare… and I’m thrilled to share three of my all-time favorites with you here! 

These side dishes are a cinch to whip up. And even better — all three recipes are loaded with nutrient-dense veggies you (and your bones) can feel good about eating. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself craving them all season long!

This video is for the balsamic Brussels sprouts and the roasted cauliflower sides.

Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts seem to be a staple of Thanksgiving and festive dinners. That said, you may not be a big fan of them — I know I wasn’t! 

That is, until AlgaeCal’s COO, Vivian, introduced me to this incredibly delicious Brussels sprouts recipe. So this is for you, Viv! 

Adding coarsely chopped nuts (try toasting them!) and aged balsamic vinegar is what sets this recipe apart. And if you want to add a bit more umami (savory taste), pan-frying some chopped bacon will elevate this dish even more.

Brussels sprouts boast some major health benefits, too, and have been linked with unique benefits for DNA protection

Brussels sprouts have also been used to determine the impact on thyroid function, as cruciferous vegetables are often not recommended for those with thyroid disease. One preliminary study had participants eat 150 grams of cooked Brussels sprouts daily for 4 weeks, along with a normal diet. The researchers found no effect on thyroid function, which suggests that while further studies are needed, Brussels sprouts can be beneficial without putting your thyroid gland at risk.

In addition, 1 cup of Brussels sprouts contains

  • 38 calories
  • 125% DV (Daily Value) of Vitamin C
  • 195% DV of Vitamin K
  • 10% DV of Potassium
  • 15% DV of Manganese
  • 87 mg of omega 3 fatty acids
side angle of thanksgiving side dishes

Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

Course Side Dish
Servings 4
Calories 228 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 lb Brussels sprouts cut in half through the core
  • 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 1/4 cup pecan coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup walnut coarsely chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • bacon bits optional
  • capers optional
  • parmesan shredded, optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Clean and trim Brussels sprouts, then mix Brussels sprouts and chopped shallot in a medium-sized bowl and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Pour onto a baking sheet and spread evenly.
  • Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Then rotate and flip and bake for another 10-15 minutes. *Rotating and flipping helps them brown evenly so they are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
  • Take out the pan and pour the Brussels sprouts into a medium-sized bowl.
  • Add the aged balsamic vinegar and chopped nuts. Mix.
  • Check for seasoning and serve!

Notes

Don’t forget that you can bake your Brussels sprouts and cauliflower at the same time. So check out the recipe for “Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon” below!

Nutrition

Calories: 228kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 7gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 44mgPotassium: 733mgFiber: 7gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 1280IUVitamin C: 145.1mgCalcium: 80mgIron: 2.8mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
cauliflower and brussels sprouts on a pan

Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon

Cauliflower is such a versatile vegetable. Plus, it’s considered one of the healthiest foods on Earth! It’s part of the cruciferous vegetable family (along with kale, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli). Research suggests it’s an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. 

Cauliflower has been linked to cancer prevention, as well as weight loss due to its extremely low calorie content. 

In fact, 1 cup of raw cauliflower contains:

  • 25 calories
  • 77% daily value (DV) of vitamin C
  • 9% DV of phosphorous
  • 8% DV of manganese
  • 14% DV of folate
  • 11% DV of vitamin B6
  • 20% DV of vitamin K
  • 37 mg of omega 3 fatty acids
  • And close to 0 g of sugar, sodium, or fat!
side angle of thanksgiving side dishes

Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon

Course Side Dish
Servings 6
Calories 348 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tbsp olive oil divided
  • 1 large head cauliflower chopped
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds raw, shelled
  • 1/4 cup parsley chopped, fresh
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes crushed
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice fresh
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Clean and trim your cauliflower and chop into florets.
  • In a medium-sized bowl mix cauliflower, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Pour onto baking sheet evenly.
  • Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Then rotate and flip and bake for another 10-15 minutes. *Rotating and flipping helps them brown evenly so they're crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
  • Take out the pan and put the cauliflower into a medium-sized bowl.
  • Add the chopped parsley, olive oil, pumpkin seeds, and additional salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, and lemon juice. Mix it all together.
  • Check for seasoning and serve!

