Last-Minute Side Dishes to be Thankful For

Are you cooking for a special someone this Thanksgiving and still trying to find the perfect recipes? Maybe you have one guest who can’t tolerate gluten, another who can’t have dairy, and yet another who is vegetarian and can’t eat processed sugars. Or maybe that special someone is you, without any dietary restrictions at all, but you just feel a little better keeping your holiday indulgences on the clean and healthy side.

I know it can be tricky to cook for someone with special dietary needs if you aren’t used to doing so, which is why I wanted to share two delicious recipes that are quick, easy, and will satisfy a range of dietary requirements. I made both of these for an early Thanksgiving dinner with friends this past weekend. As a matter of fact, no at this dinner party had any particular food intolerances or allergies, but  I chose the recipes anyway because they sounded good to me and they are all natural and clean. And most importantly… delicious! Both were a hit among my friends. I’m going to give you my comments on each of them, but please click the links to see the actual recipes.

Photo Courtesy of the Food Lovers’ Primal Palate

First up, The Food Lovers’ Primal Palate Carrot Souffle. I’ve been reading the Primal Palate blog quite a bit lately. From my basic understanding, those who follow a primal or paleo diet avoid grains, dairy, processed sugar, legumes, and alcohol. Though I do not follow this diet myself, I place a lot of emphasis on eating clean and I get a little giddy over finding recipes that I could make for friends with a variety of different diets, should I come across them. Hence why I love checking out this blog. When I saw the recipe for carrot souffle and scanned the ingredient list, I was immediately smitten. Here’s a few reasons why I love this recipe:

- It’s gluten-free and dairy-free
- It does not contain refined sugars (all of the sweetness comes from the carrots themselves and a little maple syrup)
- It can be suitable for vegetarians if you replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth (as I did)
- It uses coconut oil (more on this below)
- It is super-duper easy (I simply blended all the ingredients together in the food processor, by adding them after pureeing the carrots)
- It can be made ahead (I made it a day ahead and refrigerated it without any problems reheating; the author also notes that it can be frozen.)
- It’s delicious!

Are you wondering about coconut oil? It certainly seems to be a trendy ingredient in the healthy cooking realm lately. This is because it is one of the healthier fats and the plant supposedly provides many health benefits. But I love it most for its excellent flavor! I have purchased it in a health food store though I have also seen it in regular grocery stores in the natural/health/organic sections. The recipe also calls for 1 tablespoon of coconut flour – you should be able to find this in a health food store too but if not, I don’t think it is critical. I used peanut flour instead. I think any flour would do, gluten-free or regular if you do not need a gluten-free dish. The dish can be made vegetarian (as I did) by cooking the carrots in vegetable broth. I made this the day before and reheated with no problem; the author also notes that it can be frozen.

As I mentioned, I love the use of coconut oil in this recipe. It adds a heavenly twist to deliciously sweet and savory carrots, resulting in something that I would choose over any of the traditional starchy sides. As soon as I took my first bite, I knew this recipe was a success. A few minutes later as everyone started eating, enough of my friends expressed their love that I could declare this a true a winner.  The clean casserole dish at the end of the meal provided the last bit of reassurance!

Photo courtesy of Bon Appetit
 I took a bit of a gamble with the second side dish, knowing that many people (think they) don’t like brussels sprouts and not knowing all of this group well enough to estimate their level of picky-ness. But I had made this dish enough times before to know that it’s nothing short of wonderful and has the ability to convert almost any mini-cabbage hater. Not a huge surprise, when you toss in maple-glazed pecans and grainy dijon mustard. 
Brussels Sprout Slaw with Mustard Dressing and Maple-Glazed Pecans
Here are my favorite things about this recipe:
- It involves maple-glazed pecans (need I say more?) but is not overly sweet
- The ingredient list is short, simple, and clean*
- It’s gluten-free, sugar-free*, and vegan
- The components (pecans, dijon dressing, and shredded brussels sprouts) can be prepped the day before and tossed together before serving
- It is served at room temperature, so it’s one less thing to think about putting in the oven
*What’s the star all about? If you read the ingredients carefully, you should have noticed that it calls for one tablespoon of sugar. I simply swap this out for maple syrup so that the dish is totally clean and free of white, processed sugar.
I also use olive oil in place of place of vegetable oil, to up the health factor just a bit more. 
If there’s a recipe that will have you looking forward to brussels sprouts all week long and even after the meal, this is it. Just be quick to jump on those leftovers – if you have any – since they won’t keep for more than a day or so.
Whether you make either of these either because you have a guest with special dietary needs, or just because you want to eat a little cleaner this holiday, I know you will enjoy them! Happy Thanksgiving!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

  Pin It

9 Responses to “Last-Minute Side Dishes to be Thankful For”

  1. 1

    Joanne — November 22, 2010 @ 5:55 pm Reply

    I think it's always good to have recipes to turn to that appeal to a larger set of dietary restrictions. You never know who's coming to dinner! I love the sound of that sprout dish…my kind of meal for sure.

  2. 2

    Barbara — November 22, 2010 @ 7:02 pm Reply

    When you have a crowd, it's such a great idea to have dishes that appeal to everyone…taste does NOT have to go by the wayside. As evidenced by these two super side dishes! Thanks, Cara!

  3. 3

    Kelly — November 22, 2010 @ 9:06 pm Reply

    Yum. That slaw looks amazing. I've been meaning to make a brussel sprouts salad that involves shaving them thin. I remember seeing one quite awhile ago on slashfood that sounded appealing and somehow I still haven't made it.

  4. 4

    Tasha — November 23, 2010 @ 3:04 am Reply

    Carrots and brussel sprouts are two of my favorite vegetables (although honestly, my favorites lists is very, very long because there are just so many good ones)! I've been meaning to try a shaved brussel sprout salad, and now I am glad I haven't yet, because this one sounds wonderful. As does the souffle.

  5. 5

    Steph Chung — November 23, 2010 @ 3:54 am Reply

    I never really appreciated brussel sprouts, but I must admit the dish you made sure made brussel sprouts seem a lot more tasty, especially since it's paired with maple-glazed pecans, one of my favourite types of nuts!

  6. 6

    Taylor — November 23, 2010 @ 4:59 am Reply

    I have made that brussel sprout slaw before and oh. my. goodness. it is SOOO good! I wish I would have remembered to add this to my Thanksgiving dinner menu…I guess there is still time :)

  7. 7

    Paula — November 24, 2010 @ 12:44 pm Reply

    what a delicious blog! here is so many uncanny inspirations!have a nice time,Paula

  8. 8

    Steph Chung — April 5, 2011 @ 1:20 am Reply

    I never really appreciated brussel sprouts, but I must admit the dish you made sure made brussel sprouts seem a lot more tasty, especially since it's paired with maple-glazed pecans, one of my favourite types of nuts!

  9. 9

    Kelly — April 5, 2011 @ 1:20 am Reply

    Yum. That slaw looks amazing. I've been meaning to make a brussel sprouts salad that involves shaving them thin. I remember seeing one quite awhile ago on slashfood that sounded appealing and somehow I still haven't made it.

Leave a Comment