6 Delicious and Healthy Side Dishes for the Holidays

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by Yoli Ouiya on November 20, 2012

Getting back to my chef roots, I wanted to share a slice of comfort with you all. Side dishes are what bring a holiday feast together but sometimes they get redundant and are filled with fat. Here is a round up of some of my favorite healthy holiday dishes to prepare that reserve the extra calories and deliver all the flavor. I’ve also included a new recipe that is sure to please your waistline and your family.

All ingredients are organic unless otherwise noted

NEW: Mashed Yucca (Cassava) with Caramelized Onions

Instead of your standard mashed potatoes, I switch it up by using yucca instead. More mature Yucca has a very tough exterior, so best practice is to cut it in half and slice down the sides. If there are grey streaks in your yucca, cut those parts off as it is bitter. I always open my yucca at the market before buying it to avoid those surprises.
Serves 3-4

2 tablespoons non-dairy butter or olive oil
4 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
3-4 pounds yucca, peeled and halved**
½ cup (or more) non-dairy milk
sea salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, melt heat up butter or olive oil. Add the onions; stirring occasionally, until onions turn dark golden brown — about 30 minutes.
Place yucca in a saucepan, cover with water, and 1 tsp salt. Cook over medium-high heat until soft, about 25 minutes. Drain the yucca and place them in a bowl for mashing. Remove the the root out of the yucca. Just look for a hard, inedible piece in the middle. It looks like a long, yellow fiber.
Using a potato masher or an electric hand mixer, mix together the potatoes, milk, salt, and pepper until well-combined. I have used a food processor also by pulsing until combined.
Fold in the caramelized onions. Serve.

NEW: Chia Coconut Cornbread (dairy-free, cranberry optional)

Serves 10

2 tablespoons chia seeds
6 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cup all-purpose or spelt flour
1 1/2 fine cornmeal
1/3 cup cane sugar (for sweet cornbread, use 2/3-3/4 cup)
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 400°F
Butter 8-inch-square baking dish and dust with flour or spray pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a coffee grinder or blender, grind the chia seeds. Transfer to a small bowl and add the 6 tablespoons of water. Whisk together and allow to sit for 5 minutes or until it is gooey. Set aside
Combine dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt) in mixing bowl.
Add wet ingredients to flour mixture and beat until well combined and smooth. Stir in coconut flakes. Another optional add in is 1/4 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped.
Bake for 30 minutes. Check to see if cornbread is complete by inserting a toothpick in the middle. If it comes out clean, it is done.
Cool in pans on racks 10 minutes, then invert onto racks and cool completely about another 10 minutes.

Green Mélange with Cranberries & Garlic

Serves 10 -12

1 medium bunch collard greens, about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds
2 medium bunches green kale, about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds
2 medium bunches lacinato kale, about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds
6 tablespoons olive oil
9 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 cups vegetable stock
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Rinse collard greens and kale well in a large bowl of cold water. Drain and cut off tough stems. Tear leaves into medium bits.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add half of the collard greens and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add half of the kale and cook stirring, for about 1 minute, until they begin to soften. Add the remaining greens, cranberries, and stock. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes, until the greens are tender. Season with the sea salt and pepper.

Maple Butter Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Serves 10 -12
Sweet Potatoes can be prepared 1 day in advance.

Ingredients for:

Maple Butter
1 cup vegan butter, softened
1/2 cup pure maple syrup

Sweet Potatoes
3 1/2 pounds yams, peeled halved and cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt and pepper to taste

Maple Butter
Beat butter in small mixing bowl on high until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in syrup until well combined. Keeps covered in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Sweet Potatoes
Preheat over to 375°F.
Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 375°F. In a large bowl, coat yams with olive oil. Spread yams on baking sheet. Roast, stirring every few minutes, for about 30 minutes. (If preparing ahead of time, after roasting, allow pan and yams to cool. Wrap and store in fridge. Do not add the maple butter)

Drop spoonfuls of butter onto yams. Roast in over until glazed for about 25 minutes. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.

Cajun Wehani Wild Rice Stuffing

Serves 10-12

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 package field roast Italian Sausage* optional
1 1/2 cups onion, finely chopped
1 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped garlic
2 Tablespoon ground cumin
2 Tablespoon ground coriander
3 teaspoons chili powder
6 cups cooked rice (1 cup dry wehani rice, 1 cup dry wild rice, 1 cups dry long grain brown with 6 cups of water)
Sea salt and pepper taste

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook sausage, remove, cool and break apart. Add onion, peppers, celery and garlic.
Sauté 15 minutes or until browned, add sausage, cumin, coriander, and chili powder. Stir for 3 minutes. Add Rice, stir for an additional 2-3 minutes, and season to taste.

Roasted Citrus Cauliflower

3-4 lbs of cauliflower
1 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of half meyer lemon
sea salt to taste
pepper, optional

Preheat over to 400.
Cut the cauliflower into florets. In a large bowl, cauliflower with all of the remaining ingredients.
Transfer to a cookie sheet or baking dish
Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Now watch them carefully as not to burn; every few minutes, get in there and toss them around. When the edges start to get crispy, browned, on the verge of dark brown, they are ready.

The Raw Version:
Chop the cauliflower into mini florets or pulse in a food processor, toss with the remaining ingredients and let sit for an hour in room temperature. For a salad, i love to add fresh black olives, diced red onion, and tomatoes to this combo.

** not available as organic but most likely is considering how/where it is harvested

This post was written by...

– who has written 337 posts on Yoli's Green Living.

Yoli Ouiya is a Green & Healthy Living Expert, Green Chef, Publisher and Editor in Chief of YolisGreenLiving.com. She is noted as the “Queen of Green” by Black Enterprise Magazine, and currently operates a boutique eco-lifestyle outfit Yoli’s Green Living Group. Black Enterprise included Yoli in its “Top 20 National Bloggers” of 2012, was named ‘Best in Green Living” by AllParenting.com, and listed as “Top 17 Black Woman Bloggers to Watch in 2013″ bu ForHarriet.com. With a certification in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell, she offers workshops, lectures, and organizes a variety of eco-chic green themed events in New York. She is currently on the board of directors for The New York Coalition for Healthy School Food, a health and nutrition specialist for Harlem Children’s Zone, and co-authoring a book slated for completion Spring 2014.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Shelley | The Food Relationship Coach™ November 20, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Love this compilation! The yucca and the cornbread sound amazing.


Yoli November 21, 2012 at 2:06 pm

These are two of my fav dishes… unfortunately I can’t do the cornbread right now but alas one day I will.


Suzanne Berg November 20, 2012 at 9:07 pm

These recipes look delicious – I am looking forward to trying them. It’s my first visit to your site; and, I’m hooked! Great ideas, resources, tips – thank you!


Yoli November 21, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Thank you for visiting!!! I hope you continue to come back and I provide content you enjoy.


Debby Sunshine January 3, 2013 at 9:28 am

These recipes look easy and great! Would love to see a “pin” button on your site!


Yoli January 3, 2013 at 10:15 am

Ask and you shall receive! Now all the images and post are pinnable! Thanks for the suggestion Debbie. If you hover over images, a pin it button appears.


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