Notes

Kick it up a notch: Red pepper flakes, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and parsley give this dish extra character!

Nutrition

Calories: 348kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 5gFat: 36gSaturated Fat: 5gSodium: 26mgPotassium: 212mgFiber: 1gVitamin A: 1560IUVitamin C: 25.7mgCalcium: 21mgIron: 2.3mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
aerial shot of balsamic brussels sprouts and roasted lemon cauliflower

Healthy Holiday Stuffing 

If you’re like me, your childhood memories of Thanksgiving dinners include a stuffing your mom prepared from a box. I admit it… it was my favorite part of the meal! 

But those packaged stuffings have never exactly been good for you. They tend to be high in calories and refined carbohydrates, and low in fiber and nutrients. (Check the nutrition panel of any of the popular brands next time you’re at the grocery store.) That’s because their main ingredients are things like wheat flour, vegetable oil, and sugar. Even most traditional homemade stuffings are full of bread and white rice… foods that contribute to the chronic, low-grade inflammation that promotes bone loss.  

That’s why we created this healthy version of the stuffing you grew up loving! Unlike traditional and packaged stuffings, this one is loaded with nutrient-dense veggies, like parsnip. Just 1 cup of parsnip contains more than 6 grams of fiber, plus significant amounts of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, vitamin C, and more. 

Just like with carrot, roasting brings out the parsnip’s natural sweetness… which beautifully complements the savory onion and herbs in this recipe. Feel free to experiment with your favorite seasonings, and let us know what you think in the comments section below! 

side angle of thanksgiving side dishes

Healthy Holiday Stuffing

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Course Side Dish
Servings 4
Calories 165 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups parsnip chopped
  • 1 cup carrot chopped
  • 1 cup yellow onion chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups mushrooms chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp butter (or coconut oil)
  • fresh or dried thyme to taste
  • fresh or dried sage to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the chopped parsnip, carrot and onion separately from each other. (Depending on the size of your baking sheet, you may need a second one to hold all the veggies.)
  • Place the baking sheet on the middle oven rack, and roast for 30 minutes. (Check after 20 minutes. If the onion is cooking faster, remove it from the sheet and transfer it to a bowl. Stir the remaining vegetables on the baking sheet and return them to the oven.)
  • Meanwhile, melt the butter (or coconut oil) in a skillet over medium heat. Saute the garlic until fragrant but not browned (1-2 minutes). Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until tender and just starting to brown (5-6 minutes). Remove from heat.
  • When the roasted vegetables are cooked, transfer them and the mushrooms into a food processor. Add the thyme, sage, salt and pepper.
  • In the food processor, quickly “pulse” the vegetables so they’re blended but still chunky.
  • Taste and add more thyme, sage, salt and/or pepper, if you like.

Notes

Want to add a touch of sweetness? Try stirring in some raisins, dried cranberries or finely chopped apple after you’ve removed the mixture from the food processor. You can easily double this recipe too… you’ll just need a second baking sheet! 

Nutrition

Calories: 165kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 3gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 64mgPotassium: 767mgFiber: 8gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 5435IUVitamin C: 29mgCalcium: 73mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Thanksgiving Sides Last Note

What are you planning to make this Thanksgiving? Share your favorite recipes in the comments below!

Article Comments

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Recipe Rating




  1. Kim

    November 18, 2017 , 7:37 am

    Sounds delicious…we will be trying both.
    Thank you. This is a very nice service.

  2. Jill Ankerson

    November 18, 2017 , 7:50 am

    Brussel sprouts are delicious this way. I am looking forward to trying the cauliflower. We are a mixed group and celebrate both Thanksgivings…Thanks

  3. Colleen Phipps

    November 18, 2017 , 9:01 am

    I love the recipes because I cook only fresh ingredients from the market or farm. I look forward to mor of them!

