Healthy Cook

On Sides

by Kate Sherwood, November 2011

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Maybe there’s no talking you out of the Thanksgiving turkey. But if vegetables are going to take up half your plate, it doesn’t hurt to have a trio of side dishes that are good for you and that keep you coming back for more.

Butternut Squash with Pumpkin Seeds & Cranberries

Total time: 15 minutes.

butternut squash, cut into ½-inch dice
1 lb.
Dijon mustard
2 tsp.
balsamic vinegar
1 tsp.
pomegranate juice or orange juice
2 Tbs.
kosher salt
1/8 tsp.
extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs.
pumpkin seeds, toasted
1/3 cup
dried cranberries
3 Tbs.

You can also use half beets, half butternut squash.

Steam the squash until tender, 3-5 minutes. Drain any water.

In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, juice, salt, and oil. Toss the squash in the bowl with the dressing. Sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and cranberries.

Yields 3 cups.


  • Calories: 190
  • Total Fat: 12 g
  • Sat Fat: 2 g
  • Protein: 4 g
  • Sodium: 150 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 19 g
  • Fiber: 3 g

Brussels Sprouts with Shallots & Almonds

Total time: 20 minutes.

large shallots, sliced
+ 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp.
Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced
1 lb.
kosher salt
¼ tsp.
Zest and juice of 1/3 lemon, more to taste
slivered almonds, toasted
¼ cup

If you’re not a Brussels sprouts fan, try sliced cauliflower florets.

In a large non-stick skillet, sauté the shallots in the 1 tsp. of oil until they are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove the shallots from the skillet and reserve.

Add the remaining 1 Tbs. of oil and sauté the Brussels sprouts until lightly brown and tender-crisp, about 5 minutes.

Add the sprouts to the shallots and season with up to ¼ tsp. of salt and the lemon zest and juice. Sprinkle with the almonds.

Yields 3 cups.


  • Calories: 150
  • Total Fat: 8 g
  • Sat Fat: 1 g
  • Protein: 6 g
  • Sodium: 150 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 17 g
  • Fiber: 5 g

Creamed Spinach

Total Time: 20 minutes

small onion, diced
canola oil
2 Tbs.
whole wheat pastry flour
2 Tbs.
fat-free milk
1 ¼ cups
1 lb.
grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup
Freshly ground nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper

Make a double batch and freeze what you don’t eat.

In a medium pot, sauté the onion in the oil until lightly browned, 8-10 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and cook while stirring for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and continue whisking until the sauce is smooth and starts to thicken, 1-2 minutes. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Steam or blanch the spinach until tender and bright green, about 1 minute. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking, drain, and squeeze out the excess water. Chop or pulse in a food processor until coarsely chopped.

Stir the spinach and Parmesan cheese into the milk sauce. Season with nutmeg and pepper to taste.

Yields 3 cups.


  • Calories: 100
  • Total Fat: 3.5 g
  • Sat Fat: 1 g
  • Protein: 5 g
  • Sodium: 200 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 13 g
  • Fiber: 4 g


Watch Kate prepare healthy and delicious dishes at or

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