Rethink Your Holiday Sides

Make a solid turkey dinner even better

Rethink Your Holiday Sides


Turkey dinner is the pinnacle of many people’s holiday celebrations: the splendid brown bird, the fluffy potatoes … what’s not to love?

Think about it, though. Is all the food really that great? Or are you viewing your go-to dishes through rose-tinted, post-eggnog glasses? The traditional turkey dinner can be overly uniform in color (too much beige!), and all the dishes share a similar softness in texture.

While you can’t really mess with the turkey, updating the sides is well within your rights. Keep the traditionalist happy and don’t completely overhaul the menu. Instead, just add a fresh spin to the ingredients with bright notes of citrus, tangy mustard and piles of vibrant green herbs. Keep veggies tender-crisp to the bite, and ditch the usual butter for zesty vinaigrette.

Red and Green Veggies with Vinaigrette


Brussels sprouts are a traditional holiday must-have. The trick is to not overcook them. Quarter sprouts so they cook evenly and quickly. They look vibrant and attractive nestled with crunchy green beans and brightly colored red pepper.

1 Tbsp (15 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 Tbsp (15 mL) white or red wine vinegar

2 tsp (10 mL) Dijon mustard

1 small garlic clove, minced

1/2 cup (125 mL) extra-virgin olive oil

Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

10 cups (2.5 L) Brussels sprouts, quartered

8 cups (2 L) green beans, stem ends trimmed

1 large red pepper

1 lemon, optional


For dressing, whisk lemon juice with vinegar, Dijon and garlic. Slowly and gradually whisk in oil until evenly mixed. Taste and season with salt and pepper. If making ahead, refrigerate up to 5 days.

Fill bottom of large, wide saucepan with water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then add Brussels sprouts and beans. Bring back to a boil and steam until tender-crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes, then add red pepper. Steam for 1 more minute. Drain and toss with dressing. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle with grated lemon peel and freshly squeezed lemon juice, if desired.

Each serving contains:105 calories; 3 g protein; 7 g total fat (1 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 10 g total carbohydrates (2 g sugars, 4 g fiber); 25 mg sodium


Lemon, Nut and Bread Stuffing


Fresh parsley, nippy lemon and rich nuts elevate traditional stuffing laced with the favorite flavors of sage, onion and celery. This makes enough stuffing for a 16 to 18 lb (7 to 8 kg) turkey.

1 loaf artisanal bread, sliced, day old

1/3 cup (80 mL) unsalted butter

3 celery stalks, finely chopped

2 onions, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup (125 mL) pine nuts or nuts of choice

2 Tbsp (30 mL) dried sage leaves

1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground nutmeg

2 cups (500 mL) parsley, chopped

Grated peel of 1 lemon

Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste


Cut bread into small cubes and place in large bowl. Set aside.

Melt butter in large frying pan over medium heat. Add celery and onions. Stir often, until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, nuts, sage and nutmeg. Cook for 2 minutes, then stir in parsley and lemon peel.

Turn mixture over breadcrumbs and gently toss to mix. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Cool completely before stuffing turkey. If making ahead, cover and refrigerate up to 3 days, or freeze up to 2 weeks.

Use to stuff turkey or cook separately. To cook separately, lightly pack stuffing in casserole dish and moisten with about 1/4 to 1/2 cup (60 to 125 mL) chicken or vegetable broth. Cover with foil and bake in 375 F (190 C) oven for 20 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until crispy on top, 10 more minutes.

Each serving (1/2 cup/125 mL) contains: 142 calories; 5 g protein; 5 g total fat (2 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 21 g total carbohydrates (2 g sugars, 1 g fiber); 216 mg sodium


Dijon-Laced Mashed Potatoes and Parsnips


Parsnips add a sweet and slightly earthy flavor twist to mashed potatoes.

6 to 8 large Yukon Gold potatoes, coarsely chopped

5 parsnips, peeled and chopped

3/4 cup (180 mL) 1% buttermilk

1 Tbsp (15 mL) grainy Dijon mustard

1/2 cup (125 mL) cilantro or parsley, chopped

1/4 cup (60 mL) sour cream

1 Tbsp (15 mL) unsalted butter

Sea salt, to taste


In large, wide saucepan, boil potatoes with parsnips until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well, then mash. Whisk buttermilk with Dijon, then pour over hot potatoes. Fold in cilantro or parsley, sour cream and butter. Taste and season with sea salt.

To make ahead: add 2 tsp (10 mL) baking soda before mashing potatoes to make them fluffier. Spoon into casserole dish. Cool, then refrigerate up to 24 hours. Before serving, bring to room temperature, about 30 minutes, then bake at 375 F (190 C) until center is hot, 30 to 40 minutes.

Each serving contains: 67 calories; 2 g protein; 2 g total fat (1 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 12 g total carbohydrates (3 g sugars, 3 g fiber); 27 mg sodium