Thanksgiving is a very big deal around my house. I really love the sides at Thanksgiving dinner. That’s where you can get even more creative, so don’t let side dishes weigh you down. Who doesn’t love buttery mashed potatoes, but if you want to change it up a little with a healthier but just-as-tasty alternative, check out my mashed potato substitute! Bok Choy can bring some excitement back into the “green” portion of your meal, and my Tropical Yams kick up the flavor for sweet potatoes. For an added fall touch, I also recommend my Stuffed Sugar Pumpkins and Cranberry Bread Pudding.
This light, delicious version of Celery Root Mashed Potatoes from my cookbook, The Age Beautifully Cookbook, is made with vitamin-rich celery root. Celery root (celeriac or knob celery) gets no respect. Sure it’s pretty ugly as vegetables go, but so are other tubers that grow underground. This mild vegetable is low in carbohydrates, full of fiber, and can pair well with higher-carb vegetables like potatoes. In fact, your guests might not even notice that these mashed potatoes taste any different.
Celery root is rich in vitamin K, which helps your blood clot normally (good for your heart, circulation system, and brain). It also has phosphorous, which helps nerves and muscles function properly and strengthens teeth. Potatoes are a good source of the skin-protective antioxidant vitamin C.
2 cups cubed celery root, peeled
2 cups cubed Yukon Gold potatoes
½–1 cup buttermilk (depending on desired consistency)
1 Tbs. fresh chopped chives
1 Tbs. fresh chopped parsley
½ sp. salt or salt substitute
½ tsp. crushed garlic
Anti-inflammatory – Reduces the inflammation process in cells, tissues, and blood vessel, helping to slow aging.
Strength – Builds strength for bones, muscles and joints. Increases bone density, builds and repairs tissues.
Step Aside for These Dishes
Serve Baby Bok Choy as a green side to your turkey, and your guests will be talking about it till Christmas! Bok choy is best known as a supporting player in Chinese stir-fry dishes. Here I give it a starring role by boosting its flavor with tamari sauce and garlic. And it goes to show that a delicious, unique side dish doesn’t have to be complicated with a lot of ingredients.
Bok choy is part of the cabbage family so it’s loaded with indoles (sulfur compounds), which help to prevent cancer by neutralizing carcinogens. These compounds are also needed to make keratin for healthy nails, hair, and skin.
1 Tbs. coconut oil or sesame oil
1 Tbs. minced garlic
1 Tbs. low-sodium tamari sauce
6 cups baby bok choy (about 4–5 heads)
Salt or salt substitute and freshly ground black pepper to taste
You can use full-size bok choy instead of baby bok choy. Just cut them in half lengthwise or increase the cooking time.
Disease prevention: Reduces risk factors for common degenerative and age-related diseases like cancer and diabetes.
Beauty: Promotes vibrant shin and hair and helps keep eyes healthy.
It’s just not Thanksgiving without yams. In The Age Beautifully Cookbook there’s a recipe for yams with a tropical twist that is easy to make and will make an impression. Heart-friendly yams are tarted up with lime juice and shredded coconut in my festive Tropical Yams side dish. Yams (and/or sweet potatoes) contain carotenoids and fiber. Carotenoids inhibit cancer and tumor growth, reduce your risk of heart disease, and support immune function. Fiber lowers blood cholesterol and, like carotenoids, reduces your risk of heart disease.
2 cups cubed yams or sweet potatoes, peeled
1 Tbs. coconut oil
½ tsp. salt or salt substitute
1 Tbs. fresh lime juice (and/or thin slices of key lime)
1 Tbs. maple syrup
¼ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup shredded coconut
Anti-inflammatory – Reduces the inflammation process in cells, tissues, and blood vessel, helping to slow aging
Disease prevention – Reduces risk factors for common degenerative and age-related diseases like cancer and diabetes.
These green beans are easy to make and can even be prepped a day ahead of time, which makes them perfect for holidays and dinner parties. Marcona almonds make this simple side dish elegant. Green beans contain vitamins A and C. Vitamin A is an antioxidant that boosts immune function and keeps eyes and skin healthy. Vitamin C helps the body resist infection, prevents cataracts, and boosts collagen.
1 lb. green beans (about 6 cups), trimmed
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. Marcona almonds
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp. minced garlic
½ tsp. salt or salt substitute
1. Blanche the green beans in a large pot of boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain and plunge into an ice bath to set the color. Pat dry with a paper towel. (This step can be done a day or so ahead of time.)
2. Heat the oil in a pan, add the green beans, and sauté over medium heat for 3–5 minutes or until crisp-tender.
3. Remove the beans from the heat and toss with the remaining ingredients.
Beauty – Promotes vibrant skin and hair and helps keep eyes healthy
Disease Prevention – Reduces risk factors for common degenerative and age-related diseases like cancer and diabetes.