Along with Thanksgiving, your Christmas dinner is probably the most decadent meal you eat all year. From the stuffing and candied yams to the delicious pies you have for dessert, you probably end most Christmas meals feeling so stuffed you can barely move! To lighten your meal this year, save some calories and reduce the damage, try some of these delicious and healthy side dishes.
Green Beans with Pine Nuts and Prosciutto
This side dish is not lacking in flavor so your relatives may not even believe it’s actually healthy! The light coat of oil brings out the sweetness of the beans while the nuts and lemon add a little zip of flavor. Try replacing the classic and fat-laden green bean casserole with this yummy alternative (especially if you’re on a low carb diet).
To make, start by boiling 2 pounds of trimmed green beans until crisp tender. Drain and then heat half a teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet. Cook 2 ounces of thinly sliced prosciutto until crispy, then drain. Heat two more teaspoons of oil in the pan and add the green beans, 4 cloves of minced garlic, 2 teaspoons of fresh minced sage, a dash of salt and a bit of freshly ground pepper. Cook until the beans begin to brown, then add 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, 1 and a half teaspoons of lemon zest and the cooked prosciutto. Season with a bit of lemon juice and serve.
Mashed Potato and Mushroom Casserole
This side dish is perfect for the vegetarian at the table, although it’ll also be a hit with the meat lovers. The mashed potatoes are typically one of the most stuffing and fattening sides on the table, although this delicious casserole transforms them entirely by omitting a lot of the butter. Use this recipe instead of mashed potatoes on Christmas this year.
To make, steam three and a half pounds of cut, peeled potatoes until they’re tender enough to fall apart. Meanwhile, pulse one and a half pounds of white mushrooms in a food processor until chopped. Now, transfer your potatoes to a bowl and add a single tablespoon of butter, mashing the potatoes to reach the right consistency. Slowly add 1/2 cup of nonfat buttermilk, 1 egg and 1 egg white and 1 teaspoon of salt.
Next, heat olive oil in a skillet and cook 3/4 cup shallots and 3 cloves of minced garlic about one minute. Add the mushrooms and cook about 10 minutes then add 4 cups of chard or spinach, cooking for another 4 minutes. Whisk together 2 tablespoons of flour and 1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary with 1 cup of mushroom broth then add to the pan. Cook until thickened. Layer the mashed potatoes with the mushroom in a casserole dish, sprinkle with Parmesan and bake at 400 for 35 minutes.
Delicata Squash Dish
Delicata squash is in season during this time of the year, although you may not be familiar with it. This recipe is a great way to add some color and new flavors to your holiday meal! To make, cut one pound of delicata squash into thin slices. Steam for about 7 minutes until tender, then whisk together 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of apple cider, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the squash to this dressing then add in whatever you like, such as dried cranberries and apricots, toasted sliced almonds and chopped chives. You can even steam some apple with the squash! This side dish is healthy, easy to make and sure to be a hit this year.