The meat is the healthy part of the holiday meal, right? It’s the side dishes that pile on the calories. Here are three sides that you can feel good about bringing to a family feast.
HEALTHY POTATO GRATIN WITH HERBS
1½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the cake pan
1 large shallot, minced (about 1/3 cup)
1½ tsp chopped thyme
½ tsp chopped rosemary
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 pounds medium red potatoes, very thinly sliced
Freshly ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and oil an 8-inch round cake pan, preferably of dark metal. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and oil the paper.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the 1½ tbsp olive oil. Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the thyme and rosemary and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cook over moderately high heat until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 10 minutes.
- Arrange an overlapping layer of potato slices in the cake pan. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and spoon a small amount of the reduced broth on top. Repeat the layering with the remaining potatoes and reduced broth, seasoning each layer lightly. Pour any remaining broth on top. Cover the pan with a sheet of oiled parchment paper and then a sheet of foil.
- Bake the gratin in the center of the oven until the potatoes are very tender, about 1 hour. Remove the foil and paper, and bake until the top is dry, about 10 minutes longer.
- Turn the broiler on. Remove the gratin from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Invert the gratin onto a heatproof plate. Carefully remove the parchment round. Broil the gratin 6 inches from the heat until the surface is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.
VEGAN WILD-RICE-STUFFED BUTTERNUT SQUASH
Serves 4 to 8
2 medium butternut squash, 2 to 2 1/4 pounds each
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
4 tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion, chopped
½ cup wild rice
½ tsp mild curry powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3 tbsp dried unsweetened cherries
1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
1/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
- Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 400 degrees.
- Cut each squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out and discard the seeds. Arrange the halves in a large baking dish, flesh side up.
- Whisk together the vinegar, maple syrup and 2 tbsp oil. Brush the flesh side of the squash halves with some of the maple oil and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and a few grinds of pepper. Put the squash flesh side down in the baking dish; then brush the skin side with the maple oil mixture and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and a few grinds of pepper. Roast until the squash is fork-tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Let the squash rest until cool enough to handle. Scoop some of the flesh out into a large bowl, leaving about a quarter-inch border of flesh all around. Leave the scooped-out flesh in relatively large chunks.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add the rice, curry powder, cinnamon, cayenne and ½ tsp salt and stir until the spices are toasted, about 1 minute. Add 2 cups water and bring to a simmer covered, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, 30 to 40 minutes (different brands of wild rice may vary in cooking times; add more water if needed). Remove from heat and add to the chunks of butternut squash along with the remaining maple oil, cherries, parsley, sage, ½ tsp salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
- Evenly stuff the scooped-out squash halves with the filling, and drizzle with the remaining 1 tbsp oil. Bake, uncovered, until the filling is warmed through, about 30 minutes. Cut each in half crosswise and transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with walnuts and parsley. Serve warm.
TOMATO & GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE WITH SPICY HERB PESTO
(By Hilary Meyer for Eating Well Magazine)
2 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
½ cup chopped fresh herbs, such as cilantro, parsley and/or chives
½ cup salted roasted shelled pistachios, divided
1-3 tbsp chopped jalapeño pepper
1 tbsp lime juice
1 small clove garlic
¾ tsp ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup cherry tomatoes
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add green beans and cook until crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- Position a rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler to high.
- Combine herbs, ¼ cup pistachios, jalapeño to taste, lime juice, garlic, cumin and salt in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped, scraping the sides once or twice. With the motor running, add oil and process until well-combined. Pat the green beans dry and transfer to a 9-by-13-inch broiler-safe pan (or similar size 3-quart baking dish). Add the sauce and tomatoes and toss to combine. Sprinkle with cheese.
- Broil the casserole until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Chop the remaining ¼ cup pistachios and sprinkle over the top.
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