    With much appreciation.

    Colleen Phipps

  4. Monika Tuttle

    November 18, 2017 , 1:00 pm

    I like both Vegetables any time.
    I know I will love and enjoy your recipes.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Happy Thanksgiving

  5. Tricia O

    November 18, 2017 , 4:47 pm

    Sounds so yummy….and healthy! Will be trying out this recipe on Thanksgiving. Thanks!

  6. Sherry Braud

    November 19, 2017 , 3:15 am

    Thank you and Happy blessed Thanksgiving! These veggie recipes sound delicious!

  7. Denise for Vibrant Health

    November 21, 2017 , 7:44 am

    Love it enough to make a lot!
    Adding dried Herb de Provence and fresh chopped garlic to bake with items smells & tastes heavenly!

  8. Monica

    November 22, 2017 , 10:05 am

    That sounds so good, Denise! Thanks for that 🙂

    – Monica

  9. IngieB

    November 23, 2019 , 6:05 pm

    Will like to try the Holiday Stuffing without.the mushrooms because my sister is allergic to them. I will probably add some of the other items. Hope it taste the same without mushrooms.
    Happy thanksgiving to all at AlgaeCal.

  10. Megan AlgaeCal

    November 25, 2019 , 3:32 pm

    Hi Ingie!

    Some people like to substitute other vegetables such as zucchinis for mushrooms. Do let us know how your stuffing turns out, and happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!! 🙂

    -Megan @ AlgaeCal

  11. Dale

    November 23, 2019 , 7:32 pm

    I have made both the Brussels sprouts and cauliflower dishes and they are now family favourites. Thank-you for these tasty and healthy dishes
    Dale

  12. Megan AlgaeCal

    November 25, 2019 , 3:13 pm

    Amazing!! We’re so happy to hear that, Dale ?

    Thanks for taking the time to share and we hope you and your family will continue to enjoy some more of our bone-healthy recipes!

    -Megan @ AlgaeCal

  13. Pam Ballard

    November 24, 2019 , 3:12 pm

    All of the ingredients for all three of your recipes are on my grocery list and soon to be on my Thanksgiving table. Thank you for giving me just what I wanted!

  14. Megan AlgaeCal

    November 25, 2019 , 3:34 pm

    Amazing, Pam!!

    So glad we could be of help ? Let us know how the recipes turn out and Happy Thanksgiving!!

    -Megan @ AlgaeCal

  15. Nives Sweetman

    June 1, 2020 , 1:00 am

    I’d love to make these veggie recipes but Balsamic vinegar doesn’t agree with me – can you recommend a substitute? thanks!

  16. Blaire AlgaeCal

    June 1, 2020 , 12:54 pm

    Thanks for reaching out, Nives! You could try using a different kind of vinegar like red wine vinegar and add a dash of honey or maple syrup to your liking ?

    – Blaire @ AlgaeCal

This article features advice from our industry experts to give you the best possible info through cutting-edge research.

Prof. Didier Hans
PHD, MBA - Head of Research & Development Center of Bone Diseases, Lausanne University Hospital CHUV, Switzerland,
Lara Pizzorno
MDiv, MA, LMT - Best-selling author of Healthy Bones Healthy You! and Your Bones; Editor of Longevity Medicine Review, and Senior Medical Editor for Integrative Medicine Advisors.,
Dr. Liz Lipski
PhD, CNS, FACN, IFMP, BCHN, LDN - Professor and Director of Academic Development, Nutrition programs in Clinical Nutrition at Maryland University of Integrative Health.,
Dr. Loren Fishman
MD, B.Phil.,(oxon.) - Medical Director of Manhattan Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Founder of the Yoga Injury Prevention Website.,
Dr. Carole McArthur
MD, PhD - Professor of Immunology, Univ. of Missouri-Kansas City; Director of Residency Research in Pathology, Truman Medical Center.,