Healthy Thanksgiving Side Recipes!

Try these CHARGE Registered Dietitian approved Thanksgiving side recipes! Our RD’s suggest some healthy alternatives to your Thanksgiving favorites as well as some new recipe ideas to prepare for your friends and family. 


Here is a lightened up (on fat and sugar) sweet potato casserole recipe! Traditionally, sweet potato casserole has 2 sticks of butter and multiple cups of sugar. This recipe cuts back on both of those and has a delicious crunchy pecan oatmeal streusel on top.

This recipe can also be easily made dairy free or vegan! Use coconut oil or vegan butter instead of regular butter in the topping to keep it dairy free, or to make it vegan, skip the egg in the sweet potato mixture. It will still be delicious! 


For the potatoes:

  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 large or 5 medium sweet potatoes)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • pinch of allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the topping:

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour or regular flour (if GF, use gluten free oat flour)
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats (gluten free if desired)
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Wash and use a fork to poke holes in the sweet potatoes; about 4-5 pokes per potato. Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet lined with foil and roast for 45 minutes-1 hour or until very fork tender. Allow potatoes to cool for 5-10 minutes. Lower oven heat to 350 degrees F.
  3. Spray a 8×8 inch pan, 9 inch pie pan, or a 1 1/2 quart or 2 quart safe baking dish with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
  4. Cut open sweet potatoes and discard the skin, place sweet potato flesh in a large bowl and add in maple syrup, almond milk, vanilla, egg, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and salt. Use an electric mixer to beat until smooth, adding a splash more almond milk if you want them to be creamier. Pour into prepared baking pan and smooth top.
  5. To make the topping: Whisk together flour, oats, brown sugar, and pecans. Use a fork to stir in melted butter until a nice crumb forms. Sprinkle all over the top of the sweet potato mixture.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is slightly golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Serves 8.


Swap out canned cranberry sauce for this simple, fresh recipe: 

  • Simmer cranberries with maple, orange juice, rosemary or sage and a pinch of salt until thickened.


Give this Brussels sprouts recipe a go! This recipe is a fun way to spruce up your veggie sides with pomegranate arils for a sweet and savory dish that will be the first to disappear at your Thanksgiving gathering!


  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 4 thick-cut bacon slices, chopped
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled, or use grated Manchego cheese
  • 1 cup pomegranate arils


1. Position the oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss together the Brussels sprouts, olive oil, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Lay the Brussels sprouts cut side down on the baking sheet. Sprinkle the bacon around the sprouts. Roast the Brussels sprouts on the lower oven rack until deeply browned and the bacon is crisp, 20 to 25 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the honey and crushed red pepper flakes to a boil over medium heat. Boil 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the apple cider vinegar, butter, orange zest, and a pinch of salt.
4. Remove the Brussels sprouts from the oven and drizzle the honey over the sprouts. Transfer the sprouts to a serving plate and top with goat cheese and pomegranate arils. Serve warm. Serves 6.


The kale in this Honeycrisp apple and feta salad is a great source of vitamin K, iron, and calcium! Healthy, simple and delicious! 


  • 1/4 cup raw pecans
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • flaky sea salt
  • 3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 6 cups arugula or shredded kale
  • 2 Honeycrisp apples, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • Arils from 1 pomegranate
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Apple Vinaigrette:

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple butter (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • kosher salt and black pepper


  1.  Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. On the prepared baking sheet, toss together the pecans, pumpkin seeds, maple, cayenne, and cinnamon. Arrange in a single layer. Lay the prosciutto flat around the nuts. Transfer to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the nuts are toasted and the prosciutto is crisp. Watch both closely. Sprinkle the nuts with sea salt.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large salad bowl, combine the arugula, apples, avocado, and pomegranate arils.
  4. To make the vinaigrette. Combine all ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake. Taste and adjust as needed.
  5. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad, tossing to combine. Top the salad with toasted nuts, prosciutto, and feta. Eat and enjoy! Serves 6. 

Creamed Spaghetti Squash with Browned Butter Walnuts

Try this great low carb alternative for mac and cheese or creamed corn. Fun Fact: The Omega 3 fats that are found in the walnuts in this recipe are healthy for your brain!


  • 2 medium spaghetti squash, halved and seeds removed
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) salted butter
  • 1 cup raw walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 cup whole milk, nut milk, or canned coconut milk
  • 3 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup grated manchego cheese
  • 3 tablespoons basil pesto, homemade or store-bought
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt and black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Place the squash on a plate and microwave 3 minutes. Let cool slightly, then cut in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and discard. Place the squash in a baking dish and season the cut sides with salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and bake 30-35 minutes or until the squash is tender.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 6 tablespoons butter, the walnuts, sage, and a pinch of salt in a large skillet. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the butter is browned and the walnuts are toasted. Remove the nuts from the skillet to a plate.
  4. In the same skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter with the garlic. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper flakes, milk, goat cheese, manchego, and pesto. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly until smooth and creamy. Remove from the heat.
  5. When the squash is ready, use a fork to scrape the squash into strands, then toss the squash with the pesto cream sauce. Serve the squash warm, topped with buttery walnuts. Serves 8.


To Make Ahead: prepare the squash through step 4, but leave the walnuts off the squash. Cool and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. When ready to serve, gently warm the squash over low heat on the stove, stirring until warmed. Top with walnuts. 

To Keep Warm in the Slow Cooker: prepare the squash through step 4, but leave the walnuts off the squash. Transfer the squash to the slow cooker and keep on the WARM setting for up to 4 hours. Keep the walnuts to the side of the squash until ready to use for topping. 

For more tips and dietitian approved recipes, schedule a meeting with a Charge Registered Dietitian today to create a personalized plan that works for you.

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